Bongossi wood - harder than oak

Bongossi is becoming increasingly popular as wood for terraced construction, but it has long been used for bridges and other hydraulic structures. What else this wood can do, and what special qualities it has, you will learn in detail in this post.

Technical values

Reading Descriptionvalue
density1.1 - 1.2 g / cm³
Medium volume density1,150 kg / m³
Compressive strength87-108 N / mm²
flexural strength165 - 240 N / mm²

Other names and DIN designation

The Bongossi wood is often referred to as Azobé. Both names are equivalent. However, there are some more regional names, as is common with most African woods:

  • fearfully
  • Bakoundou
  • kakou
  • Esore
  • Aba
  • Endwi

In English-speaking countries, wood is usually referred to as Red Ironwood, which is the third common name for this type of wood. The international labeling is LOAL.


In the Bongossi, the heartwood stands out clearly from the sapwood in terms of color. Noble, however, is only the heartwood, the sapwood is generally considered inferior.


The texture of Bongossi wood is very uneven and rough. The annual rings are very narrow, the medullary rays are only very finely visible.


The heartwood can be colored from dark brown-purple to chocolate brown. The sapwood, however, is always slightly rose-colored. In the heartwood, spotty, whitish deposits may be visible.


Bongossi is extremely hard, very heavy and resilient wood. It diminishes very much and tends to break. It is hardly bendable, but has a high load capacity and a very high load capacity in all areas. Bongossi is slightly oily and can smell fresh and unpleasant.


Bongossi is one of the most age-resistant African woods ever. It is very durable, resistant and weatherproof, and is completely resistant to fungal and insect infestation.


Bongossi can be used as construction wood, even if high load capacity is required. It is also used in hydraulic engineering and mining, in terraced construction, it offers an interesting and cost-effective alternative to Bangkirai.


Bongossi is usually offered comparatively cheaply as sawn timber. An overview of the current prices can be found here.

Here you will find all types of wood at a glance

Tips & Tricks

Because of the high hardness, the processing of Bongossi is particularly difficult. By hand, a machining is hardly possible, even nail holes must be pre-drilled. Also note that an ingrained fragment may cause infection because of the wood components.

Video Board: HARDEST PIECE OF WOOD!!!!!!