A Guide to Hardwoods

Wondering which wood is right for your project? Here is a handy guide to our hardwoods to help you decide.



Sapele (2)

Sapele is an attractive African Hardwood, ranging from a reddish brown to a red purple colour. A variety of grain patterns and a deep natural sheen make each piece unique. Because of this it is also often used to create musical instruments, veneers and decorative panels. Sapele is also known as ‘African Mahogany’ as they share many of the same qualities. Hardwearing and durable, Sapele is a great choice for your outdoor furniture.

Caring for Sapele.

Sapele has a high resistance to rot and water damage, but will also benefit from extra protection. Treatments will also enhance the beauty of this wood. The colour will naturally deepen over time if exposed to light. Solvent based or oil treatments are recommended for this type of wood as the capillary resins do not allow water based coverings to soak in sufficiently, so offer decreased protection.




Oak is an enduring favourite for both interior and exterior furniture and fittings. Oak’s strength and range of subtle colours make it a great choice for traditional designs where a paler finish is desirable. The timber ranges from a pale cream to pale brown and has a coarse grained appearance, which can give a wonderful pattern to the wood.

Caring for Oak.

Oak is a robust and durable wood but does require protection from the elements. Water can react with the tannins in Oak, causing a blackening effect and UV rays can cause the wood to become silver in colour. Treatment of Oak wood depends greatly on the finish you would like to achieve. We recommend using a pure tung oil on Oak and initially we would recommend multiple coats to be applied to build up the layers. tung oil brings out the lovely grain in Oak and is easy to apply. We offer a full finishing service where we can do this for you.



Idigbo (2)

Idigbo is another African hardwood. Pale yellow to rich cream in colour with a wonderful bright, clean finish.  It is similar to Oak in that it will silver if unprotected from UV rays and it also has a similar grain pattern. Idigbo is often used in furniture, window frames and as decorative veneers and panels due to its attractive finish and durability.

Caring for Idigbo.

We recommend that you treat your Idigbo furniture to prevent any UV changes and also to prolong the life of the wood. Idigbo is a naturally acidic material and as such can become stained if left in contact with Iron items. A UV protective varnish is a great, hardwearing way to protect and care for your Idigbo pieces.




Iroko is an African Hardwood. When freshly cut or unexposed to light it has a distinct yellow colour which cures to a rich golden brown. The grain is coarse, yet even, enhancing the natural beauty of the wood.  Iroko is also known as ‘African Teak’ because of its similar appearance and durability.

Caring for Iroko.

Iroko has a very high durability and can be left untreated if desired. The wood itself has a slightly oily quality to repel water. Exterior Iroko furniture will silver evenly in sunlight and can be protected by using UV protective oil / stain


These are our most popular Hardwoods. We offer a bespoke service on all of our products, so if you have a particular wood in mind for your project please contact us on 01398 351354 or email info@wooden-workshop.co.uk

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