Wood

HELP US rescue the wood from fallen trees after Hurricane Maria

Friends around the planet! Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico. All around us there are fallen trees of valuable hardwoods. We cannot allow these tree trunks to be dumped into landfill or chipped into small pieces. Help us raise the funds needed to begin the process of dealing with the situation.

The road in front of us is long and hard, but we must be responsible for our futures and create sustainable living on this small island of Puerto Rico, in every way possible. If you feel helpless right now, here is one way to help relief efforts, by helping us to save tree trunks from the debris and to mill the wood for use.

Puerto Rico Hardwoods (PRH),maintains that sustainability must start with minimization of waste, and intelligent use of local resources rather than contributing to the devastation of forests in other countries.

As many of you know, PRH was created and developed by Andrés Rúa and Thrity Vakil. As founders and former directors of the Agroforestry Development Advisory Council (CADA), Rúa and Vakil’s broader vision is to promote sustainable forestry on the island, and to reduce the vegetative waste going to landfill. They are both current Directors of Tropic Ventures Sustainable Forestry and Rainforest Enrichment Project in Patillas, Puerto Rico, established 30 years ago by The Institute of Ecotechnics.

Thank you for your support. We cannot do it without you.

14th October, 2017

Mahoe Hardwood available now – December 2016

Mahoe, Hibiscus elatus, from our 30 year old tree plantations. These slabs were harvested in May, 2016, this year and were milled in August. We have had torrential rains for most of this year and keeping the shop and drying shed maintained is keeping us busy. Hence we are letting our woodworkers know that they can order wood that is not fully air-dried. Most woodworkers – we have learnt – like to continue to dry or season tropical hardwoods at their own pace in their local climate. The lowest moisture content we can achieve is 16% when we do dry it for 9 months to a year. The mahoe wood shown here varies between 20 and 30% moisture content. Please note well, that it is wise to dry it slowly in your area, which means leaving it wrapped in plastic and monitoring the further drying for at least two months.

All measurements are in inches, and all the pieces are BIGGER than stated for pricing. All ends are anchorsealed. All pieces include sapwood, and we do not include so much of that in the measurements. Where a board tapers, we make an average of the width. The photos show both sides of each board (eg: A1 and A2 are both sides of the same board).

Many of you already know our mahoe and are familiar with it. We have not planed any of this wood, so you are seeing the rough sawn surface, and some pieces (EFGH) were hosed with water. You will notice that there are dark streaks in some pieces, and they all have the delightful purple and bluey tones that mahoe is so famous for.

Please ask us if you have any questions, we are here to help. Please include in your email to 3t@ eyeontherainforest.org :
1) The NAME of the slab:
2) Your shipping address.
3) Your shipping preference for a quote: USPS Priority (4-6 days) or USPS Retail Ground (12-14 days) .

Secure payments through Paypal.

Buying our wood and products is the best way to support our sustainable forestry enterprise in Puerto Rico. Thank you for your support, it is highly appreciated.
More about Mahoe Hardwood

SLAB NAMELengthWidthThicknessBftPrice
A6191.55.71$114.20 SOLD
B6861.54.25$85.00 SOLD
C54111.56.18$123.60 SOLD
D5591.55.16$103.20 SOLD
SLAB NAMELengthWidthThicknessBftPriceSPECIAL PRICENotes
E57121.46.65$133.00SOLD
F56121.57$140.00
$120.00 SOLDPith just under 0.5″ on one side
G54141.57.87$157.40SOLD
H40111.54.58$91.60
SLAB NAMELengthWidthThicknessBftPriceNotes
I58111.56.64$132.80
SOLD
J50101.55.2$104.00
K60111.356.18$123.60
SOLD

Knot in K1 side
L6091.55.62$112.40
SOLD
SLAB NAMELengthWidthThicknessBftPriceSPECIAL PRICENotes
M51111.55.84$116.80RESERVED
N4981.5$81.60
O3381.35$49.40
P45.5121.35$81.76$65.00 SOLDHas pith through the slab.

Thank you!

