Common Name(s): African Walnut


Scientific Name: Lovoa trichilioides


Distribution: West tropical Africa


Tree Size: 100-150 ft (30-46 m) tall, 2-4 ft (.6-1.2 m) trunk diameter


Average Dried Weight: 34 lbs/ft3 (540 kg/m3)


Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .45, .54


Janka Hardness: 940 lbf (4,180 N)


Modulus of Rupture: 12,250 lbf/in2 (84.5 MPa)


Elastic Modulus: 1,340,000 lbf/in2 (9.24 GPa)


Crushing Strength: 6,700 lbf/in2 (46.2 MPa)


Shrinkage: Radial: 3.7%, Tangential: 5.9%, Volumetric: 10.8%, T/R Ratio: 1.6


Color/Appearance: Heartwood is a golden yellow to reddish brown, sometimes with darker streaks and veins. Color tends to darken upon exposure and with age. Sapwood is a medium yellow to light gray,and is generally narrow: it can be up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) wide, and is clearly demarcated from heartwood; a narrow transition zone is sometimes present between heartwood and sapwood. African Walnut also displays a ribbon-stripe figuring on quartersawn surfaces, similar to Sapele.


Grain/Texture: Grain is usually slightly interlocked, but is sometimes straight. Medium, uniform texture, with a high level of natural luster.


Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; large pores in no specific arrangement; solitary and radial multiples of 2-3; occasional deposits present in heartwood; growth rings indistinct; rays not visible without lens; parenchyma vasicentric, aliform (winged), and confluent.


Rot Resistance: Decay resistance is rated as moderately durable, with the heartwood being resistant to powder post beetles, but susceptible to termites.


Workability: Generally easy to work with both hand and machine tools, though care must be taken to avoid tearout when surfacing interlocked grain. Turns, glues, and finishes well.


Odor: African Walnut has a cedar-like scent.


Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, African Walnut has been reported to cause skin, eye, and respiratory irritation, as well as other systemic effects. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.


Common Uses: Veneer, plywood, flooring, furniture, cabinetry, and turned objects.