Tropical trees from the Miliaceae family (American genus Swietenia and African genus Khaya). Mahogany has a fine, straight grain that takes a high polish. It is dimensionally stable and does not shrink, warp, or swell. The durable, dark reddish-brown wood was imported to Europe in the 18th century where it became popular for furniture, paneling and veneer. Mahogany was used by Chippendale, Hepplewhite, and the Adam brothers for high quality furniture. Ammonia brings out a rich, red color in mahogany wood. Mahogany is frequently attacked by pinhole borer beetles.
Many woods of similar colors have also been called mahoganies, but usually do not have rich color or fine cutting characteristics of the true mahogany wood.
Related trees from the Miliaceae family are the Asian Ailanthus tree, the southeast Asian lauan tree and the Himalayan chinaberry tree.
Synonyms and Related Terms
West Indies Mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni) American mahogany or Honduras mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla); African mahogany (any Khaya species); caoba (Esp.); acajou (Fr.); Mahagoniholz (Deut); mogano (It.); acaju, mogno americano (Port.); mahogny (Sven.); acajou; jequitiba; madeira wood
Medium tree growing to 20 m with short trunk and spreding crown. Leaves=Compound with 6-12 leaflets (5-15 cm long)
Hazards and Safety
Skin contact may cause allergic reactions.
Sources Checked for Data in Record
- Website address 1 Comment: Virginia Tech Dendrology website at www.fw.vt.edu/dendro/dendrology/main.htm (accessed Oct. 8, 2005)
- Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, at http://www.wikipedia.com Comment: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahogany (Accessed Oct. 8, 2005)
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- Encyclopedia Britannica, http://www.britannica.com Comment: "mahogany" [Accessed October 24, 2001].
- G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 488
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- George Savage, Art and Antique Restorer's Handbook, Rockliff Publishing Corp, London, 1954