Honduran Mahogany. Tonewood Database.

Swietenia Macrophyllia | Tonewood Profile | “Honduran Mahogany


Tonewoods Database

We present and highly recommend viewing the pdf version of this article first as it contains the most up to date information and more photos.


 

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Quick Facts
Scientific name: Swietenia macrophyllia
Trade names: Mahogany, Honduran Mahogany
Janka: 800 approx
Uses: Back and sides. veneer
RIYL: Mahogany!
Bling factor: Chatayonace and curl is uncommon
Availability: Good
CITES status: Not listed. No restrictions
Note: (RIYL) Recommended If You Like

Natural History

Honduran Mahogany has a native range from south Mexico to the upper Amazon in Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil.  It grows to 45m tall, 2m in truncal diameter.

Ken Miller #118
(click for fullsize)
Ken Miller #118 Guitar The Tree Mahogany
Dreadnought
Bearclaw Red spruce top
The Tree Mahoganyback and sides
Find out more:
1. Ken Miller Interview
2. Owner’s Impression.

 

Famous trees

“The Tree”
The Tree is the name of a large, figured mahogany tree discovered in the Honduras. The figure was exceptionally good with a very intense, even flecked quilting. Timber from this tree has made excellent guitar sets, table tops and veneer stock. For our feature article on “The Tree” click here.

Status

Honduran mahogany is currently threatened due to habit loss and over logging. However, well established plantations exist in its natural range and abroad.

Physical properties

Honduran Mahogany is pinkish to yellowish when fresh oxidising to deep rich red or brown with distinct yellow-white sapwood.  It is easy to work with hand or machine tools and takes a excellent polish.

It is seen in various figures, with curl, quilt and wavy grain.

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.

Subjective tone…

Dana Bourgeois puts it best:

“Where rosewood guitars can be thought of as having a “metallic” sound, mahogany ….guitars are better described as sounding “woody, although the harder, more dense examples … can take on some of the characteristics of the rosewoods.”

Availability

Plantations should ensure a decent supply for the near future, although old growth timber is now on the CITES appendix 2 and trade is now limited.

Tonewoods Database

Links/Sources:
Wikipedia
Trees, shrubs and plams of Panama
Dana Bourgeois

©Terence Tan.

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