When the phone call came for us to collect some rare opepe timber from a West Country railway engineering yard we soon hot-footed it down to the site. Opepe (Nauclea diderrichii) originates from Central and Western Africa and is a tropical hardwood which is renowned for its durability. It’s not available for reclamation very often so we were thrilled to be able to collect and repurpose this latest batch!

Hauling reclaimed opepe

Sleeper Service

After giving the opepe a thorough wash down it was time for us to process it. By using a bandsaw we were able to cut the beams to a suitable dimension without wasting too much of the wood. Our pre-war bandsaw has a thin blade which allows us to achieve a fine finish with light saw marks perpendicular to the grain.

opepe reclaimed

Resawn reclaimed opepe.


Opepe has very vibrant colouring. The heartwood has a tendency to be darker than the sapwood but the overall hues tend to range between golden yellow and orangey brown.

Red Signal

Opepe has most recently been assessed for The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species[i] in 2020. Opepe is listed as ‘Near Threatened’ under the IUCN criteria ‘A2cd’ and is therefore only available from well-managed sustainable sources, or even better, reclaimed from our yard.

All Aboard

With such fabulous wood at our disposal, various commissions to re-purpose the reclaimed opepe came to light and let it have a new lease of life. The transformation of weathered timber to fresh and modern planters, hand-finished wooden decking and a hard-wearing bed for a tray back Land Rover is incredibly rewarding. Knowing that we are providing an eco-friendly alternative for such a variety of projects makes us incredibly proud too.


Opepe garden planter

Repurposing opepe as a hard wearing bed for a Land Rover



Is this your stop?

Do you have a project which requires sustainable wood with durability and longevity at its core?

Howard Gibbons Reclamation specialise in the sourcing, stocking and sawing of reclaimed greenheart timber and would be delighted to assist you with your commercial, home or garden project.






[i] https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/33058/110069320