Rosewood vs. Mango Wood (Comparing Wood – Pros & Cons)


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As a woodworker, certain wood types may come to your notice with characteristics that make an interesting study. Two such varieties of wood are rosewood and mango wood. Both are extremely hard and durable woods. The reason why we highlight these here is that they both have a distinct aroma, albeit different from each other. So, let’s jump right in!

Rosewood Vs. Mango Wood

rosewood vs mango wood

Rosewood is a hardwood that belongs to the Dalbergia genera and goes by several other names such as Amazon rosewood, cocobolo, sissoo, Yucatan rosewood, African blackwood, Brazilian rosewood, and Honduran rosewood.

Rosewood has a distinctive rose-like aroma, thus its name. It can range from reddish-brown to a dark, purple-brown. It has a dense grain, is easy to work with, and has a smooth texture once finished, making it a popular choice amongst woodworkers.

Mango wood comes in many different grain patterns according to the way the wood is cut and also due to spalting which is a common feature with this wood. It is durable and does not need much finishing, and is easy to clean and maintain. Mango wood is more prone to insect attack and rot than rosewood, so it needs to be treated with appropriate chemicals to enhance its durability.

Rosewood

Turning Rosewood – Madagascar (Image: Wikimedia)  

Rosewood, whose botanical name is Dalbergia latifolia can be found in the Indian subcontinent, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and across Africa and South America. It is prized for its hardness and durability and long, straight, and consistent grain pattern.

The reddish-brown to purple coloration also makes rosewood a much sought-after variety of wood in the world. It also plays a prominent role in the manufacture of musical instruments thanks to the excellent resonant properties of this wood.

Texture of rosewood (high-detailed wood texture series)

Although you can still find rosewood in certain markets, you need to ascertain the legal status of the wood before buying it as it is on the endangered species list. You also stand the chance of being palmed off with other cheaper varieties of wood in the name of rosewood unless you know how to identify it. Hence, this post could be useful for you to know rosewood better.

Mango Wood

Textured panel background from natural mango wood

Mango wood, whose botanical name is Mangifera indica is a popular hardwood. The trees grow fast and can reach a height of 100 feet within 15 years or so. They grow much faster than other hardwood trees that take up to 100 years or more to be ready for harvesting. You will find mango wood abundantly in countries of the Indian subcontinent and South-East Asia, but it grows in several countries in Africa and even South America as well today.

Mango Wood presents a kaleidoscope of colors due to spalting and the natural, golden-brown to pale yellow shades also give the wood a pleasant appearance. It is fairly durable but needs to be treated against insect attack. Mango wood is strong and fairly easy to work on making it a popular source of material for making furniture and for construction material.

Mango is an important cash crop in countries where mango trees grow. When the mango tree stops bearing fruit, the cultivators cut it and replace it with new trees. Hence, mango trees serve as a constant source of lumber, making mango wood one of the most sustainable types of wood in the world.

Rosewood Vs. Mango Wood: Appearance

rosewood-vs-mango-wood-texture

Rosewood presents a golden to deep purplish-brown color and it tends to darken with age. It is a medium-textured wood with tiny, tight pores and a tight grain as well. The surface of rosewood has a smooth, satiny texture that gets enhanced with polishing or buffing.

Mango wood presents various shades and patterns and the wood has a natural yellow to a golden-brown color. The grain of this wood is smooth and straight with occasional swirls and whirls, but may also interlock.

Rosewood Vs. Mango Wood: Durability

If rosewood is dried sufficiently it is fairly durable. It leaves a chalk-like substance on its surface which can have a dulling effect on tool blades. But overall, like teak, rosewood is a durable variety of wood and will exhibit a fair degree of resistance to rot and termites if given a proper finish. However, rosewood is not a wood that you should leave outdoors.

Mango wood is also hard and durable but you need to treat it against insects. When you buy the lumber, eggs may be present that may hatch and damage the wood later on. Hence, it is imperative to treat mango lumber with appropriate insecticides before working on it.

Rosewood Vs. Mango Wood: Maintenance

 

You can maintain rosewood in the same way as you would for other hardwoods, but it tends to deteriorate with prolonged exposure to sunlight. It is unsuitable for use in indoors in areas that receive the direct rays of the sun excessively.

To get the best out of rosewood, you can clean it regularly with warm water and mild detergents. Furniture with a base of linseed oil combined with gentle buffing can work wonders in restoring the luster to your rosewood surfaces. You should refinish the surface of rosewood every few years.

Although mango wood looks good even after the first cut, sanding, and applying an appropriate finish or paint is the standard practice. Ensure to apply insecticide to the wood before you start working on it.

Rosewood Vs. Mango Wood: Price

Rosewood is far more expensive than most varieties of hardwood. You may find it difficult to procure and even if you do, you will pay a high price for it, much more than even some of the best varieties of teak, and much more than that of mango wood.

Bolivian Rosewood by the Piece, 1/8" x 1-1/2" x 24"
Bolivian Rosewood (See price on Amazon)

Mango wood is generally cheaper than Rosewood. It is readily available and highly sustainable, the two main factors that determine the price of wood. If you are looking for wood that is both cheap and durable, mango wood is what will suit your requirement. However, the price will depend much on where you are located, the ability to source it locally (vs transportation costs).  If you are located in Asia vs South America you may find it much more difficult to find one or the other. For example, in India Mango Wood is quite abundant.

Both of t these woods are considered rare in the North American market and both will generally be quite a bit more expensive than locally sourced hardwoods.

Mango Wood, incredibly figured, planed, kiln dried 1.25" thick, five board feet
Mango Wood (Check Price on Amazon)

Rosewood Vs. Mango Wood: Sustainability

Rosewood is included in the CITES appendix II also appears on the IUCN Red List, which puts it in the category of endangered species of wood. Mango trees, on the other hand, grow fast and unlike oak or teak which may need 100 years or more, a mango tree can reach full maturity in 15 years. Hence, mango wood is among the most sustainable varieties of wood on the planet.

Rosewood Vs. Mango Wood: Comparison Table

Parameter Rosewood Mango Wood
Botanical name Dalbergia latifolia Mangifera indica
Color Golden to purplish brown Multicolored due to spalting
Durability Moderately durable Highly durable
Hardness (Janka Scale) 2,440 1,070
Strength Stronger than mango wood Strong but not as strong as rosewood
Maintenance Needs regular maintenance Low maintenance
Price Very expensive Cheaper Rosewood although vey dependant on location
Suitability for outdoors No Yes
Suitability for wood carving Yes Yes
Workability Easy to work on Easy to work with
Smell Rose-like aroma Faint mango odor when cut
Availability Rare species of wood  Abundant on the Indian Subcontinent
Special features if any Excellent tonewood  Exceptionally sustainable

Conclusion

We hope that you have found our post on these two aromatic types of wood informative and useful. Knowing the difference between rosewood vs. mango wood and the benefits of each one gives you access to two highly versatile and durable types of wood.

Since there is so much price difference, you have a wide range to choose from in terms of budget. As a woodworker, you are likely to use either of these types of wood in the course of your projects, and when you do, you will now be well-informed in how to get the best out of either type of wood.

Happy Woodworking!