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mahogany wood

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  • mahogany wood

    I have some rough cut mahogany boards that were supposedly to be used to make wooden props for WW2 for use in the Pacific. The gravel runways beat up the metal props pretty fast and they were expensive.The plan was to use wooden disposable props. The wood is mahogany but as that term has become generic dose any one know what type of mahogany this might be?
    It is dark reddish in color and cuts like butter. Some of the board are 2 inches thick by 8 " wide by 7 feet long. Can any one shed any light on this plan? The war ended before it could be implemented.

  • #2
    Good question, and I'd have to do a little research to know more, but years ago I bought a bunch of bubinga from a guy who acquired his nine foot bandsaw as ww2 surplus, saying that it came from the source of the mahagony. I think it might have been the Philippines, but I'm not sure. Try to contact Gary Mayse at Mayse Woodworking in Pennsylvania and see if you can find more info. (I might try to contact him myself, but I also might forget to.)


    • #3
      So out of curiosity I called Mayse Woodworking and found out that his band saw came from South America and was used by the Navy before being sold as surplus and shipped to the U.S. I think it's "likely" that your lumber may have originated in South America, which was a producer of "true" mahogany vs. some of the other species with mahogany in the name but which are not true mahogany, like Cuban and Philippine "mahogany". The reddish color of yours suggests that it is true mahogany. That's all just a guess and there may be no way of knowing for sure.

      The length of the boards suggest that if they were used propellers it would more likely be for variable pitch props, which use a single blade individually attached to a hub rather than a two-blade propeller with the hub an integral part of the structure.


      • #4
        Thanks for the input. That makes some sense as my friend's uncle was tasked with disposing of the inventory after it was no longer needed. That must have been state side as he could not have gotten it sent here from the Pacific. In all probability they would have been machined here and sent to their destination.


        • #5

          In British material specifications it was identified as Honduran mahogany. British Honduras was a colony until 1964, now known as Belize.


          • #6
            Ed, so you're here as well!

            Most British mahogany propellers use Central American wood, specifically Honduran. Central American mahogany is apparently banned/embargoed in the United States so many modern US replicas use African sourced Sapele as a near substitute Both are reddish-brown hued. Most of the Honduran that I've used, not a lot, 2-3 propellers worth, is, oddly enough, lighter looking when compared to Sapele but is darker when varnished. Both are tight grained and shape very well. The Sapele tends to be heavier/denser than Honduran.

            Like many wood species, it is getting more difficult to find high quality planks in the 9-10' length range.



            • #7
              Hi John, nice to make contact again! I have a steel hub which is early AS, should work for Siskin, send an email to ed(at)branin and I will send some photos, all the best, Ed


              • #8
                Ed, message sent.