Common Name(s): Ipe, Brazilian Walnut, Lapacho

Scientific Name: Handroanthus spp. (formerly placed in the Tabebuia genus)

Origin: Tropical Americas (Central and South America); also farmed commercially

Tree Size: 100-130 ft (30-40 m) tall, 3-5 ft (1-1.5 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 40 lbs/ft3 (640 kg/m3)

 

 

Color & Appearance:

African Mahogany heartwood color is varied and can range from a very pale pink to a very deep red-brown; it sometimes shows streaks of medium to dark red-brown. The color has a tendency to to darken with age. Quartersawn surfaces ma yhave a ribbon-striped look.

Grain & Texture:

African Mahogany grain is straight to interlocked and has medium to coarse texture. The wood has a nice natural luster that exhibits a light-refracting optical occurrence known as “chatoyancy.”

Endgrain:

African Mahogany is diffuse-porous with big to very big pores, few in number. It has solitary and radial multiples with orange-brown deposits sometimes present; growth rings are usually indistinct, but can, at times be distinct because of terminal parenchyma. Rays are medium to wide with somewhat close spacing. Parenchyma is small to vasicentric, occasionally marginal (not typical for the species).

Rot Resistance:

African Mahogany is rated moderately durable with moderate to poor insect-borer resistance.

Workability:

African Mahogany is very easy to work, glue, and finish. Tearout may be at times a problem if the wood grain is interlocked.

Odor:

African Mahogany has no characteristic smell.

Allergies and Toxicity:

African Mahogany has been reported to be a sensitizer, but severe reactions are very uncommon. Most common reactions include simple eye and skin irritations.

Pricing & Availability:

African Mahogany is widely available in a range of lumber sizes, also as plywood or veneer. Prices usually are low to moderate for an imported hardwood.

Sustainability:

This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices, but it is on the IUCN Red List. This species is listed as vulnerable because of population reduction over 20% in the previous three generations due to a decline in the wood’s natural growth range and due to exploitation.

Common Uses:

African Mahogany is often used for veneer, turned items, plywood, boat building, furniture, or interior trims.

Comments:

African Mahogany is made up of a group of species from the Khaya genus, all native to Africa. Often, these woods lack a deep red-brown color and a sturdiness that is typical for true mahogany in the Swietenia genus. Botanically, Khaya is a part of the Meliaceæ family, including mahoganies, Sapele (Entandrophragmacylindricum), and a number of other commercial species. African Mahogany wood is considered an effective substitute for Honduran Mahogany (Swieteniamacrophylla, known as “Genuine Mahogany”).

Size 1-200 Bft 201-300 Bft 301-500 Bft 501+ Bft
4/4  3.80 3.55 3.45  3.30
5/4  4.00 3.75 3.60  3.50
6/4  4.15  4.00 3.85  3.75
8/4  4.25 4.10 4.00  3.85