Mango wood is a modern type of wood derived from mango trees. The Latin name is Mangifera Indica. The mango tree can be successfully cultivated from mango plantations to produce mango wood.
You may be curious as to why mango wood is preferred to other hardwood. To begin with, mango wood is known for its longevity and sustainability. In addition, it is categorized as a hardwood due to its dense individual grains.
As a woodworker, we approve of these characteristics of mango wood as the perfect material for furniture and outdoor items.
So what is mango wood? Let’s learn more.
What is Mango Wood and Where Does Mango Wood Come from?
The origin of Mango wood can be traced back to countries in Southern Asia and East Asia region, most specifically in India. The mango tree is a South Asian tropical species that produces delicious, fleshy fruits known as mangoes.
Mango trees, from which mango wood is derived, is the national fruit in several other countries, such as Pakistan and the Philippines. Mango wood is also cultivated in Kenya and China.
The mango tree is categorized under the Anacardiaceae family. Typically, it can grow to an average height of between 15 and 18 meters and takes about 10-15 years to attain a complete fruit-bearing lifespan.
As mango trees get older, they can become more difficult to harvest. As the demand for mango fruit increased, the production of this natural wood led to the creation of a thriving worldwide mango industry.
Once a mango tree reaches its peak, growers decide to cut it down. The wood derived from this tree was used as firewood in the early years. Woodworkers now use mango wood for a variety of functions.
Properties of Mango Wood
Mango wood’s grain is one of the most appealing features you will be drawn to. In its natural form, mango wood appears as either a straight or curly and interlocked grain. It also has a high gloss and course textured look compared to other hardwoods.
Compared to other hardwoods, mango wood’s appearance and natural colour is considered pretty unique. Mango wood has a light and pleasing texture, most often golden brown, dark brown, or grey-yellow brown.
Mango wood also features a unique effect called spalting. This is the coloration that is found in wood due to fungi.
This aesthetic effect results in various colored streaks such as green, pink, amber, yellow, and black. Spalted mango wood should be your top choice if you are interested in exotic-looking furniture.
Contact with certain parts of the mango tree is reported to cause skin dermatitis, including blistering, rash, itching, and swelling, among other skin irritations.
The sap, trunk, and branches of the mango wood are potent skin irritants that can blister the skin of normal individuals. You are advised to avoid using mango wood in fireplaces or cooking fuel as its smoke is highly irritant.
If you’re working with mango wood and want to prevent sap from seeping out, we offer a comprehensive guide on how to stop wood from leaking sap. This guide provides valuable insights and practical solutions to help you work with mango wood while minimizing the risk of sap-related issues.
What are Some of the Uses of Mango Wood?
The mango wood’s versatility is a feature you can utilize in furniture making. It is also easy to cut, shape, stain, and responds excellently to different finishing styles, making it an excellent option compared to other hardwoods.
In addition, mango wood’s sustainability, durability, and aesthetic appeal encourage many uses. You can use mango wood to create a wide range of outdoor and household items and mango furniture, including:
- Doors and window frames
- Wall cabinets
- Kitchen accessories such as chopping boards and serving trays
- Small and large furniture
- Table boards
- Musical instruments
- Curing leather
- Turned objects
Mango Wood Furniture Pros and Cons
Certain capabilities have made mango wood a suitable material for the production of various households, such as beds, drawers, doors, flooring, and mango wood coffee tabletop, among other mango wood pieces.
Let’s look at some of the advantages of mango wood below.
Eco-friendly and sustainable
It’s 2022, and the world is raving about sustainability and promoting eco-friendly environments. Mango wood is one of the most sustainable and eco-friendly sources of wood.
The mango wood is harvested after the fruiting tree has completed its lifespan cycle, bolstering conservation efforts. When it comes to sustainability, mango wood has an exceptional life cycle.
A mango tree takes about 15 years to mature. Statistics show that furniture and household items made of mango wood have a relatively low carbon footprint and capture carbon during their product life.
Despite its hardwood characteristics, mango wood is easy to use. This is because it does not need special tools in the manufacturing process.
The strong grain feature also allows hand and machine tools to work easily. We, as woodworkers, fall in love with these characteristics of processed mango wood as they save time and resources.
Additionally, mango wood is easy to stain and paint on as it absorbs the chemicals quick to produce rich deep brown colors.
Maintaining mango wood furniture will not require much attention and resources from you. For the most part, mango wood is highly resistant to water and incredibly durable.
However, to prevent dehydration as a result of being exposed to heat and dryness, you will need to ensure that the wood is polished and moisturized accordingly.
Despite being water resistant, you are advised to avoid getting the wood wet. Instead, use a dry dust cloth when cleaning furniture made of mango wood pieces.
The mango tree is strong and grows at a slow rate. Their slabs are also quite strong and dense, making them highly durable.
Mango wood can withstand many factors since it is extremely strong and hard-wearing. You can also enhance the durability of mango wood by applying a strong layer of protective finish.
Additionally, you will find that mango wood doesn’t wear out at a quick pace. Rather it ages beautifully, giving you a lifetime to enjoy the quality of your bespoke mango wood furniture.
Maintaining mango wood is also relatively easy since it only requires a soft and moist cloth to remove dust particles from the surfaces. In addition, you can apply some wax to the mango wood to protect your furniture from drying out.
Compared to other hardwood counterparts, mango wood is softer, making it easier to produce pieces of furniture at a quicker and more flexible time.
