Iroko Wood: Properties, Characteristics & Uses

Iroko is a hardwood commonly used for cabinetmaking and panelling. It’s quite durable, which makes it a perfect timber for most woodworking projects. Iroko is sometimes used as a cheaper alternative to teak because of similarities in features and colour and is also commonly called African teak. If you are a woodworker looking to know more about the characteristics, uses,price and properties of iroko wood, you’re at the right place.

iroko wood properties and uses

Iroko Wood: Distribution and Basic Properties

Iroko wood can be further categorised into two species – Milicia excelsa (Chlorophora excelsa) and M. regia (C. regia). While Milicia excelsa can be found in most regions of tropical Africa, the distribution of M. regia is limited to the West African regions of Gambia and Ghana.

The hardwood of iroko is extracted from a tree that is about 100-130 ft in height and has a 3-5 ft (1-1.5 m) trunk diameter. The average dried weight of iroko wood is about 41 lbs/ft3 (660 kg/m3). It has a specific gravity of .55, .66 and the Janka hardness of 1,260 lbf (5,610 N). The iroko tree has long and widespread roots, which make it more stable against strong winds.

Other Basic Properties of Iroko Wood are as Follows:

Color & Appearance: Color of the outer layer, i.e. sapwood, of iroko is a pale yellow, which is very different from the color of the heartwood, i.e. the innermost part, which has a yellow to medium/dark brown color. The heartwood has light stripes all over it, which are quite visible on flat-sawn surfaces. The color of iroko hardwood is very similar to that of teak wood and tends to get dark over time.

Texture: The texture of Iroko hardwood is medium to coarse. It has interlocked grain, which may cause some tearouts when working with a machine. However, Iroko is typically easy to work with both hand and machine.

Resistance: Iroko has been categorised as very durable, and is similar to red maple in strength. It has very good resistance to insect attack, decay and rot and can be used for outdoor projects as well.

Since Iroko is a very durable wood, it doesn’t require much maintenance or perseverance, which reduces the cost of maintenance of the iroko wood items in the long term.

The Iroko tree also has environmental values, as it is said to have the ability to absorb CO2 from the air and transform it into limestone, which not only helps reduce the carbon but also enriches the soil, making it more fertile.

Physical and Mechanical Properties of Iroko Tropical Timber (*at 12% of wood moisture)

Total tangential shrinkage (TS): 5.4%
Specific gravity*: 0.64
TS/RS ratio: 1.5
Monnin hardness*: 4.1
Coef. of volumetric shrinkage: 0.44%
Total radial shrinkage (RS): 3.5%
Fiber saturation point: 23%

Durability and Treatability of Iroko Tropical Timber

Fungi: class 1-2 – very durable to durable
Dry wood borers: durable
Termites: class D – durable
Treatability: class 4 – not impregnable

Availability and Price of Iroko Wood

The availability of iroko, especially the one with premium quality, is mostly limited to tropical Africa. There are some authorised sellers of iroko wood & timber in this region of Africa. CameroonTimberExportSarl is one of them. We follow a sustainable iroko wood harvesting process, where not more than 20% of the harvest is cut down in a specific period. We have our own forests and lands as well as purchase wood from local landowners in a completely sustainable manner.

All our wood is processed at the company’s own mill located in Douala, Cameroon. We use skilled woodworkers and pay them well.

We at CameroonTimberExportSarl legally export our Iroko wood logs, timber and slabs to our customers all over the world, including to countries in the Middle East, Asia and Europe. We sell iroko timber and logs at wholesale prices. You can buy iroko timber at a really affordable price from CameroonTimberExportSarl and get it delivered to your local anywhere in the world.

Primary Uses of Iroko Hardwood

Iroko is a highly durable wood, which makes it perfect for a range of woodworking projects such as boat building, veneering, flooring, furniture making, panelling, cabinetry, barrel making for building turned items and specialty wood items. It is often used as a cheaper and easily available substitute for teak.

The high durability of Iroko hardwood makes it suitable for making outdoor furniture, ships, flooring, bridges, railways sleepers and other similar items.

Other possible uses of Iroko timber and slabs include structure and panels making, exterior joinery, building facades, recreation equipment, carpentry, interior fittings, etc.

Check out the complete range of African wood species and quality timber at the CameroonTimberExportSarl website and order online to get the best price and on-time delivery to your address.