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Mahogany Sample Data Page

( Return to The Wood Explorer CD Main Page )

Each report would normally be associated with 1-10 photos of the wood.

Also see  Eastern White Pine  and  Norway Spruce

Mahogany

Scientific Name

Swietenia macrophylla

Trade Name
Honduras mahogany

Family Name
Meliaceae

Synonyms
Swietenia krukovii
Swietenia tessmannii[
Swietenia candollei
Swietenia krukovii
Swietenia tessmannii

Common Names
Acajou
Acajou Amerique
Acajou d'Amerique
Acajou du Honduras
Aguano
American mahogany
Americkaans mahonie
Amerikaans mahonie
Aquano de tabasco
Ara putange
Araputanga
Bastard lime
Bay-mahogany
Baywood
Belize mahogany
Big leafed mahogany
Big-leafed mahogany
Bigleaf mahogany
Brazilian mahogany
Broad leaved mahogany
Broad-leaved mahogany
Cabano
Caguano
Campeche
Cao
Caoba
Caoba Americana
Caoba Hondurea
Caoba Hondurena
Caoba de Atlantico
Caoba de Honduras
Caoba mahogany
Caoba roja
Caobilla
Cedro espinoso
Cedro-rana
Central American mahogany
Chacalte
Chiapas
Chiculte
Chiculti
Cobano
Costa Rica mahogany
Costa Rico mahogany
Crura
Cuban mahogany
Flor de veradillo
Gateado
Giai ngua
Granadillo
Guatemala mahogany
Honduras mahogany
Large leaf mahogany
Large leaved mahogany
Madeira
Mahogany
Mahogany Honduras
Mahoni
Mahonie
Mara
Mogno
Mogno do rio Jurupari
Orura
Palo xopilote
Palo xopliote
Palo zopilote
Palo zopilote
Peruvian mahogany
Punab
Purab
Red cedar
Red wood
Resadillo
Sisam
Tabasco mahogany
Tzopible
Tzopilote
Tzutzul
Venezuela mahogany
Zopilocuahuitl
Zopilote
Zopilozontecomacuahuitl

Plantation species?
Yes

Regions of Distribution
Central America
Latin America
Oceania and S.E. Asia

Countries of Distribution
Bahamas
Belize
Bolivia
Brazil
Colombia
Columbia
Costa Rica
Cuba
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
El Salvador
Fiji [Polynesia]
Guyana
Haiti
Honduras
Indonesia
Jamaica
Mexico
Nicaragua
Panama
Peru
Philippines
Puerto Rico [US]
Solomon Islands
Venezuela

Common Uses
Bedroom suites
Boat building (general)
Boat building
Boat building: decking
Boat building: planking
Boxes and crates
Building materials
Cabinetmaking
Canoes
Carvings
Chairs
Chests
Coffins
Concealed parts (Furniture)
Cooperages
Decorative veneer
Desks
Dining-room furniture
Dowell pins
Dowells
Drawer sides
Drawing boards
Drum sticks
Figured veneer
Fine furniture
Floor lamps
Flooring
Fuelwood
Furniture
Furniture components
Furniture squares or stock
Furniture
Handles: general
Hatracks
Heavy construction
Interior construction
Interior trim
Joinery (external): ground contact
Joinery
Kitchen cabinets
Lifeboats
Light construction
Living-room suites
Mathematical instruments
Millwork
Model airplanes
Moldings
Musical instruments
Musical instruments
Musical instruments: piano
Office furniture
Organ pipes
Paneling
Paneling
Particleboard
Piano keys
Pianos
Plywood corestock
Plywood
Radio - stereo - TV cabinets
Rustic furniture
Scientific instruments
Sculpture
Shipbuilding
Tables
Turnery
Veneer
Veneer: decorative

Environmental Profile
Endangered
Abundant/Secure
Extinct
Rare
Vulnerable
Questionable

Widespread
Some long-term concern for the species
Secure within many parts of its natural range, but not completely assessed
Rare in parts of its natural range
Extinct, Endangered, Vulnerable, or Rare within parts of its range
Endangered within parts of its natural boundaries
Data source is World Conservation Monitoring Center
Data source is Nature Conservancy
Considered vulnerable in its natural habitat because its numbers are threatened by serious adverse factors throughout its range. However, the species likely exists today in relatively large numbers.

