The favorite place of this tree is the coastal region of West Africa. This tree is found in Congo, Gabon and Cameroon. Dissimilar striped wood trees grow in equatorial forests characterized by high humidity. The first suppliers of zebrawood were the British imperial colony of Miskito Beach. Its importation began in 1773.
The zebra tree plant can be up to one meter in diameter. The maximum height of the trunk is 40-45 meters. Its bark is quite beautiful and reaches 30 cm. The stem of the plant is smooth. White flowers bloom. Seed pods form from these flowers later. It has very heavy and big cocoons. The expansion area of the tree is small because its seeds are dispersed only a short distance.
The structure of the plant is determined by the knotting of its fibers. Pores appear on its surface. The tree has rough tissue with a beautiful inner core. Its color varies from brownish cream to golden yellow. At the cut edges, there will be very pale fir wood. The distinctive shape of zebra stripes gives the wood of this tree a beautiful appearance.
It has a dark, almost black color that contrasts with the light color core. Such items are very valuable and are used to make decorative products. However, there are also spotted and transversely striped stems. They are cheaper than striped timber.
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Color and Texture
The heartwood of the Zebrawood, also known as the “Goncalo Alves” or “Tigerwood,” boasts a coffee-like hue with prominent dark brown stripes at irregular intervals, reminiscent of the tracks left by groundhogs (hence the name Zebrawood or Goncalo Alves). It is distinctly separated from the light and wide sapwood (up to 10 centimeters). The wood has a scattered porosity and a coarse texture. Fresh Zebrawood emits an unpleasant sour smell, while dried wood is odorless. The grain pattern varies from slightly to extremely interlocked.
What do you know about the zebra tree?
The name zebra tree is used to describe several species of trees and the wood obtained from them.
The zebra tree appears with a striped shape similar to a zebra. A name originally given to Astronium graveolens wood.
Zebrawood was first recorded in British customs in 1773, when 180 pieces of zebrawood were imported from the Mosquito Coast, a British colony (now Honduras and the Republic of Nicaragua).
An alternative name found in 18th-century English sources is palmaletto or palmalatta, from Palo mulatto, which was the local name of the wood. At the beginning of the 19th century, another source of zebra trees was found in Brazil.
This species, Astronium fraxinifolium, is native to northern South America, especially northeastern Brazil. It is now traded under the name Goncalo Alves, a Portuguese name used in Brazil.
However, it is still called zebra wood in the European and American markets and was widely used in English furniture between 1810 and 1860.
The heartwood is pale golden yellow, distinct from the very pale color of fir wood, and has narrow bands of dark brown to black. Zebra wood can be pale brown with regular or irregular dark brown marks of varying widths. To achieve an exciting alternating color pattern, it is almost divided into four parts.
It is a heavy and hard wood with a somewhat coarse tissue, often with interlocking or wavy grains.
Like many equatorial woods, the interlocking grain of this wood can make it difficult to work with.
It is also a decorative extraordinary wood used to veneers, wall covers, custom-made furniture, furniture decorations, inlay bands, inlays, specialty products, and turnery. In the past, it was used in Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz cars.
The wood exhibits a consistent structure with a coarse texture. On the radial surfaces of the heartwood, narrow, parallel stripes ranging from olive to dark brown are commonly seen against a background of light yellowish to light coffee-like hues.
Zebrawood is a medium to heavy wood with slightly higher strength properties compared to oak. Processing with hand tools can be somewhat challenging. When machining, smooth surfaces and sharp edges can be achieved best using carbide-tipped tooling. Planning radial surfaces can be difficult due to the alternating interlocked grain growth, which can result in tearout.
Pre-drilling is recommended for screws and nails. After heat treatment, the wood is easily cut and shaped, making it suitable for woodworking and carving.
Areas of Use
Zebrawood finds applications in furniture making, construction for both interior and exterior use, equipment manufacturing, raw veneers, sliced or peeled veneer sheets. It is also used in ornate interior fittings, panels, retail fixtures, musical instruments (guitar bodies, drums), specialty sports equipment, and various handles. Intarsia, woodworking, and carving are common woodworking techniques employed with Zebrawood.
|Dry Density in Air (12-15% moisture content)
|Compressive Strength (u12-15)
|50-62-66 Newton per square millimeter (N/mm²)
|Flexural Strength (u12-15)
|(84-) 110-130 N/mm²
|Elastic Modulus (Flexural) (u12-15)
|(10 100-) 15 400-17 500 N/mm²
|Hardness (JANKA) (⊥, converted)
|6.0-8.2 kilonewtons (kN)
|Hardness (BRINELL) (⊥ to grain u12-15)
|Natural Durability (DIN-EN 350-2)
|Class (2-) 3
Features of zebra wood
The characteristics of the zebra tree depend not only on its age, but also on the growing conditions. This tree grows in favorable conditions and is characterized by high hardness, strength and durability. It is resistant to moisture and insects.
Zebra wood is grainy and somewhat oily.
It is a heavy and dense wood that is very resistant to water.
- Tensile strength.
- Compressive resistant, 62 MPa.
- The density of the material is 0.79 grams per cube centimeter.
- Cutting and processing a tree is not difficult to work. For this, radial cutting is used, which guarantees high-quality raw materials. Problems arise when cutting timber. All this is because the trunk of the zebra tree is very sticky.
- Because of its beautiful exterior, zebra wood has been used for the interior decoration of famous brands, including Mercedes Benz. Due to its decorative and physical properties, it is used in making household items, ski woods, tool handles and other woodworking products. It varies widely from beautiful furniture and decorative furniture, cabinets, millwork, boat building, panels and guitars.
- Due to high demand, the tree became endangered.
- The bark is very thick.
- This simplifies the transportation process, but increases the cost of materials due to an increase in workforce costs.
Zebrawood (Endangered), Wenge (Endangered) and Gabon Ebony (Endangered) are the only species in our main line that are considered Vulnerable or Endangered.
Native to the lowland forests of southwest Cameroon, African zebrawood is highly favored for its beautiful black and cream-striped timber.
This tree is instantly recognizable and one of the largest trees in the forest, this tree is an indicator species for a highly threatened ecosystem.
Zebra wood is considered very strong. The reported average specific weight is 0.70 (on dry weight/green volume), equal to the air-dried weight of 55 PCF. Janka’s hardness is 1570 pounds of force.