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Woodworking/Mahogany type


QUESTION: You did a beautiful mahogany door carving, and I love the ship. I am used to seeing mahogany like the door you made, but I just got 32' of mahogany that has been stored for over 12 years and it is a very deep red wine color. I would like to know your opinion about it. One photo is after planning and the second is partly sanded.

ANSWER: Hi Charles,  The door panels were of the finest grade Honduran mahogany which is a beautiful sienna color when raw.  Only mahogany better is Cuban which is difficult to get anymore and is generally reclaimed only. True Mahogany only grows fr0om south Florida into the carribean and down into central america. The ship was from an African wood called Padauk which was fantastic as it turned my workshop bright red. It has aged in 8 years to a blackish-red.  Funny things happen to wood when they age and depends on so many things.  My carving mentor passed away some years back and left me an entire workshop full of wood.  In addition to being a carver, he was a master carpenter also so you can imagine the different types of woods he had accumulated over the years.  His workshop was on the second floor of an unheated 2 story garage.  The hot and cold cycle here in New York City and/or the natural aging made some wood a beauty to work with but a lot of it had to be tossed.  There was also the issue of squirrels and raccoons nesting in the shop over the years and urinating.  If you know anything about wood and ammonia, you'll know that some craftsman purposely fume their wood in order to darken it but I can tell you that I couldn't even put that wood in my truck as it smelt to high heaven and was unworkable.  So it was disposed of.  Now to get to your mahogany, it actually look like a beautiful wood once you removed that dark layer.  I bet it carves sweetly. looks to have a nice tight grain to it.  As to the variety of mahogany......there are so many including sapele, African and Chinese which are not true mahoganies but in the trades pass for it.  I don't think it is Honduran but it could be and I am only going by the pictures you've sent but it seems it leans more to the burnt sienna(deeper reddish) side rather than the raw sienna which is closer to what I know as H. Mahogany.  It is not a sapele which I know well having used it in classes sometimes.  I wouldn't stake my life on it but it strikes me as African Mahogany which is also a real nice mahogany.  Wood can change alot in 12 years and variations in soil and climates while a tree are growing also lend to variations in color and texture.  Then you throw in the sanded pic with the purpleish tint and I am stumped again.  but for lack of a better answer I will still say, african Mahogany. Hope this at least gives you something to ponder.  Enjoy your projects.  Looks to be a fine wood to work with.  Thanks for the question.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Could I send you a sample to look at?


Sure....what are you thinking....are you thinking it's not mahogany?  I would like to feel the weight of it.......the purple hue has got me so it would be great to see in person......what are you using it for and what kind of work do you normally do

Contact me directly at and I'll give you my address.  Thanks


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maura macaluso


I can answer almost all questions regarding woodcarving, chip carving, scroll sawing, carving tools and techniques and can answer most questions regarding wood. I am not an appraiser of carvings nor an antique dealer.


I am a custom woodcarver. I have been carving for many years now, have won numerous awards, and am very well connected in the world of woodcarving. I am the owner/operator of

national association of woodcarvers, woodcarvers of queens, Richmond county carvers club, carving life panel of experts

Chip chats, carving magazine

Have taken many, many classes and instruction from many fine carvers, I was originally self taught which is the best way to learn. Many thousands of carving hours later and I find that I am now well-respected.

Awards and Honors
numerous 1st place and other title awards at different venues

Past/Present Clients
My work is now in international collections

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