There is some long-term concern about its continued abundance in these areas and the threat to its population in other areas

While it is relatively secure in El Salvador and Honduras, the status of Honduras mahogany in Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, and Bolivia is known to be either Extinct, Endangered, Vulnerable, or Rare. The species is Vulnerable in Nicaragua, Rare in Colombia and Endangered within its natural boundaries in Guatemala and the following regions in Brazil: Acre, Amazonas, Goias, Maranhao, Mato Grosso, Para, and Rondonia

Distribution Overview
Perhaps the most valuable timber tree in the whole of tropical Latin America, Honduras mahogany has an extensive tropical distribution, from the north of the State of Veracruz to Yucatan in Mexico, and along the north Atlantic slope of Central America to Venezuela and Brazil. It also occurs in Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia at elevations of up to 4900 feet (1500 m), and on Cape Verde Islands. It is usually found in dry forests but it also occurs in moist and gallery forests. S. macrophylla is now widely planted throughout the whole of the tropics as a forest crop and currently provides almost all mahogany on the commercial market.

Heartwood Color
+ Brown
+ Red
+ Yellow
Orange
Pink
White
Purple
Black
Highly variable

Reddish brown
Yellow to golden-yellow to orange
Pale brown
Pale red to pink
Brown
Dark brown
Red
Dark brown
Yellow
White to cream
Salmon pink to light pinkish brown, or reddish brown
Pink
Matures into deep reddish brown
Exposure to sunlight may fade color
Color varies considerably
The wide variability in color has enabled many look-alike species to be marketed as mahogany.

Sapwood Color
+ White
Yellow
Brown
Red
Green/Grey
Pink

White to yellow
Well defined
Pinkish
Whitish
Paler than heartwood
Different than heartwood

Grain
+ Figure
+ Straight
+ Interlocked
Stripe (figure)
Growth rings (figure)
Wavy
Distinct (figure)
Closed
Even
Birds-eye (figure)
Mottled (figure)
Rippled (figure)
Variable (figure)
Irregular

+ Straight
+ Interlocked
Striped figure
Wavy
Clear growth rings (figure)
Distinct figure
Variable figure
Rippled figure
Mottled figure
Straight to roey, wavy, or curly
Storied waves produce wavy horizontal bands across the surface of flat-sawn boards
Irregular
Irregularities in the grain often produce highly attractive figures such as, fiddleback, blister, stripe or roe, and mottle.

Texture
+ Medium
Fine
Coarse
Uniform

Medium
Medium to coarse
Fine
Fine to medium
Coarse and uniform

Luster
+ High
Medium
Low

Pronounced
Lustrous
Slightly lustrous
High
Golden luster

Natural Growth Defects
Yellowish deposits in vessels
Whitish deposits in vessels
Whitish deposits in vessels
Brittleheart is rare or absent. When present, it is sparse in amount

Natural Durability
+ Susceptible to insect attack
+ Durable
+ Non-resistant to marine borers
+ Non-resistant to termites
Non-resistant to powder post beetles
Very durable
Moderately durable
Perishable
Non-durable
Resistant to marine borers

+ Susceptible to marine borer attack
+ Durable
+ Susceptible to attack from termites (Isoptera)
Susceptible to attack from powder post (Lyctid & Bostrychid) beetles
Pinworms (ambrosia beetles) often present in the standing tree
Pinworms (ambrosia beetles) are commonly present
Very durable
Moderately durable
Susceptible to pinhole borers
Suitable for marine applications
Non durable
Heartwood susceptible to marine borer attack
Heartwood resistant to attack by white rot and brown rot fungi
Heartwood moderately resistant to dry-wood termites
Heartwood has high resistance to decay
Good weathering properties
Mahogany has very good weathering qualities which makes a very good choice for boat building.

