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CENTRAL AMERICAN MAHOGANY

V. Ryan 2008

 

Swietenia macrophylla
Family: Meliaceae

Common Names: Honduras mahogany, Bay-mahogany or Bay-wood (old UK name for timber shipped from the ‘Bay of Belize’), Brazilian mahogany (contemporary UK name), Big-leaved mahogany, Caoba (main South American and USA name), Araputanga, Acajou (French speaking areas), Mogno, Aguano (Brazil and Peru) and several more depending on the country of origin.

Distribution: Widely distributed throughout Central and South America from Mexico southwards through the region of Central America including, Guatemala, Honduras and well into mainland South America where they are also found in Brazil, Peru and Bolivia.

 
 
 

Working Properties: A timber which is very easy to work with both hand and machine tools. Some grades that display figured material are susceptible to torn and chipped grain, and boards that are found to be 'woolly' should be worked with sharp tools. It has good nailing and screwing properties, can be glued and stained effectively and will give excellent results with normal finishing techniques. The timber also produces a good veneer.

Uses: Central American Mahogany is a very versatile timber which is widely employed for a variety of end uses. The timber of this species was extensively employed in shipbuilding for planking and deck fittings of small motor craft and yachts. It is also used for furniture and high-class cabinet work, internal and external joinery, flooring, musical instruments, and pattern making (body shell mock-up for Aston Martin Lagonda etc...). It can also be used for turning and carving.

Durability: The heartwood is rated as durable in resistance to fungi, but has little resistance against marine borers.

Strength: The bending strength, stiffness and compressive strength along the grain are good for its weight. This relatively high strength-weight ratios for the above properties made 'Swietenia' spp a popular choice for the manufacture of propellers.

 
 
 
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