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Thread: Cuban Mahogany - from the source

  1. #1
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    Default Cuban Mahogany - from the source

    What is today referred to as ‘true mahogany’ is Central American mahogany, Swietenia macrophylla. Cuban mahogany (aka Caribbean Mahogany, aka American mahogany) Swietenia mahagoni [notice the species name mahagoni, this is the type species for mahogany] is the historical true mahogany and mostly grows in the Caribbean islands, especially Cuba. It has been planted rather extensively here in South Florida, which is the northern edge of its range. I have been on the lookout for a chance to get some Cuban mahogany, and over the weekend I was riding my bicycle around the neighborhood, and heard the chain saws running. Turns out the new owner of a house with several good sized Cuban mahogany trees was taking them out to put in a pool. I got a couple of logs, and have added Cuban mahogany to my wood stash for some future instruments.

    I cut quarter-sawn billets out of the logs, seal the ends, and then re-saw (very sticky sawdust) these into plates. The plates are stickered and tied into bundles which spend some years in my 'solar dryer', aka 'the attic'. The wood is quite light in color when fresh cut but seems to darken quite a bit with some exposure to air. (Note the color of the billet vs that of freshly cut)
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    Last edited by jupiteruke; 12-27-2018 at 05:30 AM.

  2. #2
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    Great find! I can't wait to hear/see the results

  3. #3
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    Thanks for sharing this find. I tend to call it small-leaf mahogany, in contrast to big-leaf mahogany (macrophylla). Would love to hear a comparison of ukes that were built the same way with different types of mahogany.
    Last edited by merlin666; 12-28-2018 at 10:01 AM.

  4. #4

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    Very Nice

    How long before it's dry?

  5. #5
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    I'll give it 2 years in the attic, though after a single summer sawn plates come out really crispy dry, so if I am impatient ...

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by jupiteruke View Post
    I'll give it 2 years in the attic, though after a single summer sawn plates come out really crispy dry, so if I am impatient ...
    I bet.

    That will be nice

  7. #7
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    Default More fun from South Florida

    Spalted tamarind. A mango grower I got to know (who saved me some chunks of some big mango trees he was taking down to replace the variety) also had a tamarind tree he had taken down. The butt was laying on the ground, and is quite spalted, stained, with a few black bug holes. If you like it 'natural' this is for you. Tamarind is quite hard and heavy, should be interesting.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jupiteruke View Post
    Spalted tamarind. A mango grower I got to know (who saved me some chunks of some big mango trees he was taking down to replace the variety) also had a tamarind tree he had taken down. The butt was laying on the ground, and is quite spalted, stained, with a few black bug holes. If you like it 'natural' this is for you. Tamarind is quite hard and heavy, should be interesting.
    Ooh, me likey. Just put that on my tab now please.

    Edit to add: Actually, I'm dead serious. What could be made with that piece?
    Last edited by Jim Hanks; 12-30-2018 at 02:51 PM. Reason: Take off the smiley
    Ukelele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - Bb, SC SMU
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    KPK pineapple SLN-GCEA
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG-C Lava
    Guitars:
    Cordoba C1m 1/4, TI CF127, G
    Cordoba Mini M, SC F# EFS
    Jupiter #47, TI CF127, G

    Jim's Blog

  9. #9
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    The stuff is not real wide, though I have some which I think is going to re-saw big enough to make tenors. I'm also thinking of trying a 3-piece back. Spalted tamarind sides, with the back having a center wedge of something contrasting, like curly koa. Another possible way to use those nice pieces of wood that for one reason or another don't fit into the standard build pattern. Center wedge of curly koa, black-white-black purfling separator from the spalted tamarind, black bog oak binding, hmmm....

  10. #10
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    Yeah, that could work. Or perhaps a long neck soprano or concert. hmmmmm....
    Ukelele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - Bb, SC SMU
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    KPK pineapple SLN-GCEA
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG-C Lava
    Guitars:
    Cordoba C1m 1/4, TI CF127, G
    Cordoba Mini M, SC F# EFS
    Jupiter #47, TI CF127, G

    Jim's Blog

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