Mango Wood – What is it and what are the benefits of Mango wood furniture?

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What is Mango Wood?

Mango wood is originally derived from the Mango tree; the tree that produces the sweet, fleshy fruit known as a Mango.

The Mango tree belongs to the Anacardiaceae family, which also includes Pistachio, Cashew and Poison Ivy trees. The tree is “evergreen” meaning it has a foliage that remains green and functional through more than one growing season. Mango trees typically reach an average height of between 15 and 18 metres (50ft and 60ft). 

Mango wood is categorised as a hardwood, due to its dense grains. This means it is a strong and durable wood making it perfect for furniture. Due to the density of the wood, it doesn’t wear out easily and can keep its high lustre texture for many years. However, unlike other hardwood furniture, Mango wood is often seen as more affordable and sustainable.

Mango Tree Grain and Frame

Image by @lovetoknow via Pinterest

The origin of Mango wood

Mango trees are native to India, Myanmar and East Asia. Whilst the wood is most commonly cultivated in India, Mango wood is also farmed in Kenya and China. 

Mango trees grow incredibly fast, taking roughly 10-15 years to reach full productivity. When they get older and taller, it can become trickier to harvest and they can become less productive fruit-wise. Once this happens, the trees are felled and new ones planted so that the Mango farmers can continue producing more fruit. This ensures that the price of Mango wood is relatively low, as not only do the trees grow quickly and can be easily replaced, but the tree would be cut down regardless. 

Once a Mango tree is felled, another is planted and will mature within 15 years. As a means of comparison, oak trees take around 75 years to reach full maturity. This means that creating furniture from Mango wood can help to relieve deforestation of endangered tree species and is often considered a more sustainable wood option. 

What colour is Mango wood?

The natural colour of Mango wood is most often golden brown, although there are also variations that have a more yellow tint, or feature black or pink streaks across its surface. The wood is often beautifully discoloured due to ‘spalting’, where wood can change different colours as a result of fungus. Spalted Mango wood contains streaks of colour, ranging from light beige to black, and is a look that is highly desired by artisans.

When unstained and finished only in clear wax, this wood is generally slightly darker than oak with a more pronounced grain pattern, similar to oak and mahogany. Mango wood also takes wood stain really well, which can produce a rich deep brown colour.

Uses

Unlike many other hardwoods, Mango wood is relatively easy to work with which makes it a great option for furniture making. It is easy to cut and shape and can be intricately carved as it’s soft. Being highly resistant to water, Mango wood is also a great option when it comes to outdoor furniture.

Other popular uses of Mango wood include flooring, wall paneling, veneer, plywood, turned objects, musical instruments, kitchen accessories, and leather curing in addition to a plethora of kitchenware such as serving platters, chopping boards and trays – the list really is endless!

Grain and Frame Mango Wood - What is it and what are the benefits of Mango wood furniture?

Benefits of Mango wood furniture

There are many benefits of using Mango wood for furniture:

  • Durability: Mango wood is a durable hardwood, meaning that it is perfect for creating bespoke furniture designs; it has a strength comparable to Ash and Oak. It doesn’t wear out quickly and ages beautifully, giving you peace of mind that your furniture will last for decades. 
  • Sustainability: Mango wood is highly sustainable due to its cultivation as a fruit tree. The trees grow to maturity relatively quickly for a hardwood, reaching maturity after about 15 years. At this point they begin to produce less fruit, or stop altogether. As Mango farmers plant new trees every 7 to 15 years, before the older trees become barren, it creates a sustainable cycle of plantation and harvest, with only the less ‘fruitful’ tree being chopped down to wood. 
  • Affordable: As a result of how sustainable Mango trees are, the wood is also more affordable than its hardwood counterparts. Once the tree has been felled, it requires minimal processing which also helps to keep the cost down.
  • Aesthetically beautiful: Due to the distinctive texture and patterns, as well as beautiful wood grain, Mango wood is a great option for those looking for something truly unique. Due to the variation in the wood colour, you are guaranteed a piece of furniture that can’t be replicated.

Drawbacks of Mango wood furniture

As with any wood, there are a few drawbacks worth considering when it comes to choosing Mango wood. 

Mango wood doesn’t require much maintenance which is great, but during dry weather it is prone to get dehydrated. If the wood is exposed to heat sources or the sun, cracks can form relatively easily. To avoid this happening, we would recommend keeping it moisturised with furniture polish. 

Although extremely durable, the wood can be susceptible to fungus attacks so it’s important not to use the wood without a finish such as wax. 

Finally, whilst severe reactions are quite uncommon, Mango wood has been reported to cause skin irritation. If you are prone to skin allergies and opt for Mango wood, ensure it’s for a piece of furniture that won’t come into regular contact with the skin. 

How to care for Mango wood furniture

Like with other wood furniture, it’s important to maintain your Mango wood furniture so it’ll last. We’ve pulled together our top four tips to ensure your furniture stays looking beautiful for years to come:

1. Be wary of liquids – If you spill a drink on your furniture be sure to wipe it up immediately. Over time spillages will wear away the finish and may cause irreparable water damage.

2. Keep the wood hydrated – Keep your furniture hydrated by regularly using furniture polish. As Mango wood can get dehydrated relatively easily, a good polish will not only prevent the wood from cracking, but also make its unique grain stand out.

3. Clean with care – It’s very important that you are careful when cleaning your Mango wood furniture. Be sure to avoid harsh chemical cleaners or abrasive cloths as these can damage the finish.

4. Plan the position – Planning where your piece of Mango wood furniture wood is going in your home is important. Try to keep the furniture away from direct sunlight or other sources of heat such as a radiator. Over time this would almost certainly cause discolouration of the wood.

Mango wood is a great choice for those looking for sustainable furniture options in their home. We don’t currently use mango wood however we know how important it is to look after the environment. That’s why at Grain and Frame we’re passionate about using sustainably sourced timber from local suppliers, to ensure no young trees are cut down too soon.

Other FAQs

Is Mango wood susceptible to termites?

Mango trees are susceptible to fungal and insect attack, so it’s really important to treat the wood before it gets made into furniture. When left untreated, Mango wood can be prone to termites, however once the wood has been treated and finished correctly, this is unlikely to happen. 

How strong is Mango wood?

Mango wood has a dense grain which means the wood is extremely hard-wearing and strong. It has a hardness rating of 1,120 pounds-force on the Janka scale, and is similar in hardness to North American hardwoods such as oak.

Is a Mango tree a hardwood?

Mango wood is categorised as a hardwood due to its strength, density and durability. The wood doesn’t wear out quickly and when looked after properly, can keep its high luster texture for many years. Unlike other hardwoods, Mango wood can easily be cut and re-shaped which makes it a great option for furniture makers. 

Is Mango wood sustainable?

One of the main benefits of using Mango wood is due to how sustainable it is. Mango wood is highly sustainable due to its cultivation as a fruit tree. The trees grow to maturity relatively quickly for a hardwood, reaching maturity after about 15 years. At this point they begin to produce less fruit, or stop altogether. As Mango farmers plant new trees every 7 to 15 years, before the older trees become barren, it creates a sustainable cycle of plantation and harvest, with only the less ‘fruitful’ tree being chopped down to wood.

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