Swietenia Mahogani | Tonewood Profile | “Cuban Mahogany“
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Cuban Mahogany is a very close relative of Honduran Mahogany but has a native range from Florida to Cuba and Jamaica. The semi-evergreen green is slightly smaller than its mainland brother [S.Macrophyllia] growing to 35m tall.
Due to intensive logging, Cuban mahogany has been no longer commercially available since the 1950s. However, a few small well established plantations exist in its natural range and abroad.
Cuban Mahogany is a light pink when fresh oxidising to deep rich red. It is easy to work with hand or machine tools and takes a excellent polish. Compared to Honduran Mahogany, Cuban is even easier to work with. It has a closer, finer grain and carves beautifully.
It is seen in various figures, with curl, quilt and wavy grain although these are now rare.
Basic specific gravity (ovendry weight/green volume) 0.40 to 0.68; air- dry density 30 to 52 pcf.
Janka side hardness 740 lb for green material and 800 lb for dry.
As a tonewood…
Honduran mahogany has a long history as a tonewood for necks as well as tops and back & sides. With it’s easy workability and ability to take a beautiful finish, it is a popular tonewood for small and major manufacturers.
Cuban Mahogany tends to be denser than Honduran and hence has more rosewood like qualities, with a better developed midrange and low end.
Plantations occasionally yield logs wide enough for guitar sets, although old growth timber is now on the CITES appendix II and although raw timber trade is regulated, finished articles can be traded freely.
Kinnaird guitars http://www.kinnairdguitars.com/
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