Khaya Wood

What Are Khaya Wood Uses

Khaya is one of the woods that originated from the African continent, including Madagascar. The plant can grow as tall as 35m, with some trees going even closer to 45m tall.

The diameter is ranged from 1-1,5 meters, and this wood categorizes as hardwood. It is often called the African Mahogany due to having similar characteristics to the original Mahogany.

The Mahogany we all know, which are the Bigleaf and Cuban variants, are being endangered due to the high demand. Therefore, many people are looking for substitutes. Genuine Mahogany will consider as Honduran Mahogany.

Many hardwoods are being passed as Mahogany, but none hold the same qualities as the original until Khaya became a prominent figure in the market.

Knowing the wood variants

It is not surprising that many people mistook Khaya for genuine Mahogany because they’re from the same genus. However, Khaya has several variants, with the most popular one is the Khaya Ivorensis.

The tree is native to western African countries such as Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Ghana. The continent has varied soil and temperature and makes various Khaya wood.

As the name states, Khaya Senegalensis is from Senegal, in West Africa. However, this also means that there is varied quality among the timber.

Some may not be as good as others.

Knowing Which Timber is Good

Khaya can be a delight to work with.

But due to many variants and rich soil that can produce various qualities of timber, it’s crucial to have the ability to distinguish which wood is the great one.

Good Khaya Characteristic

A good Khaya will have heartwood that ranged from pale pink to deep rich reddish-brown.

And the sapwood will have a similar color.

However, different coloration may vary depending on where the timber is obtained.

It’s a good idea to try running a plane and see how the ribbon looks like.

That way, you can check on the coloration, tightness, and overall timber quality.

What is the difference between Genuine Mahogany (Honduran Mahogany) and Khaya Wood (African Mahogany)?

The Wood Grain

  • Genuine Mahogany grain tends to be fine, slight, and uniform.
  • African Mahogany grain is usually more open, erratic, and inconsistent.

Wood Figure

  • Genuine Mahogany rarely showing wild figures.
  • African Mahogany tends to have more figured grain than the genuine one.

The Wood Color

  • Genuine Mahogany has dark rich brown-based color.
  • African Mahogany exhibits color variations and has a slightly reddish hue.

 Dark lines spots

  • African Mahogany having a lot of dark spots looks like a small pencils line.
  • Genuine Mahogany, of course, almost doesn’t have this mark.

Test it With Machine

  • Genuine Mahogany is very easy to cut
  • African Khaya, of course, isn’t easy to handle.

The wood price

  • Genuine Mahogany is more expensive
  • African Mahogany is almost twice cheaper than the genuine one.

Wood Name

  • African Mahogany is usually said as Mahogany.
  • For genuine Mahogany, the supplier will say that as genuine Mahogany because it is a premium option.  

Wood Documentation

  • Request import documentation from your supplier.
  • Bring Genuine Mahogany to the US need documentation
  • Wood documentation will correctly identify the species and wood of origin.   

Khaya Wood Uses

Like many other mahoganies, Khaya is often used as furniture.

However, it’s not the only thing that this wood is good for. It holds many other usages.

Khaya wood for Indoor Furniture

Popular Indoor Furniture

As indoor furniture, Khaya wood gives a sleek and dark look that can complement a room.

Many people say that this is a good substitute for Mahogany.

Therefore, it’s great for furniture you want to have for a long time, such as a desk or a cupboard.

It would help if you considered a few of these before using this wood:

  • Khaya is Less expensive than genuine Mahogany.
  • It’s a little harder to deal with, It finishes out nice, but the grain pulls out a lot.
  • Khaya wood can be used for a variety of products.
  • It’s kind of a crazy grain you can sometimes have; depending on the orientation of the grain, it has to be the right one, and it should have a vertical grain.
  • When furniture makers moved to African Mahogany, they have to understand it differs from the genuine Mahogany.
  • If this wood is difficult to handle, you can try to consider choosing Sapele wood.

Flooring Options

You can find Khaya being sold as plywood since it gives good quality slices.

However, the most popular option is to have Khaya as the flooring veneer instead of the whole floor. 

Khaya Wood for Outdoor Furniture

Doors and Windows

Khaya is known to be rot and insect resistant.

It’s one of the qualities and the rich coloring that makes Khaya a favorite option for doors and windows. 


Khaya does not take much to maintain No need for you to have and do a lot of treatment to the wood since it’s also weather-resistant.

Therefore, Khaya is also popular for decks and outdoor platforms. 

Other Uses of Khaya Woods

Music Instruments

Many luthiers have used Khaya as an option for the American Mahogany they’ve been using.

And even though the wood is harder and has more grain.


For the native people in Africa, Khaya holds many uses different on the region.

Khaya Anthoteca is known to have durable timber and is used as dug-out canoes or also known as Makoros.

Essensial Oil & Medicinal usage

Khaya Senegalenesesis has many other uses.

The seed has a high content of oils, especially oleic acid.

This oil is known to have many health benefits, one of which is to reduce blood pressure.

Fulani tribes in west Africa also use Khaya bark to treat various diseases such as coughs and dysentery. And during the dry season, they prune the tree for cattle food. 

Khaya wood guitar

African Mahogany is slightly stiffer and more complex; this wood expands the frequency response and increases the production of overtones.

Khaya wood is a great tonewood, a good substitution for genuine Mahogany.

Another alternative for this tonewood is Sapele wood because of its denser finish and its beautiful banding of lighter tones mixed into the very mahogany-like grain.

Genuine Mahogany Alternative

When you’re on a low budget, but you don’t want to compromise the quality, then Khaya or African Mahogany is the one you’re looking for.

It has all the good qualities that genuine Mahogany has, and at a more affordable price. 

Khaya doesn’t need a lot of maintenance work.

Even with minimum maintenance, the reddish hue will still be there for a couple of decades.

It will decay after a couple of years if it’s being left untreated.

Keep your eyes peeled to find timber with good quality, and you are set for many years to come. 

Is it the right choice to use African Mahogany for wood projects?

Based on the above explanation, the choice depends on what kind of project you use this wood for?

Choosing African Mahogany is perfect for furniture, flooring, and any indoor furniture; it is a great wood that can offer many uses.

African Mahogany is not suitable for outdoor or patio furniture.

Well basically, that’s is on your decision, as long it fits your budget and suits your woodworking projects, that’s mean it’s a right choice.