Meranti and mahogany: what exactly is the difference??

Meranti and mahogany: Both types of wood are in great demand, very robust and quite valuable. While mahogany has been at the top of the popularity list for many decades, Meranti is only just catching up. What are the differences between the two materials?? We take a closer look.

First part of the answer: what exactly is mahogany?

In order to work out the difference between meranti and mahogany, we must first clarify what properties each of these two types of wood has. Let's start with mahogany - in a nutshell.

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  • There are 50 different types of mahogany
  • Comes from Central and South America
  • American mahogany as "real mahogany"
  • Gross density: 0.45 to 0.75 grams per cubic meter
  • Medium hard and very easy to work with
  • The more south it grew, the denser and stronger
  • Low swelling and shrinking behavior
  • Highly weather-resistant, suitable for outside
  • Good resistance to insects and fungi
  • Other names: Mogano, Mahoganay, Acajou Amerique
  • DIN symbol for mahogany: SWMC
  • Grain: fine, clear grain, medium to coarse porosity
  • Often a beautiful golden sheen after drying
  • Mostly reddish color of the heartwood, darkens
  • Yellowish-gray coloration of the sapwood
  • Popularly used for high-quality interiors
  • Also popular in boat building

Second part of the answer: what exactly is meranti?

Meranti is also not a single type of wood, but a material that can come from many different tropical hardwoods. These hardwoods are grouped under the collective term »Meranti«, but they only have approximately the same properties.

  • There is an unmanageable number of Meranti species
  • Comes from Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia
  • The properties vary depending on the quality
  • Rod density: 0.30 to 0.70 grams per cubic meter
  • Imported goods mostly with a bulk density of 0.38 to 0.47 grams per cubic meter
  • hard, heavy and soft, light qualities possible
  • less resistant to compression and bending than mahogany
  • Appearance very different from white to yellow to reddish brown
  • White and yellow meranti bears the trade name Bangkirai
  • The darker, the harder and heavier
  • Grain with differently shaped resin channels
  • Homogeneous surface effect, little structure
  • Often with whitish streaks of crystallized resin
  • Easily machinable, pores must be filled before coating
  • Not good weather resistance, coating is mandatory on the outside
  • Used for door and window frames, but also for stairs and furniture
Tips & Tricks Always keep an eye out for valid FSC certificates when buying mahogany or meranti. Despite all the differences, these types of wood have one thing in common: If their cultivation and the supply chain are not strictly monitored, there are serious ecological concerns.