What is Mahogany Hardwood? Creating Clarity from Confusion

What is Mahogany Hardwood? Creating Clarity from Confusion
Thrity (3t) Vakil

There has been a decline in the amount of genuine mahogany in the world over the last century, due to over-harvesting. Many red-colored woods have taken the place of mahogany by default, and the reasons why mahogany became the wood that the world fell in love with, have been lost in the saw-dust.

When we speak of Mahogany hardwood we generally mean the hardwood that wowed the western world in the 1800s, became a significant indicator of status, and continued to be a best-selling wood for interiors, exteriors, furniture, and boats right up into the 20 century, when it became understood that over-harvesting was leading to the possible extinction of this species, of the genus Swietenia. As a forester, Mahogany lover, and artist, I recently enquired with Home Depot to ask them what species of tree they were calling Mahogany, as the pictures on their website did not convince me. It took four attempts over a few days before I received a response.

This was their response: “The species is Mahogany eucalyptus, New South Wales Eucalyptus”.

The wood that Home Depot are selling online as Mahogany is not, in fact, Mahogany. It is Eucalyptus, from the Myrtaceae family, of which one species, Eucalyptus robusta, is known commonly as Swamp mahogany, and another, Eucalyptus resinifera, is commonly known as Red Mahogany. Neither are authentic mahogany, as are none of the Eucalypts.

I am also an apprentice botanist, and their response made me a little mad given that I had specifically asked for the botanical name- the genus and species. Common names are just flat-out misleading.

The only hardwoods that can truly be called Mahogany are from the Meliaceae family, Swietenia mahagoni (commonly known as Dominican, Cuban, West Indian, or small-leaf mahogany), Swietenia macrophylla (commonly known as Honduran or large-leaf mahogany), and Swietenia humilis, (commonly known as Pacific Coast Mahogany). All species of Swietenia are CITES-listed.

As of the last century, a naturally occurring hybrid, a cross between the small-leaf and the big-leaf mahoganies has made it’s way onto the mahogany stage, it’s name is Swietenia x aubrevilleana, and is a true and genuine mahogany. This tree was planted extensively in Puerto Rico.

Using a common name and calling a wood ‘Mahogany’ can be misleading as we can see from the Home Depot example. How many woodworkers have bought this wood, thinking that they were getting the genuine thing? The over-harvesting of mahogany led to lesser-known woods, with reddish colors, being sold knowingly or unknowingly to woodworkers as Mahogany, whom, if they had never used the genuine article, remained in the dark.

Over the last few decades, a species known as ‘African Mahogany’ has been available on the wood market. This is Khaya ivorensis,which is in the same family as the genuine mahoganies, but it is NOT mahogany, except by common name. Also in the Meliaceae family, are Entandrophragma cylindricum, commonly known as Sapeli, and Entandrophragma utile, commonly known as Sipo, two other African tree species that became mahogany substitutes as the genuine wood became scarcer to find, and became listed as endangered. Another in the same family is Toona calantas,commonly known as ‘Phillipine Mahogany’, but it is not genuine mahogany either.

There are many examples of wood being sold under the trade name ‘mahogany’.

Other Mahogany substitutes:

‘Philippine mahogany’, sold in North America is NOT a mahogany at all, but could be any species from the genus Shorea, in the family Dipterocarpaceae. Similarly with ‘Borneo Mahogany’, trade name Meranti, which is in the family Calophyllaceae.

‘Santos Mahogany’ or Myroxylon balsamum, a deep red and oily wood, from Central and South America, in the Fabaceae family, not the mahogany family.

The mahogany used by the Chippendale furniture company in the 1800s was Swietenia. Only the genus Swietenia comprises the four authentic mahoganies that are known by wood connoisseurs for workability, stability, durability, pest resistance, and above all an unmistakable beauty. Anything else is another type of hardwood.

Sustainable harvests of plantation Swietenia macrophylla are currently coming out of Fiji, and Puerto Rico is currently a go-to place for Swietenia mahagoni, Swietenia macrophylla and the stunning hybrid, Swietenia x aubrevilleana, which was planted for timber by the International Institute of Tropical Forestry, and private land-owners, in the last century.

Puerto Rico Hardwoods is a new company born from the Tropic Ventures Sustainable Forestry Project in Patillas, Puerto Rico, established in 1983, that sells genuine mahogany and the hybrid. Please enquire.

