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African Mahogany split across grain

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Forum topic by jwils218 posted 02-24-2018 03:10 AM 789 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jwils218

22 posts in 278 days


02-24-2018 03:10 AM

I’m currently building a shower bench for a man with Friedreich’s ataxia, which is a disease that affects the nervous system. He can’t walk and needs a way to take a shower by himself, but doesn’t want the house to look like a hospital, so he wanted it made out of wood. It’s also fairly temporary because it’s a very progressive disease and he’s not going to have a choice in a few years, he’ll have to have assistance taking a shower. As I was jointing one face of a board, I noticed a tiny fracture going across the grain. I barely put any pressure at all on it, and it opened up. A little bit more pressure and the whole thing split across the grain. The board that I had had a slight bow in it. I’ve never had this happen to me before, so I was wondering if anyone here has any idea what happened. I’ll attach some pictures in just a minute. They’re on my phone and I’m typing this on my computer. Obviously I’m pretty pissed off, because this wood was not cheap, and I’d hate to have to refund the client her money and tell her I’m unable to do it because I don’t trust the only hardwood lumber yard that’s in my area anymore. Thanks.


19 replies so far

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jwils218

22 posts in 278 days


#1 posted 02-24-2018 03:17 AM

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Aj2

1658 posts in 1915 days


#2 posted 02-24-2018 03:29 AM

Take it back to the lumber yard. That’s stuff happens sometimes and it’s no ones fault. It could have happened when the tree was felled or any number of ways before you found it. So just get another board and don’t freak out. It’s just a temporary set back.

-- Aj

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jwils218

22 posts in 278 days


#3 posted 02-24-2018 03:34 AM

Telling me not to freak out when I don’t know what’s going on is like telling grass not to be green lol. I have been known to overreact at times haha. I have bought loads of wood from them and never had this problem, so you’re probably right. Plus it was rough sawn, so I guess there was not way of knowing until it got cleaned up. Thanks for the reply. Of course, if they just say, “It’s not our wood anymore, so it’s not our problem,” then they just lost a regular customer. Everyone there knows be by name now lol.

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Firewood

440 posts in 1752 days


#4 posted 02-24-2018 03:43 AM

Sorry to hear about your dilemma. If the board broke across the grain that easily, it was obviously fractured while felling or after it was sawn. The split along the grain also suggests some trauma to the tree at some point. I’d take it back to the supplier and work with them to replace the board. If all of their mahogany looks suspect, you could use cypress or teak if it is available. Good luck.

-- Mike - Waukesha, WI

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jwils218

22 posts in 278 days


#5 posted 02-24-2018 03:49 AM

We discussed teak, but that was $18 a board ft. It’s not supposed to be super long term, because it’s such a progressive disease that in a few years he’s not going to have the option of taking a shower by himself, plus it’s going to be installed in a rental house so they’re not even going to have it in a few years. Would cedar be a good choice to use?

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Wupper

19 posts in 1183 days


#6 posted 02-24-2018 03:51 AM

My wife says, “Be nice, be firm and ask them to help you with your problem. People who think you need help will automatically “Like” you if you are nice to them. It is human nature. Take the receipt and act like they were always going to exchange it.

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Firewood

440 posts in 1752 days


#7 posted 02-24-2018 04:05 AM

Cedar is naturally rot resistant and should work for the purpose. Especially since it is only planned for a few years.

-- Mike - Waukesha, WI

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JustplaneJeff

263 posts in 2021 days


#8 posted 02-24-2018 04:06 AM

You may want to take a look at Sapele, I just made some boat parts out of it and was very happy with the workability, strength, ability to take finish, and the overall look. It was about $5.50 a board ft.

-- JustplaneJeff

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John Smith

1309 posts in 280 days


#9 posted 02-24-2018 04:16 AM

I have seen that very same issue in honduras mahogany.
my suspicion is that it was cut from a damaged tree harvested after a storm, hurricane, etc.
I would go back to the yard and return the lumber in question,
and carefully “hand inspect and select” more wood.
you said: “I noticed a tiny fracture going across the grain”
now that you know what the issue is, you know how to avoid it.
tell the yard manager your situation with your client and ask if it is okay
to pour water over each board. water should seep into any damaged area
and be darker than the surrounding board.
in this case, one bad board does not mean the whole stack is bad.
and that one crack does not indicate the rest of that board is bad – just the fractured part.
good luck !!

-- some people are like a Slinky - - - pretty much good for nothing. But still make you smile when you push them down a flight of stairs.

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Alex Lane

518 posts in 4008 days


#10 posted 02-24-2018 04:21 AM

+1 for sapele.
I wonder if Ipe would work too. Plentiful and sustainably harvested for decking, highly rot resistant, and just about the hardest wood you can get (janka scale).

-- Lane Custom Guitars and Basses

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Tony_S

908 posts in 3200 days


#11 posted 02-24-2018 11:56 AM


It could have happened when the tree was felled
- Aj2

This is the most common cause of the defect.
I’ve found it’s most common in many of the tropicals. I’ve been told that it’s most commonly a combination of tree size and height, and poor felling practices.
From what I’ve been told(and experienced) Jatoba is one of the worst trees for this defect.

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

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Tennessee

2880 posts in 2632 days


#12 posted 02-24-2018 02:00 PM

+2 for sapale, although one big load of it I bought from an organ company, two of the planks had a similar problem. I think they threw them in since they knew the fracture was there. I worked around the fractures, and the wood has been wonderful. Sorry its almost all gone.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

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jwils218

22 posts in 278 days


#13 posted 02-24-2018 04:47 PM

The African Mahogany had to be ordered from another location because they didn’t have it there. When it came in and I went to pick it up, it was in the middle of a big stack of wood. An employee had to remove several stacks to get to the Mahogany. I had about 4 or 5 boards totaling 18 board feet, and they were all separated by wooden sticks. Could the force from the wood on top have pushed down on the sticks going across the grain and caused the crack?

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jwils218

22 posts in 278 days


#14 posted 02-24-2018 04:49 PM

It was mixed in with a different species, but they were all marked with my name on it so they knew which ones was mine. I think there was about 4 or 5 boards per stack, then they’re separated by wooden sticks and there’s another 4 or 5 boards together.

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Tony_S

908 posts in 3200 days


#15 posted 02-24-2018 04:58 PM


Could the force from the wood on top have pushed down on the sticks going across the grain and caused the crack?
- jwils218

Improper loading and storage can cause damage/cracks, but that isn’t what your’s is from. That’s classic fracturing from felling or improper handling before milling and drying.

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

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