Iroko Wood: Uses, Properties, Pros, and Cons

Iroko Wood Uses, Properties, Advantages, and Disadvantages

What is iroko wood?

Iroko wood is a tropical African wood with good durability. Heartwood iroko is medium brown or yellow to golden. In contrast, the sapwood is pale yellow. The iroko tree is 100-130 feet tall, with a 3-5 feet trunk diameter.

This is a wood that can be used instead of real teak because the price of iroko is in the cheaper range than real teak.

However, it seems that the quality of this wood is also lower than teak, although there may be some things that give it an advantage. Iroko wood is commonly used as furniture, cabinets, veneer, and others.

The properties of iroko wood

Although it has an unattractive appearance and is far from exotic, iroko is a reliable wood.

This wood is considered very durable against decay and resistant to insect attack. The grains of the iroko are interlocked, and the wood has a medium to coarse texture.

Although a few things can be a problem, Iroko wood is also an easy wood to work on. This wood is also reported as a sensitizer and can cause several health problems.

However, severe reactions to being resentful by iroko are rare, but there is still a possibility of them happening.

Iroko wood advantages and disadvantages


Durable: This is a wood that is considered to be very durable in its resistance to rot.

For this reason, this wood can be used for long-term indoor use, outdoor, which is still attached to the house, and others. Iroko wood is also resistant to insect attacks, although it’s not at the very resistant level.

However, it seems like you can still use it for ground contact and outdoor furniture use. It’s also a wood that is sometimes used as a substitute for teak.

Although we don’t think the durability is the same, iroko wood is also good and cheaper.

Easy to work: Iroko wood is an easy wood to work. However, you have to be careful about some things that can become a problem during the process.

For example, tearing during surface operation can be caused by interlocking grains. The wood you are working with may also have calcium carbonate deposits.

This is bad for the cutter because it has a significant blunt effect. Other problems may occur during the working process, but we hope you the solution. So make sure to use good quality tools and do careful planning. It’s a wood that glues well and finishes nicely.

Moderate price: Iroko price is in the middle range for an imported wood. You may be able to find iroko sold as veneer at an affordable price.

The wood price seems to be below teak. That’s why iroko is often used as a substitute for teak at a lower price.

Purchases in such large quantities are not recommended because of the wood population. There’s been a population reduction, and that isn’t nice.

If this continues, it seems like the price of iroko will become more and more expensive. Therefore, use within reasonable limits must be carried out to maintain the wood population.


Health risk: Several health problems can be caused by iroko wood, although severe reactions are rare. This wood is also reported as a sensitizer. The most common reactions are skin, eye, and respiratory irritation.

Not only that, but iroko is also not good for sensitive individuals because it can cause troublesome health problems. These include ulcers, asthma-like symptoms, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

It’s best if you take precautions before this happens. Identify any diseases that you could potentially infect after that find a way to solve them. That’s enough we recommend before the work.

Vulnerable: Although iroko wood is not listed in the CITES Appendix, it’s listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

Iroko is on this list because there has been a population reduction of more than 20% in the last 3 generations. The cause is exploitation and decreased natural range.

So, it seems that you shouldn’t rely too much on iroko as a substitute for teak Because it could have a harmful impact and reduce the population significantly.

Therefore, the use of other wood with similar quality and price. This may reduce iroko use as a teak substitute.

Iroko wood for veneer

Iroko is commonly used as a veneer and seems to be available for sale as well. The wood quality is indeed good, as it’s durable, with a pretty attractive appearance. If you want to make veneer, it doesn’t seem easy to work.

Because tearing may occur during surface operation, it may also happen when cutting thin. So we thought it was better to buy a finished item than to make it ourselves.

It’s easier, and the price is also affordable. It’s good enough to coat furniture, walls, and more. But it doesn’t seem suitable if you need a decoration veneer.

Iroko wood for flooring

Widely used as a substitute for teak, the quality of iroko wood doesn’t need to be questioned anymore. This is great for long-term use and may include ground contact. That’s why you need to try it for flooring.

This may complement some parts of the flooring lacking, but we don’t think it should be used as the primary flooring material.

Because usually, wood floors require a lot of quantity, which isn’t good for the iroko population. If more people did it, the population decline would be even bigger and faster, perhaps even endangered.

Iroko wood for furniture

With its quality, iroko wood can be a good quality piece of furniture. Maybe you want to make things like chairs, tables, and beds that are durable.

We think iroko wood is an excellent choice for that. The appearance of this wood is indeed beautiful but still lacking. Even so, these can still be suitable wood objects, including good quality.

The appearance will tend to be covered by paint and not be a problem. Not only that, but some processing processes might also make this wood look more attractive. So, You don’t have to worry about that.

Iroko wood for cabinetry

Cabinetry is another common use of iroko wood. It seems like this will be durable quality cabinetry, especially for kitchen cabinetry. Because it is in a humid room, the decay process can occur quickly.

That’s why the use of wood that is very durable against decay seems like iroko wood is something that must be done. Not only that, but iroko is also resistant to insect attacks.

This is great if your home environment is in the countryside. Your cabinetry can last longer in that environment because wood objects in the countryside usually tend to be damaged by insects.

Iroko wood for boatbuilding

If you are looking for the right wood for boatbuilding, it seems like iroko wood can be an option. Some woods, such as cedar, teak, oak, are good for this. This seems like an excellent choice to replace teak, and it’s also cheap.

If durability is essential, then iroko wood can be counted on. It seems the other qualities are also unquestionable.

Because it is often used as a substitute for teak, it means that the quality of this wood is at least similar to teak. That might be a strong reason to use iroko for boatbuilding.

Iroko wood for turned items

The last common use is turned items. This might be a pretty good choice for making decorative items. We had a look at iroko wood’s turned items, and they were pretty good.

It seems that using this wood is widely used by people because of the moderate price. We don’t know the exact reason.

But you also don’t find many bad reasons about iroko wood for turned items. To be sure, you have to find a good grain figured to have high artistic value.

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