What is frake?

Q:

While reading a yachting magazine, I came across an article discussing the use of a wood called “frake” in a ship’s interior. Where does this wood come from, and where can I get some to work with?
—Jeffrey B, from the WOOD® Online forums

A:

The author of that article called frake by one of its less-familiar names, Jeffrey. It is more commonly known as limba or black limba. (It’s also sometimes called afara, ofram, akom, and korina.) Growing in equatorial Africa, limba has both creamy white and brownish-black colors, but they’re not simply sapwood and heartwood. The darker wood, shown above, features streaking tones and sells for about $18–$22 per board foot in the U.S. It’s desirable for making furniture as well as moldings, and is a popular veneer. The lighter wood has significantly less value and demand. 

Limba works well with tools and has few issues with shrinkage and warping, but splits easily when screwed without predrilled pilot holes. It also proves susceptible to beetles and termites when stored. 

If you’d like to try limba on a project, contact Woodworker’s Source at 800-423-2450 or online at woodworkerssource.com.

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