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Spotlight on Mahogany

According to The Encyclopedia of Wood, “The first description of the qualities of mahogany came as early as 1595, from the carpenter on Sir Walter Raleigh’s ship during an exploratory voyage to South America. The Spaniards began to use it regularly for ship repairs from the early 17th century.” After returning to England with ships that had been repaired with the wood, the Queen of England, Elizabeth, commented about the strange brown wood in the decks of the ships. Raleigh had the planks removed and sent to a craftsman, and had a table made. It was presented to the Queen. Because of the beauty and royal praise, mahogany became the preferred wood for cabinetry. Mahogany soon was known as one of the treasures of the New World and was exploited to the point of extinction. (www.craftsman-style.info)

InternetLumber.com assures us that eco-friendly plantations and growth practices have saved mahogany from extinction. Because of these sustainable farms, the demand and supply levels of the wood industry can continue to be met.

Types of Mahogany

There are several species and colors of mahogany that are supplied by various countries around the world. Not all of them are the same, as you’ll see in the descriptions below.

American Mahogany has the rich red color most often recognized as mahogany and comes from the West Indies, Mexico, and Central and South America. This type of mahogany has outstanding weathering capabilities and is recommended for use in the harshest of environments. Perfect for outdoor uses such as decks, doors, window frames and more, its applications will give an elegant, long-lasting, rich look.

African Mahogany is the other most commonly recognized mahogany. This is an extremely rot resistant and durable hardwood. It tends to have a ribbon-like grain, which becomes very pronounced when polished. African mahogany can be used in harsh environments, as well, and is recommended for outdoor uses.

Mahogany, in general, needs very little maintenance and clear finishes will preserve the natural color. If left unsealed, the wood will naturally weather to a gray/silver patina.

Mahogany is considered as the world’s premier wood for fine cabinetry, high-class furnishings, doors, window frames, veneer, interior design, boat making, musical instruments, and more.

If you love the look of mahogany’s rich deep colors, then consider it as a possible choice for a remodel or build design. The darker colors will go well with design styles such as Southwestern, English Country, Asian, and Mediterranean, where the lighter colors will match most any other style to fit your home decor. Because of its high qualities, most any remodel will benefit from the use of mahogany.

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