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Royal Mahogany (Andiroba)
Grades & Properties of Wood Flooring —
Other Common Names and Related Species:
Royal Mahogany (or Andiroba) is distributed throughout Central and South America. It should not be confused with Genuine Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) from tropical America, African Mahogany (Khaya ivorensis), or Santos Mahogany (Myroxylon balsamum).
Janka Hardness: 1220
Grades of Royal Mahogany Flooring:
Clear grade Andiroba flooring is color-sorted for a rich brown color. Though not a true Mahogany, it is so nicknamed for its resemblance to African Mahogany but tends to be harder. Clear grade is typically the only grade available in Royal Mahogany.
Royal Mahogany Flooring Dimension Specifications:
All Royal Mahogany flooring is milled in South America because it is more cost-effective to ship finished material than raw lumber. Lengths of the Andiroba flooring bundles are 7 feet so they can easily fit into 8-foot-wide steel shipping containers. All pre-milled products are tongue-&-groove and end-matched (tongue-&-grooved on the ends of the boards). Moisture content ranges from 6% to 8% for quick acclimation. The average length of the flooring pieces is usually about 3 feet and ranges from 1 to 7 feet. Almost all imported flooring that is found is in 7-foot bundles, with widths available from 2¼″ to 5″. Typically, if a long or wide plank floor is desired, raw lumber must be obtained and the flooring must be milled here in the United States. Typically, the lengths can develop up to 12 feet. However, the cost can be double that of the pre-milled stock because of waste and labor costs in the United States. Also, raw lumber is relatively expensive because it is taxed more heavily than finished products to support local economies in South America. Andiroba lumber is extremely rare, so pre-milled flooring is the norm.
Andiroba is available in mostly solid unfinished form but is sometimes available in prefinished solid and in engineered form with a veneer top layer. Solid is for nail-down applications on a wood subfloor and engineered is for installation on concrete subfloors. Royal Mahogany is rare in comparison with many Brazilian species such as Brazilian Cherry. There is a large amount of Royal Mahogany in South America, and it is not endangered. Less logging, stricter regulations, and a slower American economy have limited commodities and caused slightly higher prices of this product in this country, but it is still available.
Finished Floor Appearance:
A Clear grade floor will have an overall brown appearance. Royal Mahogany flooring darkens somewhat with sunlight but is dark unfinished. Oil-based finishes allow Andiroba to age to a deeper brown color; however, lacquer or de-waxed shellac scan be first applied to protect the wood from darkening. Water-based finishes will preserve the natural color.
Flooring Durability and Stability:
Royal Mahogany flooring is durable and resists denting and traffic wear well. It is close in hardness to North American species in density and is relatively stable. Andiroba flooring is moderately heavy, weighing over almost 3 pounds per square foot.
Workability of Royal Mahogany Flooring:
Although hard and tough, Andiroba works with little difficulty with both hand and power tools. When installing Andiroba flooring, it is best to use a manual nailer, but staples and pneumatic nailers can be used. It holds screws well, and it glues, stains, and polishes to a very attractive finish. It can be somewhat difficult to sand with flooring equipment because of its hardness. Professional sanding and finishing is recommended. This wood is very resistant to decay and insects; these resistant properties may contribute to a possible allergic response to the dust. To avoid a possible allergic reaction to the material, wear a dust mask and long-sleeve shirt when working with Andiroba.
Principal Uses of Royal Mahogany Flooring:
Andiroba flooring is used in high-end residential and commercial applications for a dramatically elegant floor. It works well in rustic camps as well as in contemporary structures.