WOOD GUIDE

Mahogany

   
East African Mahogany is generally a reddish-brown color, with some pieces more red and others more neutral, depending on the growing conditions of the tree. It tends to have a straight, regular grain which can yield beautiful dark and light bands of color when finished. It takes stain very nicely, which can neutralize the redness and yield a refined color similar to walnut.

Mvuli

   
   
Mvuli is one of the most popular timber species in East Africa, alongside mahogany. It is also commonly known as iroko or African teak and is found across tropical central Africa. Similar to teak in both appearance and physical properties, it is quite hard and durable and is resistant to rot and termites, making it suitable for use indoors and out.

Cypress

   
   
Cypress was introduced in Kenya in 1910 and has since become an important industrial and plantation crop. Very similar to pine, it is a fast-growing softwood which yields straight and easily worked timber. 

Compared to hardwoods such as mahogany and mvuli, cypress is considered a second class timber due to its characteristic knots and relative softness. However, its light grain and knots are quite beautiful when finished, so we think it is worthy of consideration for certain pieces and more casual spaces.

Mango

   
   
   
Mango is one of the most sustainable woods available in Kenya: when mango trees grow old, the quality of the fruit declines and they are typically cut and replaced with new trees. This creates a perfect source of wood for furniture, which we source from the coast of Kenya.

Mango is softer than mahogany or mvuli, but harder than softwoods like cypress, making for durable, longlasting furniture. In addition to sustainability, mango distinguishes itself with its striking appearance. While it is mostly a golden brown color, reds, yellows, greens, and blacks are also present in unusual patterns.
To learn more about the different types of wood used in UNITYMAKERS furniture, please download our brief Wood Guide (PDF). Inside you will find information about the mahogany, mvuli, and jacaranda we use to make our furniture. 
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