Mango wood is an all-around superior variety of wood. It has a dense texture with a fine grain, it is strong and durable, and it works well in a variety of furniture because of its natural moisture resistance properties.
Rockett St. George is a boutique furniture company from the UK. They choose to use mango wood for its striking look and for its sustainability. Using mango wood in furniture stops the deforestation of other more endangered and slow-growing species like teak.
Origins of Mango Wood
Mango wood is a variety of wood derived from the mango tree. It is a species of flowering tree from the Anacardiaceae family, which is part of the cashew and sumac family. The mango tree is beloved for both its tart, sweet fruit and gorgeous wood. It is believed to have originated in southeast Asia, though now farmers grow it all over the world from California to South Africa. According to the University of California, Davis, mango production has doubled over the past 30 years alone.
Mango trees are deep rooted evergreens meaning that they have foliage that remains green throughout more than one growing season. Farmers cultivate mango trees in China, India, and parts of Africa. They provide an important part of the agricultural system, providing nutrition and income for small farm holders.
These trees reach full maturity in 10-15 years. Farmers cut the mango tree to create lumber when a tree becomes too tall and no longer produces mangos. Before the advent of the mango wood market, these trees were burned to make way for new trees. Now, this provides a new income stream for farmers and their communities.
Quick Details of Mango Wood
|Color||Golden brown with some streaks of pink and black|
|Appearance||Curly or mottled patterns are common|
|Grain||Straight or interlocked texture, medium to coarse grain with natural luster|
|Rot Resistance||Medium durability when unfinished, has natural moisture resistance|
|Workability||High silica content so it will dull blades, glues and finishes well|
|Odor||No noticeable odor|
|Allergies/Toxicity||Some mild reactions noted|
|Pricing||Inexpensive except for boards with curly figure, spalting, and unique color variations|
|Availability||Available from sources in Hawaii and Asia|
Characteristics of Mango Wood
The qualities of mango wood make it comparable to other hardwoods like acacia and oak. But it has some distinct 3 differences compared to other woods.
Mango wood is rated as a hardwood because of its strength and density of the wood. It is similar in strength to ash and cherry wood. It has an innate luster that can be polished to a high shine. Mango wood’s durability makes it ideal for making furniture. Also, it is easy to cut and form because it is softer than other hardwoods. Woodcrafters use mango wood for creating ornate pieces of furniture with carved facings.
The color of most mango tree wood is golden brown. In some cases, there are some variations that feature hints of yellow and green with pink and black streaks. The outer part of the wood, the sapwood, is susceptible to the growth of fungus. This leads to dark streaking and spots in the wood known as “spalting”.
These spalted pieces are coveted by woodworkers because of their unique appearance. This also results in a decrease of the structural integrity of the wood. This type of mango wood is best used in non-loading bearing objects like furniture, veneers, paneling, and decorative products.
Mango wood has a dense grain that is curly or interlocked. This tight grain means that it can receive a high level of polish. It also takes stain and wax well making mango wood furniture available in many colors from walnut to natural.
Sustainability of Mango Wood
The wood of mango trees is harvested after the tree is no longer producing fruit. Using the wood of the aged trees gives the farmers another income stream. It also prevents the burning of old trees to make way for new trees. Mango trees are much more available than teak and mahogany as these are fast-growing in comparison.
Transportation has the highest impact on the carbon footprint of mango wood. In order to try to reduce the impact of mango furniture, look for sources that are closer to you to reduce the CO2 emissions emitted.
Another consideration is the end of life for mango wood products. Mango wood is durable and solid. It will last for many years with the proper care. When you are finished with the product, donate it so that someone else can use and enjoy it.
Mango Wood Pros and Cons
Mango wood is a unique and gorgeous variety of wood. Consider these points before you buy a product that uses mango wood.
- Durable – Mango wood is strong and durable. Well-maintained furniture will last for many years.
- Sustainable – Mango trees are fast-growing, reaching maturity in just 10-15 years. It is available all over Asia for small farmers and large growers alike.
- Beauty – Mango wood has a fine grain with a golden brown color. There are also other color variations with patterns created by splatting. These are prized for their unique appearance.
- Cost – Standard mango wood lumber is inexpensive. If the wood has unique color or texture variations, the price is more expensive.
- Dehydration – Mango wood has some natural resistance to moisture, but it can become dehydrated in the open sun. Make sure to condition the wood so that it does not crack and split over time.
- Mild Toxicity – Mango wood has been known in rare instances to cause skin irritation.
- Warping – If mango wood has not been dried and allowed to cure, larger pieces like wardrobes can warp over time.
Uses of Mango Wood
The hardness and luster of mango wood makes it ideal for creating furniture, instruments, and decorative objects. The rich beauty of the wood gives these objects a distinct and exotic appearance.
Mango Wood Table
This gorgeous mango wood coffee table has a retro style. It is available from Inadam Furniture. There are stylish side tables to complement the curvy lines of the coffee table.
Mango Wood Bed
If rustic industrial is more your style, consider the Beck bed from Swoon. It features a mango wood headboard within a steel frame. The Beck line also features other mango wood bedroom furniture including bedside tables and nesting tables.
Mango Wood Ukulele
The distinct look of the grain of mango wood looks amazing on the body of this soprano ukulele from The Ukulele Site. The cost-effective price of the wood and the easy-to-use texture make this ukulele an excellent value.
Mango Wood Bowl
One World Bazaar features artisans from all over the world. This mango wood bowl is from Devee and Busch. It features traditional hand dip-dye technique for a gorgeous marbled look.
Mango Wood Ornament
This unique mango wood ornament from Amara features a carved surface and unique pattern. They use spalted mango wood and then burn it to create additional marbling.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
Is mango wood durable?
Yes, mango wood is quite durable if you maintain it over time. This includes conditioning the wood with beeswax and furniture polish to protect the integrity of the wood.
Is mango a hardwood?
Yes, mango wood is considered a hardwood because of its tight grain and density. Yet, it is softer than some other hardwoods which makes it easier to craft it into furniture and other products.
How does mango wood compare to pine wood?
Mango wood is comparable to pine in that these are both inexpensive woods. Mango wood has a much denser texture and grain. This means that mango wood produces a higher luster and more durable construction than pine.
How can you verify that you are getting mango wood from a sustainable source?
If a source claims that they use sustainable mango wood, here is a way that you can check. Look for labels or certifications from the Forest Stewardship Council or from the Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification. Both of these bodies seek to ensure that the wood comes from a sustainable source and provides social benefits to the owners and community. These are a good place to start.
Mango wood is becoming a more popular wood option each year. Mango is seen as a durable and inexpensive alternative to more exotic woods like acacia or common domestic wood like oak. The efforts to produce this wood in a more sustainable way also mean that you can feel better about its long term availability and impact on the farmer who grows it.