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Wood Library - Mahogany

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Blog entry by GaryK posted 05-19-2008 06:54 PM 1694 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Mahogany

South American – Swietenia macrophylla
African – Khaya ivorensis

Mahogany along with cherry, and oak are probably the most used wood for furniture. It was a favorite of Chippendale.

It’s also used in musical instruments, boat making, outdoor furnitiure…

It works great with all tools, and holds screws and nails very well. It doesn’t splinter. It takes all kinds of finishes evenly and very well.

South Amercan mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) has a hardness of 800 (janka scale)
African mahogany (Khaya ivorensis) has a hardness of 830 (janka scale)

Cabreuva aka Santos Mahogany (Myroxylon balsamum) has a hardness of 2200 (janka scale)
Santos is not a real mahogany and is a lot harder. It is used for a lot for flooring.
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-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX



8 comments so far

View dlcarver's profile

dlcarver

270 posts in 2397 days


#1 posted 05-19-2008 09:28 PM

I guess none of them would be any good for carving. You really know your wood Gary.
Thanks for the post.

Dave

-- Dave Leitem,Butler,Pa.,http://dlcarver.etsy.com

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2655 days


#2 posted 05-19-2008 09:36 PM

Dave – I guess I left carving out because I don’t know how. It is excellent for carving. Chippendale
carved almost all his furniture.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1474 posts in 2792 days


#3 posted 05-19-2008 11:32 PM

I’d love to learn more about mahogany! I’ve currently got a load of Peruvian mahogany, it’s clearly different from, say, the Phillipine mahogany, but I don’t know how it compares to other regions of Central or South America.

It’s a very open grain, so finishing really requires a pore filling process of some sort.

Also like a little more clarification on “it doesn’t splinter”... The wood I’ve got has been reclaimed from box beams, and I’ve nursed a number of nasty splinters from that process. Nothing like you get from, say, trying to carve or end-route Lyptus (which I’ve got splinters from right now, thought it’d make a good rasp handle…), but a little more on what your standards are would be neat!

Thanks!

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/User:DanLyke

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2655 days


#4 posted 05-19-2008 11:43 PM

Dan – By splinter I mean that when you break it, you won’t get long slivers. When you cut it you may get little chips on the cut edge that you can just wipe off with your fingers. It’s hard to explain. You just kind of know.

I had a friend that worked in a lumber mill feeding machines for about 15 years. He told me that Douglas fir gave him the most splinters of any wood.

Is your mahogany real hard and heavy? Say harder and heaver than oak, or closer to pine?

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1474 posts in 2792 days


#5 posted 05-20-2008 04:46 PM

It’s definitely not as soft as pine, and it’s a much smaller grain, but it’s nowhere near as heavy as the eastern Maple or Massaranduba that I’ve been doing my other work in recently. My experience of oak is so varied that it’s hard to compare, but I’d say it’s lighter than a white oak, probably close to a lighter red oak.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/User:DanLyke

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2655 days


#6 posted 05-20-2008 05:26 PM

Dan – It sounds like Santos Mahogany which has a fine grain. Hard to say for sure without seeing it.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Jeff_T's profile

Jeff_T

30 posts in 2339 days


#7 posted 05-20-2008 07:55 PM

Gary, should special care be given when you route mahogany, someone once told me unless your bits are extremely sharp, it will really chatter ?

Thanks for info.

-- Jeff T in Westport CT.

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2655 days


#8 posted 05-20-2008 09:14 PM

Jeff – I have never found that to be true based on personal experience and I have been using mahogany almost exclusively for over 10 years.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

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