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Mahogany, Genuine (aka Honduran)

Prized exotic species with rich, deep colour, and fine grain texture. Typically bright pink to red when first cut, but ages to copper-like reddish brown or yellowish brown. Colour density changes with regions, denser woods are usually deeper in colour.

Thicknesses

Subject to availability

4/4
5/4
6/4
7/4
8/4
9/4
10/4
12/4
16/4
20/4
1/2"
3/4"
1"

Distribution

From Southern Mexico to central South America;also commonly grown on plantations

Scientific Name

Swietenia macrophylla

Specific Gravity: Basic

0.52

Specific Gravity: 12% MC

0.59

Janka Hardness

900

Colour/Appearance

Heartwood colour can vary a fair amount with Honduran Mahogany, from a pale pinkish brown, to a darker reddish brown. Colour tends to darken with age. Mahogany also exhibits an optical phenomenon known as chatoyancy.

Grain/Texture

Grain can be straight, interlocked, irregular or wavy. Texture is medium and uniform, with moderate natural luster.

Endgrain

Diffuse-porous; large pores in no specific arrangement; solitary and radial multiples of 2-3; mineral deposits occasionally present; growth rings distinct due to marginal parenchyma; rays barely visible without lens; parenchyma banded (marginal), paratracheal parenchyma vasicentric.

Rot Resistance

Varies from moderately durable to very durable depending on density and growing conditions of the tree. (Older growth trees tend to produce darker, heavier, and more durable lumber than plantation-grown stock.) Resistant to termites, but vulnerable to other insects.

Workability

Typically very easy to work with tools: machines well. (With exception to sections with figured grain, which can tearout or chip during machining.) Slight dulling of cutters can occur. Sands very easily. Turns, glues, stains, and finishes well.

Odor

No characteristic odor.

Allergies/Toxicity

Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Honduran Mahogany has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include eye, skin and respiratory irritation, as well as less common effects, such as boils, asthma-like symptoms, nausea, giddiness, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

Pricing/Availability

Despite export restrictions, Honduran Mahogany continues to be available in lumber or veneer form, possibly from plantations. Prices are in the mid range for an imported hardwood, though it tends to be more expensive than African Mahogany. Figured or quartersawn lumber is more expensive.

Sustainability

This wood species is in CITES Appendix II, and is on the IUCN Red List. It is listed as vulnerable due to a population reduction of over 20% in the past three generations, caused by a decline in its natural range, and exploitation.
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