Wood of the Week – Avodire

What is Avodire?

Avodire is a hardwood that is native to western and central Africa. Its habitat preference is near water – lakes and streams mostly. On average, avodire grows up to 110 feet tall and has trunk diameters between 2-3 feet and can sometimes reach 5 feet in diameter. It is non-durable in regards to rot or decay resistance and is susceptible to insect infestations. At 10-30 pounds per cubic foot, avodire is a relatively light hardwood and has an excellent weight-to-hardness ratio.

The heartwood of avodire closely resembles the sapwood and is usually difficult to decipher from the. Considered a “blonde” wood, it is pale yellow or cream to a light tan in color. It is both a plain and fancy wood with grain ranging from straight to wavy or irregular and interlocked. It has a fine texture and is well known for its high natural luster. The plain, straight grain wood is used in plywood and high end joinery while the figured wood is often used in millwork, cabinetry, store fixtures, and furniture.

a picture of the grain of avodire wood.

Why choose avodire?

Plain avodire lumber is moderately priced, similar to other African lumbers like the mahoganies. However, figured to highly figured grain avodire is much more expensive. Avodire is also commonly sold as veneer at a moderate price. It is a relatively strong and stable hardwood that has an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio.

Avodire displays a unique, shimmering chatoyance – think of the band of light you can see in a cat’s-eye gemstone – and its luster is often its main selling point. It is famous for its barber pole figure and exhibits a range of grain patterns from wavy to mottled or rippled. In veneering applications, it is beautiful and elegant and its veneer is often used in paneling projects or smaller scale furniture projects as well as fabricating musical

Avodire in Woodworking

In woodworking properties, avodire is sometimes similar to mahogany and is actually distantly related. It generally has good working characteristics and is fair to work with both machines and hand tools. Avodire with interlocked grain is susceptible to tear out in machining and planing, but a craftsman can work around that and help avoid tear out by reducing the cutting angle of the machines. It does have a blunting effect on cutting edges, but glues, sands, and finishes well.  Avodire is sensitive to light, so it either needs to be UV treated or covered to maintain its natural color.

Like the look? Contact us to get started on a custom woodworking project of your own using Avodire.