Way back in '60s/70s there was a "veritable plethora" of window casing,
baseboard, etc., in luan that would match up with the hollow core doors
so ubiquitous at the time.
Have need for some solid material to repair a piece of furniture for a
friend and haven't been able to locate a thing other than the apparently
new fad "dark red meranti" for which the price is astronomical. Thought
wouldn't be any problem to get a couple pieces of baseboard and glue up
what needed but seemingly not...
Anybody here seen any recently or is it now on the list with unobtainium?
No dice there, either.
Menard's and several other places have as noted dark red at > $5/bd-ft
but nothing located so far in white or the light-red which is 99+% of
the ply...and used to be the casing and such to match which was figuring
until I looked to be still pretty common...
If you live on the west coast, it is likely that most any real lumber yard
would have it (BTW, before it was "meranti" or "lauan" it was "philippine
If you are not on the west coast, Maurice Condon in NY has it. Whether it
is the soft, light color lauan, I know not. Here is a link to Condon and
two others that have Philippine mahogany.
WOWSERS!!! $20/bd-ft for what was, once, almost "throwaway" lumber used
because it was cheap...
The local ordered in a piece to suit at an also exorbitant price but
nothing like that...the client was willing since only needed a small
amount to replace some dining chair stretchers and the like, not a full
table top or the like.
I had expected to just do it w/ a piece of baseboard, glued up to get
the thickness, perhaps, for $5 total, tops.
Guess my age is showing... :(
A thought if we had any such animals here...again, it's <very> small
market area for retail so other than the most popular things, there's
just not the population base to support anybody carrying stuff out of
I've got quite a lot of various hardwoods in my own shop; some of the
ring-porous species by selecting for specific pieces could be
substituted but the client was really interested in trying to match as
an exercise owing to the particular pieces having emotional attachment
more than simply functional.
And, as I noted earlier, I figured given that the pieces weren't
expensive initially and used lauan precisely for the same reason it was
so ubiquitous in the housing years ago that having little color but some
pleasing grain/porosity, a given piece of furniture could be given a
"veritable plethora" of looks simply by the finishing process and since
the color is so uniform the reproducibility of the product would be very
easy to maintain in a manufacturing environment. (I haven't shared this
part, btw, leaving him with some false impressions from his early
married days abroad with a new family is a noble objective as well... :) ).
When I did the trim in my house about 25 years ago, mahogany trim was
almost "standard" for stain grade. About half the price of red oak.
About twice the price of "paint grade" SPF.
Now paint grade is finger-joint or MDF, stain grade is oak or ash, and
mahogany is almost pure unobtanium. The local trim specialist shop
still has it available in limited profiles. If I needed any mahogany
that's where I'd go first -Northdale Lumber in Waterloo Ontario is my
I imagine much depends upon where you are.
I used to use it when I lived in Hawaii and was working on my sailboat.
Both teak and walnut were around $1.35/brd/ft then and I'm reasonably sure
the Philippine mahogany was less. Considerably less...guessing, $0.25.
However, that was in the 70s and inflation has taken its toll; additionally,
the places I was buying it probably bought it by the container full direct
from the foreign mill.
Add time, distance and a bunch of wholesalers, distributers, retailers etc.
and stuff gets pricey.
I'm guessing that one could still buy it in Honolulu for around $2.50
brd/ft, west coast somewhat more.
Well, that was the unrestricted search...when put in location, it
returned no results. I didn't try to locate where the $20 listing came
from....wasn't going to happen no matter where they were. :)
It was the tract-housing unpainted woodwork of thousands of houses at
near nothing; the reason it's used in all those hollow core doors wasn't
because it was the high-priced exotic but about the cheapest material
Searching shows it's now in a new fad phase and I'm convinced current
pricing is being driven by an entirely different marketing ploy from
what I've seen including the common in-use name change to hide the
previously known/heard connotation...
I haven't tried to research but I'd suspect the amount that is actually
available to be harvested isn't in short supply at all as it is a
subtropical and grows pretty quickly. So, iow, I think it's mostly an
artificial market at the moment.
The kicker is that there seems to be nobody producing anything at all in
the light red or white varietals; only the dark red which is being
marketed as a high-end product now. Consequently, there just isn't
product available that would, if it were, be inexpensive if based on
actual production cost.
My take; not carefully researched...
if you are just looking for a small piece, you might try a
"custom" cabinet shop. Any quality shop is going to have
some and it doesn't really matter where you are located,
there is woodworkers everywhere
Clearly you don't live in small, rural area... :)
I've more varieties of wood in my home shop wood piles than any of the
cabinet shops in town (oh, that's "either", not "any" :) ) have.
There are some species in there that would be "get by" matches but the
client was wanting to match if possible and I figured having the history
of being such a ubiquitous material years ago it'd be simple...turns out
it is "not so much" any longer.
Turns out the local yard did have a supplier who has some so we did
order in a piece...we'll see what it's like when it gets here.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.