Mahogany (Swietenia Macrophylla) is a medium-sized hardwood, native to Central America including the West Indies, Cuba and the adjacent mainland from Mexico to Brazil. Due to its excellent growth, it is now being planted in other tropical areas including the Solomon Islands.
- Naturally-grown Mahogany is one of the world's classic furniture timbers. It is also a good plantation species, exhibiting excellent growth and form.
- The timber is highly decorative and can be placed in two colour categories of red-brown and yellow/orange brown. The timbers darkens in colour on exposure to light. A distinct cathedral-like pattern can be observed on back-sawn material; a broad, banded or ribbon figure is evident on quarter-sawn faces due to interlocked grain. The timber also produces flared streaks due to changing grain patterns. Small, tight pin-knots are sometimes visible, which adds to the timber's decorative appeal.
- The timber dries readily with little degrade. It can be kiln-dried from the green condition (in 25mm boards) but thicker stock should undergo preliminary air-drying to 25-30% m.c. Quartersawn material is slower to dry than back-sawn. Care is required when determining moisture content of mixed sawn stock. The timber has a low shrinkage rate and is stable in-service.
- Mahogany is easy to work with both machine and hand tools. Cutter edges need to be kept well sharpened and cutter angles adjusted to ensure a high quality, smooth finish, since bands of woolliness can arise, when machining material from immature stems, due to the presence of tension wood.