Chen Chen (Antiaris, toxicaria & Antiaris africana)
Trade Names: Chen Chen, Ako, Blond Sapeli
Origin: West Africa
Range: From the Senegal to the central part of the Congo, also Ivory Coast, Ghana and Cameroon. In woods growing in high altitude, the trees stand singly and widely dispersed, in savannah regions though growing in groups. Trees grow up to 40 m tall and often are free of branches to a height of 20 m. Trees have flat roots.
Uses: In Europe as interior veneers or for sides only. In Asia and Arabia also used for face veneers in furniture production, however, in the lower price range. Substitute for Koto wood which is a bit higher in price. For price reasons, usually produced to 100% in Africa. In West Africa it is also used for canoe building and for handles of tools and hunting equipment.
Properties: No difference between sap and heart wood; of uniform white to yellowish color. Mostly manufactured as quarters and due to the frequent spiral grain, this leads to a light-dark striping of the veneers. The wood, and thus the veneers as well, are lightweight and somewhat brittle.The wood succumbs easily to beetle attack.
Machining: Chen Chen has good machining characteristics and is easy to work with all tools.
Seasoning: Good, large thicknesses tends to warp.