The terms “Genuine Mahogany” and “True Mahogany” tend to be thrown around quite a bit, especially by dishonest lumber dealers who want to pass off lesser woods as this highly desirable lumber, so it’s important to understand Genuine Mahogany before you purchase. The terms “Genuine” and “True” really only apply to a Mahogany only if that wood is classified in the Swietenia or Khaya families. The terms are often used in conflicting manners (Some dealers use the terms “Genuine” and “True” to differentiate Khaya and Swietenia species from one another, for example.), but most honest lumber wholesalers apply the terms to both types, as both are true and genuine Mahoganies.
It is important to understand that just because a wood is named as a Mahogany does not mean that the wood will actually be a Mahogany. So-called “Philippine Mahogany,” for example, is not related to Mahogany at all. This name is applied to many different types of wood, none of which are actually part of the Mahogany family. Similarly, the names “Santos Mahogany” and “Royal Mahogany” refer to species of wood that are not at all Mahoganies. Santos Mahogany, for example, is actually a type of wood related to the legume family. Most of these names are simply trying to capitalize on Mahogany’s outstanding reputation and lure unsuspecting buyers into purchasing a lesser wood sold under the Mahogany name.
Real Mahogany is a Central and South American wood that is prized for a number of reasons. First, it’s an outstanding wood to work with. It machines and carves easily, making it a favorite among craftsmen, and Mahogany’s durability ensures that pieces crafted from this wood will last a lifetime. It’s also exceptionally naturally resistant to moisture and rot, making it an acceptable exterior wood as well. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Mahogany is famous for its color. The wood is a deep, inviting red-brown that has been prized for centuries for its ability to add a touch of beauty and luxury to any design scheme. Most Mahogany substitutes can’t come close to matching this wood’s exceptional qualities.
Remember, a wood supplier doesn’t have to lie to you outright to trick you into purchasing illegitimate Mahogany. The terms “Genuine” and “True” can sometimes refer to different things, so dishonest wood dealers sometimes use this to their advantage. To purchase real Mahogany, you will need to find an experienced dealer with a proven reputation. McIlvain Company, for example, has over 200 years’ experience delivering luxury lumber to discerning customers, and all of their Mahogany lumber is legitimate. For smaller orders or lumber scrap pieces (for personal woodworking projects, for example), try an online supplier like HardwoodToGo.com, a dealer that specializes in supplying off cuts and small quantities to customers who want high quality wood.