Finishing African Mahogany – 5 Steps to Apply Smooth Finish


Decorating your house with the classiest thing is the new trend.

We’re sure you have thought about making your home look aesthetic as well. Wooden floors and furniture add beauty to your home.

Speaking about beauty and aesthetics, African mahogany comes first in mind. If you research more about this, chances are you will want to splash your money on it.

However, to make the wood appear artistic, you must coat it with the ideal finish. If you have no clue what we are talking about, do not worry.

We’re here to give insights about finishing African mahogany and the things you must know beforehand to make things easier.

Let’s dive in then, shall we?

What Does African Mahogany Mean?

Before talking about finishes, first, let’s know what exactly African mahogany is. If you want to choose hardwood for your floor or furniture, this is the perfect choice for you.

African mahogany comes from Africa, as the name suggests. The color owns range from pink to orange to golden brown, making it appear vintage.

You can select any color on your floor, and you will see a unique look popping up on your flooring.

You can easily apply finish and put a coating on this wood. This one also has a longevity feature. Thus, you don’t have to worry about changing the wood for a long time.

This one is also resistant to decomposing, meaning it won’t decay quickly. However, if you notice any type of problems, make sure to take care of the situation right away.

What Are The Finish Options For African Mahogany?

As you saw, it is much easier to apply finishes on African mahogany. To confuse you, there are thousands of wood finishes out there.

We have come up with the ideal choices that are suitable for your mahogany.


The recommended finish for mahogany is the lacquer. It doesn’t require a longer period to cure and has the longevity feature; it will strongly adhere to the mahogany.

You have to put only two coats of lacquer on your wood, and the project will be finished in just under a few hours.

It doesn’t put a rough edge on the hardwood as varnish does. Additionally, it provides a shiny appearance on your hardwood. Thus, you can select this finish to use for your African mahogany project.

Tung Oil

If you want protection for your wood, you can add tung oil as your finish. One of the main pros of this is, you can add tung oil at regular intervals. The oil doesn’t take much time to cure or dry.

Hence, applying this after six months or a year won’t be a problem. You can also use Danish or linseed oil instead of tung oil.

These penetrating oil can give a clear and shiny look to your mahogany project. To make the wood appear glossier, you can add paste wax to the coat of oil.


Shellac is the better option if you’re working on a smaller mahogany project. It will bring an old, vintage, and natural look to your furniture.

Shellac is considered to be one of the user-friendliest finishes. It provides a warm and pleasant look on your mahogany.

Curing time requires less than polyurethane, but not than lacquer. For a tiny project, you shouldn’t use the finish that gives you the hassle. Shellac gives a hassle-free experience.

Finishing African Mahogany – 5 Easy Steps

We talked about the finish options. Now let’s get to the process of how you will apply the finishes on your mahogany safely and thoroughly.

The process can differ depending on your finish options. Here, we’re choosing the ideal option – lacquer.

 Step 1 – Fill The Grain With Coats

Firstly, fill the grain with 6 or more coats of finish (the one you select). You have to sand the finish after applying one coat every time.

Step 2 – Sand The Surface With 220-Grit

After the graining, sand to 220 grit on the surface with sandpaper to give the mahogany a vintage look.

Step 3 – Apply The Color Stain

When you finish sanding the surface properly, apply the color stain you prefer. It can be medium brown or dark brown. Wait for the stain to get cured.

Sep 4 – Sand The Surface With 320-Grit

Again, sand the surface with 320 grit, this time with the sandpaper. The dust will be removed. You must add another six coats of your preferred finish on the surface.

Step 5 – Rinse The Surface

After the coating has dried, sand with 600 grit with dry paper. Mix soap and water with wool and clean the surface with this wool.

Lastly, rinse the surface with clean and cold water and remove the water with a warm cloth.

Safety Tip– While working with the finishes, make sure you wear protective clothing and work in a proper area.


Does Mahogany Darken With Age?

African mahogany oxidizes quickly if it’s exposed to sunlight or UV rays. It’s because the hardwood is photo-reactive.

If the mahogany project is an outdoor project or must be outside for a longer period, it will darken over time.

This is why it’s not suggested to use mahogany for outdoor projects. It will lose its natural color consequently.

Is African Mahogany Water Resistant?

African mahogany can go in the water as it has the resistance power to welling and shrinking. It doesn’t lose its natural color due to water.

Because mahogany being water-resistant, it is being used in boats to make the boats durable. The prices are costly as well, thanks to this feature.

Does Mahogany Need To Be Treated?

You can seal it with lacquer, shellac, or penetrating oil if it’s an indoor project. But for the outdoor projects, the mahogany needs to be repressed and treated regularly.

You must repaint the project after six months with a sealer to extend the life period of your mahogany. Thus, mahogany needs to be treated accordingly depending on the type of project.

Final Words

To work with African mahogany is easier, and it is durable as well. Because of this, people prefer to choose mahogany as their hardwood to make their homes look vintage. By maintaining and treating it accordingly, the mahogany will surely last longer.

To sum up our discussion, you can apply lacquer, shellac, or tung oil to finish over mahogany according to your preference. You have to sand, apply the finishes and wait for the finish to dry to acquire the old and natural appearance.

Make sure to follow the safety requirements while Finishing African mahogany. Hope this guide helped you in finding what you were looking for.

Happy finishing!

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