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Author Topic: Sapele vs. Mahogany???  (Read 19062 times)
dbirchett
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« Reply #20 on: June 29, 2005, 06:57:50 AM »

Absolutely right, C10E. That which is called African Mahogany is one of the species of Khaya or even Sapele and is not a member of the Mahogany family. Mahogany is a "New World" Wood, even though many other woods are commonly called "mahogany."
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Don

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« Reply #21 on: June 29, 2005, 12:13:56 PM »

It seems that "trade names" are very common in the tonewood and cabinet wood business and often don't have a lot to do with science. I see the same sort of thing with topwoods, the adirondack vs. red spruce debate is a good example. Grading terms for tops such as Master grade, AAAA, AAA is at the discretion of the supplier and builder. There is no industry standard for grading and even naming products.
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Hoser Rob
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« Reply #22 on: June 29, 2005, 03:32:13 PM »

As with tops, build factors trump differences between similar species.  While the interlocking grain of Honduran mahogany does make it better for necks, for backs and sides it wouldn't sway my decision.
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JohnM2001
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« Reply #23 on: July 06, 2006, 09:04:25 PM »

Often sapele will have "ribbon" striping.  But not always. I've seen sapele Taylors with no ribboning, but a grainy "fuzzy sweater" look.



Never heard of ribbon striping, but the grain on this D-03SP sure looks like twisted ribbons to me, so I assume this is what ribbon striping looks like??  Yes?
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dbirchett
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« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2006, 06:27:06 AM »

To follow up, Mahogany is a member of the family Meliaceae. Members of this family include the Swietenia family along with the Khaya (African Mahogany) and Entandrophragma which includes Sapele. Others include Cedrela odorata commonly referred to as Spanish Cedar (Martin has been using this as a Mahogany replacement) and  Toona australis Australian Redcedar, which I believe Maton uses in some of their guitars.

To get a better idea of the closeness of relationship lets look at the Acacias, Rosewoods and Mahogany.

Acacias:
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Order: Magnoliopsida
Class: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Mimosoideae
Genus: Acacia
Species: koa or melanoxylon

Rosewoods:
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Order: Magnoliopsida
Class: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Faboideae
Genus: Dalbergia
Species: nigra, retusa, melanoxylon, stevensonii or latifolia, for example

Mahogany:
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Order: Magnoliopsida
Class: Sapindales
Family: Meliaceae
Genus: Swietenia
Species: macrophylla

As you can see, rosewood and acacia are quite closely related, much more closely related than either to the mahogany family.

Info courtesy of Wikipedia

This is a post I made a while back. To see the closeness of the relationship, consider that the futher you go down on the list, the closer the relationship (until you get to species which says nothing about the relationship. Note that all acacias are from the genus Acacia denoting a very close relationship. All rosewoods are from the genus Dalbergia, again indicating a very close relationahip.

Acacias and Rosewoods are from the same family indicating that while each a little more attenuated than another acacia or rosewood respectively, they are more closely related to each other than either would be to a Mahogany as you have to go to the Order to establish commonality.

The true mahoganies, sapele and Khaya (african mahogany) are all from the same family, which would indicate that they are closely related (but not as close as a common genus).

Clear as mud? All three are commonly referred to as mahogany and Meliaceae, the family to which all three belong, is referred to as the mahogany family. All are great tonewoods!
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Don

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« Reply #25 on: July 07, 2006, 02:19:51 PM »

There was a discussion a bit abck about sapele on the APM. Bruce Sexauer was showing off an instrument he was going to showcase in Montreal at the upcoming Luthiers Show. Here's what he had to say about Denis' new Larrivee:

Quote
Too fine a point, perhaps, for the casually interested, but to me it is a big deal that this guitar is NOT quilted, which is a character that occurs ONLY on flatsawn wood. Some old fogeys believe that flatsawn wood is an unnecessary compromise to a musical instrument's integrity. Ribbon figure is a characteristic of quartered material, and hats off to J C Larrive'.
[/b]

The thread is here: http://www.acousticplayermagazine.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=6609&hl=sapele
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Ron

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« Reply #26 on: July 08, 2006, 06:33:49 PM »

Quote
TOP:    Solid Sapele or Genuine Mahogany
ROSETTE:    Gold & Black Style Herringbone
TOP BRACING PATTERN:    D1 (A-Frame)
TOP BRACES:    Sitka/1 Style/Non-Scalloped
BACK MATERIAL:    Solid Sapele or Genuine Mahogany
BACK PURFLING:    none
SIDE MATERIAL:    Solid Sapele or Genuine Mahogany

The problem with this kind of spec sheet is that they're not telling you specifically which wood you'd get if you order one. Some might not mind this but I wouldn't buy an expensive guitar w/o knowing what it is.

BTW, I do have a preference between the two tonewoods so maybe that's my hang up.
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« Reply #27 on: July 08, 2006, 07:29:46 PM »

i tried an D-03 with sapele at tom lee the other day, adn compared it to the mahogany, very similar aspects, but the mahogany came off with clearer tones, but ive seen some crazy quilted sapele from morgan.
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