Is Mahogany A Hardwood? (How hard is Mahogany?)

is mahogany a hardwood

Mahogany is known as one of the strongest woods on the planet. Because of that it is popular among woodworkers and use for so many different woodworking projects.

But most people wonder whether Mahogany is softwood or hardwood when it comes to large construction projects. I did some research and let’s figure out, Is Mahogany a hardwood?

Yes, Mahogany is a hardwood with excellent durability and strength. Mahogany has a Janka hardness rating of 800 lbf (3,558 N) which is significantly harder than most woods. Mahogany comes from an evergreen hardwood tree. It can use for both indoor and outdoor projects because being so hard, dense, and strong.

But there’s a lot more to know about the hardness of Mahogany.

In this article, we’ll deeply explore whether is Mahogany a hardwood, how hard is Mahogany with its characteristic features, and its pros and cons as well.

Furthermore, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions about the hardness of Mahogany as well.

Let’s dig in!

How Hard Is Mahogany?

Mahogany is considered a hardwood. It is significantly harder, denser, and stronger than almost all the softwoods and most of the hardwoods as well.

Because of having strong tight grain structure, Mahogany wood has diffused porous structure like most other hardwoods.

Because of having small diameter diffuse porous structure, Mahogany wood does not have lots of space inside its fiber vessels.

Therefore, it doesn’t absorb or release moisture that much, and expansions and contractions are so little upon humidity or temperature variations of the environment.

Because of having high fiber density over the little volume of wood with fewer spaces, Mahogany is extremely dense and that’s the main reason for its high hardness.

According to the Janka hardness rating Mahogany has a Janka hardness rating of 800 lbf (3,558 N) which is significantly harder than Basswood, Aspen, Poplar, Cedar, and Pine.

Janka hardness test is the standard method of measuring the hardness of a particular wood against wear and shear.

If a particular wood has high resistance against wear and tear, that means its Janka hardness test value is high.

Even though Mahogany is so dense and hard, it is easy to work with both woodworking hand tools and power tools.

Mahogany can be used for both interior and exterior woodworking projects and it can tolerate harsh weather conditions.

According to the Janka hardness test Mahogany has a hardness rating of 800 lbf (3,558 N) and let’s see how hard Mahogany is compared to other popular wood types.

Wood speciesHardness value
Brazilian Walnut3,684 lbf (16,390 N)
Red Mahogany, Turpentine2,697 lbf (12,000 N)
Brazilian Cherry, Jatoba2,350 lbf (10,500 N)
Golden Teak2,330 lbf (10,400 N)
Hickory, Pecan, Satinwood1,820 lbf (8,100 N)
Hard Maple, Sugar Maple1,450 lbf (6,400 N)
White Oak1,360 lbf (6,000 N)
Ash (White)1,320 lbf (5,900 N)
American Beech1,300 lbf (5,800 N)
Red Oak (Northern)1,290 lbf (5,700 N)
Yellow Birch / Baltic Birch1,260 lbf (5,600 N)
Teak1,155 lbf (5,140 N)
Black Walnut, North American Walnut1,010 lbf (4,500 N)
Cherry995 lbf (4,430 N)
Black Cherry, Imbuia950 lbf (4,200 N)
Red Maple950 lbf (4,200 N)
Mahogany800 lbf (3,558 N)
Douglas Fir710 lbf (3,158 N)
Silver Maple700 lbf (3,100 N)
Alder590 lbf (2,624 N)
Hemlock540 lbf (2,402 N)
Black Spruce520 lbf (2,313 N)
Sitka Spruce510 lbf (2,268 N)
Cypress510 lbf (2,268 N)
White Spruce480 lbf (2,135 N)
Redwood420 lbf (1,868 N)
Engelmann Spruce390 lbf (1,735 N)
Sugar Pine380 lbf (1,690 N)

As you can see Mahogany is harder than most softwoods and some hardwoods as well.

It is a long-lasting hardwood that can be used pretty much for anything.

Mahogany Wood Characteristics

Mahogany is a darker reddish brown color hardwood with an extremely dense and strong fiber structure.

Because of being so hard, dense and attractive, Mahogany can use for both interior and exterior woodworking projects.

Most importantly depside being hard and dense, Mahogany has high workability.

Therefore, even a beginner in woodworking can use Mahogany since it cuts, screws, and nails more easily than many other hardwoods.

But your woodworking tools need to well sharpen before working with Mahogany to avoid chipping the wood.

Sanding and finishing Mahogany is easy. Mahogany wood can coat with varnish, stain, paint, or any other oil finish like tung oil, Danish oil, or teak oil. It holds finishes so well.

Mahogany comes from an evergreen tree and it has a straight, interlocked, wavy, or irregular grain pattern.

It has a uniform medium texture with a natural luster that adds unique attractiveness to the wood.

Mahogany wood has good resistance against water damage. It repels water and that helps the wood to get protected from rotting.

Having good water resistance is important for outdoor woodworking projects.

Because of having good resistance to moisture, Mahogany moves so little against extreme humid and temperature variations.