Weathering
Excellent

Odor
Has an odor

No specific smell or taste

Light-Induced Color Change
Darker

Toxicity
Some toxic effects

Unspecified toxicity
Dermatitic effects

Kiln Schedules
+ Drying (speed) is fast
UK=F US=T6D4/T3D3 Fr=6
UK=E US=T6D2/T3D1 Fr=5
Kiln Drying Rate (in days) is fairly rapid
Dry at a moderate speed
T6 - D4 (4/4) US
T3 - D3 (8/4) US
Schedule F (4/4) United Kingdom
Kiln Drying Rate (in days) is rapid

Drying Defects
+ Distortion
Checking
Splitting

Slight surface checking
Slight twist/warp
Moderate twist/warp
No surface checking
No end splitting
Moderate surface checking
Slight spring/bow
Slight end splitting
Slight cupping
No twisting or warping
No resin/gum exudation
No cupping, generally
No collapse/honeycomb
Moderate end spitting
Generally free from spring and bow
Distortion (twist/warp) is likely

Ease of Drying
+ Fairly Easy
Rapidly
Slowly
Reconditioning Treatement

+ Easy
Dries easily with very little degrade

Kiln Drying Rate
+ Naturally dries quickly
Drying rate is fairly rapid to fast
Naturally dries at a moderate speed
Rapid

Fairly rapid (11-17 days for boards under 32 mm, to 31-51 days for boards greater than 63 mm)
Rapid (<10 days for boards < 32 mm, to <30 days for boards >= 63 mm)

Tree Identification
+ Bole/stem form is buttressed
Bole/stem form is straight
Bole/stem form is cylindrical

Tree Size
+ Trunk diameter is 150-200 cm
+ Bole length is 10-20 m
+ Tree height is 30-40 m
Trunk diameter is 100-150 cm
Trunk diameter is 200-250 cm
Tree height is 40-50 m
Tree height is 20-30 m
Sapwood width is 0-5 cm
Sapwood width is 5-10 cm
Tree height is 50-60 m
Bole length is 20-30 m
Tree height is 60-70 m
Bole length is 30-40 m
Tree height is 10-20 m

Product Sources
The ITTO reports that the species is an important source of timber for export. It is exported in the form of square-edged timber, veneers, and plywood.

Honduras mahogany is readily available at moderate prices at present, but its continued availability is of some concern because of high demand. Current supplies of the standing trees are also becoming more inaccessible and scarce due to exploitation.

Certified Source
Certified Source

Comments
General finishing qualities are rated as good

Tension wood may be present

Blunting Effect
+ Little
Moderate

Blunting effect on machining is slight
Slight
Blunting effect on sawing dry wood is mild
Blunting effect on machining is moderate

Boring
Fairly easy to very easy
Fair to good results

Easy
Good results

Carving
Fair to Good Results
Fairly Easy to Very Easy

Generally good results

Cutting Resistance
Easy to saw

Cutting Resistance with green wood is easy
Cutting Resistance with dry wood is easy
Easy to saw

Gluing
+ Fairly Easy to Very Easy

+ Easy to glue

Mortising
Fairly Easy to Very Easy
Fair to Good Results
Poor to Very Poor Results

Easy to mortise
Material tends to chip and tear
Finishes poorly

Moulding
Fairly Easy to Very Easy
Fair to Good Results
Very Good to Excellent Results

Easy to mould
Good finishing results

Movement in Service
+ Excellent Stability - Small Movement

+ Small
Stable
Mahogany is considered to be one of the most stable commercially important timbers, and holds its place very well in use.

Nailing
Fair to Good Results
Fairly Easy to Very Easy
Pre-Boring Recommended
Very Good to Excellent Results

Holds nails well
Possible if prebored
Good nailing properties
Easy to nail

Planing
Fairly Easy to Very Easy
Fair to Good Results
Very Good to Excellent Results

Easy to plane
Planes well, to a good finish
Planes to a satisfactory finish
Figured material may cause grain to chip and tear

Resistance to Impregnation
+ Resistant heartwood
Resistant sapwood
Permeable sapwood
Permeable heartwood

+ Heartwood is highly resistant
Heartwood is resistant
Sapwood is resistant
Sapwood is permeable
Heartwood is permeable

Resistance to Splitting
Good

Response to Hand Tools
+ Easy to Work
Responds Readily

+ Easy to machine
Good response

Routing & Recessing
Fairly Easy to Very Easy
Very Good to Excellent Results
Fair to Good Results

Routing is easy
Routing yields good results

Sanding
Fairly Easy to Very Easy
Fair to Good Results
Very Good to Excellent Results

