Comparing Sapele to Mahogany

      Woodworkers discuss the visual appearance and working characteristics of Sapele wood. April 9, 2008

I would like to know how plain sliced sapele looks. Does it take stain like Honduras mahogany? I like the way red mahogany stain looks on Honduras. My supplier has sapele 10" and wider. Is yellow glue okay, or do you have to use something else? Also, does the ribbon wind up on the edge of the board if you are using plain sliced?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor A:
This is becoming one of the replacement woods for SA mahogany. You can use any woodworking glue. No bonding issues.

It often has a much higher percentage of ribbon stripe due to the way it grows. In my experience the ribbon does not tearout on sapele unlike the other Africans. It looks and tastes very much like good SA mahogany. I would give it a shot. I was buying piles of the stuff all 20" x 15'. Haven't seen so much nice wood in years.

From contributor P:
Sapele is a wonderful material. Generally prized for its ribbon characteristics. It stains very similar to hondo, even better as the sapele does not have the fuzz problems. Flat sawn has a very distinctive look. As you get closer to a rift (plain) type cut, it begins to look more like hondo with a similar cut.

From the original questioner:
My supplier told me today they don't carry plain slice. I would have to go there and go through the boards and pick out the boards with less ribbon. They are in the rough. I was hoping there was a separate supply just with plain saw. I guess the boards have ribbon throughout without them even quarter sawing. I would like to build bookcases and library type projects with it and think the ribbon would just be too much. I love the way mahogany takes a stain.

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