Water does not absorb or evaporate from the wood too much and therefore it can maintain excellent dimensional stability and prevent the wood from warping.

This prevents wood from cracking and peeling. It is a unique hardwood feature.

In a summary, here’re some most significant qualities of Mahogany.

  • Hardwood
  • High workability
  • No characteristic odor
  • Long lasting wood
  • Straight wood grain
  • Water-resistant
  • Less shrinkage
  • Easy to finish
  • Rot-resistant

Here’re the main characteristic features of Mahogany wood,

ColorDarker reddish brown
Density0.42 kg/m3
Hardness800 lbf (3,558 N)
Stiffness1.50 Mpsi
Wood TypeHardwood
ApplicationsFurniture, Decking, Doors, Panelling

So, let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantages of Mahogany wood in terms of its hardness.

Pros and Cons of Mahogany

High workabilityDarken over time
Dense and hardExpensive
Less shrinking and warping 
Easy to finish 
High durability 
Easy to nail and screw 

As you can see Mahogany is a great hardwood with lots of benefits.

What Is Mahogany Used For?

Because of being a quality hardwood, Mahogany can use literally for any project.

Here’re some popular uses of Mahogany,

  • Furniture making
  • Wood joints
  • Flooring
  • Musical instruments
  • Patio Furniture
  • Cabinets
  • Paneling
  • Frames
  • Boxes and crates
  • Cutting boards
  • Molding
  • Plywood

How Strong Is Mahogany?

Mahogany is a hardwood with excellent strength than many other hardwoods and softwoods.

It has high compressive and bending strength and bending strength which is so helpful in large construction woodworking projects.

Here’re the compressive strength and bending strengths of Mahogany,

  • The compressive strength of Mahogany is 6,780 lbf
  • The bending strength of Mahogany is 11,500 lbf

Great compressive strength and flexural strength are the key factors of Mahogany, that make it popular in the woodworking world.

As per experts, Mahogany is stronger than Chestnut, Alder, Elm, Poplar, and White Cedar.

So, let’s answer some frequently asked questions about the hardness of Mahogany.

Is Mahogany Wood Good Quality?  

Yes, Mahogany is a quality wood that can produce furniture with excellent protection from environmental elements like moisture and rotting with a beautiful, nice appeal.

Mahogany wood has a luxurious rich dark color that adds uniqueness to the furniture and other woodwork.

Because of being a quality hardwood, Mahogany is expensive and hard to replace with other wood.

Which Is Harder Oak or Mahogany?

Oak is significantly harder than Mahogany. Even though both oak and Mahogany belong to the hardwood family, both red oak and white oak are extremely hard and dense.

But on the other hand, working with Oak is harder than working with Mahogany.

According to the Janka hardness values, Oak and Mahogany wood hardness is as follows,

Wood Type Hardness
Mahogany800 lbf
Red Oak1,290 lbf
White Oak1,360 lbf

Does Mahogany Scratch Easily?

Mahogany does not scratch easily since it is hardwood with lots of dense. Mahogany is scratch resistant, and it can bare foot traffic and dog scratches so well.

This is why Mahogany is an excellent choice for flooring.

But when we use Mahogany over time, it may lose its strength, and scratches may be visible.

Therefore, applying a good finisher over any Mahogany furniture is good for its durability.

Mahogany takes finishes so well and by applying stain, varnish, polyurethane, paint, or any other finisher, you’ll be able to increase its scratch resistance and improve the lifetime.

Is Mahogany a Cheap Wood?

Mahogany is not a cheap wood. Mahogany is one of the most expensive wood times in the woodworking world.

Mahogany has some exceptional qualities like being hard, dese, water resistant, and attractive which makes it so expensive.

Plus, Mahogany wood is becoming hard to find due to excessive usage. That’s also a considerable factor in its expansiveness.

Is Mahogany Harder Than Maple?

Maple is harder than Mahogany. Hard Maple is significantly harder but Soft Maple is slightly harder than Maple.

According to the Janka hardness ratings, the hardness of Maple and Mahogany is as follows,

Wood Type Hardness
Mahogany800 lbf
Hard Maple1,450 lbf
Soft Maple950 lbf

Did I cover all you wanted to know about: Is Mahogany A Hardwood?

In this article, we have deeply discussed Is Mahogany a hardwood and how hard it is by taking its characteristic features with pros and cons.

Mahogany is a hardwood with a Janka hardness rating of 800 lbf which is harder than most of the softwoods and some of the hardwoods as well.

Because of being so hard, dense and strong, Mahogany can be used for any interior or exterior woodworking project. Mahogany wood has high durability, and it is easy to work with.

Furthermore, I’ve answered some frequently asked questions as well.

Hope you have gained good knowledge about the hot topic is Mahogany a hardwood with facts.

Try Mahogany wood for your next woodworking project and see how hard and useful it is.

Happy woodworking!

Walter Parker is a woodworking enthusiast. He is passionate about woodworking projects & plays with woodworking tools having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Woodworking Planet. He wants to make people love woodworking! Read More About Him! Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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