Mutenye wood - the African olive wood

Olive trees also grow in the Mediterranean and in many other areas of the world. For the timber production, however, mainly African trees are used, whose wood is called Mutenye, and has slightly different characteristics. What these are and what Mutenye is used for, you can find out here.

Technical values

Reading Descriptionvalue
density0.7 - 0.8 g / cm³
Compressive strength74 - 76 N / mm²
flexural strengthapprox. 180 N / mm²

Other names

As is the case with most African woods, the general trade name has many other (regional) names, among which the wood is occasionally sold. In English, the Mutenye wood is usually called Olive Walnut, in the African languages ​​it is also called

  • Benge
  • Libenge
  • Nténe or
  • Tungi



Well visible are the numerous, widely scattered pores, where no special arrangement can be seen. Especially oiled, the structure can look very noble.


The sapwood is gray to dirty-gray and often has a yellowish tinge when fresh, but later loses. The heartwood can take different colors between light gray and yellowish (sapwood color), light olive or light brown. It darkens a bit later and often gets a more intense gray tint.


Mutenye is relatively tough, but still good at sawing. Otherwise, the processing is often difficult, and in any case requires sufficiently suitable tools.

Shrinkage and drying

Drying should be done carefully and slowly. The swelling and shrinkage behavior is mediocre to high. Cracks can occur if drying is too fast.


Mutenye is highly resistant to fungi and pest insects, and low-weather resistant.


Mutenye is mainly used for veneers, in a few cases also as construction wood and as solid wood, whereby difficult machining is a major obstacle.


Mutenye comes mainly from West African countries, low stocks also come from Central Africa.

Here you will find an overview of the most important types of wood worldwide. An overview of the most important tropical wood species, such as Angelique, can be found here.

Tips & Tricks

Instead of Mutenye you can also use the very closely related Ovengkol wood. It's even harder and firmer, and has even better qualities throughout. The wood picture is also very high quality. Also Bubinga is a (albeit a little further) related kind of wood.

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