Common Name(s): Tambootie (variously spelled as: Tambuti, Tambotie, etc.), Sandalo
Scientific Name: Spirostachys africana
Distribution: Southern Africa
Tree Size: 30-50 ft (9-15 m) tall, 1-1.5 ft (30-46 cm) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 60 lbs/ft3 (955 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .81, .96
Janka Hardness: 2,480 lbf (11,010 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 14,890 lbf/in2 (102.7 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 1,487,000 lbf/in2 (9.08 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 8,920 lbf/in2 (61.5 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 2.8%, Tangential: 5.4%, Volumetric: 8.2%, T/R Ratio: 1.9
Color/Appearance: Color ranges from a golden brown to a darker reddish brown, often with black streaks throughout. Pale yellow sapwood sharply demarcated from heartwood. Occasionally figured pieces will be seen with subtle mottled grain patterns.
Grain/Texture: Tambootie has a straight grain (though occasionally it can be wavy) with a fine, even texture. Natural oils within the wood help give it a high natural luster.
Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; medium pores in no specific arrangement, moderately numerous to numerous; commonly in radial multiples of 2-4; heartwood gum deposits occasionally present; narrow rays not visible even with hand lens, spacing close; parenchyma generally not visible with hand lens.
Rot Resistance: Tambootie heartwood is rated as being very durable, and is also resistant to insect attack.
Odor: Tambootie has a lingering scent that’s been described as sweet and pleasing, though it is also quite strong.
Common Uses: Carvings, furniture, turned objects, and other small, specialty wood items.
Comments: Tambootie is prized in Africa as a decorative hardwood, used for luxury furniture and other high end applications. It’s frequently used as a substitute for Sandalwood (which is a vague term that may encompass any number of aromatic wood species in Africa and Asia).
Tambootie is one of the few woods that ought to really be handled and worked with care, regardless of a person’s allergic resistance to other woods—its toxicity is well-known throughout its native range