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Mahogany, American

Mahogany, American (Swietenia macrophylla)

Mahogany, American is an imported hardwood

Location

True, American, or Honduras mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) ranges from southern Mexico through Central America into South America as far south as Bolivia. Plantations have been established within its natural range and elsewhere throughout the tropics.

Characteristics

The heartwood varies from pale pink or salmon colored to dark reddish brown. The grain is generally straighter than that of African mahogany (Khaya ivorensis); however, a wide variety of grain patterns are obtained from American mahogany. The texture is rather fine to coarse. American mahogany is easily air or kiln dried without appreciable warp or checks, and it has excellent dimensional stability. It is rated as durable in resistance to decay fungi and moderately resistant to dry-wood termites. Both heartwood and sapwood are resistant to treatment with preservatives. The wood is very easy to work with hand and machine tools, and it slices and rotary cuts into fine veneer without difficulty. It also is easy to finish and takes an excellent polish. The air-dried strength of American mahogany is similar to that of American elm (Ulmus americana). Density of air-dried wood varies from 480 to 833 kg/m3 (30 to 52 lb/ft3).

Primary Uses

The principal uses for mahogany are fine furniture and cabinets, interior woodwork, pattern woodwork, boat construction, fancy veneers, musical instruments, precision instruments, paneling, turnery, carving, and many other uses that call for an attractive and dimensionally stable wood.
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