Mahogany wood is commonly used to make furniture and cabinets, even though it was also used to build boats in ancient times. Mahogany is a type of hardwood but it is further on divided into other types, including the Cuban, the Honduras and the African mahogany. But what these types have in common is their dark color, their straight grain and their fine good-quality texture. Keep in mind that the most authentic mahogany types are found in South America, in such countries as Cuba, Honduras, Guatemala, Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico. Mahogany trees are also found in the Caribbean islands. All varieties of mahogany are currently protected by CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild flora and fauna. Mahogany can be also utilized in the construction of stereo headphones, phonographic record cartridges, electric guitars and other musical instruments.
1 – Cuban Mahogany
Cuban mahogany is scientifically known as Swietenia mahagoni and it is called the West Indian or the small leaf mahogany as well. This type of mahogany has unfortunately become quite rare nowadays due to over harvesting. Cuban mahogany has a light reddish-brown color at first, but it darkens as time passes by.
2 – Honduras Mahogany
Honduras mahogany is scientifically known as Swietenia macrophylla and it is called the bigleaf mahogany as well. It is less dense than Cuban mahogany, but it is considered an endangered species too. Honduras mahogany is ideal to be cut, planed or sanded. However, when you are doing a woodwork job on Honduras mahogany, you need to make sure that the tools are all sharp enough. Since this wood is renowned for its strength and resistance, it is often chosen for outdoor furniture. It is also safe for you to apply stain or finish to the wood because you will not cause any damage.
3 – African Mahogany
African mahogany makes part of the mahogany family, but its wood is cheaper than the authentic mahogany of South America. This type of mahogany is found in such countries as Ghana, Ivory Coast and Madagascar. There are 7 varieties of African mahogany, but the most common is known as Khaya ivorensis. African mahogany has been imported in the United States and used in woodwork and carpentry for more than a century now.
4 – New Zealand Mahogany
New Zealand mahogany is also called kohekohe by the Maori native people of New Zealand, but it is scientifically known as Dysoxylum spectabile. Just like its African counterpart, New Zealand mahogany is not authentic, but it is considered to be a close relative of the authentic mahogany of South America.
New Zealand mahogany is very strong and resistant even though its wood is light. However, it has a shorter durability and a softer texture than other mahogany types; therefore it decays more quickly than others. The color of polished New Zealand mahogany is different than that of Honduras and Cuban mahogany; they both have a reddish-brown color whereas the mahogany variety from New Zealand has a red color instead.