Is Mahogany A Hardwood or Softwood? + Comparisons to Oak And Maple

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Mahogany is a very durable wood renowned for its quality, strength, rot resistance, and structural stability. Since it’s simple to work with by hand and tools, it is the perfect material for many projects around the house. 

But you might be confused about whether mahogany is a hardwood or softwood. So, in this article, let our wood experts tackle more about mahogany and its characteristics.

Hardness Rating of Mahogany Wood

Mahogany is a hardwood that is much stronger, denser, and harder than most other types of wood. 

Despite being tough and dense, it is simple to cut, screw, and nail, making it ideal for both interior and exterior woodworking tasks. In addition, mahogany finishes well, making it easier to sand and cover with varnish, stain, paint, or oil. 

The density or hardness of a wood may be determined using the Janka scale. Mahogany has a hardness rating of 800 lbf, which is much higher than that of alder, hemlock, cypress, redwood, and sugar pine. 

hardwood mahogany

However, there are still a few wood species that are tougher than mahogany, including red maple, white oak, cherry, and golden teak. Check out the chart below for ratings on the Janka scale for various types of wood.

Types of Wood

Janka Scale Rating (lbf)

Brazilian Walnut


Golden Teak


White Oak




Red Maple












Sugar Pine


Characteristics of Mahogany Wood

The fiber structure of mahogany is highly thick and robust, with a straight, fine, and uniform grain. When polished, its reddish-brown tint exhibits a reddish shine and darkens with time. Additionally, mahogany wood is quite durable and good for working with. 

Mahogany doesn’t have a lot of room inside its fiber vessels due to its dispersed porous structure and strong, compact grain structure. 

As a result, it doesn’t absorb or release moisture in large amounts, and its expansions and contractions are minimally affected by changes in the environment’s humidity or temperature. 

Mahogany wood has high resistance to water damage because it deters water, which keeps the wood from being rotted, warped, cracked, or peeled.

characteristics of mahogany wood

The greatest qualities of mahogany wood are enumerated below as a summary.

Additionally, our team included the primary characteristics of mahogany given in the table below.

Advantages And Disadvantages of Mahogany

Let’s move on to the benefits and drawbacks of mahogany wood now that you are aware of its various qualities. 

Mahogany is a versatile material that is simple to deal with. Mahogany is also extremely resistant to rot, mold, and other decaying organisms, both in the soil and the environment. 

Sadly, mahogany hardwood floors eventually darken in hue as a result of sunlight absorption. Here is a complete list of mahogany’s advantages and disadvantages is provided below.

advantages and disadvantages of mahogany wood



Uses of Mahogany

As you may already be aware, mahogany is a superb timber with many advantages. It is regarded as one of the most widely utilized varieties of wood for industrial uses. Many people use it for many types of woodworking projects because of its beauty, quality, and durability.

Mahogany is most frequently used to make furniture. The wood is either locally grown or imported to almost every country in the globe to make mahogany furniture. It has a high-end appearance and average solidity, and a clean finish makes it even more appealing.

Here are a few of the most typical applications for mahogany wood.

How Strong is Mahogany?

door using mahogany wood

Mahogany is strong in contrast with other hardwoods and softwoods. High compressive and bending strengths are the main reasons why mahogany is so well-liked in the field of woodworking. 

Strong flexural and compressive characteristics are especially beneficial for major building projects, including woodworking. 

Now let’s look at the mahogany’s compressive and bending strengths.

With such high scores for compressive and bending strength, mahogany is a robust hardwood with a low tendency to dent when accidentally hit or dropped. 

It is less likely to deform, break, twist, shrink, or swell with time since it is stable and solid. Mahogany is ideal for crafting huge objects since it maintains its form quite well.

Cutting mahogany log

Is Mahogany A Good Type of Wood?

Mahogany is a good type of wood that may be used to make furniture with outstanding protection from environmental factors like dampness and decay. 

Its relative lightness also makes it simpler to grind, cut, and carve. Mahogany is a superior hardwood that costs more than other hardwoods.

In addition to being one of the most popular woods for handcrafted furniture, mahogany is also among the most attractive and can be carved with incredibly fine details. 

The furniture gains originality from its opulent, deep hue. Additionally, mahogany has a dazzling appearance when polished or finished because of its straight grain.

Is Mahogany Harder Than Oak?

comparing mahogany wood to oak

Although both mahogany and oak are very hard and thick hardwoods, mahogany is not harder than oak. Mahogany is less hard than red or white oak but is sturdy and long-lasting. 

However, experts claim that working with mahogany is simpler than working with oak. Mahogany and oak (white and red) have the following hardness values on the Janka scale.

Types of Wood

Janka Scale Rating (lbf)

White Oak


Red Oak




Is Mahogany Harder Than Maple?

sanding mahogany wood

Mahogany is not harder than maple, similar to oak. Both varieties of maple, whether hard or soft, are harder than mahogany. Although, mahogany is tougher than silver maple, which has a value of 700 lbf.

Let’s examine the hardness ratings of mahogany, hard, and soft maple using the Janka scale.

Types of Wood

Janka Scale Rating (lbf)

Hard Maple


Soft Maple




Is Mahogany Easy To Scratch?

Fortunately, because mahogany is a robust, solid wood, it is not easy to scratch. It can take tiny pet scratches and grit from shoes and carelessly slide things on the hardwood. For this reason, mahogany is frequently regarded as a top option for flooring. 

However, as the wood ages and loses strength, these blemishes could become noticeable. Applying finishes to mahogany wood, such as varnish, oil, stain, varnish, paint [1], or polyurethane, on occasion is a good idea. This increases its longevity, scratch resistance, and durability.

Is Mahogany An Inexpensive Wood?

inexpensive mahogany wood

Mahogany is not an inexpensive wood due to its high demand and limited supply. In fact, it is more expensive than any other wood since it is one of the world’s most expensive luxurious woods. Oak, maple, walnut, cherry, and hickory are a few of the most expensive timbers, along with mahogany.

The gorgeous, dark, and fine wood grain of mahogany is another reason why it is a costly wood. The warmth, solidity, and freshness provided by its reddish-brown hue match the elegance of other furnishings. Additionally, mahogany has excellent workability, toughness, and longevity. 

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After tackling all the characteristics and properties of this wood, it’s clear that mahogany is a hardwood. Although mahogany is stronger and harder than other hardwoods, it can’t be compared to the strength and hardness of oak and maple wood. 

But mahogany is a great hardwood and is strong in its own way, which suits different woodworking projects. 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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