tennis blade wood types - Limba
Terminalia superba (Superb Terminalia or Limba, Afara
(UK), Korina (US) ) is a large tree in the family Combretaceae, native
to tropical western Africa.
It grows to 60 m tall, with a domed or flat crown, and a trunk typically
clear of branches for much of its height, buttressed at the base.
The wood is either a light ('white limba') or with dark stripes ('black
limba' or 'korina') hardwood. Used for making furniture and musical
instruments and prized for its workability and excellent colour and
finish. The most famous example of its use in guitars is when it was
used by Gibson in producing their now highly sought-after Flying V and
Explorer guitars in 1957. When finished in a clear coat, 'White Limba'
results in an attractive light golden colour.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not rare and expensive due to
overharvesting and there is plenty of supply due to efforts in the 1950s
to preserve natural supply of the wood. This species is reported to be
relatively secure, with little or no threat to its population within its
natural growth range, according to the World Conservation Monitoring
Center in 1992.
When used for constructing blades, limba and ayous seem
similar. They both are soft and have heavy grains. Typically the limba
blades are a bit more expensive, so you'll find them more commonly in
the Japanese and euro blades and the ayous more in the chinese, although
there are exceptions. Limba grains seem a bit tighter and don't shed as
badly. As a result it's probably just a touch harder. Both should be
sealed before gluing, but ayous MUST be sealed or it WILL strip off with
Limba is the classic European topspin wood. Limba wood
adds the soft feel and great control needed by today's modern topspin
A number of blades pictures that use the
Limba wood are shown below: