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Azobe tree appearance wood uses and lumber

Azobe trees are very common throughout the tropical rainforests of central Africa. The scientific name of azobe is lophira alata and in America the tree is also called ekki or red ironwood. Azobe is part of the ochnaceae family that consists of many plant and tree species throughout different continents. Azobe wood is a well known trading commodity. Records of early trading go back to the early 16th century. Azobe wood has some excellent uses and even the bark and seeds are used for a variety of things.

 

Azobe tree, leaf and fruit description

The Azobe tree can grow to heights up to 200 feet or 61 meters. Almost all tree members of the ochnaceae family are deciduous. Leaves of the azobe tree are arranged spirally, clustered at the ends of the branches. They are oblong to obovate shaped and can reach lengths up to 9 inches or 25 cm and vary in color from green to yellow. Fruits of the azobe tree are woody and conical shaped. The seed contains 40% oil and is therefore excellent for cooking or keeping a fire burning.

 

Azobe tree bark and trunk

Young azobe trees have smooth dark brown to grey bark. When the tree gets older the bark becomes more furrowed and scaly. Bark of the azobe tree is used as medicine in many countries in central Africa. It can cure a wide range of conditions such as headache, epilepsy, snake bites and wound healing. The diameter of the trunk depends on the age of the tree. Old trees can have trunks with a diameter up to 70 inch or 1.8 meters.



Azobe wood properties and durability

Azobe heartwood when fresh is chestnut brown red to chocolate brown or dark violet brown. Exposure to sunlight gives the wood a darker color. There is a ring of 4 inch with light collared wood between the hearth and the sapwood of the tree. Azobe wood has a variable or coarse texture. The average dried weight of the wood at a moisture content of 12% is 1150 kg per cubic meter. The durability of azobe wood is classed as I high durability. It is resistant to most rot type and also to many type of insect. Don't try to light a fire with azobe because it has a high resistance to fire and is almost inflammable.

 

Azobe wood working tips and uses

Azobe wood is one of the most used tropical hardwoods. It is difficult to work with hand tools because of its hardness and high density. Pre drilling is always advised when screws or nails are used. Azobe has high bending strength and good shock resistance. The wood is used in a wide range of products like heavy construction but also as flooring, decking, furniture, toys and much more.

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