Olive (East African) Hardwood

Olive (East African)

East African Olive, also known as Olea hochstetteri and O. welwitschii, is a versatile and striking timber. Its heartwood is generally pale brown, with irregular markings and streaks ranging from brown and grey to black, creating a marbled look. The grain is typically straight, but occasionally shallowly interlocked, with a fine and even texture. The sapwood is pale yellow. East African Olive is a great choice for furniture, turnery, flooring and much more. If available (from sustainable and legal sources), it can be used to create unique and eye-catching pieces with its distinctive marbled look.

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Also Called:
Olive, Olivewood, Loliondo, Ironwood, Olmasi, Musharagi

Durability Notes:
Olive (East African) wood is non durable. It is perishable and should only be considered for internal use.

The drying and seasoning of Olive (East African) 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; Olive (East African) - dries slowly; it tends to check and split and can honeycomb if dried too quickly. Kiln-drying is advised. Olive moves considerable 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.

Olive is hard, strong and heavy. The wood has good wearing properties and resistance to abrasion. Due to its interlocked grain and twisty nature; it does not respond well when working with hand tools and it has a blunting effect on tools. Olive does, however, plane mortice and turn well. Due to its natural waxy surface it polishes to an excellent finish.

Typical Uses:
Furniture, Cabinetry, Carving, Flooring, Musical Instruments, Boat Building, Turnery, Veneers.

Moisture Content:
Guide - 10-18% for KD (+/- 2%)

Commonly asked questions about East African Olive Wood

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

Is East African Olive good for outdoor use? or is East African Olive good for exterior use? East African Olive is most suited for internal/interior use. East African Olive 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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