African Mahogany is a wood that continues to grow in popularity — so much so that this new millennium has seen its various species be replanted into tropical regions in Central America, as well as becoming a contemporary plantation roster addition. Depending on its origin, growth conditions and specific strain (“African Mahogany” encompasses four different Khaya species), it color can range from a pale pink or muted orange, to a somewhat darker reddish- or golden-brown. It can also have darker striping, and, aesthetically, it can be further enhanced through figuring (ribbon; wavy diagonal; mottled) and varying levels of chatoyance.
Its grains are typically either straight or interlocked. It works, turns and finishes easily, and beautifully, although boards which feature interlocked grains can occasionally pose tearout issues when planing, joining or resawing.
Sustainability: This species is not listed in the CITES Appendices, but is listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. (Given recent upsurges in supply, it may be due for a reevaluation.)
Common Uses: Veneer, plywood, turned items, furniture, boatbuilding, electric guitar building, and interior trim.
Comments: This is another commercially important wood to the African continent. It has been traditionally used there in numerous applications, and is considered a strong, tough, durable wood.
Its being utilized as a Genuine Mahogany substitute has seen its popularity and demand increase, leading to plantation-grown lumber and its various species being transplanted into tropical regions across Latin America. Its ‘mahogany substitute’ status is a valid, justified one: the wood possesses many of the same structural and aesthetic qualities as Honduran Mahogany.