Sapele vs Walnut: Difference between Black Walnut and English Walnut


Sapele is an excellent wood species. It is used in the manufacture of furniture, cabinets, doors, and musical instruments. Sapele is also known by another name Sapelli or sapele mahogany. Sapele wood is also considered an alternative to mahogany. Because many of its properties are similar to mahogany.

“Sapele” name comes from the city of Sapele in Nigeria. Its origins are in West Africa. It is found most commonly in countries such as Tanzania, Nigeria, and Ghana. Sapele is important to the economy of Nigeria because of Sapele’s large export volume. Sapele wood is becoming famous day by day due to its hardness, dark brown color, and well-finishing properties.


Several types of walnut species are available. But most common walnut tree species are Black Walnut, English Walnut, and Butternut (also known as White Walnut and Oil Nut). The English walnut originated in Iran (Persia), the black walnut is native to eastern North America, and the Butternut is native to the eastern United States and Southeast Canada. 

 Black Walnut vs English Walnut vs Butternut

#Black WalnutEnglish WalnutButternut
Scientific NameJuglans nigraJuglans regiaJuglans cinerea
Tree height100-120 ft (30-37 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1 m) trunk diameter80-115 ft (24-35 m) tall, 5-6 ft (1.5-2.0 m) trunk diameter65-100 ft (20-30 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1 m) trunk diameter
Janka hardness1,010 lbf1,220 lbf490 lbf
ColorLighter brown to a dark brown.Lighter brown to dark chocolate.Medium to light tan color.
WorkabilityGood workabilityGood workabilityGreat workability. easily worked with both hand and machine tools.
Black Walnut vs English Walnut vs Butternut

All the species of walnuts have their own different qualities and properties. Depending on their different properties, they have different uses. Some of these species are perfect for flooring and some for carving and furniture.

Difference between Sapele and Walnut wood

Scientific NameEntandrophragma Kilindricum.Juglans.
ColorColors range from light pink to brown and gold to red. Color tends to darken with age.Light brown to dark chocolate, with some blonde or yellow as well.
Dried Weight42 lbs / ft3 (670 kg / m3).38 lbs / ft3  (630 kg / m3).
Janka hardness1,410 lbf (6,280 N).1,010 lbf (4,500 N).
WorkabilityWorkability is not very good. Troublesome to work in some machining operations.Typically easy to work.
ApplicationVeneer, cabinetry, flooring, plywood, furniture, boatbuilding, musical instruments.Veneer, Musical Instruments, Flooring, Carving and turning, and Rifle and shotgun handles.
Difference between Sapele and Walnut wood
Sapele vs walnut wood texture
Sapele vs walnut wood texture



Sapele wood is considered to be perfect for making the body of the guitar. It gives a better dark color and also bends easily. So many guitar makers love to use it. It is harder than African mahogany. 

So that it is also a great option for flooring. Because of this good hardness. Scratches and damage do not occur easily. Some boat makers also like Sapele. But due to its high price, they use it for boat decorating, such as for boat dashboards.

Sapele Workability
Sapele Workability


There are three main species of walnut, they have different colors and properties, on the basis of which they are used. Generally, Walnut is used to make cabinets, flooring, furniture, wood veneers, and many more.

Black walnut used to make knick-knacks (small decorative objects, especially used in a house), carvings, and gunstocks due to the rich dark brown color. 

English walnut is used for guitar/instrument, woodturning, wood carving, automotive / aircraft, and boat interiors. 

Butternut wood is used in veneer, carving, furniture, interior trim, boxes, and crates. Butternut wood can be easily worked with hand and machine tools. As the name itself suggests, it is a very soft wood that can be easily curved and cut. It gives good finishing looks after polish and paint.



As we know that all Sapele wood contains interlocking grains. These interlocking Grand Sapele trees are formed during growth. Due to the interlocking grain, some machines are a problem in operation. And the other reason is that it is very hard, which makes it difficult to work with small tools.

The surface of the wood reacts strongly when in contact with the blade. So a sharp blade and attention are required to work on it. After finishing and polish it gives a good finish and gives a great look.

In final words, it should be said that the workability is not easy but the final product turns out to be quite good.


There are many species of walnuts. Some species are very good for workability, but some are not. Due to irregular or figured grain in some species, it can be difficult to work with them such as black walnut and English walnut species. Still, it is easier to work than Sapele.  

With Butternut, it can be easily done with both hand and machine tools because it is soft here. Its embossed grain can be cleaned easily with fine-grit sandpaper, it finishes well.



It is available in sufficient quantities in West Africa and its demand is being met in other countries as well. But due to a population reduction of over 20% in the past three generations. It is in the list of IUCN Red from which it is harvested in the limit. Many countries are working on increasing their productivity, hoping that it can be easily met in the next few decades.


Black walnut:  Black walnut is widely used due to its popularity and is easily available in the market. 

English walnut:  English walnuts are expensive and are not easily available in the market. But still, small demands can be fulfilled easily. Due to the less availability, it is mostly seen in veneers and plywood.

Butternut: It is easily available in the market in the form of lumbar and block. Its origin country is North America but it is being grown easily in many other countries as well so that their demand is easily met.

Sapele vs Walnut Price

Sapele is a rare wood species and We know that rare wood is expensive. Its price is less than mahogany, and black walnut but higher than butternut wood.


Black Walnut

This wood comes under the category of premium domestic hardwood, due to which its price is high. While the price of another premium domestic hardwood is less in comparison. But the Black walnut price is higher than Sapele.

English walnut

The English walnut is likely to be rather expensive. Therefore it is mainly used to make veneers and small objects.

Sapele vs Walnut Hardness

Sapele, English walnut, Black walnut our Butternut has the highest number of Janka hardened Sapele wood. So Sapele is considered better for flooring due to the high hardness.

janka hardness of sapele vs black walnut vs english walnut vs butternut
Janka hardness of Sapele vs black walnut vs English Walnut vs Butternut

Sapele vs Walnut Color


The heartwood color of Sapele is golden to dark reddish-brown. And it gradually darkens over time. Sapele is famous due to its grain patterns, ribbon pattern is seen in it. The color of Sapele becomes darker over time.


English walnut

Walnut species also change their color over time like Sapele. The color of the English walnut varies from lighter pale brown to a dark chocolate brown. This color sometimes depends on the country wise such as gray, purple, or reddish cast. The grain pattern of European walnuts is curly, crotch, and burl. Whereas in other countries walnuts are lacking in them.

Black Walnut

It is found in the range from pale brown to dark chocolate brown. Sapwood is pale yellow-gray to nearly white


Its color is not as dark as an English walnut and black walnut. This wood Heartwood is usually a light to medium tan, sometimes with a reddish tint

Sapele vs Walnut Cutting Board

Sapele Mahogany is a truly incredible wood for cutting boards. It is twice as hard as mahogany and harder than a walnut(all species). This is a great choice for custom cutting boards.  Its dark color makes it even better and gives a great appearance.

Black walnut and English walnut are also good options for cutting boards. It gives the appearance of rich, dark chocolate, and brown color. At 1010 on the Janka Scale. It is not as hard as the Sapele but it is good for the cutting board. It gives high durability and a high-contrast feel.

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