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Exotic Hardwood: African Mahogany

Posted: Monday, August 15, 2011

Exotic Hardwoods African MahoganyFor a wood floor that will really wow your guests, consider African Mahogany. A good alternative to typical hardwood flooring options like oak or walnut, African Mahagony heartwood exhibits a rich, reddish brown color. Another interesting trait of this wood is that it shows a kind of optical phenomenon known as chatoyancy.

African Mahogany wood hails from west tropical Africa and Madagascar. The tree can grow to be 100 to 130 ft tall, with a trunk of 3-5 ft in diameter. The texture of African Mahogany is coarse, with open pores. The grain can run the gamut: straight, irregular, or interlocked. The endgrain is diffuse-porous with medium pores scattered about. Don’t rely on judging the age of an African Mahogany by how many rings the trunk has; the rings are typically indistinct. This type of wood has no distinctive odor.

The wood of the African Mahogany has a hardiness up to 910 pounds and it is rated as moderately durable. This is a great wood to use in your house, as it is resistant to termites and borers, although it may be susceptible to beetles. When laying this wood, you will find that it is easy to work with, glue down, and finish. However, be sure to note the grain when laying your floor, as tearout can be a problem if the grain of the flooring is interlocked. Also, working with this wood can cause skin and eye irritation, and African Mahogany has been reported as a sensitizer.

This wood is moderately priced for an exotic wood. Additionally, Mahogany can be found on plantations, which help to keep the cost down and the supply high. African Mahogany is the only mahogany that is widely accepted as an alternative to true mahogany (Honduran Mahogany).

Other common uses of African Mahogany include plywood, furniture, turned items, shelving, boat-building, and interior trim – making it an excellent wood for unifying elements in your home. Try it on a chair, a piedmont, and your floor to make a dramatic statement. Or keep the room understated by using this wood for a highly polished floor.