Tips on Working with Mahogany Wood in the Turks And Caicos
Mahogany is largely considered one of the more attractive species of wood around, particularly for woodworking jobs. Even plain mahogany boards look stunning with their red-copper hues.
Mahogany wood has been a staple of fine furniture making and woodworking for hundreds of years. For your home projects in the Turks and Caicos, if you’re looking to work with mahogany wood, here are some tips to consider.
1. Sanding and Finishing your Mahogany Wood
Like with any wood type, it’s essential you use a gradual sanding process. Begin with a 120-grit sandpaper and before sanding, know precisely how smooth you want the finish.
Since mahogany is such a beautiful hardwood, you’ll want to be sure you don’t mar the wood. So, it’s essential that when you’re sanding, you practice good discipline, particularly when you use a power sander. You wouldn’t want to mark up your boards accidentally with poor technique or cross-grain sanding strokes with the power sander.
2. Maintaining your Mahogany Wood
Mahogany wood is ideal for outside decks, whether it’s mahogany from the Philippines or Indonesia or Cambara mahogany from Meranti or South America. It:
• Doesn’t splinter easily
• Has a tight grain
• Looks great when treated
• Is free of knots
It’s not perfect, however. It will fade and lose it’s rich brown-red color, turning grey. This is because of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. The rays will bleach out any wood’s color, including mahogany. Mahogany will keep it’s rich color if you block out the ultra violet rays with a thick canopy of trees or a roof. But, if you don’t have that kind of luck, your beautiful mahogany deck will be completely exposed to the sun’s rays.
Therefore, you’ll want to block the UV rays out yourself using an oil-based, pigmented protective coating. The pigments add color as well as block out the rays of the sun. You simply treat your mahogany deck when you don’t like its color anymore. Make sure you test it first with a drop of water or clear oil to see if it soaks in within a few seconds. If it does, then the oil treatment will as well. But if the water or oil remains on the surface for longer than five seconds, then wait. This means your deck isn’t ready and the treatment won’t soak in properly.
Mahogany wood is fairly dense, but there are some commonly available “deck treatments” out there that are fairly thick and won’t soak in. They’ll simply stay on the surface of the wood and eventually flake off. You’ll want to use a penetrating oil instead formulated for mahogany. Some include:
• Sikkens’ Cetol DEK Finish
• Messmer’s UV PLUS for Hardwood Decks
• Cabot’s Australian Timber Oil
• Penofin’s Penofin Hardwood Formula and Ultra Premium Penofin
For holding the color the longest and longevity, Cabot’s Australian Timber Oil is best (mahogany flame color). Second best is Penofin’s Brazilian Rosewood oil.
3. Cleaning your Mahogany Wood
Dip a cloth in cold tea and clean your mahogany furniture before you polish it to bring out the rich color.