In this series of blog posts, our flooring Pro’s start the exotic hardwood species series, giving you a little bit of background on each unique hardwood, allowing you to choose one of these gorgeous materials based on more than just its appearance.
Our first exotic hardwood species is
Santos Mahogany (Cabreuva)
- Botanical name – “Cabreuva”
- Ranking a 2200 on the Janka scale – Santos Mahogany is incredibly dense compared to most domestic hardwoods, and even more dense than what is known as “Genuine Mahogany.” It’s about 70% harder than Red Oak and about 60% harder than White Oak.
- Very popular flooring species imported from primarily from Peru, but also from Brazil in previous years.
- Santos Mahogany is known to have decent workability, despite its incredible density, and also has minimal shrinkage during seasonal changes.
- Santos Mahogany in a clear grade, offers minimal to mild variation in color and graining, allowing for a naturally more even-toned floor. The color has gorgeous deep red and brown tones throughout with some orange undertones, from the trees outer sap-wood, which deepen and darken over time.
This wood is dense with very small pores, even smaller than that of Walnut hardwood. It is known to be quite hard, durable, and is a very stable floor. Santos mahogany is much harder than genuine mahogany. Genuine mahogany is actually too soft for most flooring applications. Santos mahogany, on the other hand, will stand up in high traffic areas. This means that it is an excellent choice for any room of your home.
A few things you might not know about Santos Mahogany hardwood-
*Despite its name, Santos Mahogany is not really related to true Mahogany (Swietenia genus), nor is it even in the “Meliaceae” family.
Although there are over half a dozen different “Mahogany” species, the only way of truly knowing you’re getting Santos Mahogany is by the trees genus name. For example, Mahogany has been a very popular wood for centuries, but there are different species of trees that are labeled as “Mahogany,” and only one true Santos Mahogany which is “Myroxylon balsamum.”
The reason this is important is so that you, the consumer, will know what you’re getting and understand what your expectations should be for that particular hardwood. A Mahogany tree, part of one particular genus grown in one country, will have very different characteristics, densities and overall qualities from another Mahogany tree grown in a different country. (That’s where the trees genus/origin come into play)
So if you’re looking to install Santos Mahogany because of it’s density, rot resistant qualities, and other wonderful characteristics, make sure you’re asking for the right species, or you may wind up with a much different, softer wood that simply won’t live up to your expectations.
*Santos Mahogany is known for its unique and distinct spicy scent when being worked. Trees from the Myroxylon genus are used to make “Balsam of Peru,” an ingredient used in perfumes.
* Santos Mahogany is even resistant to fungus and insects, so it can also be used in outdoor applications.
* Santos Mahogany isn’t usually ever stained. It’s sought after for its gorgeous, natural deep red tones.