Mahogany, African and American – Total Wood Species Guide

PROS: It has the most amazing grain pattern and figuring depending on the cut you choose. It has a distinctive brown to reddish-golden color that is unique to this species. It is very moisture stable and would do well in hot humid climates. It is medium hard, about the same as cherry. It finishes beautifully and is a very durable wood. Mahogany has very little movement. It has a gorgeous, golden luster.

CONS: This wood is hard to find. Other woods are sold as mahogany such as luan and Santos, and they are cheaper but lack the character of the true mahogany. It is very expensive if you can find the real thing. Compared to American mahogany, African mahogany is weaker. Both American and African mahogany will darken overtime. Because it isn’t a very strong wood, it is better choice as an accent to your floor. It has a tendency to split when it is nailed so it is best to pre-drill all of your holes.

TREE FACTS: American mahogany grows from southern Mexico to Brazil. American mahogany is also called Honduras mahogany. The sapwood of American mahogany is susceptible to attack by the power post beetle. African mahogany usually comes from the khaya genus and is referred to as “khaya mahogany”. African mahogany primarily grows in the Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Ghana. African mahogany is often used in place of American mahogany because it is more abundant and cheaper.