Good Contrasting Wood for a Project Built with Mahogony?

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Forum topic by gerrym526 posted 09-04-2010 03:29 PM 4498 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View gerrym526's profile


266 posts in 3225 days

09-04-2010 03:29 PM

I’m designing my next project, a working desk for my home office. Have a supply of 5/4 mahogony I bought about 15yrs ago, that’s been waiting for the right project. What I need now are suggestions on what you design experts think would be a good contrasting hardwood for the mahogony?
Have to confess I really like the cherry/maple hardwood combination (just finished my 2nd project with these 2 woods)-ie. lightness of maple with darkening cherry-so that’s the effect I’m looking to achieve. I rarely use stains in my work, usually only a shellac wash coat to make the grain “pop” before finishing, so would want a natural contrast of woods.
What would you suggest?
thanks for the help.

-- Gerry

4 replies so far

View BertFlores58's profile


1684 posts in 2339 days

#1 posted 09-04-2010 04:16 PM

For mahogany which is reddish brown, much better conbine with white or yellow colored wood. Maple is white. The third color must be black (ebony) moulding will be fine. But if I will use mahogany.. I better use it all alone without any other match-up. The mahogany can also be combine monochromatic with pinkish colored wood (Mahogany lighter blend). Here in the Philippines, Mahogany is commonly combined with Molave—a yellow colored hardwood. Hope this will help.

-- Bert

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2491 days

#2 posted 09-04-2010 09:37 PM

There is no right answer to this. It is very much a question of taste and personal preferences.

For me, a strong contrast is often too much. If you were only using the second wood as an accent and you did not need a lot of it, I would seriously consider bloodwood. In my opinion, the reddish brown look of the mahogany (it’s more brown than red) goes very well with the red of bloodwood. Of course, bloodwood is a little expensive (not too bad) and I might not do that if I needed a large volume of the second wood.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View cutmantom's profile


388 posts in 2452 days

#3 posted 09-04-2010 10:02 PM

gather up some scraps and finish them so you can compare them against one another

View Bovine's profile


114 posts in 2745 days

#4 posted 09-06-2010 05:56 AM

I’m in the process of building a shadow box for my mother. I’m using Mahogony and Maple and love that combination. It’s largely going to be a question of personal taste, but as stated above takes some scraps and play with it. Do take a look at the lighter woods, though—you might like that combination too.

It really boils down to the “look” you’re going for…contrasts or subtle highlights.

-- Kansas City, KS "Nothing is as permanent as a temporary solution"

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