As prices climb for certain exotic hardwood species and availability becomes scarce or even nonexistent, alternatives to these species begin to grow in popularity. A species of wood known interchangeably within the lumber industry as either “Utile” or “Sipo” has found a growing market as an alternative to Genuine Mahogany. This Mahogany-like species originates in Africa. A number of lumber yards throughout the United States carry lumber hewn from this durable hardwood tree. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at this up-and-coming species and find out why it has caught the attention of consumers and contractors alike.
Utile/Sipo is Popular Because of its Resemblance to Genuine Mahogany
Consumers want the look of Genuine Mahogany without the high price tag. That’s where alternatives like Utile/Sipo really tend to shine. They can give the illusion of luxury at a fraction of the cost.
This strikingly beautiful hardwood features an interlocking grain. This characteristic is often seen in African hardwoods. It consists of bands of alternating dark and light grains. Compared to the interlocking grain pattern of Genuine Mahogany, Utile/Sipo’s bands appear somewhat muted.
Utile/Sipo Tears Less than Genuine Mahogany
In spite of being less expensive than Genuine Mahogany, Utile/Sipo is actually easier to work with than the famous species it’s used to imitate. That’s because it has less of a tendency to tear when it’s being worked with than either Genuine Mahogany or many of the other African hardwood Mahogany-like species. That makes it a prime choice from a woodworking standpoint. This is especially the case when it’s being used in applications that require staining or clear coating.
Utile/Sipo has a Comparable Hardness to African Mahogany & Genuine Mahogany
When it comes to the hardness of the wood, Utile/Sipo falls between Genuine Mahogany and African Mahogany. This feature puts it up even higher on the list of choices to use as an alternative to Genuine Mahogany.
Utile/Sipo has Faced Availability Challenges in the Past
There have been times where Utile/Sipo was difficult to come by because of problems with sustainability and vulnerability. Thankfully, due to the efforts of those who have sought to enact and enforce better sustainability practices at locations where this exotic hardwood is sourced, it has been making a comeback. In recent years, this species has seen a large increase in availability, which continues to help keep the cost down.
Utile/Sipo’s Quality Varies Greatly Depending on the Region From Which it is Imported
Reputable lumber dealers try to get the best quality Utile/Sipo for their customers, but there is a huge amount of variability when it comes to the quality of available specimens. It is sold to be used in a number of different applications, from cabinetry to millwork, to home exteriors.
With an appearance and durability that mimics Genuine Mahogany at a lower price, consumers continue to be enthusiastic about embracing this beautiful African exotic hardwood species. Why pay more when you can have the look and feel of Genuine Mahogany without having to pay such high prices? With Utile/Sipo you can enjoy lower prices without having to compromise on quality.
J. Gibson McIlvain Company
As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company (www.mcilvain.com) has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the White House, Capitol building, luxury yachts, Supreme Court, celebrity homes, and Smithsonian museums. For more information on J. Gibson McIlvain’s lumber products and services, call toll free (800) 638-9100 Monday-Friday to speak with one of their lumber reps.
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