For high end and everyday wood projects, Mahogany is one of America’s favorite woods. Both Genuine and African Mahoganies are beautiful woods that, when sourced from a reputable lumber dealer (like the J. Gibson McIlvain Company, for example) are sure to result in a wonderful completed project, but which type of Mahogany is the best choice for your individual needs? And what are the differences between the two?
The Basics: Genuine Mahogany is one of the most beloved and sought after types of wood, and it is quite famous as a result of its attractive appearance. Genuine Mahogany, which is sourced from Central and South America, was a staple lumber in the Colonial Era, and this type of wood has a rich, reddish brown coloration and an attractive grain pattern.
Ideal Applications: Genuine Mahogany was traditionally used in a variety of indoor applications, and interior projects like these are the ones for which the lumber is still popular today. Its beautiful appearance has made it a favorite among furniture makers, especially for restoration and heirloom pieces, but Genuine Mahogany is also popular for use in door, window, and cabinet manufacturing. The wood has even been used in the construction of unique hardwood floors.
Other perks: Genuine Mahogany boasts an easy workability, and it is also very naturally resistant to moisture damage and rot. The wood is available from McIlvain in uniquely large lengths and widths, making it suitable for a wide range of projects.
The Basics: African Mahogany is the general term for a few species of wood, but the two most commonly sourced are Khaya ivorensis and Khaya senegalensis. Despite sharing a common name with Genuine Mahogany, African Mahogany is a somewhat dissimilar wood. Where Genuine Mahogany is deep and rich in color, African Mahogany is lighter and a bit pinkish. The species is also about 50 percent harder than most other Mahogany variants.
Ideal Applications: African Mahogany, while very popular in interior projects, is more commonly employed in outdoor applications than its Genuine counterpart. The wood is especially well-suited to door and window manufacturing projects. African Mahogany also takes clear coat, stain, and paint very well, making it very versatile and flexible in terms of the types of projects in which it can be used. Like Genuine Mahogany, African Mahogany is easy to machine and work, and because this characteristic only increases as the wood’s quality does, it always pays to purchase from a reputable, high end lumber dealer.
Other perks: Although the two woods have a number of differences, African Mahogany is very popular as a less expensive alternative to Genuine Mahogany. The variegated, interlocking grain pattern of the lumber has the tendency to result in alternating bands of light and dark color in finished projects, adding significantly to the attractiveness of the wood.
Both Genuine and African Mahoganies are spectacular woods, and both have earned a place in the homes (and hearts) of a great many Americans. The lumbers are similar in coloration and quality, but while Genuine Mahogany is a traditional interior wood, African Mahogany is a more contemporary wood that is often used in exterior projects. Both types of lumber are extremely versatile, though, so their possibilities are nearly limitless.
Want to learn more about Mahogany and the lumber industry?
- What makes Genuine Mahogany special?
- Why Bolivian Genuine Mahogany is out of the question for 2011
- Genuine Mahogany’s high prices explained