The sap wood, which is wide, is oatmeal in colour and can be fairly predominant in sawn planks, resulting in two grades of kiaat, namely allbrown, which has 10% or less white, and brown and white kiaat. The grain is straight to interlocked and the texture is medium.
Kiaat is very durable, yet is easy to saw and work, although there is a tendency for interlocked grain to pick up in planing quarter-sawn surfaces. The wood turns well, has good nailing and screwing properties and takes a good polish. Kiaat is an attractive timber, suitable for panelling, high-class joinery and furniture.
The tree grows to a height of 15m, sometimes 21 m, with a diameter of 0,6m. The heartwood has been known to be highly variable in colour, varying from pale uniform brown to purple brown. The grain is close, and straight to interlocked and varies from medium to coarse in texture.
The timber is fairly soft and light in weight at 640kg/m' when dried. Klaat dries slowly with no degrade even under severe conditions. Kiaat's strength properties are similar to those of teak, yet it IS more stable in service than teak. The wood is very durable, resistant to insect, fungus and marine borers.
A kiaat platter turned by Clyde Newmann
Kiaat is an attractive timber, suitable for panelling, high-class jOinery, high-end furniture, furniture components, flooring, boat building, woodturning, cabinets, carving, and decorative veneer.
It is also suitable for general construction work and for marine use. Other common uses include fine turnings and medicinal uses.
Easy to saw and work, the wood turns well. It has good nailing and screwing properties, but pre-drilling is recommended. It planes and moulds to a good finish, takes a high polish and varnishes and glues well.
It can be worked easily with hand or machine tools but a reduced cutting angle is recommended for interlocked grain.
Kiaat technical details
? Scientific name: pterocarpus angolensis
? Family name: Leguminosae
? Also known as: Kajat, mukwa, muninga, mninga, ambila, rmbila, mebiia, brown African padauk, bloodwood, mutete, mututi, tondo and mtumbati.
? Distribution: Grows throughout southcentral Africa, including Angola, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.