Zebrawood | Uses, Pros and Cons

What is Zebrawood?

Zebrawood is also durable, strong, and resistant to insect damage hardwood. It is native to West Africa. Zebrawood is a versatile wood frequently used for furniture, flooring, and boatbuilding.

The wood is named for its distinctive striped appearance, with dark brown and light brown stripes resembling a zebra’s lines. Zebrawood is popular for its unique and striking appearance, as well as its hardness and durability.

Zebrawood is naturally rot and insect resistant, so it does not require chemical treatments like many other woods.

Scientific Name: Microberlinia brazzavillensis
Tree Size:70-150 ft (21-46 m) tall, 4-5 ft (1.2-1.5 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 50 lbs/ft3 (805 kg/m3)
Janka Hardness:1,830 lbf (8,160 N)
Crushing Strength: 9,210 lbf/in2 (63.5 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 7.6%, Tangential: 10.8%, Volumetric: 17.8%, T/R Ratio: 1.4

Zebrawood uses

Zebrawood is most commonly used for making plywood and veneer sheets because of its beautiful pattern. Since zebrawood is also a strong and durable wood, it is also used for tools or sports handles.

Wood is highly rated for being durable and weather resistant, so it is also a good choice for making high-quality furniture and flooring.

Zebrawood does not absorb moisture and is resistant to moisture, and is used for durable boatbuilding. Because it is generally more affordable than other hardwoods.

In addition, Zebra Wood is used for wall paneling, carving, and making decorative wooden objects.


The wood is light brown with a dark brown or black stripe pattern resembling a zebra’s stripes. Sapwood is a pale yellow or creamy white color, while heartwood ranges from a light brown to a deep chocolate brown. The grain of Zebrawood is usually wavy or interlocked.

Like other hardwoods, the dark striping of Zebrawood tends to darken over time. This process is greatly accelerated when the wood is exposed to UV light in sunlight.

We can slow the process of discoloration of wood with a coat of stain. Stain acts like a protective layer on the surface of the wood which blocks much of the sun’s UV light.

Zebrawood Pros and Cons

Zebrawood has a wonderful quality, but it also has some disadvantages which should be known before using it.


  1. Unique Appearance: Zebrawood wood has a unique grain pattern and attractive color. After finishing, it gives excellent results.
  2. Durable: Zebrawood has excellent durability and stability, which makes it highly durable and resistant to wear and tear.
  3. Stability: Zebrawood is known for its stability and resistance to warping, which makes it a good choice for furniture and other indoor and outdoor woodworking projects.
  4. Rot-resistant: Wood is naturally rot and insect resistant. Which makes it a popular choice for outdoor projects like decking and fencing.


  1. Hard to work: Zebrawood has a high density and weight, which makes it difficult to work with hand tools, and it can also dull blades more quickly than other woods.
  2. Expensive: Zebrawood can be a fairly expensive hardwood compared to other hardwoods.
  3. Zebrawood is less widely available than some other types of hardwood because it is found in a limited area.
  4. Maintenance: Zebrawood requires regular maintenance to keep its appearance and durability.
  5. Toxicity: Zebrawood has been reported as a sensitizer. So it’s important to take appropriate safety precautions when working with this wood.

Working with Zebrawood

Working with zebrawood is quite difficult for beginners due to its density and hardness. Here are some tips and techniques to keep in mind when working with zebrawood:

Use sharp tools: Zebrawood’s density and hardness can make it difficult to cut and shape, so use sharp tools.

Pre-drill holes: When drilling holes in zebrawood, it’s a good idea to pre-drill the holes to prevent the wood from splitting.

Finish properly: Zebrawood can be finished with a variety of finishes, such as oil-based finishes, lacquer, or varnish. It’s important to ensure that the wood is properly sealed and finished to protect it from moisture.

Use appropriate safety precautions: When working with zebrawood, Wear appropriate safety gear, such as goggles, a dust mask, and gloves, to protect yourself from dust.

Is zebrawood good for cutting boards?

Zebrawood can be used for cutting boards, but it is hard and can dull your knives. There may be other types of wood that are better suited for the cutting boards, such as hard maple, cherry, or walnut, which are more readily available and less expensive.

Zebrawood Density: How hard is Zebrawood?

The Janka hardness value of Zebrawood is 1,830 lbf (8,160 N), and the dried weight is 50 lbs/ft3 (805 kg/m3). The density of Zebrawood is not the highest but more than many other hardwoods. Here are other popular wood Janka hardness values to give you an idea of how hard Zebrawood is.

Wood SpeciesJanka Hardness
Gaboon Ebony3,080 lbf (13,700 N)
Cocobolo2,960 lbf (14,140 N)
Honey Mesquite2,340 lbf (10,410 N)
Tigerwood2,170 lbf (9,640 N)
Wenge Wood1,930 lbf (8,600 N)
Shagbark Hickory1,880 lbf (8,360 N)
Merbau1,840 lbf (7,620 N)
Zebrawood1,830 lbf (8,160 N)
Pecan Wood1,820 lbf (8,100 N)
Honey Locust1,580 lbf (7,030 N)
Sweet Birch1,470 lbf (6,540 N)
Hard maple1,450 lbf (6,450 N)
Sapele1,410 lbf (6,280 N)

Is zebra wood expensive?

Yes, Zebrawood is quite expensive compared to other hardwoods because it is rare and high in demand. The price of Zebrawood can range from $20 to $30 /Board Feet. Its price depends on many factors, such as the quality of the wood, size, and place.

Is Zebrawood Good for Guitars? 

Yes, Zebrawood can be a good choice for guitars. Zebrawood’s unique grain pattern can add a distinctive look to a guitar’s body. Additionally, Zebrawood’s density and stability can help to provide good sustain and tone for the instrument.

Is Zebrawood Waterproof? 

Zebrawood is not waterproof, but it is excellent water and weather resistant. It can withstand moisture and extreme weather much longer than other hardwoods. Although it is naturally durable and capable of outdoor use, outdoor sealing is preferable to maintain its durability.

Where is Zebrawood From? 

Zebrawood is native to the tropical regions of West Africa, including countries such as Cameroon, Gabon, and Congo. Other sources include Brazilian, African, Pacific, and Asian.

Is Zebrawood Sustainable?

Yes, Zebrawood is a sustainable hardwood because it comes from a managed forest. It is not listed in the CITES Appendices but is on the IUCN Red List.