The wood commonly known as Mango is known to botanists and other scientists as Mangifera indica. M. indica is native to tropical Asia and the Pacific Ocean islands but it is now widely grown throughout the tropical regions of the world for its sweet fruit.
From this point forward I will refer to M. indica as Mango for the sake of common understanding.
Because of the spalting that is commonly present Mango wood can be a kaleidoscope of colors. Under normal circumstances, the heartwood is a golden brown, while other colors such as yellow and streaks of pink and/or black can also occur. The paler sapwood is not always clearly defined. Curly or mottled grain patterns are also common.
The grain of Mango can be straight or interlocked featuring a medium to coarse texture and good natural luster.
In terms of rot resistance, Mango is rated anywhere from moderately durable to perishable. Mango is susceptible to both fungal and insect attack.
If interlocked or wild grain is present tearout is common when machining. Reaction wood may also be present, which can shift as it is being sawed, potentially causing binding on the blade. Mango has a fairly high silica content, and will readily dull cutting edges.
Mango is reported to glues and finish well.
Mango is not reported to have any characteristic odor, but spalted pieces will smell to varying degrees of decay and rot.
Pricing and Availability:
There is a steady supply of Mango from specialty sources, usually from Hawaii, though Asian sources are also common. Mango is sold in board and slab form, as well as craft and instrument blanks. Prices for unfigured boards are in the moderate range for an imported lumber, and it is usually less expensive than Koa, another popular Hawaiian hardwood. Figured boards with curly figure, spalting, and/or vivid coloration are much more expensive.
In this blog, I almost always recommend several vendors with whom I have done considerable business and in whom I have great confidence. These vendors are: West Penn Hardwoods, Bell Forest Products, NC Wood, WoodTurningz, Amazon Exotic Hardwoods, Griffin Exotic Wood, Exotic Woods USA, Got Wood?, and Wood Turning Blanks 4U.
At this time, two of my favored vendors are offering Mango: Bell Forest Products and Exotic Woods USA. However, neither vendor has bowl blanks in stock, only spindle sizes. I purchased my bowl blanks through eBay from a Hawaiian vendor some years ago. A simple search for “mango turning blanks” is likely to reveal multiple choices of vendor.
Woodfinder is an excellent website that is dedicated to advertising wood dealers. In your search for Mango this can be an invaluable resource provided you use multiple search terms to capture all the possible listings. I can’t speak to the quality of any of the listed dealers, but Woodfinder does have the advantage of allowing searches to be performed based on location which might allow an interested buyer to visit a listed wood dealer in person to hand pick pieces at a comfortable price.
A significant problem with using Woodfinder is that many vendors are listed for woods that, upon further investigation, they do not offer. I don’t know if perhaps once they did and they didn’t update their listings or if some vendors use a standardized list of woods that include most everything conceivable with the idea that once you land on their page you will find something you want to buy even if you didn’t know it beforehand. It happens to me all the time!
Mango finds use in furniture, ukuleles, veneer, plywood, turned objects, and flooring.
Mango is NOT listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendices but is it listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as ‘data deficient.”