Paul McClure, WOODŽ magazine's consultant on wood technology, calls Honduras mahogany "the wood by which all other woods are measured." By that, he means you couldn't ask for a better wood to work. And, all the craftsmen we asked agree with him. So, note our advice, and enjoy this singular stock:
- We don't know exactly why, but Honduras mahogany produces extremely fine dust during some machining operations. And, the dust hangs in the air longer than that of other woods. So, wear a respirator.
- Because of this mahogany's hardness and straight grain, it surfaces with minimal tearout. The wood even proves forgiving if you accidentally feed it into the jointer against the grain. Sharp knives leave nearly glass-smooth results free of mill marks. Feed figured stock into a planer slowly and at a slight angle. Otherwise, the wood grain may chip and tear on you.
- You can rip Honduras mahogany equally well with steel or carbide-tipped blades. However, blades with more than 28 teeth increase the chance of burning.
- Don't take chances on the wood splintering while crosscutting. With a handsaw or power tools, always use a fence or backing board as a chip breaker on the exit side.
- Honduras mahogany cuts beautifully with a jigsaw or scrollsaw.
- Rout this wood with sharp bits (and don't forget the dust mask) for mark-free results. The grain "frizzes" with dull bits.
- You won't have problems joining Honduras mahogany, as all types of glue work well.
- Although the wood easily sands smooth, filling its open grain results in the sleekest surface.
- Choose any type of stain or finish for your Honduras mahogany project because the wood accepts them all equally. For outdoor projects, rely on a spar varnish or exterior polyurethane. It also takes and holds paint exceptionally well, but you'll need a primer coat and several top coats to completely fill the wood's open grain.
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