In addition, once the mango tree is felled, mango wood requires minimal processing in the manufacturing process, making it cost-effective.
Mango wood is highly resistant to water, making it an excellent choice wood for outdoor furniture such as patios and decks. You can also increase the wood’s resistance to water by applying polish on its surface.
Cons of Mango Wood Furniture
Despite its numerous advantages, mango wood also comes with some drawbacks. These include;
Prone to fungal and insect attack
Although mango wood is praised for its durability, it is susceptible to fungus attacks. You can remedy this by applying a strong wax finish. However, we advise you to treat this hard wood before turning it into furniture. If not, it could attract termites.
Not strong enough for some furniture
Despite mango wood’s great strength, it’s not strong enough for large furniture plans such as wardrobes and beds.
This is because mango wood can get warped easily. We suggest using mango wood in making furniture that won’t need to carry so much weight.
Prone to discoloration
Furniture made from mango wood is prone to discoloration and cracking if left under the sun for too long. Also, if the piece of furniture were originally brown, extreme sunlight would turn it into a much darker color.
Why is Mango Wood Sustainable?
Mango wood has high levels of sustainability due to its cultivation period as a fruit tree. The mango tree grows to maturity after 15 years.
Since mango farmers plant new mango trees every 7 to 15 years, this promotes a sustainable cycle of planting and harvest while promoting the thriving mango industry.
How to Care for Mango Wood Furniture
The following tips will help you maintain your mango wood furniture’s authenticity and beautiful finish.
Keep away from direct sunlight
Placing your mango wood furniture away from sunlight is one of the most important factors in protecting its authenticity and nature.
When exposed to direct sunlight, the exterior surface of mango wood may begin to fade. Therefore, you may want to move your mango wood furniture pieces away from large chunks of sunlight.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy the high quality of the wood against the rich beams; rather, ensure the contact with direct exposure to sunlight is at a minimum.
Avoid spilling liquids on the surface
Avoid exposing your mango wood furniture to liquids as this may cause discoloration or damage after some time. If you spill any liquid on the surface, wipe it with a dry dust cloth as soon as possible.
Exposure to alcohol, deodorants, nail paints, and perfumes may harm the finish of the wood. Additionally, avoid placing hot objects such as a cup of tea directly on the wood furniture without mats or coasters.
Proper cleaning tips
When cleaning the surface of mango wood furniture, avoid using damp cloths as this may result in discoloration. Instead, use a plain dry cloth without any solution or polish to prevent wiping away the natural protective finish.
You can, however, use a bit of beeswax to clean the surface effectively. This also adds a fresh layer of protective coating to the wood’s surface.
See also: Limitations of Rubber Wood in Furniture
How to clean Mango wood?
Cleaning mango wood furniture should be done with extreme care to avoid discoloration. You should avoid using a damp cloth on the surface; instead, use a dry cloth without a solution or polish. This prevents the risk of removing the natural wax. The most effective method of cleaning the surface is using a tiny bit of beeswax(See: How to apply beeswax to wood). This also adds a protective coating to the wood itself.
What color is Mango wood?
Mango wood’s natural color ranges from light to golden brown. However, mango wood can also feature a kaleidoscope of colors resulting from spalting. Mango wood also takes on other colors such as yellow and streaks of black and pink.
Is Mango wood susceptible to termites?
Mango wood is prone to termite infestations, especially when left untreated. However, termites do not attack healthy trees. Thus ensure that you use treated wood furniture outdoors to keep them away.
Is Mango wood durable?
Compared to other hardwood sources, mango wood has a relatively high level of durability. Mango wood can withstand many factors since it is extremely strong and hard-wearing. You can also enhance the durability of mango wood by applying a strong layer of protective finish. Additionally, you will find that mango wood doesn’t wear out at a quick pace.
How strong is Mango wood?
According to the Janka scale, Mango wood has a hardness rating of about 1,120 pounds-force. This is because of the dense grain in the wood that makes it extremely strong and hard-wearing, unlike other exotic woods.
Is Mango a hardwood tree?
Yes. Mango wood is categorized as hard wood due to its high density, strength, and durability. Additionally, mango wood doesn’t wear out fast, especially if it’s looked after properly.
Is Mango wood sustainable?
Mango farmers plant new mango trees every 7 to 15 years, promoting a sustainable cycle of planting and harvest. As a result, materials made from mango wood have a relatively low carbon footprint and capture carbon during their product life.
Is Mango wood good for furniture?
Unlike other hardwoods in the market, furniture makers prefer mango wood because it can easily be re-shaped and cut.
Is Mango wood good for a dining table?
Yes. One of the qualities that make mango wood perfect for dining tables is its high water resistance. This factor means you can also use it for outdoor and garden furniture, like making Adirondack chairs.
Is Mango wood better than oak?
Mango wood is preferred to Oak because of its fast growth cycle. Mango wood, which is a hard wood, can also withstand the wear and tear of time and furniture. And unlike oak, mango wood is more affordable and sustainable.
Next read: What does beech wood look like? Is it soft or hard?
Ready to Take a Chance on Mango Wood?
I bet you can already conclude that choosing to work with mango wood in your next project will bear great and exotic results.
Quick tip? We advise you to keep your mango wood surfaces moisturized using regular polish, and you’ll be delighted to watch your furniture grow more beautiful with age.