The more one knows about the unique characteristics of wood and its source, the better one can understand the degree of warmth and beauty that it brings to our everyday décor. Only this genus are classified officially as ‘genuine mahogany, while other related mahogany species have taken to be classified as ‘true mahogany.’ (Mell, 1917) Mahogany from Central America, scientifically known as Swietenia macrophylla, become generally known as Honduran or big-leaf mahogany, despite having a range from Mexico to the southern tributaries of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil.
Secondly, the timing of the arrival of mahogany couldn’t have been more opportune; the imported European Walnut that England had relied so heavily on since the latter part of the seventeenth-century was drying up. Brutal frosts during the winter of 1709 had devastated much of France’s walnut and the final blow came when France banned its exportation in 1720.
Today, Mahogany is not available as it was before, and prices have scalated, but it is important to respect Cites and the Peruvian Government, so that standing stock is allowed to mature, expand for future generations, while big milling companies will have to start some re-forestation ( planting ) if they want to continue offering such nature´s wonder wood, only then they will actually realize the many years it takes nature to produce such fine wood.
Mahogany from Central America shows extremely low overall shrinkage with regards to volume and dimensions during the drying, but what truly makes it the best for keeping shape is the close to 1:1 ratio of radial (measured in the direction between the center of the tree and the bark) to tangential (measured in the direction of the circumference) shrinkage.
Mahogany was known in the Spanish Americas in the mid sixteenth-century 3 and it was certainly employed in England for ship building and constructing wharves by the mid seventeenth-century 4 , but its take-up as a furniture timber was slow 5 The main reason it wasn’t immediately popular was its predecessor, European Walnut (Juglans regia), which had an understandably devout following.
It just hasn’t garnered much popularity in the U.S.; however sipo is a wood that’s worth using in place of mahogany when the price is right. As some wood species of Mahogany have been linked to deforestation in Cuba, Honduras and Brazil the wood has become much rarer in current times. One of the hardest and heaviest commercial timbers that because of its natural oiliness and self lubricating properties has been used in the past for such things as: bearings for ships’ propellers, sheaves of ships’ pulleys, bushes for mill wheels, mortar and pestles and even truncheons for English policemen to name a few.
With a hardness of about 4 on a 1 to 5 scale, walnut is a rich brown wood that’s easy to work with. The issue facing the discriminating consumer purchasing mahogany furniture today, then, is not whether the furniture is mahogany veneer or solid mahogany. Mahogany ranging from the Caribbean to the southern tip of the Floridian peninsula, scientifically known as Swietenia mahagoni, became known as West Indian, or Cuban, mahogany. I talked to one supplier of tropical woods and he stated that SA mahogany often is not of the same genus and species as genuine.
Out door mahogany will need more looking after than indoor pieces; all pieces will require regular dusting, waxing and polishing to keep looking good as on the day they came out of the manufacturer’s workshop. Mahogany’s inherent physical properties have made it the favourite wood of cabinet-makers and other master craftsmen for five centuries. Yesterday I purchased African mahogany in 8/4 for $4.99 a BF. The other dimensions are also available…4/4 and 6/4….all for $4.99 a BF. They also offer onsite planing and sanding. Acquiring mahogany wood can be difficult sometimes, as it is in high demand and therefore expensive. Wood is big money, forest clearance is big money, illegal logging is big money.
Santos mahogany, Andiroba mahogany, Mountain mahogany and others, are not related to either Swietenia or Khaya, but are attempts to pickup on the mahogany name or promote a wood as a mahogany substitute. Other types of mahogany veneers only show the intricate grain on one side, but these styles are often more durable than raw veneers. When used as a door, mahogany wood is a good choice because it is resistant to bug infestations, and it will block a fair amount of sound, meaning any traffic noise from outside will not come through as much as it would with a door that is not solid or a door made from other woods.
I just picked up a large load of mahogany hardwood and 9 sheets of mahogany ply too for a large built in. When you want that look, nothing comes close. Other Species : Swietenia humilis , Swietenia candollei, Swietenia fabrilis, Swietenia mahagoni, Swietenia macrophylla are the other related species of the Indian Mahogany. While not as hard and not nearly as expensive as Mahogany it is a great choice for windows and exterior trim since it is very stable. There is a $100 minimum for looking that will be applied to the price of your wood choice.
Alder can be finished to resemble other types of wood and is lighter in weight. Due to its graceful aging, the way it presents polish and finish and the heaviness of the wood itself, mahogany has become a staple among collectors, homebuilders and is even used for the creation of family heirlooms. Virtually all of today’s manufacturers place mahogany veneer over compressed particle board.
While many people admire mahogany for its beauty and strength, some may hesitate to purchase this material due to environmental concerns. For several years, reports out of Myanmar have claimed that the military government often uses forced labour to harvest the trees from plantations. He was awarded in PhD in Wood Products Engineering in 1973 from State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Mango wood is a medium hardwood that can range in color from chocolate to blond.
The leaves have also been found to have some anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. Mahogany interior and entry doors give any setting a glamorous look and the wood easily holds and sustains glue, nails and hardware, while being a perfect candidate for stains. Mahogany can be the ideal hardwood for floors as it is so resistant and can take heavy traffic.
From reports of its early uses through today, mahogany offers a host of fine properties – crisp, strong texture, beautiful rich color, fine working qualities and dimensions- that make it suitable for a wide range of uses. So much so that reproduction antique furniture is still being made out of the wood today. I’ve never known either sapele or any mahogany to resemble 2 x 4’s at Home Depot. The wood can have a curly grain with contrasting speckles, or a straight grain.
I have worked with mahogany many years and found Honduras the most commonly used term with genuine a close second when referring to the species, and have often found the two terms used in conjunction. While, in theory, it is possible to use any kind of mahogany for decks, the variety known as Honduran Mahogany has become scarce and expensive thanks to careless deforestation of the Amazon basin in Honduras, where it originated. She introduced mahogany furniture into the main stream after receiving a gift—a beautifully crafted mahogany table—from British Explorer, Sir Walter Raleigh, a romantic interest of the Queen.
You can find an extended discussion of G&G wood choices in Robert Lang’s Shop Drawings for Greene & Greene Furniture. Yet we do not know the words that would have been used by other native peoples in the natural ecosystems of the Mahogany tree. His research interests are sustainable manufacturing forest products, wood adhesives, recycling, and new forest products development. Domestic and Colonial supplies of mahogany diminished rapidly and what there was of it, fetched outrageous prices. Its aromatic and moth repellent qualities have made it a popular wood for lining drawers, chests and boxes.