Easy to sand
Satisfactory sanding results
Good sanding finish

Screwing
+ Fair to Good Results
Fairly Easy to Very Easy
Very Good to Excellent Results

Satisfactory results
Easy to screw
Screwing yields good results
Good screwing properties

Turning
Fairly Easy to Very Easy
Fair to Good Results
Very Good to Excellent Results

Easy to turn
Good results
Finish is generally satisfactory

Veneering Qualities
Suitable for peeling
Suitable for slicing
Veneers easily
Veneers moderately easy

Easy to cut
There is slight to moderate drying degrade and the potential for buckles and splits
Suitable for slicing
Suitable for peeling
No steaming needed during bolt preparation.
Good gluing qualities

Steam Bending
Fair to Good Results
Fairly Easy to Very Easy

Moderate
Fairly good response to preservative treatment

Polishing
+ Fair to Good Results
Very Good to Excellent Results

+ Good results

Staining
Fair to Good Results
Very Good to Excellent Results
Fairly Easy to Very Easy

Finish is generally satisfactory
Finish is generally good
Stains well

Varnishing
Fair to Good Results
Fairly Easy to Very Easy

Satisfactory
Good results

Strength Properties
+ Density (dry weight) = 31-37 lbs/cu. ft.
+ Max. crushing strength = medium
+ Modulus of Elasticity (stiffness) = very low
+ Bending strength (MOR) = low
+ Shrinkage, Tangential = very small
+ Hardness (side grain) = medium
+ Shrinkage, Radial = small
+ Shrinkage, Radial = very small
Density (dry weight) = 38-45 lbs/cu. ft.
Shrinkage, Tangential = small
Shearing strength (parallel to grain) = low
Shearing strength (parallel to grain) = very low
Shearing strength (parallel to grain) = medium
Max. crushing strength = low
Density (dry weight) = 46-52 lbs/cu. ft.
Modulus of Elasticity (stiffness) = low
Toughness (total work) = very low
Work to Maximum Load = very low
Density (dry weight) = 15-22 lbs/cu. ft.
Strength properties vary because of wide differences in density
Shrinkage, Tangential = moderate
Shrinkage, Radial = moderate
Shearing strength (parallel to grain) = very high
Shearing strength (parallel to grain) = high
Hardness (side grain) = very soft
Density = high
Density (dry weight) = 53-60 lbs/cu. ft.
Density (dry weight) = 23-30 lbs/cu. ft.
Compression strength (parallel to grain) = medium
Bending strength (MOR) = high
Modulus of Elasticity (stiffness) = very high
Hardness (side grain) = soft
Bending strength (MOR) = medium

Numerical Data
                       Item     Green      Dry English    
           Bending Strength      7885    11575 psi        
          Crushing Strength       905     1548 psi        
                    Density        35          lbs/ft3    
                   Hardness      1006          lbs        
            Impact Strength        29       21 inches     
  Maximum Crushing Strength      3979     6284 psi        
          Shearing Strength      1532          psi        
             Static Bending      4901     6788 psi        
                  Stiffness      1185     1353 1000 psi   
                  Toughness       103          inch-lbs   
       Work to Maximum Load         6        7 inch-lbs/in3
           Specific Gravity      0.53     0.57            
                     Weight        33       32 lbs/ft3    
           Radial Shrinkage         2          %          
       Tangential Shrinkage         4          %          
       Volumetric Shrinkage         8          %          

                       Item     Green      Dry Metric
           Bending Strength       554      813 kg/cm2
          Crushing Strength        63      108 kg/cm2
                    Density       560          kg/cm3
                   Hardness       456          kg  
            Impact Strength        73       53 cm  
  Maximum Crushing Strength       279      441 kg/cm2
          Shearing Strength       107          kg/cm2
             Static Bending       344      477 kg/cm2
                  Stiffness        83       95 1000 kg/cm2
                  Toughness       118          cm-kg
       Work to Maximum Load      0.42     0.49 cm-kg/cm3
           Specific Gravity      0.53     0.57     
                     Weight       528      512 kg/cm3
           Radial Shrinkage         2          %   
       Tangential Shrinkage         4          %   
       Volumetric Shrinkage         8          %    

References
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