Sapele mahogany (Entandrophragma cylindricum) is a durable hardwood grown in Africa. With its straight grain, it has long been used for the fabrication of windows and doors.
Often referred to as African mahogany, there are several species of mahogany that grow in other areas. South American mahogany has become increasingly hard to obtain as well as also being price prohibitive for most applications.
Although Sapele grows in the wild in Western Africa, plantations have been created as a greater awareness regarding over harvesting has come about and stricter regulations have been put into force.
As a result, the natural growth of the species is recovering in the region. The Congo is a major producer, with sustainable sourced and responsibly harvested lumber with a verifiable and documented chain of evidence.
This species of mahogany is nearly twice as hard as what is considered genuine mahogany, and is also harder than most species of wood grown in North America. On the Janka scale of wood hardness, with Poplar having a rating of 540 on the softer end and Ipe having a rating of 3680 on the hardest end, Sapele comes in at 1500. This species is even stronger than red oak, which has a rating of 1210.
Sapele’s hardness makes it a very stable material, which is one of the reasons it is has long been used as dimensional lumber in the fabrication of windows and doors. It also has the additional benefits of being nearly impermeable to rot and highly weather resistant. Tight grain structure provides an ideal substrate for painted finishes. Taken together, all of these properties make is an ideal material for doors and windows.