Mahogany vs. Tanguile: Which One to Use?

Mahogany vs. Tanguile: Which One to Use?

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If you are looking for the best type of wood for your next construction project, there are many options to choose from, and yes, this can make things difficult. Today, we want to take a look at two very popular types of hardwood often used in various construction projects. These two types of wood are mahogany and tanguile.

Now, these two kinds of wood do share some similarities, but also many differences, so let’s figure out which one is best for you.

What Is Mahogany?

First, we have mahogany, which is a type of tree that is native to the Americas, particularly to the warmer regions. This is a tropical hardwood tree, one that is deciduous in nature, which means that it has leaves that fall off during the colder seasons. However, due to exportation, mahogany trees can also be found in various parts of Asia and Oceania.

Moreover, the mahogany features a very tight and straight grain, combined with almost no or absolutely no knots, gaps, and voids, and a very deep reddish-brown color that darkens over time.

This is a fairly hard, dense, and durable type of wood, and it has a little bit of sap and resin, all of which lead to excellent moisture, pest, and rot resistance, therefore making it ideal for both indoor and outdoor use.

This is a fairly expensive type of hardwood, and it is a popular choice for high-end applications, such as luxury furniture, high-quality doors and windows, decorative cabinets and dressers, and for other such applications where durability and aesthetics are of paramount importance.

What Is Tanguile?

We then have tanguile, which is technically a type of mahogany wood, at least in a broad sense, although most would not consider it to be real mahogany. This type of wood is a semi-hardwood, a deciduous tree found in tropical regions, mainly in the Philippines and surrounding areas. It is often referred to as Philippine mahogany.

Tanguile wood does have a similar color to regular mahogany, although more light-red and not quite as brown. This wood has a straight grain but may have a coarse texture, along with a good deal of knots and gaps present. Tanguile is somewhat hard and dense, although not like real mahogany. It also has pest and fungus resistance, although it’s not overly moisture-resistant.

If you want to use tanguile outdoors, it will need to be treated first. However, many people do like using this type of wood because it’s a fairly decent hardwood that is more budget-friendly than some of the other options on the market. Tanguile is often used to make lower-end furniture, boxes, cabinets, and for other such applications.

Mahogany vs. Tanguile: What Are the Differences?

Now that we know what mahogany and tanguile are, let’s take a closer look at the differences between them.

Two Types of Mahogany

The first difference worth noting is that while tanguile is technically a type of mahogany, it’s not really considered true mahogany, and unlike the regular kind that is native to the Americas, tanguile can generally only be found in Southeast Asia, particularly in The Philippines.


Another big difference between the two is that regular American mahogany is a bit harder than tanguile. American mahogany comes in at roughly 900 lbf on the Janka hardness scale. On the other hand, tanguile comes in at around 800 lbf. Tanguile is still quite hard, just not as hard as regular mahogany.

Weight and Density

Regular mahogany is also quite dense and heavy, coming in at roughly 800 kg per cubic meter. Tanguile is a bit lighter and less dense than regular mahogany, coming in at roughly 640 kg per cubic meter. It’s a bit easier to work with due to the lower weight, but also not quite as dense and durable.

Pest and Fungus Resistance

Mahogany is a tropical tree with small amounts of resin contained in it, so it has decent pest and fungal resistance. However, it would appear as though the qualities of tanguile make it more pest and fungus resistant than regular mahogany.

Moisture Resistance

Mahogany is very moisture resistant, therefore making it ideal for outdoor use. However, tanguile, while it is pest resistant, is not as dense, doesn’t have quite as much resin, and also has knots and holes, thus making it not very water resistant. This is not a type of wood you want to use for exterior purposes.

Color and Appearance

Mahogany features a very tight and straight grain with a smooth appearance, very few to no knots or holes, and a dark reddish-brown color. Tanguile is not quite as dark as mahogany, albeit a bit redder, and it does have some knots and holes, with the grain also typically being straight (although not always), with a relatively coarse appearance.


Due to the knots and holes present in tanguile, it’s not quite as easy to cut or work with as genuine mahogany.

Cost and Availability

Although regular mahogany is more readily available than tanguile, due to it being higher in quality and more in demand, it will cost more. Real mahogany is going to cost around 15 dollars per board foot, with tanguile costing just a little less.

When to Use Mahogany Wood?

If you are looking to make high-end furniture, for both interior and exterior use, or things like very beautiful cabinets, dressers, and doors and windows, then mahogany is a good option. Of course, mahogany isn’t cheap, so that is something to consider.

When to Use Tanguile Wood?

If you want something that is almost as strong as mahogany, and looks similar too, all without such a high price tag, then tanguile is a good option. Just remember that you don’t want to use it for outdoor purposes.

Alternatives to Mahogany and Tanguile Wood

If you want something very hard, dense, and durable, then both oak and walnut are good options to consider. If you’d rather have a softwood, something good-looking and decently durable, without a considerable price tag, then birch, pine, and fir are all good options to consider.

For more options, check out our article about mahogany alternatives.


Now that you know what makes genuine mahogany different from tanguile wood, you can choose which one to use for certain applications.