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Exotic Hardwood: Hazel Sapele

Posted: Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Exotic Hardwood Hazel SapeleIf you're looking for a tough hardy exotic wood for your new floor, consider Hazel Sapele as a good choice.

Hazel Sapele originates in West Africa; this wood is also known as African Mahogany or Sapele. You can find this moderately-hardy wood from Ivory Coast to Cameroon, and eastwards to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. The Hazel Sapele wood can grow to 150 to 200 feet tall, while the straight trunk can grow to have a diameter of four to six feet.

If you are wondering where to install Hazel Sapele, consider the hardiness — this wood has a hardiness rating of 1500; to compare, Carbonized Bamboo has a hardiness rating of 1120 and Red Oak has a hardiness rating of 1260. This wood is also particularly termite-resistant. However, if you choose to use the sapwood, note that it can become a victim of a powder-post beetle attack. The sapwood color is whitish or pale yellow.

When harvested, Hazel Sapele wood is pink; over time, however, this wood experiences mild darkening when exposed to the sun. Aged Hazel Sapele wood has a reddish-brown or purplish-brown color. This color runs deep, which helps to hide unsightly marks that may appear with use.

Upon inspection, you will find a wavy or interwoven grain exposed in this exotic wood. This grain structure makes it a highly sought-after wood for flooring; the Hazel Sapele is known for its irregular changes in woodgrain. As indicative of its alternative name of African Mahogany, this wood takes after Mahogany wood in appearance. Hazel Sapele finishes well and is easily workable with hand and machine tools. You can order this wood in custom or standard sizes for flooring, paneling and mouldings.

When installing Hazel Sapele, you can use glue or staples, although you may also choose to float this wood over an existing flooring, such as concrete.

Hazel Sapele can also be found in furniture, musical instruments (specifically, electric and acoustic guitars, ukuleles, and harps), veneer, interior trim in cars, bowls, decorative moldings, paneling, doors, windows, and cabinetry. This makes it an excellent choice if you would like to tie in elements of your interior décor to your flooring. Hazel Sapele is easy to carve and has a good, clear finish.