African mahogany Khaya spp Meliaceae

The name "African Mahogany" relates to five different species of Khaya which grow throughout the equatorial evergreen forests of Central Africa. The timber is pale pink to reddish-brown with an interlocked grain which produces distinctive striped figuring. It is a fairly light wood which dries rapidly with little degradation and is very stable in use. African mahogany works well and can be stained and polished to an excellent finish.

The wood has long been a favored timber for furniture, office desks, cabinets, shop fittings, and high quality joinery for staircases, banisters, handrails, and paneling. It is a popular timber for boat manufacture, being light and moderately durable. Today some logs are rotary-cut to make high-quality plywood. This and other species in the genus are severely threatened by overharvest-ing. African mahoganies became popular in the 19th century as supplies of genuine, American mahogany declined.

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