Santos Mahogany – Total Wood Species Guide

PROS: As far as Santos ( Myroxylon, balsamum) it is a hard dense wood. It is quite moisture stable that should work well in most climates. It doesn’t have a lot of color and grain variation. If you want a uniform-looking floor, this is the way to go. Santos mahogany has medium to coarse graining. Its rich reddish brown or purplish brown coloring is beautiful left the way it is. Most people do not color stain this wood. This wood is dense with very small pores. The pores are even smaller than walnut! It is quite hard and durable. It is harder than red oak! It holds nails well. It is a very stable floor. Santos mahogany is much harder than genuine mahogany. Genuine mahogany is actually too soft for most flooring applications. Differently, santos mahogany will stand up in high traffic areas. This means that it is an excellent floor covering for both residential and commercial buildings.

CONS: The natural color will fade slightly overtime. A more serious downside to santos mahogany for the person laying the floor is the health risk. This wood has a smell that causes allergies. This scent has been linked with respiratory problems. If you do work with it, even just sanding it, wear a proper mask. The dust causes these adverse respiratory reactions. Besides, it is very difficult to sand, due to its hardness. It’s good to buy this stuff prefinished, as there are a couple of finishing issues here. Also, that way you won’t be working with the sawdust. And some polyurethane finishes have been known to leave streaks because of reactions to oils and resins in this wood. But if you have prefinished wood, you will not experience any of those problems. It’s a great looking wood in this case.

TREE FACTS: It is known as Cuban or Santo Domingan mahogany because it comes from those islands. When the wood is freshly cut, it has a spicy smell.