TEAK SUBSTITUTE THAT IS ITSELF NOW RARE
There is no clearer sign of the unsustainable nature of much timber exploitation than the reduction of a species that was once considered only an alternative to finer woods. Afrormosia, from West Africa, has many of the qualities of teak (Tectona grandis) and
has been used for years as a substitute for that Southeast Asian classic. It has similar grain, color, texture and durability, but has been listed as endangered for some years, and international trade is now restricted.
Type Tropical hardwood
Other names Afrormosia elata, African satinwood, African teak
Alternatives Teak (Tectona grandis)
Sources West Africa
Color Medium brown, which can be yellow or orange when freshly cut, but darkens quickly. There is a risk of blue stainino.
Texture Fine and even
Grain Straight, but with some interlocking grain
Weight Medium to heavy (43 lb./cu. ft.) (690 kg/cu. m)
Seasoning and stability Needs to be seasoned slowly, but very stable
Range of board widths Good
Range of board thicknesses Good
Durability Excellent, but can corrode ferrous metals
Afrormosia has been placed on the CITES Appendix I, meaning that it is at risk of extinction. There is no evidence of certified lumber.
AVAILABILITY AND COST
You can still buy afrormosia, but not with any ease. It is reasonably expensive, but not excessively so. You may find some recycled lumber, but otherwise this species is best avoided.