Sunken Treasure


How to buy mahogany that 18th-century furniture masterpieces (and dreams) are made of.
By Kari Hultman
Pages: 50-53

From the April 2010 issue #182
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Remember when Honduran mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) was the most fashionable wood used in fine furniture, had 40 to 60 growth rings per inch, and was readily available in 20″-wide boards?

If you were an 18th-century woodworker you would.

That was the norm back then, but things are different now. Honduran mahogany is protected (as is Swietenia mahagoni – known as West Indian or Cuban mahogany, the “original” mahogany) due to harvesting to near extinction by the 20th century. Wide boards are difficult to find, and 25 growth rings per inch is considered dense.

But thanks to a few frogmen and entrepreneurs, we can turn back the clock a couple hundred years and work with some of this legendary timber. To understand how this is possible, we have to start in 1638.

Online Extras

* Read Glen D. Huey’s original story about sunken treasure.

* Read about the vacuum-drying process for sunken old growth mahogany.

* Get ideas for mahogany furniture in Glen D. Huey’s new book.

* Read about logs reclaimed from the Great Lakes.

* Visit Greener Lumber’s web site.


From the April 2010 issue #182
Buy this issue now