How strong is mahogany?

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Forum topic by wwbob posted 10-02-2010 09:16 PM 9404 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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111 posts in 2902 days

10-02-2010 09:16 PM

Topic tags/keywords: mahogany small bench wood strength question arts and crafts

I’m making a small bench. Design from Wood Magazine, October 2010, page 28. The design calls for 3/4 inch quartersawn oak. I ran across some mahogany that was cheaper and am planing to substitute mahogany for oak.

Any problems?

-- "I like the quiet I hear." - Channing, age 4

9 replies so far

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3069 days

#1 posted 10-02-2010 09:34 PM

You can google the janka hardness for mahogany it should around 1500 to 2000 on the hardness scale pretty hard. I beliieve it is harder than oak. So I wouldn’t see a problem.

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2796 posts in 3069 days

#2 posted 10-02-2010 09:36 PM also has a wood strength calculator that can be a real help

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3201 days

#3 posted 10-02-2010 09:39 PM

I think it depends on the species OF Mahogany, though.

For example: African Mahogany’s Janka is 830.

If you know the species, take a look at the chart, here

If you don’t know the species, maybe you can post some pics of the wood, and … people who know more than I do … can chime in :-)

-- -- Neil

View Keith Fenton's profile

Keith Fenton

328 posts in 2947 days

#4 posted 10-02-2010 09:49 PM

I know there are lots of species that some people call mahogany, some of which aren’t mahogany at all. The only mahogany that I’ve worked with isn’t as strong as oak and is more than triple the price of quatersawn oak.

Here’s a quote i found when searching google.
“False Mahoganies
  1. The high demand for mahogany products encourages logging and manufacturing industries to create mahogany names for trees which are not true mahoganies. Lauan, a widespread tree in the Philippine forests, is marketed in the United States as Philippine mahogany. Dozens of different species are marketed under that same arbitrarily chosen name. Other variety names are either invented, like the term royal mahogany, or refer to the locale where a tree was grown.”

Read more: Types of Mahogany Wood |

-- Scroll saw patterns @

View wwbob's profile


111 posts in 2902 days

#5 posted 10-02-2010 10:47 PM

This mahogany is recycled. You can read about it via this web address:

Or search lumberjocks for 100 year old 4/4 mahogany.

-- "I like the quiet I hear." - Channing, age 4

View wwbob's profile


111 posts in 2902 days

#6 posted 10-02-2010 11:04 PM

Wow, thanks for the quick responses. I don’t know what kind of mahogany it is. I’ll be careful with the bench once it’s done.

Thanks again,

-- "I like the quiet I hear." - Channing, age 4

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3102 days

#7 posted 10-02-2010 11:18 PM

I don’t want to start an argument here but hardness and strength are 2 different concepts. For a bench, the primary consideration is probably strength. The Janda index tells you about hardness and it tells you nothing about strength.

From my memory, I believe the Janda Index on typical mahogany is between red oak (1400) and white oak (1600) but, as I said, that means very little with respect to strength.

It may help to know how a janda index is calculated. A standard size metal ball (don’t remember the size). The index is the number of pounds of pressure that is needed to push the ball half way into the wood.

Regardless of all of this, I would have no concern about using mahogany instead of oak.

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

View Mike Fritz's profile

Mike Fritz

49 posts in 2850 days

#8 posted 10-02-2010 11:44 PM

The best and strongest mahogany I ever used is Honduras Mahogany.I’ve tried the others N G.

-- Mike Fritz, Cinnaminson, NJ

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2869 days

#9 posted 10-02-2010 11:51 PM

I know not a single thing about janka, hardness, strength, or any of the other related terms to describe the different properties of wood. I will tell you what I do know from my personal experience though working with oak (red, white, pin) and mahogany (real, honduras, spanish, royal, among others).
If I had my choice between oak and mahogany for building furntiture, I’ll choose the mahogany every time. I don’t know if it is stronger than oak or not. I do know that I’ve never had a problem using it in a load bearing situation. Additionally, in my opinion, I think that mahogany is a better looking wood.


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