African Walnut (Lovoa trichilioides)
African Walnut is from the Western region of Africa. More specifically it comes from the Ivory Coast, Zaire, Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria. Even though it is not from the walnut family the trade name is African Walnut. Possibly this is because it has the same colour tones as European walnut.
This species is also known as Dibetou, Congowood and Lovoa wood. It displays a lovely range of warm and subtle colours. The colour range starts from a light yellow brown as well as darker colours such as grey donkey browns, even as dark as chocolate brown. There are occasional black lines, which are in fact ‘traumatic gum lines’. These are very characteristic of the wood type and a good indicator of the species.
African Walnut Characteristics
On quarter-sawn blocks you can get a very attractive ribboning effect. The wood has a cedar-like scent when cut. Its texture and tone seems very soft and it looks almost like velvet. When sanded, African Walnut will take an oil treatment such as a teak oil very effectively. It will absorb a hard-wax oil finish evenly. Water-based finishes are not so successful as these seem to absorb in uneven patches.
African Walnut is very stable once acclimatised to the relative humidity of the space it is going to live in. This is a hard timber however not a dense or heavy one. It is is used for a wide range of things in West Africa such as cabinets, flooring, joinery as well as ships and canoes. As a result of its range of uses, it is in high demand on the international market.
This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices, but is on the IUCN Red List (International Union for Conservation of Nature), listed as vulnerable.
When available you can buy it here.