Iroko is a wood from tropical western and central Africa which resembles teak in appearance and durability. It is sometimes used, therefore, as a teak substitute due to its lower prices and non-endangered status.
Iroko is scientifically known as Milicia excels or Milicia regia. Some sources may also refer to it as Chlorophora excels or C. regia although these genus and species identifications have been replaced in most circles. The wood originates in the tropical coastal regions of western and central west Africa.
Iroko heartwood varies from yellow to a more golden or medium brown. The color tends to darken over time as is common with many tropical hardwoods. If this is of concern to you when you are working with Iroko, you should become familiar with some of the various ways that color change can be slowed or prevented in hardwoods such as Iroko.
Iroko has a medium to coarse texture, with open pores and an interlocked grain. The endgrain is diffuse and porous.
Iroko is very durable, and is resistant to both rot and insect attack. Because of its durability and also due to its appearance, Iroko is sometimes used as a Teak substitute and may be refered to by some as African Teak, although Iroko is not remotely related to the actual Teak wood tree. Continue reading
At some time in the past, I purchased a selection of Australian wood pen blanks and when selecting wood for a rather large production run of stylus pens (for use with electronic touch-screen devices) I decided to use some of them. I made my own notes as I worked and I am glad I did since these woods seem to be quite mysterious and there is a decided lack of content about them available. This could be because the woods are rare, although given the pricing I doubt this, or it could more likely be that they are not commonly used for wood working applications, at least not in the United States. It is also possible that the common names used when selling are not those that are truly common in the areas of origin. Regardless, I will discuss what I can and hope that others will have experience to share.
Cedar is a very common name applied to woods across several species. Genus level representatives include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following: Calocedrus, Cedrela , Cedrus, Chamaecyparis, Cryptomeria, Cupressus, Juniperus, Melia, Thuja, and Toona. There are least one species in each of these genus categories that is commonly known as a type of Cedar, and in some cases, there are multiple species within a genus listed here. This gives some sense of the multiple possibilities of accurate identification when confronted with the common name of “cedar.” The appellation “box” contributed nothing aside from a reference to “Cigar-Box Cedar” which is Spanish in origin and unlikely to be the wood I worked with since it was listed as an Australian wood. The only “cedar” native to Australia is Toona ciliate and I have to guess that this is the wood I worked with.
I undertook a major project to make bottle stoppers using TruStone material, which I have written about in the past. This post is simply the photo of the finished stopper tops arranged in a baking tray. The finished pieces are about the size of chicken eggs and make a very colorful display!