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

If you buy something through our posts, we may get a small commission. Read more here.

Share It

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, I’m talking all 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. 

Another thing I’ve appreciated is Mahogany’s natural resistance to water. I’ve used it in areas prone to moisture, and it’s held up brilliantly, repelling water and preventing rot.

characteristics of mahogany wood

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

Additionally, here are the primary characteristics of mahogany 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. In my projects, the wood has proven to be extremely workable. Mahogany is also extremely resistant to rot, mold, and other decaying organisms, both in the soil and the environment. 

However, it’s worth noting a peculiar characteristic of Mahogany hardwood floors—they darken with sun exposure. Personally, I’ve found this adds a touch of elegance, but it’s something you should be aware of if you’re planning on using it for flooring

Here is a complete list of mahogany’s advantages and disadvantages:

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?

I’ve been using Mahogany for a variety of projects, and I can confidently say it’s a top-notch type of wood, especially for furniture. Its natural resilience to environmental factors like moisture and decay has saved me a lot of stress over the years. Whether I was building an outdoor table or a bathroom vanity, Mahogany consistently performed well.

When it comes to workability, Mahogany has been one of the more forgiving hardwoods I’ve dealt with. Its relative lightness also makes it simpler to grind, cut, and carve. Mahogany is a superior hardwood that costs more than other hardwoods.

Mahogany not only holds a prominent position as one of the most favored wood choices for handcrafted furniture but also stands out for its exceptional visual appeal. 

Its distinctive grain patterns and rich color make it highly sought after in the world of woodworking. Furthermore, mahogany possesses the unique characteristic of being able to be intricately carved with exquisite detail.

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, I personally find 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. I’ve seen it hold up remarkably well under the daily wear and tear of household life. 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. 

Similar Topics:


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 passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You've probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.
Robert Johnson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles
Join our community on facebook and get 3 woodworking plans for free!

Join Our Woodworking Community on Facebook And Get 3 Woodworking Plans for Free!