Working with African Mahogany? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum

 
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post #1 of 15 Old 10-21-2008, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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Working with African Mahogany?

I'm about to begin building a new king-size bed and nightstand for my wife and I. I went to my wood supplier planning to buy oak and came home with African Mahogany. (and a lighter wallet)

I've never used this wood before and have a couple questions.

First...Glueing. Can I use regular titebond? I've heard of cleaning some exotics with acetone before gluing. Is that necessary with African Mahogany? I also have some Titebond extended open-time glue that I bought for the project...There are a lot of parts that have to be glued and clamped in the same operation. Everything will be mortise and tenon joinery. I'll be laminating 6/4 stock for the legs and laminating 4/4x10 stock for the stretchers...Just want to make sure that the glue joints will be as strong as they'd be with domestic hardwoods like poplar or oak.

Second...Finishing. I'm using teak oil to bring out the rich color and make the grain pop a little. I tried it on a test piece and it looks awesome. I'm thinking of using wipe-on poly over that, as I don't want the "clear coat" look. Thoughts? Ideas? A friend suggested wax instead of poly. The can of oil says to wait 72 hours before applying poly, so I'm assuming they're compatible.

Also, is there anything that I should be concerned with when sanding this wood? Can I sand it too fine? I usually sand to 220 at least, sometimes 320. It seems to have fairly open grain and I'm worried that I'll need to sand it down considerably to get the fuzzy open grain to lay down.

Last, any toxicity issues with the dust? I have little experience with the exotics.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 15 Old 10-21-2008, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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Here's the queen size oak version of the bed I'm building in African Mahogany. I just sold this one last week when we got the new matress...Sweet bed...Broke my heart to let it go after building it myself a few years ago.
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post #3 of 15 Old 10-21-2008, 10:55 PM
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I have only bad things to say about African Mahogany. I have ordered two large batches of it and cursed it every inch of the way. The wood looks nice, it is easy to cut, it will glue well. Sometimes you get a fuzzy grained pc. But I have had horrible luck with cutting stability. When you cut the wood it moves, a lot. When you joint the wood it will not stay flat. When you run it through your planer it changes shape. I had a tough time getting trued 3/4" material out of 5/4 stock.

Man, I hope you have better luck with it than me.

Measure Twice Cut Once -- It's a lot easier to cut more off then it is to cut MORON.
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post #4 of 15 Old 10-21-2008, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo G View Post
Man, I hope you have better luck with it than me.
I hope so too!
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post #5 of 15 Old 10-22-2008, 09:27 AM
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I had no problem with it

It worked like any other mahogany or similar grained hardwood.
Leo, was your piece straight grained or gnarly?

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post #6 of 15 Old 10-22-2008, 09:48 AM
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Both. I tried it twice and vowed never to use it again. I hope his is like yours and not like mine. Man, do I hope.

Measure Twice Cut Once -- It's a lot easier to cut more off then it is to cut MORON.
Finishing is 3 parts chemistry and 1 part VooDoo http://lrgwood.com
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post #7 of 15 Old 11-06-2008, 03:36 PM
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I have used quite a bit of 8/4 stock that I got for a song and a dance and loved using it. I have built numerous longboard skateboards, and furniture with it, with no problems. Titebond 2 works just fine with it, and any finish looks good on it, especially shellac. Maybe the pieces that you guys have had bad luck with were dried incorrectly?


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post #8 of 15 Old 11-06-2008, 05:16 PM
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I have worked with Afican Mahogany and loved the experience. My boards had some areas where the grain was a little fuzzy...but it did not cause any problems. I finnished my project with Formby`s whatever...about 4 coats with no sealer. First sanded to 220...then started applying Formby`s with cheese-cloth. I sanded between coats with 400 grit lightly...the more coats...the further I could go with just a damp cloth. I did scrape the top...it was a coffee table. Getting back to the fuzzy grain problem...I`m not sure why that happens. I recently bought some Poplar or Magnolia that was planed to 1" thick and it was really fuzzy...I had to seal it just so I could sand it down to 220 grit. Maybe someone here knows how or why that happens. I don`t recall having to seal before sanding anything in the past...and I`ve been doing this for a long time! Maybe there is a drying practice today that causes this aggravating problem. Rick

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post #9 of 15 Old 11-06-2008, 05:17 PM
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Sorry about the spelling Rick

Never... I mean always... never mind Rick
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post #10 of 15 Old 11-06-2008, 05:29 PM
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Really glad to hear you didn't have my experience

Measure Twice Cut Once -- It's a lot easier to cut more off then it is to cut MORON.
Finishing is 3 parts chemistry and 1 part VooDoo http://lrgwood.com
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post #11 of 15 Old 11-07-2008, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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Status report...

I've surfaced all of my mahogany and am storing it on edge. It is staying pretty stable, except for two pieces that I've deemed uncontrollable. I've done the glue-ups for the legs and the stretchers, and will be cutting the mortises and tenons this weekend.

Titebond (the long open time variety) is working quite well.

I've found that the stuff is really a challenge to plane due to the varying grain, probably because I was using a crappy plane. It was a good excuse for me to invest in two good antique stanleys...A #4 and a # 5-1/2...Both of which perform flawlessly.
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post #12 of 15 Old 11-07-2008, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
deemed uncontrollable
I coined the term "Wildwood" for that species. You have found a few pieces of what I ended up getting. Try getting a load of 350 BF of that and then go about

Measure Twice Cut Once -- It's a lot easier to cut more off then it is to cut MORON.
Finishing is 3 parts chemistry and 1 part VooDoo http://lrgwood.com
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post #13 of 15 Old 11-07-2008, 12:15 PM
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Iíve used the stuff and never had any real problems with it. But most of the stuff I used it for was small stuff.
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post #14 of 15 Old 11-10-2008, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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Well, the project is coming along. I scored a lot of highly-figured 5/4 stock that the cabinet shops avoid because of the figure (according to the shop I buy it from). I had an extra 12" piece after a glue-up lamination, so I cut it off and finished it because the suspense was killing me.

I used teak oil. The attached picture is with one coat of gloss wipe-on poly over the teak oil.

I'm a happy camper.
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post #15 of 15 Old 11-11-2008, 12:07 AM
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thats gonna look nice
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