East African padauk (Pterocarpus angolensis) is the lightest of the hardwood species marketed by Sound and Fair and shares many characteristics with popular woodworking species such as:
- Teak (Tectona grandis);
- Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla);
- African mahogany (Khaya spp.);
- Sapele (Entandrophragma cylindricum).
East African padauk is sometimes referred to as African teak due to its woodworking qualities, although this trade name is confusing as iroko (Milicia spp.) from West / Central Africa is also traded under the name African teak.
However, East African padauk does share many woodworking characteristics with iroko and is used in similar applications including window frames, doors and furniture, both internal and external.
East African padauk is relatively unknown outside of Africa but it is highly prized in Southern and Eastern Africa for carvings, boat building, windows and doors, construction, flooring and furniture.
Limited use of East African padauk outside of Africa has included backs and sides for acoustic guitars.
There is also potential in the boat building industry as an ethical, fair trade replacement for the commonly used African mahogany.
The Wood Database recently published an article titled, The Ten Best Woods You’ve Never Heard Of, and East African padauk was included, but unfortunately listed under the uninspiring trade name, muninga.
This trade name originates from the local Swahili name for the species, mninga jangwa.
East African padauk is also often called Bloodwood due to the red sap that emerges soon after cutting – see image at the top of the page.
In terms of density and hardness, East African padauk bears closest resemblance to sapele and Andaman padauk.
Although similar in density to both iroko and teak, East African padauk is significantly harder than both species.
East African padauk is identical in durability terms to sapele, and quite similar in this aspect to Andaman padauk.
It is identical to Andaman padauk in terms of machining, whilst being quite similar to sapele in this regard.
However, East African padauk is much more stable than these two species.
East African padauk is identical to iroko in terms of stability with similar machining qualities although it is less durable.