Sapele timber is the new Mahogony. It’s great for a lot of different uses, shares a lot of traits with Mahogony, and is known for its high-end appearance. However, it’s a fraction of the price and easier to work with.
So, it should definitely be on your shortlist when you start planning your next woodworking project.
What can you use it for, though? What projects will make it stand out? Let’s dive into that.
1: Outdoor Construction
Sapele’s grain structure and resistance to the elements make it an amazing material for outdoor construction. This includes porches, garden furniture, sheds, and other things that will be beaten by the elements day in and day out.
If you plan on building something outdoors, and you want it to have a high-quality aesthetic, Sapele is probably your best wood choice unless you want to spend a fortune.
If you can make a piece of furniture from Mahogony, you can make it from Sapele.
Sapele’s coloring and randomized woodgrain can give it a unique appearance compared to more traditional Mahogony choices, and it doesn’t sacrifice anything in terms of quality. However, the woodgrain is randomized, and that might turn off certain furniture craftsmen since they can’t use it to create a “uniform” piece. Still, we believe Sapele fits this use perfectly, and there are tons of 100-year old Sapele pieces found in antique shops and similar places. It’s definitely heirloom-quality wood.
Sapele’s random grain, rich color, extreme durability, and resistance to water damage all make it great for countertops. Especially in the kitchen where the wood will be frequently exposed to water and other fluids.
However, it is slightly harder to craft thin veneers of Sapele, and this may make it harder for less experienced craftsmen to finish the project with minimal costs. Keep that in mind, and make sure you have plenty of extra Sapele to make up for any mistakes you make.
Several African countries have been using Sapele for hundreds of years to craft fishing boats ranging from small, two-man kayaks, to massive boats capable of holding dozens of men along with their haul.
Sapele’s water-resistance and high tensile strength make it prime material for boat-making projects. Whether you want to build a small kayak for you and your son to head out on the lake and catch some bass, or you want to build a sea-worthy vessel, Sapele can get the job done.
Sapele’s low cost, high durability, and resistance to damage make it a great choice for hardwood flooring. It will scratch easier than Mahogony, but that’s not a problem if you provide ample care to your flooring.
Sapele is also a good choice for things such as trim and accents due to its distinct and luxurious look; despite its low price.