A. Any of several tropical American evergreen trees of the genus Swietenia of the family Meliaceae, especially S. mahagoni and S. macrophylla, valued for their hard, reddish-brown wood. As a result, this species can be preferred over Genuine Mahogany when staining or clear coating is the desired finish. Similar in density to Bigleaf maple, but easier to work, we’ve heard good things about this as a guitar wood. Mahogany is more commonly used for sides and backs but can be used for soundboards and the wood is easy to spot due to the rich dark reddish brown colour and the fact that it is often left unpolished.
Solid Hardwoods are primary milled from rubber wood trees which are plantation grown and responsibly harvested in Southeast Asia. These natural wood characteristics are becoming more and more sought after because it adds an Organic” feel to furniture. Jatoba is very similar to Ovangkol in its appearance, but generally has a more pronounced figure. It’s every bit a true mahogany as the original Cuban species that became commercially exhausted in the mid-20th century. EXOTIC WOOD:SHEDUA Also known as Ovangkol or Amazique, this beautiful African hardwood has been used by several high end instrument companies Worldwide for many years now.
In most cases involving the substitution of wood, you’ll have to stain or dye the look-alike wood. The challenge is finding wood which matches not only in color but also in stripe density. All species within the genus are listed on CITES appendix II, and nowadays a fair amount of this wood is grown on plantations. The sawdust is toxic (skin and breathing), so this wood should not be used for food service. Cedar is a softwood with a very recognizable red color and has a very distinctive odor from the oils in the wood. Similar to mahogany: Very large trees yield clear quality lumber that resembles genuine mahogany in both appearance and mechanical properties.
Though there are many, many factors that contribute to the sound of an individual guitar besides the wood (the shape of the guitar, the scale length, bridge type -the list goes on and on), the woods used in a guitar are probably the most discussed component of the instrument, and they are probably the most misunderstood. As the wood is resistant to decay, it is prized in woodworking, furniture and flooring.
Dark Spanish Cedar looks like Mahogany pretty much except it has a bit more of an open grain…and is cheaper than SA Mahogany and as a bonus has a veary pleasant smell. Variously known as Silver oak, Silk oak, and Lacewood, this beautiful wood is a native of Australia, but is now found throughout tropical and subtropical climates. It’s sometimes mistakenly referred to as African mahogany because it closely resembles the West African wood khaya, which is commercially known as African mahogany. Mahogany also has related species, some of which are called mahogany but are actually a different wood.
Finally, we are all waiting to see what kind of wood species will be arriving to your headquarters soon, direct from Iquitos, via the Amazon river. Its aromatic and moth repellent qualities have made it a popular wood for lining drawers, chests and boxes. Hickory (Carya ovata) is the heaviest, hardest and strongest American wood in use. These bodies dominate the heavy wood category with solid Strat® bodies always weighing in at well over 6 lbs.
In 1907 the total of mahogany from all sources imported into Europe was 159,830 tons, of which 121,743 tons were from West Africa. This wood can easily be shaped to make exciting guitar shapes, which is also a reason for its high demand in the market. A native Tasmanian timber, the dark, variegated colors in the center of the log are caused by a fungus which fortunately, does not disturb the stability of the wood. Origin: Indonesia Jacaranda is a common name used/misused throughout the timber industry for a variety of types of wood. Lacewood’s color is a warm cinnamon brown and has bold figure (the name leopard wood is sometimes used).
Ipe planks do not bend well, but the wood finishes and sands quite smoothly, with no splintering. As an instrument ages and is played, the wood will actually change its density and tonal effects. Verawood (Bulnesia arborea) – This wood is found in the coastal region of Colombia and Venezuela, common on the dry foothills between Porto Cabello and Lake Maracaibo.
Even though Mahogany can vary greatly in density, it usually produces a similar tone from instrument to instrument. The plantation environment also allows for precise control of soil chemistry, tree spacing, and other factors affecting growth, resulting in the highest quantity of quality wood from the smallest space. Goes well with most applications: players who perhaps don’t have predefined tonal preferences, who may be generalists in their style of play, and who are looking for a well-rounded, all-purpose solid wood guitar. African Blackwood is a very hard wood and very heavy at 88 pounds per cubic foot (heavier than even lignum vitae at 72 pounds per cubit foot).
Lignumvitae (Guaiacum officinale) is a heavy and dense wood with irregular and interlocked grain. This wood is gaining popularity as many builders and players are making the switch from Brazilian Rosewood to suitable alternatives. The wood was very dramatic in appearance, with brick reds, magentas and purples combining in unique ways. For one, limited availability of this African wood makes it difficult for many guitar manufacturers to acquire the necessary planks to make large quantities of Korina guitars. Properties: Mahogany is strong, with a uniform pore structure and poorly defined annual rings.
It is very good to have stopped abusive logging of this fine specie from our forests, which along with Spanish Cedar ( Cedrella odorata) was being logged as if they were the only wood species in the Amazon, contrary to the fact that such rainforest is the habitat for almost 2,500 forest species, of which only 30/35 are actually being used. Though difficult to bend, it shares the same tonal properties of the unfigured mahogany. This species makes up most of the African mahogany on the international market.
The wood is hard, fairly strong, straight grained, and suitable for steam bending. Sycamore: This hardwood is used extensively in inexpensive furniture and in veneers; it is very resistant to splitting, and is also a favorite wood for butcher blocks. The wood is similar to Mahogany and indeed belongs to the same Meliaceae family. This waxy feeling wood has an open grain texture similar to rosewood and a tone similar to maple with great mids and attack. If the look-alike wood is lighter in color, use two coats of color to darken it, but only one coat on the wood being imitated.
Maple with figuring is preferred over plain maple, but the figure has no real bearing on the sound of the wood. Unlike Swietenia (genuine mahogany) and Cedrela (true mahogany), all species of Calophyllum are resistant to Hypsipyla grandella enabling plantations of the South American species Calophyllum brasiliense to be successfully established in Brazil. This is another standard body wood having been used by many companies over the years.
Its high sustainability will appeal strongly to players who want a solid wood guitar with an especially environmentally friendly outlook. Alder: This is a commonly used, lightweight wood that gives off a full sound and clean tone and is used to make Fender Stratocasters. The wood turns well, is harder to work than softer woods, and has high nail-holding ability.
The inconsistent availability and figured grain have primarily limited this wood to decorative wood veneer applications. The vast array of figure that is sometimes subtle and other times shocking coordinates with any other wood visually. Honduran is more of a brick red/brown in color and Amazon is similar in color to Brazilian but is usually found with less figure. This is an incredibly light weight, yet tough wood possessing phenomenal tonal qualities.
The recommended finish of gloss Lacquer is shown and brings an incredible luster to the wood. A rich-grained mahogany top paired with African sapele back and sides give our medium-size cutaway Grand Auditorium body plenty of tonal and visual character. Afzelia is a relatively dense wood that ranges in color between yellow, orange, and brown. The above will remove the stain, without injury to the color of the wood, mahogany or any other kind.
In Paraguay the wood is commonly known as Paraiso (Paradise) because the Jesuits would use it to make sacred objects in the early 1600’s. With the right stain, one could imagine this species working as a substitute for mahogany. The fine, closed grain with superior alternating/contrasting color, interesting/swirling grain and figure truly set this wood apart. A heavy, coarse-textured wood with bending and shock-resistant properties similar to ash and hickory. Mahogany is not just mahogany, but there is also mahogany, that is really not mahogany, like Phillipian mahogany, etc. Click on any underlined wood to take you to a Photo Sub-Page in which pictures are arranged similarly.