Koto Hardwood


Koto wood, also known by its botanical names Pterygota bequaertii and Pterygota macrocarpa (Sterculiaceae), is a pale yellow timber with a creamy-white to pale yellow heartwood, often with a greyish tinge. It is typically straight-grained or shallowly interlocked, with occasional small knot clusters, and is fairly coarse-textured and glossy. Quarter sawn surfaces reveal a striking fleck figure produced by the strong mid-layer rays.

Koto is a highly versatile timber, suitable for a range of uses such as cabinetmaking, furniture, and much more. It is a sustainable and legal source, making it an excellent choice for a variety of woodworking projects.

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Also Called:
Ake, Awari, Anatolia, Efok, Kefe, Impa, Koto, Poroposo,

Durability Notes:
Koto is non durable, with little natural resistance to decay. The sapwood is vulnerable to attack from termites, marine borers and powder-post beetles. The sapwood is permeable for preservative treatment, and the heartwood is less so.

The drying and seasoning of Koto is dependant on a number of factors; the speed in which it is processed after felling and logging, the method of drying and the specific kilns or location (if air dried). Generally the care taken by those processing the wood will have an impact on its drying and seasoning. As an overview; Koto - The wood dries easily and fairly quickly. It may surface-check, distort and cup moderately. It exhibits medium movement in use. Please note that all wood is liable to move when in service plus there can be dimensional change. The extent of this will depend on; the stability of the species itself, the conditions it is exposed to, the coating, decoration and protection. You will find more information about the suitability of this wood, for any proposed application, by using our interactive system and the filters shown.

Pterygota is heavy and dense. It has low stiffness, medium to low resistance to shock loads, medium crushing and bending strength and poor rating for steam bending. The wood works fairly well with hand tools and works nicely with machine tools but blades must be kept sharp. A reduces cutting angle is advised when planning irregular-grained stock and it has only a slight blunting effect on cutting edges. It glues, nails, sands and polishes well and turns, moulds, mortices and routs fairly well.

Typical Uses:
Furniture, Musical Instruments, Boat Building, Flooring, Carvings, Joinery, Turning, Plywood, Veneers.

Moisture Content:
Guide - 12-18% for KD

Commonly asked questions about Koto Wood

Is Koto a hardwood or a softwood? Koto is a hardwood. It is the same for; is Koto hardwood or softwood? - Koto is a hardwood.

Most groups/families of species share the same characteristics but this normally relates to their life as plants. Individual species do not always share the same characteristics as their relatives, in terms of the wood. Many factors influence how we use the wood and what we use it for, including where it grows, how it is forested, how it seasons/dries, etc. The answers to the following common questions, therefore relate to this particular species/wood and not the Koto family as a whole. Even more specific – our answers relate to the wood (as we know it) in its form as a useable resource.

What colour is Koto? Koto can be described as light brown, yellow/brown

Is Koto good for outdoor use? or is Koto good for exterior use? Koto is most suited for internal/interior use. Koto should not be used as an exterior/external timber (without treatment).

Whether the wood is naturally durable or not we would still recommend that it is decorated and/or coated with a suitable product to provide protection and/or maintain its appearance. This even applies when using the wood internally as, even subtle, changes in temperature or humidity will affect the wood. This will depend on the application/purpose of the wood and the user’s desired appearance. We also recommend that a recoating, care and maintenance programme is adhered to, for the life of an exterior wood. Wood cannot rot if it is kept dry – coatings and decoration can provide this protection. All of that said there are many durable timbers that are often left to weather naturally and will last for many years untreated/coated – movement and visual changes will occur but this is sometimes the desired effect. All wood is hygroscopic (it 'wants' to be in tune with its environment) it will therefore take on water from moisture in the air (or when directly exposed to or submerged in water) and ‘release it’ when dry or exposed to heat. This, inevitably, results in movement and dimensional change. For more about moisture in wood please click here - Moisture in wood

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