Rhodesian Mahogany (Afzelia quanzensis) is a heavy red mahogany which comes from Eastern and Southern African regions. The countries where it mainly grows are: Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Somalia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Tanzania. Rhodesian Mahogany has the following trade names: Lucky bean tree, Chanfuta, Chemnen or, our particular favourite, Pod Mahogany. It is now a protected species in South Africa.
Rhodesian Mahogany characteristics
This wood is very heavy and dense and of superb quality. It is typically a dark reddish brown colour with a lovely varied grain and some lighter variation of browns and reds in the timber. There is occasionally a characteristic tiny white flecking sometimes found in the grain. The flecks are mineral deposits in the tissue of the wood.
This species has excellent stability. It has little susceptibility to variations in humidity i.e. small movement in service. Rhodesian Mahogany is considered to be suitable for under-floor heating systems. It has many uses due to its stability, especially boats, keels and bridges. Often used for parquet floors, furniture and interior fittings.
Interestingly, it has good resistance to many chemical products and great dimensional stability. So it is often preferred to materials like metals and synthetics for vats and precision equipment in industrial applications. The neutral pH of the wood makes it suitable for contact with vulnerable objects such as antiques and old books in libraries.
The timber is dense, with a fine surface when sanded. It is classified as moderately durable. It is not a common species but generally we find it in buildings dating from 1930s to 1960s. A beautiful wood however, comparable to a quality mahogany which takes polish to a lovely result.