Okan Hardwood


Okan, also known by its botanical name Cylicodiscus gabunensis, is an African timber, renowned for its versatility and strength. Newly sawn Okan has a yellow to golden yellow colour, with dark green to olive green shade, that darkens to a red brown hue when exposed to the elements, often with a coppery glow. The distinct growth rings are visible on the crosscut surface, with the 50-75 mm thick sapwood being light pink and easy to distinguish. Despite having an unpleasant smell when first cut, this scent dissipates after drying. The wood structure is interlocked and the texture is medium coarse.

Okan is a popular choice for a variety of uses, including construction, decking, and marine applications. If sustainably sourced and legally obtained, you may be able to find a supplier of Okan in your area.

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Also Called:
Okan, Edum, Denya, Adoum, Bouemon, Bokoka, African Greenheart, Imbeli-Deli, Adada, Olisan, Olosan, Owese, Anyan

Durability Notes:
The heartwood of Okan is reported to have high natural resistance to attack by decay fungi and termites. Sapwood is not durable and is reported to be readily attacked by powder-post beetle. The wood is reported to resist attack by marine-borers. Overall moderately durable.

Okan is not easy to machine and the wood causes a blunting effect of the tools. Pre-drilling is necessary. The gluing is challenging and finishing is possible. It dries very slowly, with risks of cracking and surface movement.

Typical Uses:
Furniture, Cabinets, Flooring, Doors, Decks, Stairs, Moldings, Railings.

Moisture Content:
Guide - 12-18% for KD

Commonly asked questions about Okan Wood

Is Okan a hardwood or a softwood? Okan is a hardwood. It is the same for; is Okan hardwood or softwood? - Okan 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 Okan 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 Okan? Okan can be described as brown, dark brown

Is Okan good for outdoor use? or is Okan good for exterior use? Okan is most suited for exterior/external use. Okan can 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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