Obeche Hardwood


Obeche is a timber species with a creamy-white to pale yellow hue, and no clear distinction between the sapwood and heartwood. The grain of Obeche is typically interlocked, and can display a faint stripe when quarter sawn. The texture of Obeche is coarse to moderately fine, and has a natural sheen. Obeche is a highly versatile timber, suitable for use in furniture, furniture components, mouldings and more. Obeche is sourced from sustainable and legal sources, ensuring its availability for use.

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Also Called:
Wawa, Ayous, Arere, Samba, M'Bado, Okpo

Durability Notes:
Obeche is non durable, and is vulnerable to attack from termites, pinhole borers, longhorn beetles and sap-stain fungi. The sapwood can be attacked by the powder-post beetle. The sapwood is permeable, but the heartwood is resistant to preservative treatment.

The drying and seasoning of Obeche 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; Obeche - dries quickly and readily, with little impact on the grade and quality of the wood. Knot splits and distortion can occur during drying. There is minimal movement in service. 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.

Obeche has low crushing and bending strengths, with very low stiffness and resistance to shock loads. It has tolerable steam-bending qualities. Obeche is very easy to work with both hand and machine tools and has only a slight blunting effect on cutting edges. It carves, glues and sands well. Filling can be required before staining and polishing to obtain a good finish. It is too soft for hand turning and although it nails easily.

Typical Uses:
Boat building, Furniture making, Musical Instruments, Interior Trim, Cabinetry, Carvings, Plywood, Veneers.

Moisture Content:

Possible Health Risks:
Dust from sawing can cause dermatitis, nettle rash, asthma, lung congestion, sneezing and wheezing.

Interesting Facts:
This African hardwood is very soft and lightweight, but has a decent strength-to-weight ratio. It’s fairly stable in service, and its bland grain patterns are frequently stained a darker colour.

Commonly asked questions about Obeche Wood

Is Obeche a hardwood or a softwood? Obeche is a hardwood. It is the same for; is Obeche hardwood or softwood? - Obeche 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 Obeche 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 Obeche? Obeche can be described as brown, light brown, yellow/brown

Is Obeche good for outdoor use? or is Obeche good for exterior use? Obeche is most suited for internal/interior use. Obeche 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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