Honduran or big-leaf mahogany, with a range from Mexico to Brazil, is the most widespread species of mahogany and the only true mahogany species commercially grown today.
Mahogany has a straight, fine, and even grain, and is relatively free of voids and pockets. Its reddish-brown color darkens over time, and displays a reddish sheen when polished. It has excellent workability, and is very durable. Historically, the tree's girth allowed for wide boards from traditional mahogany species. These properties make it a favorable wood for crafting cabinets and furniture.
Much of the first-quality furniture made in the American colonies from the mid 18th century was made of mahogany, when the wood first became available to American craftsmen. Mahogany is still widely used for fine furniture.
Mahogany also resists wood rot, making it attractive in boat construction. It is a tone wood, often used for musical instruments, particularly the backs, sides and necks of acoustic guitars and drum shells because of its ability to produce a very deep, warm tone compared to other commonly used woods such as maple or birch. Guitars featuring mahogany in their construction include Martin D-18, select Taylor Guitars, Gibson Les Paul and Guild 6 and 12 string. Mahogany is also very popular as a body wood for electric guitars, popularized initially by Gibson Guitar Corporation and used by other great names like PRS (Paul Reed Smith). Since genuine mahogany has become further restricted and unavailable many guitar manufacturers who use mahogany in the making of their instruments have gone to alternatives such as Khaya, Toon, and Sapele.