Sapelly or abebay wood, also written in places like sapelli, is a quality wood native to tropical Africa. Comparisons with mahogany wood are frequent, with the sapele being thinner and denser.

It is an exotic wood given its origin, but in no sense little known. In fact, it is a very popular and frequent species among carpenters and consumers alike.

O the price of sapelly wood is moderate. It is largely due to its relative abundance. Marketed in slabs, its price is substantially increased. It is perhaps the most widely traded exotic wood species today.

Although not an endangered species, it is listed as vulnerable. During the past few decades, its forest mass has been reduced by more than 20%.

Its scientific name is Entandrophragma cylindricum.

Sapelly or abebay Wood Characteristics

Color: Predominantly toned reddish. The sapwood is pinkish white to gray and the heartwood is of an intense reddish color. It darkens slightly with time and exposure to sunlight. It has good natural shine.

Fiber: Straight and slightly interlaced.

Grain: Good to medium.

Density: Approximately 680-690 kg / m3 with 12% humidity.

Toughness: Kind of difficult. 4.2 Monnin.

Durability: Generally speaking, moderately durable. Between durable and very durable against decay, a little less against insects.


  • Volumetric contraction coefficient of 0.47%. Moderately nervous.

Mechanical properties:

  • Static flexural strength 1,150 kg / cm2
  • Modulus of elasticity 120,000 kg / cm2
  • Compressive strength 590 kg / cm2
  • Parallel tensile strength 860 kg / cm2

Workability: One of the great advantages of sapelly wood is its workability.

  • Simple but slow drying. Some risk of injury.
  • Easy sawing and planing.
  • Gluing and finishing without problems.
  • Easy machining.
  • In contact with the iron it can stain.

It has an aroma similar to that of cedar.

sapelli color

Abebay Uses

It’s one of those types of wood really wood versatile, which even without being the best for a specific use, stands out in many.

  • Natural wood veneers.
  • Interior carpentry: doors, moldings, moldings …
  • Outside carpentry: doors and windows.
  • Floors or parquets.
  • Furniture.
  • Spinning.
  • Musical instruments.
  • Boats.
  • Coffins