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American Mahogany Swietenia macrophylla

THE NEXT BEST THING TO CUBAN MAHOGANY
Of the many woods around the world that are referred to as mahogany, Swietenia macrophylla is about the only true mahogany that is commercially available. Since Cuban mahogany (S. mahogani) is now all but extinct, American mahogany is considered the best type available. It has the pink color of Cuban mahogany, but the texture and grain pattern is less consistent.

KEY CHARACTERISTICS
Type Tropical hardwood
Other names Honduras mahogany, Brazilian mahogany, big leaf mahogany, true mahogany
Similar species Venezuelan mahogany (S. candollei)
Alternatives Black cherry (Prunus serotina), pearwood (Pyrus communis), Cuban mahogany (S. mahogani) Sources Central and South America
Color Varying streaks of pink to red, to dark red and brown
Texture Medium to coarse, and generally even, though bands can vary
Grain Mainly straight, but also interlocked
Hardness Medium, but you can hit harder streaks.
Weight Medium to heavy (40 la./cu. ft.) (640 kg/cu. m)
Strength Poor to medium
Seasoning and stability Generally good to season, and with little movement once dry.
Wastage Low
Range of board widths Good
Range of board thicknesses Good
Durability Prone to some insect attack but durable outside.

VARIATIONS
Plain-sawn boards can produce marvelous flame-figured mahogany (large U-shaped patterns of grain), which is ideal for panels. Alternatively there is crotch mahogany, which is cut from the join between the trunk and a branch, and used mainly for veneer for cabinets, doors and panels. Special effects, usually available as veneer, include fiddleback, mottle, pommelle, stripe and curl.

SUSTAINABILITY
American mahogany has been said to be vulnerable in some regions, but certified lumber is available. It is listed in CITES Appendix II.

AVAILABILITY AND COST
Good supplies of American mahogany are available. Its price competes well with black cherry and black walnut.




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