Utile is regularly used in furniture and cabinet making as well as joinery. It is fairly easy to work with and is capable of being polished and stained.
Similar to Sapele, Utile is of reddish-brown in colour. The grain is interlocked, producing a ribbon-stripe appearance.
Sipo ; assié. Entandrophragma utile. Family: Meliaceae.
Utile has a wide natural distribution in tropical Africa. It occurs in the Ivory Coast, in the Cameroons, and in Liberia, Gabon and Uganda. The tree grows chiefly in the moist, deciduous high forest.
The tree may be up to 45m tall and 2m in diameter above the base. The bole is straight, cylindrical, and free of buttresses, and may be 21m to 23m long.
The heartwood and sapwood are distinct ; the heartwood is pale pink when freshly cut, darkening on exposure to reddish-brown. It closely resembles the related sapele, both in appearance and properties, but is more open in texture due to the larger pores, and generally produces a broad ribbon-stripe, often wider and more irregular than that of sapele. It weighs about 660 kg/m3 when dried.
Utile dries moderately slowly with a distinct tendency for distortion in the form of twist to occur, and original shakes to extend. In general however, distortion is not severe.
Its strength properties are similar to those of America mahogany.
Works rather well, but with a slight blunting effect on cutting edges. A cutting angle of 15 degrees will reduce the tendency for the interlocked grain to tear during planning and moulding. Takes stain and glue well, and polishes well after filling.
Utile is used for the same purpose as sapele, ie, furniture, cabinets, joinery, shop-fitting, boat-building, as veneer for plywood, and for decoration.