A material that I am particularly fond of is Mahogany, and perhaps this is due to it being such a rare type of wood these days. The use of Mahogany dates back to the seventeenth century in Britain, and it quickly became a popular material in the United States as well. Here are some facts on Mahogany that I found intriguing and thought you would appreciate hearing about as well:
- Mahogany is extremely strong and easy to work with. The material does not typically shrink or warp, it glues well, and can handle a high degree of polishing.
- Despite the popularity of Mahogany, the tree sources were never replenished. The rarity of this wood makes it so attractive today to many people.
- Attempts to re-plant the wood were made, but by the late 1800’s the species had been logged into genetic impoverishment and commercial extinction. This destruction was finished by infestations of the pyralid moth and the ambrosia beetle. A small grove of Swietenia mahagoni still exists on the island of Palau.
- We often see the color of Mahogany furniture vary, and this is because the pieces came from different locations, trees and of course polishing practices.
- The currently-beloved violet-red color of Mahogany came about between the two World Wars, and is not particularly original or authentic.
I use many fine materials in my custom furniture pieces including Crotch Birch, Mahogany, Ebony, Holly, and much more. Ask me about shopping for wood with my clients – it is always an interesting experience!