Questions on Mahogany

Discussion in 'Wood' started by ghostwolf, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. ghostwolf

    ghostwolf New Member

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    Can someone explain the differences between Honduran & African mahogany? Are the weights similar? When i think of mahogany, what comes to mind is a reddish brown wood, do either of these fit that description?
    Planning a new build, a '59 LP Jr doublecut, which wood will be the best choice?
     
  2. Heretic

    Heretic Well-Known Member

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    Both are reddish brown. Honduran is a little lighter and a little more expensive. African will be either Khaya ivorensis or sapele. Sapele is usually marked as sapele, but I have seen it listed as African mahogany.

    Honduran has a finer texture and usually has a flatter, more uniform appearing grain. Sapele often has a pronounced ribbon figure. Khaya is usually a little streakier than Honduran.

    I personally prefer to work with Honduran, because I feel it is less prone to tearing, chipping, and splitting when worked with power tools.
     
  3. Luthier-Atlanta

    Luthier-Atlanta New Member

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    The Honduran is lighter in color and I feel it is a little easier to work with.
     
  4. Purelojik

    Purelojik New Member

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    i work a ton with sapele because its beautiful and inexpensive. bonus is that its super easy to work with as well. weights are kinda random, i have pieces here that required no weight relief, and others that require substantial. i honestly just go by tap tone and aesthetics. the maple build im working on has a nice heft but the figure is just gorgeous.
     
  5. Luthier-Atlanta

    Luthier-Atlanta New Member

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    This is a build I am doing now.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Adam

    Adam Well-Known Member

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    My supplier lists sapele as African, same with khaya, but they don't have khaya right now.

    This has been typical, looks wise, for khaya that I've gotten:

    [​IMG]

    And this has been more typical for sapele (being much more uniform, straight grained, even coloring):

    [​IMG]

    Sapele is easier to machine and work with. Khaya tends to be brittle, it'll break apart if you send it through the planer or joiner in the wrong direction. I've only had one issue with tearout on sapale on the body above, and I was able to stop, grab the chunk that broke out and superglue it back into place, like it never happened. Otherwise all the other routing went perfect.

    I don't like Honduran. I think it's ugly, requires stain to look good, and I find khaya and sapele sound better to my ears.
     
  7. Heretic

    Heretic Well-Known Member

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    This is some Sapele I have:

    [​IMG]

    Both pieces are from the same board, but the left is sanded, the right is scraped. The ribboned figure is generally more indicative of sapele than khaya, but figuring can exist in either species. I am actually not a big fan of the ribbon figure.

    The inner core wood on this is Honduran:

    [​IMG]

    I prefer it to Khaya and Sapele. It tends to start out much lighter, but it darkens over time into a darker, richer reddish brown.

    In general, I think of mahogany as a great palette. On a guitar, it can be plain and pretty boring by itself, even with sapele's ribbon figure. But it mates very well with maple, walnut, redwood, cedar, ebony, myrtle, and just about any other kind of top/back wood you can come up with.
     
  8. ghostwolf

    ghostwolf New Member

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    Thanks for the information.
    Some interesting guitar bodies, too, by the way.
     

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