Utile, also known by its botanical name Entandrophragma utile (Meliaceae), is a hardwood species with a light brown sapwood and a heartwood that is pinkish-brown when newly cut, but darkens to a deep red-brown on exposure. The grain is typically interlocked with a medium texture, and when quarter sawn, can display irregular wide stripe or ribbon figure. Utile is a durable wood species, often used for external joinery such as windows and doors.
Assie, Abebay, Sipo, Efuodwe, Kisi-Kosi, Liboyo, Afau-Konkonti,
The heartwood of Utile is durable and resistant to decay, whereas the sapwood is less so. Highly resistant to preservative treatment. Very good exterior performer. Dense and works well.
The drying and seasoning of Utile 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; Utile - If dried at a moderate rate, impact on the grade and quality of the wood is minimal, but if it is dried too quickly twisting can occur. It exhibits medium 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.
Utile is a dense wood with a high crushing strength, medium bending strength, low stiffness and resistance to shock loads and a poor steam-bending rating. It works well with machine and hand tools and has a tolerable blunting effect on cutters and tools. Utile saws, glues, turns, mortices, carves, nails, screws and stains well. The wood can be brought to an excellent polished finish, once grain filled.
Furniture and cabinetmaking, turnery, interior and exterior joinery, boatbuilding, musical instruments, counter tops, kitchen cabinets, office furniture, window frames and sports goods. Utile is also sliced for decorative veneers and rotary-cut for plywood.
Considered vulnerable by The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (this was last assessed in 1998 and considerable changes in awareness and more stringent forestry controls may have had an impact and the results of the latest assessment is due soon) for more information and latest updates please visit http://www.iucnredlist.org and type in the botanical name of the species into the search box. It should also be noted that one unintentional shortcoming of the Red List is that it only considers the risk of extinction; broader issues dealing with habitat destruction or deforestation are not considered. Also, it does not necessarily take into account the maturity of the trees (i.e., centuries-old trees are cut down, and subsequently replanted with saplings) Therefore we hope that further assessments will consider this long term commitment to re-growth.The reason Utile is at risk is due to a number of factors; this widespread species is heavily exploited throughout its range. Genetic erosion caused by the depletion of mature individuals from sub-populations has taken place in most countries. Local over cutting is also common in parts of West Africa. Growth rates are amongst the slowest in the genus and the seeds and seedlings suffer high mortality rates because of insect attack.
Wood Worker's Thoughts:
Stress fractures' can be present. But a nice timber to work with.
Commonly asked questions about Utile Wood
Is Utile a hardwood or a softwood? Utile is a hardwood. It is the same for; is Utile hardwood or softwood? - Utile 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 Utile 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 Utile? Utile can be described as brown, dark red, red
Is Utile good for outdoor use? or is Utile good for exterior use? Utile is most suited for exterior/external use. Utile 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