Mahogany vs Sapele: Mahogany Wood and Sapele Wood uses

Sapele wood is used as a substitute for Genuine Mahogany. There is not much difference between mahogany and Sapele. But both are not the same. Some of their properties are different.

Mahogany wood

Mahogany wood is a great wood species. mahogany is a broad term and implies several species. It is famous for many reasons such as its appearance,  straight, fine, and voids and pockets free. 

According to the FWS  Honduras mahogany (Swietenia humilis), Bigleaf Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla)and American mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni) wood to be mahogany species.

Mahogany wood is mainly used for furniture, cabinet, flooring, and guitar. Some species of mahogany are used to make boats. Because it stands with moisture and water.

Sapele wood

Sapele is a member of the Mahogany family. It is a great alternative to genuine Mahogany. Sapele is stiffer and heavier than the African mahogany. It is said to be 16% harder than Red Oak. So that the chance of scratching on this wood is less. It is perfect for flooring.

Difference between Mahogany and Sapele

#Mahogany woodSapele Wood
Scientific name:SwieteniaEntandrophragma Kilindricum
UsesFurniture, cabinet, flooring, and boatbuilding.Veneer, Plywood, Furniture, Cabinetry, Flooring, Boat Construction, and Musical Instruments.
Color:Reddish-brown and Color tend to darken with age.Golden to dark reddish-brown. Colors darken with age.
Hardness:Mahogany wood hardness is 800-900 lbf.Sapele wood hardness is 1,410 lbf.
Average Dried Weight:40 lbs/ft3 (640 kg/m3)42 lbs/ft3 (670 kg/m3)
Bending Properties:It can bend and carve easily.It can bend easily.
WorkabilityIt can be easily worked with. It can be cut and molded in any shape and size.Like mahogany, it can be easily done with.
Mahogany vs Sapele

Uses of Mahogany Wood and Sapele Wood

Mahogany wood is widely used in the manufacture of furniture, joinery, and veneer sheet. It is used to make musical instruments such as guitar and others. 

Because it has good water resistance. So it is perfect for the kitchen cabinet, bathroom door, and boat building.

Sapele wood is a good option for craftsmen due to its dark brown color. It darkens the color over time. Sapele has interlocking grains. Interlocking construction gives a very distinctive look. This wood is suitable for both indoor and outdoor. 

Sapele wood is also famous for making guitar bodies and necks. Because of its excellent hardness, it is used for making flooring and small architecture.

1. Flooring

Mahogany Wood is a little too soft for flooring. Mahogany wood is perfect for making windows and doors. Using mahogany wood for flooring may require more care.

Sapele wood is harder than Mahogany. So that it is perfect for durable flooring with a great look. The problem with the wooden floor is that it has to avoid scratches and potholes. Because of good hardness, the probability of scratching is reduced.

african mahogany vs sapele hardness
African Mahogany vs Sapele hardness

2. Guitar

Mahogany is popular for back and sides and necks for guitar making. Mahogany is more famous than Sapele for making guitar bodies. 

Sapele wood is also used to make guitars. But this wood may be new to some new guitarists. The Interlocking grain of Sapele gives the guitar a strong body and the rich dark color gives a great appearance. It is much harder than African mahogany but still easy to carve for guitar bodies

3. Sapele vs Mahogany door and windows frames

Mahogany is good for making door and window frames. It gives a good effect with strength.

Sapele wood also performs well in moisture. Hence it is used for bathroom doors and window frames. It’s great to look at any furniture. Its dark red-brown color gives an even better look over time.

4. Boats and boat parts

Mahogany wood is famous for making Boats and Boat Parts. It is also durable for long periods of time even when exposed to water.

Sapele and African Mahogany are popular for usage in exterior applications, including siding and soffits also for decking.

5. Sapele Wood and Mahogany for Outdoor use

Mahogany is extremely hard. Some contractors say they are the king of hardwoods. mahogany is a perfect wood for outdoor furniture. It is water-resistant and not prone to decay or rot. It holds paint very well so it becomes more durable after paint and polish.

Sapele wood is used outdoors such as Garden Furniture, Beach Chairs, boats, and boat parts. Sapele wood is stronger than Mahogany. It is rot and weather resistant. It firmly lasts for several decades without changing its own properties.

Sapele vs Mahogany Workability

Due to some raised grain of mahogany wood, it has to be taken care of. But Grain gives a nice finishing. It glows more after polishing. It is preferred for curving because it can be easily worked with small and large tools.

Sapele wood can be easily folded and made into a complex structure such as guitar side body and other. To do this easily, the expert keeps it soaking for 15 minutes before folding. So it can be said that one can easily work with Sapele too.

Mahogany vs Sapele easy to finish
Mahogany vs Sapele easy to finish
Mahogany vs Sapele workability
Mahogany vs Sapele Workability


Mahogany comes in three species. It is easily available. Because they have spread in the many forests. The United States is the largest importer of mahogany.

If we talk about the availability of Sapele. So it is not as easily available at all wood stores. Its market is limited. But due to properties like Mahogany, it is rapidly growing in use and expansion.

Sapele vs Mahogany sound

Mahogany has been used as a tonewood for a long time but Sapele more recently. Which of these two is better wood? Its answer cannot be straight. Exports consider both kinds of wood to be better.

Some guitarists prefer a guitar made from a particular wood. Because they get attached to that wood. We cannot judge which wood is better because it always depends on your particular tastes.

Why is Mahogany so valuable?

Mahogany is a unique wood species. If we talk real mahogany then you can expect to pay mid- $ 20s to mid $ 30s per board ft. 

If you think this price is high. There are great veneers out there that will still give that rich mahogany appearance. But if you want to use mahogany for a boat, then solid mahogany should be used.

Sapele vs Mahogany Cost

Unfinished solid mahogany wood ranges from $ 6 to $ 28 per board foot. This price can change in some cases, it depends on many things. Some vendors can give you a good discount on buying in bulk.

If we talk about real mahogany, then this price increases to $20s to mid $30 per board ft.

Whereas Sapele wood costs from $6 – $10 per board foot.

Is Sapele the same as Mahogany?

No, two kinds of wood can never be the same. Sapele and mahogany are quite close to each other. We can use Sapele instead of mahogany in some cases. In some sense, Sapele is better, or in some sense, mahogany is better. It is dependent on their uses.

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