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Mahogany?

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Digit

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Getting away from the politics/contentious etc, Mahogany.
I have several planks, ex floor boards from a school, (don't build 'em like that now a days! :lol: ) that appear to be the real Mc Coy. Colour, weight, grain, patterning etc spot on, my question is simple, is mahogany brittle? Does it splinter easily?

Roy.
 

Evergreen

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Hi Roy

Not sure which type of mahogany you're referring to. I'd be really surprised if top quality mahogany had ever been used for floor boards in a school in this country. I'd guess oak or teak were more likely choices. But it's always possible that a small area was patched with reused mahogany boards.

I've only used Cuban mahogany once, for a very small job. It wasn't brittle but if you left a sharp edge, a small flake could be lifted from it quite easily.
 

Digit

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It wasn't brittle but if you left a sharp edge, a small flake could be lifted from it quite easily.
That's basically what I meant EG, this was a Victorian school. I seem to recall that Cuban Mahogany was at one time a 'rubbish' timber, being used as ballast on ships returning from the Americas. Same with Chinese porcelain that now is valuable.

Roy.
 

Evergreen

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Digit":1s0tb86e said:
I seem to recall that Cuban Mahogany was at one time a 'rubbish' timber, being used as ballast on ships returning from the Americas.
Roy.
Makes you weep, doesn't it?!

If that's the case, you might well have struck gold!
 

Digit

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More than you know. I paid ten quid for it as being Oak, bear in mind it was too dirty to tell, 6 inches wide, 11/4 inches thick and I've got about 50 ft of it!

Roy.
 

custard

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I've a small stock of Cuban Mahogany and it is truly wonderful stuff to work with, cuts cleanly and precisely with hand or power tools, exceptionally stable, and takes polish like nothing else.

Seedlings have been transplanted to some Indian plantations and very, very occasionally you can find a few planks for sale in this country. I was concerned that it might have silica in the grain like so much Indian timber, but actually it's every bit as good as the original.

Timberline have some very small sections of original Cuban Mahogany in stock, unfortunately nothing longer than 24". Pricey, but for a small project it's worth trying, if only to discover why for many generations of craftsmen it was the number one choice.

http://www.exotichardwoods.co.uk/Woods_ ... hogany.asp

But to go back to the original question, no Cuban Mahogany is not brittle and it doesn't splinter easily, however cheaper African "mahogany" does splinter.
 

bosshogg

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Digit":96nibcpk said:
Getting away from the politics/contentious etc, Mahogany.
I have several planks, ex floor boards from a school, (don't build 'em like that now a days! :lol: ) that appear to be the real Mc Coy. Colour, weight, grain, patterning etc spot on, my question is simple, is mahogany brittle? Does it splinter easily?

Roy.
Worked with Honduras and Philippine mahogany for years, can't remember it ever splintering, stained your hands, yes, in fact that's how you could tell a Patternmaker from that company...bosshogg :)
 

Modernist

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I have only worked on small sections but it cuts like hard cheese with sharp tools leaving a fine surface, wonderful stuff. Re the silica inclusions I thought these were usual and normal with Cuban M?
 

stoatyboy

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These silica inclusions - would they be like tiny little grains of black sand that mysteriously appear when you plane a 15" square face of the stuff?

How does it get in there?
 

Modernist

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stoatyboy":25cgcdsm said:
These silica inclusions - would they be like tiny little grains of black sand that mysteriously appear when you plane a 15" square face of the stuff?

How does it get in there?
Normally white and it arrives via the vessels carrying water up the tree from the soil.
 

Digit

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Medium reddish brown, darkening with exposure. Stable, fine textured and with a solid feel. A wonder of workability, exceptional on the lathe and a polisher's delight.
That all certainly applies to that which I have, it planes wonderfully.

Roy.
 

woodbloke

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Digit":4my1v602 said:
That's basically what I meant EG, this was a Victorian school. I seem to recall that Cuban Mahogany was at one time a 'rubbish' timber, being used as ballast on ships returning from the Americas. Same with Chinese porcelain that now is valuable.

Roy.
The value of the stuff was realized by the Victorians so I doubt very much it's Cuban. It was considered as ballast maybe a century before in the 18th cent and it was only when they started to work with it did the makers of the time realize it's true worth. That said, I've also got some boards of Mahogany from my old school that came out of the PE changing rooms but it's pretty rough stuff...interlocked and fairly nasty to work with but with some care I guess there's a project in there somewhere - Rob
 

Digit

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The change to Mahogany came about not by choice, WB, but from necessity. The (non-existant) Little Ice Age killed off the first choice, Walnut.
The timber I have matches the colour, the fact that it darkens, is dense, works beautifully, is straight grained and so stable that I have used to make a fire surround to my wood burning stove. The heat has not affected it at all.
Anyone suggest what else it might be?

Roy.
 

Digit

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woodbloke

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Digit":1ifm2efg said:
Machined it looks thus as regards figure but slightly lighter....

http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9 ... QC3yZVDVtZ
Roy, if the stuff you have looks like that pic (a light brown with a slight 'row' in the grain) then I think it's Honduras. The Cuban (of which I have a small quantity) is much darker, almost the colour of a good plain chocolate - Rob
 

jimi43

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If I may hijack your thread for a mo Roy and ask the mahogany experts here about the piece I have that I put up here before and quite forgot what variety it was that someone identified....

Polished side....



Unpolished side....



Many thanks...and apologies again...

Jim
 

woodbloke

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jimi43":287bvpoc said:
If I may hijack your thread for a mo Roy and ask the mahogany experts here about the piece I have that I put up here before and quite forgot what variety it was that someone identified....

Polished side....



Unpolished side....



Many thanks...and apologies again...

Jim
Jim, that looks different to the stuff that Roy's got hold of...very difficult to say but I'd hazard a guess and say it's not Honduras, unless maybe it's the light? A shot of the unpolished side (without flash in natural daylight) from directly overhead would give a better idea - Rob
 

bosshogg

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Jim,

That looks exactly like a a piece of veneered particle board I built some book shelves from, mine was a sapele veneer (not radial cut) and looks like this
sapele.jpg


Although many of the red hardwood's can look the same, so it can be hard to tell them apart...bosshogg :|

Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
T. S. Eliot (hammer)
 

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