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Frequently called Philippine mahogany, this wood isn't mahogany at all Identifying, classifying, and naming native American hardwoods becomes child's play compared to the complexity involving what many of us refer to as Philippine mahogany. You see, in the world timber trade, the wood of many species with similar characteristics can sometimes be lumped together and sold under one name. That's the story behind Philippine mahogany. The Philippine Islands, as well as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Southeast Asia, produce a great variety of hardwoods. But the most volume comes from a group of tree species known commercially as Philippine mahogany, due to the appearance of their lumber and the fact that the word mahogany is widely recognized. However, none of these species belong to the family Meliaceae that includes the New World mahoganies of the Swietenia genus, such as Honduras mahogany. Generally, the trees that supply the timber for Philippine mahogany lumber and plywood belong to the huge plant family called Dipterocarpaceae. And in that family, the Shorea species has five distinct, commercially important trees named meranti.


Continued on page 2:  Wood identification


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