The TreeA large forest tree, 45m or more high with extensive sharp buttresses, rising in some trees 6m or more up the trunk. Diameter above the buttresses may be nearly 1.5m.
The TimberThe timber is creamy-white to pale yellow in colour with little or no distinction between the sapwood and heartwood; the former however, may be up to 150mm wide. It is fairly soft, but firm and fine and even in texture; the grain is often interlocked, giving a faintly striped appearance on quarter-sawn surfaces, otherwise there is seldom any decorative figure. The timber is light in weight, averaging about 390 kg/m3 when dried. Brittle-heart is common in large logs.
DryingThe timber dries rapidly and well and with little tendency to warp or shake. The timber is liable to attack by staining fungi and should be piled in stick immediately after conversion.
StrengthBearing in mind the light weight of the timber, obeche has good strength properties and, when compared with European redwood, is only about 15 per cent less in maximum bending strength(modulus of rupture); in stiffness it is not so good, being about 50 per cent less than redwood.
Working QualitiesGood - The comparative softness of the timber makes it very easy to work with both hand and machine tools. It is desirable to use sharp, thin-edged tools to avoid picking up and crumbling in cutting. An excellent finish can easily be obtained and the timber stains and polishes well but requires light filling to produce a high-grade finish. It takes nails and screws well, and has good gluing properties. Obeche peels and slices with reasonable ease.
Latin NameTriplochiton scleroxylon
Also known asWawa (Ghana, Ivory Coast), obechi (Nigeria), sambawawa (Ivory Coast), ayous (Cameroons), arere (Nigeria)
OriginNigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cameroons