African Mahogany refers to more than one species of wood, but the two species most commonly sold under the name are Khaya ivorensis and Khaya senegalensis. African Mahogany is one of Genuine Mahogany’s most famous substitutes, but despite this common usage, the wood is in many respects quite different from Genuine Mahogany.
While African Mahogany shares a color that is similar to Genuine Mahogany’s, the color match is not exact. Whereas Genuine Mahogany is famous for its deep, reddish brown coloration, African Mahogany’s color patterns – although no less beautiful – are somewhat lighter. The wood is a pale reddish-brown, sometimes displaying pinkish undertones.
And the differences between Genuine Mahogany and African Mahogany don’t end there. African Mahogany, as a result of its straight, interlocking grain, is also hard – about fifty percent harder than most Mahoganies. This variegated grain pattern also results in some appearance differences in the form of alternating bands of light and dark color in the finished lumber.
African Mahogany makes a fantastic alternative to the more expensive Genuine Mahogany in that it is a very reliable wood. It is much more affordable than Genuine Mahogany, yet it is just as stable, making it perfect for outdoor applications. Genuine Mahogany is often used in door and window applications because its stability makes it perfect for projects in which the wood must perform well within tight tolerances.
African Mahogany is also a very flexible wood in terms of the types of appearances it is capable of taking on. Its natural characteristics make the wood absolutely beautiful under a clear coat or stain, but the lumber’s grain also takes paint very well.
This flexibility in appearance possibilities, as well as the wood’s other positive characteristics, such as its coloration and stability, increases with the quality of the wood, so purchasing African Mahogany from a high quality lumber dealer is definitely a worthwhile investment. J. Gibson McIlvain, a centuries-old wholesaler of high quality lumber carries only the best African Mahogany boards, and their selection of this lumber holds its own not only by being a great alternative to Genuine Mahogany, but also by being a fantastic wood in standalone terms.
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