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Ayous or Obeche is creamy-white to pale-straw in colour with no clear distinction between sapwood and heartwood, though the wide sapwood is more susceptible to discoloration and insect attack. It is the lightest low-cost utility hardwood in general use, the density being about 0,38 seasoned. The grain is slightly interlocked; the texture open. When cut on the quarter and stained it has some resemblance to African mahogany. Large logs commonly contain brittleheart. The wood has a ribbon-like aspect on quarter-sawn faces, and is lustrous. Fresh wood has an unpleasant smell, which disappears upon drying.
Obeche, Wawa, Samba, African whitewood, African maple
- Boxes and crates
- Interior panelling
- Current furniture or furniture components
- Veneer for back or face of plywood
Although it cannot be described as hard, the wood is firm under the tool, and even in texture. It works very easily with hand and machine tools, and does not blunt cutting edges of tools very quickly. In end-grain working, the timber may show a tendency to crumble, unless the tools are kept sharp, and edges are not allowed to become thick. It can be turned but is rather soft for this type of use as centres are apt to sink in. For jointed work, gluing is preferable to nailing or screwing, except for very light work. It stains and polishes well (the grain needs to be filled). The wood takes paint well with normal primers.