Zebrawood. Tonewood Database.

Microberlinia brazzavillensis| Tonewood Profile | “Zebrawood”

Zebrawood

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Quick Facts
Scientific name: Microberlinia brazzavillensis
Trade names: Zebrawood
Janka: 1575
Uses: Back & sides, drop tops, veneer
RIYL: Koa, Mahogany
Bling factor: Grain variation common.
Availability: Steady but reducing
CITES status: Not listed. No restrictions

Note: (RIYL) Recommended If You Like

Natural HistoryZebrawood
Zebrawood actually refers to many species within the Microberlinia genus. The common species is Microberlinia Brazzavillensis.

It is a equatorial tree legumous tree producing pods with a native range in West Typically the trees are straight and up tp 40 m tall with a trunk diameter of up to 1 m.

Status
Some surveys list it as endangered due to large scale logging and it’s relative rarity in certains part of it’s native range. Wikipedia cites “in Gabon and Cameroon, typically less than one tree per square kilometre”.

However, in other parts of it’s range, it can be found in groups along riverbanks.

Physical properties
This timber has distinctive light and dark stripes- hence the name Zebrawood. The base color is pale yellow and the streaks vary in shade from a greyish brown to black. Zebrawood has a coarse texture with an interlocked or wavy grain.

Zebrawood has a Janka rating of 1575 and a Specific Gravity around 0.74.

ZebrawoodAs a tonewood…
The Zebrawood I have handled is very similar to Indian Rosewood in terms of taptone and physical properties- although it is harder to work with than Indian.

Waddy T, a budding luthier says: “Very hard to thickness. Does not like sanding, planing, or scraping, though scraping was best. Easy to gouge out and make deep holes when planing. The soft part is very soft(relatively) and the grain is very hard. It has splinters like sabers, and twice as sharp.

Subjective tone…
I would classify this wood as being very similar to Indian Rosewod and Wenge.

Availability
It is in high demand for cabinetry with a rather limited commercial supply, this tree is beginning to attract conservation efforts. Supplies are good and consistent at the time of writing.

Zebrawood

Tonewoods Database

Links:
Pics of the classical guitar- courtesy of Waddy T.
See more on Waddy’s Classical Guitar!
Pics of the zebrawood set- courtesy of Ros N. Read more about Rod’s Ukes
Pics of Zebrawood tree courtesy of http://trees-plants.blogspot.com/2008/04/microberlinia-bisulcata.html

References:
Wikipedia
luthiers forum


©Terence Tan.

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