African Mahogany and Reaction Wood

African Mahogany seems to be prone to stress, causing the material to twist and warp when sawn. March 13, 2007

I received a 500bf bundle of random width African mahogany and when I cut it, it went crazy. Seems to have a lot of stress in it. Since this wood seems to have a very wild grain, is it natural for it to be unstable when cut, or did I just get a bad batch from the kiln?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor K:
I am not sure if this is the case with yours, but I have seen a lot more reaction wood in the African mahogany than in the genuine. I am not sure why, if they are grown under more harsh conditions, like leaning or near a clearing, with unbalanced canopy, or just what the cause may be.

I would just suggest that you or whomever starts the initial milling process should learn to recognize it in the rough, and set those boards out and return them to the supplier. I got a flier in the mail a couple of years ago that had an article by some college professor that had some tips for how to go about sharpening and milling reaction wood for better yield. Which induced a wild kind of laugh from me.

Yield from saving a few board feet could never equal or offset the headaches that follow using a wood that is unstable, brash, and won't finish like all of the rest of the wood around it, not to mention that it is weaker.

From contributor T:
I have used a lot of African mahogany and found bad/wild and twist in some of it too. I ended up putting it aside and using for short stock. Don't use that crazy lumber in your projects. It will cause headaches later even if you rip and glue it. It may look okay when it's in the shop, but out on the job you will most likely get a call sooner or later to replace same. Been there!