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Zebrawood Lumber
Zebrawood

Botanical Name: Microberlinia
brazzavillensis

Family: Leguminosae

Other Common Names: African zebrawood, Allen ele, Zebrano, Zingana

Uses: Boats, wood turning, furniture, skis, quartersawn for veneer

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Zebrawood

Distribution: The species is reported to be distributed in West Africa, especially in Gabon and Cameroon. It is sometimes found in pure stands along river banks, but growing sites are reported to be often quite inaccessible.

General Characteristics: Trunk diameters are reported to be about 48 to 60 inches (120 to 150 cm). The trees usually have very thick barks, which are removed at felling sites. The heartwood is light golden-yellow or pale yellow-brown in color, with narrow-veining or streaks of dark brown to almost black, giving a zebra-stripe appearance; the sapwood is whitish in color. Texture is typically medium to coarse; the grain is usually interlocked or wavy, which yields a ribbon figure; the wood is reported to have a high luster. Green wood has an odor that has been characterized as unpleasant. The odor disappears after drying.

Weight: Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.74; air-dry density 53 pcf

Working Properties: The material is reported to be very easy to saw, but cross-cutting may produce rough surfaces. It is reported to saw easily in the seasoned condition. Large trees are reported to often suffer damage from internal fractures, which remain hidden until logs are processed. Planing is reported to be rather difficult. Material containing interlocked grain may tear badly, but torn surfaces can be smoothed by sanding. The wood is reported to work well in most machining operations including, turning, boring, moulding, mortising, and routing. It responds well to most ordinary tools, with moderate dulling of cutting edges. Torn surfaces are reported to be a common machining defect in material with interlocked grain. The wood is reported to have good gluing properties, but may need filling. The wood has good sanding properties and the operation is reported to be often required to clean fuzzy surfaces produced from other machining operations. The use of a belt sander has been recommended. The wood has good finishing and polishing characteristics. Varnishing characteristics are reported to be good. The material responds well to hand tools.

Durability: The wood is reported to be resistant to termites, but is susceptible to occasional pinhole borer attack.

Preservation: The heartwood is reported to be highly resistant to preservative treatment. The sapwood is treatable.

Mechanical Properties



Bending Strength:

Green: 9,000 psi
Dry: 13,900 psi



Modules of Elasticity:


N/A



Maximum Crushing Strength:


Green: 4,500 psi
Dry: 7,750 psi



Drying and Shrinkage:


The wood is reported to be fairly difficult to dry, but it responds well to air-seasoning. Surface checking, splitting, and distortion may develop without careful seasoning.

Kiln Schedule T2-C2 is suggested for 4/4 stock and T2-C1 for 8/4. Shrinkage green to ovendry: radial 7%; tangential 12%. The timber is reported to be dimensionally stable after seasoning, and retains its shape well after manufacture.



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