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September 11, 2012

Making Sense of the Myriad Mahoganies

Since the beginning of time, well maybe not that long ago, the different names for various types of Mahogany and related species have been bandied about to the point of much confusion and misinformation. We thought by providing a little information we could help to add some clarity to the conversation and also arm you (our readers) with enough facts for you to feel confident when communicating with clients and helping them make informed decisions. Here's a short course on the most common and most commonly mistaken types of Mahogany.

African mahogany or Khaya tree.
African Mahogany tree trunk - img courtesy of

African Mahogany (Khaya Ivorensis)
This is the most commonly found species being sold as Mahogany today. Its origin is tropical West Africa as the name implies. The heartwood is a medium reddish brown color and the grain structure is considered medium to coarse textured with open pores. It is moderately priced and is considered a valid substitute for Genuine or Honduran Mahogany (swietenia macrophylla).

Honduran Mahogany tree.
Honduran Mahogany tree - img
courtesy of

Honduran Mahogany (Swietenia Macrophylla)
Honduran Mahogany is what many know as Genuine Mahogany or Brazilian Mahogany. Though not as common as African Mahogany it is still relatively available commercially. Its origins extend from Southern Mexico into central South America. It is grown extensively but not exclusively on plantations and is therefore sustainable. The heartwood can vary from a pale pinkish brown color to a dark reddish brown and it will darken with age. The grain texture is considered medium with medium to large pores. It's still moderately priced and only slightly more than African Mahogany.

Cuban Mahogany
Cuban Mahogany grove - img courtesy of 
Cuban Mahogany (Swietenia Mahogani)
Very rare and very expensive (when it's available) Cuban Mahogany is the original Genuine Mahogany. The heartwood is typically a light pinkish brown color to a dark reddish brown, usually the denser the wood the darker the color. Cuban Mahogany was extensively used in early period furniture in Europe and the US until mid century when Cuba banned all exports of the lumber because of over harvesting. It is still in scarce supply from other sources in the Caribbean. The texture of true Cuban Mahogany is medium with a medium to open pore structure.

Philippine mahogany
Philippine Mahogany Logs

Philippine Mahogany
Philippine Mahogany is an umbrella term applied to various species of wood from Southeast Asia, most often Meranti and Lauan. The woods generally referred to as Philippine Mahogany are technically not related to any wood species from the Swietenia or Khaya genus.

African Mahogany Veneer Special
This month we are offering Flat Cut African Mahogany 4' x 8' sheets on 10mil or 20mil paperback at substantial savings. These are first quality, A grade veneers and are mostly singles or pairs of consistent color. These are available on a first come first served basis as quantities are limited (approximately 50 sheets). Be the first kid on your block to get some quality Mahogany at unbelievable prices.


Flat Cut African Mahogany flexible veneer sheets. Plain Sliced Khaya veneer sheets.

Originally this offer was only offered to our email newsletter subscribers. But this deal is so good we figured that we could let you know about our quarterly newsletter and maybe even get you to sign up for it. When the WiseWood Wire was conceived we had many goals in mind. One of those goals was to offer something to our readers that isn't available to anyone EXCLUSIVE offer (see where I'm going with this)? So sign up for the WiseWood Wire newsletter and call [(586) 825 2387] or email us [] to get the Khaya at the above prices and stock up.

You can use the following form to sign up for the WiseWood Wire.

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