All permits are in place from The Department of Natural Resources in Puerto Rico, along with a successful history with the Forest Service, and International Institute of Tropical Forestry, based in PR, a US territory. www.prhardwoods.com

Approximately 55 year old mahogany tree

Credits:
Tables by Puerto Rico Hardwoods

Hand-made boxes in Hybrid Mahogany, Swietenia x aubrevilleana, from Puerto Rico, By Ray Jones

Book-matched Tabletop in Hybrid Mahogany, Swietenia x aubrevilleana, from Puerto Rico. By Tom Kerr

Author: 3t Vakil, Director of Tropic Ventures Sustainable Forestry Project, and President of Puerto Rico Hardwoods.

August 2016 Mahoe (Hibiscus elatus) available

We are currently harvesting for next years stock. First come first served on these Mahoe slabs below. Scroll down.

NB: All images show both sides of a slab: Example: A1 and A2 are both sides of one slab.

August 2016 Mahoe Measurements in inches

NameLWTBoard FeetPrice@20pbftNotes
A5481360SOLD
B5481360SOLD
C5481360SOLD
D54511.8737.40SOLD
E4570.751.6432.80SOLD
F45912.8156.20SOLD
G58.571.754.9799.40SOLD
H6161.754.4488.80SOLD
I69.580.752.5150.20SOLD
J60141.58.75175.00SOLD
K36.5121.253.8076.00SOLD
L60100.753.1262.40SOLD
M36.580.751.5230.40NOT AVAILABLE
N4990.51.5330.60SOLD
Q464.7534.5591.00quartersawn SOLD

All dimensions are in inches and all slabs are slightly larger than stated. All pieces have been planed on both sides unless stated.
Shipping is not included. We accept secure payments through Paypal.
Please include in your email to 3t@eyeontherainforest. org
1) Your shipping address.
2) Your shipping preference for a quote: Priority (8-12 days) or Standard Mail (14-18 days) .

Mahoe is the timber tree currently being harvested from 26 – 30yr old plantations at Las Casas de la Selva. Mahoe or Hibiscus elatus, (also known as “Blue Mahoe” for the characteristic coloration of its wood after milling), is a tree native to Jamaica and Cuba. A volunteer species, characteristic of open disturbed habitats and also found, due to its shade tolerance, as an understory tree in secondary forests, mahoe grows to 25 m tall and upwards of 100 cm DBH (KIMBER, 1970). It was recognized as a potentially important species for plantation and forest enrichment after a survey by Jamaican foresters (LONG, 1963 cited in KIMBER, 1970). It is an excellent wood with a rich variety of colors and attractive grain, but surprisingly, very little mahoe is currently being produced anywhere else. The first plantings in Puerto Rico were in the 1940s and it has been also been introduced to other Caribbean islands and Hawaii for evaluation. It has become naturalized in Mexico, Peru, Brazil, southern Florida and the West Indies (CHUDNOFF, 1982 cited in WEAVER, FRANCIS, n.d.)

BUY OUR MAHOE WOOD

Mahoe lumber (wood from the mill that requires no further processing) is $20.00 per board foot. Mahoe turning and carving blanks are $26.00 per board foot. Wood for sale may include some sapwood, and all ends are anchor-sealed. Mahoe can vary greatly in color from tree to tree, the blue tone does not tend to endure for many years. The wood transforms over time to shades of browns, purples, greys, and bluey-greens.

Sustainability Award, May 2016

Puerto Rico Hardwoods Inc (PRH) is delighted to have won the prestigious 2016 EnterPRize business award for Sustainability, sponsored by Grupo Guayacán and the Aireko Foundation.

Hardwood trees that are felled by government and other agencies for public safety in Puerto Rico are currently dumped as ‘waste’ in the islands landfills. PRH rescues these trees and processes them into valuable timber for export and domestic use. PRH also harvests and sells timber from 30 year old plantations at Las Casas de la Selva, Patillas, and promotes sustainable harvesting of timber from other plantations in Puerto Rico.

PRH maintains that sustainability must start with minimizing waste and the intelligent use of local resources rather than importing timber which contributes to the devastation of forests in other countries. In the context of global increases in deforestation, PRH demonstrates long-term methods for economic utilization of previously disturbed secondary forests in Puerto Rico. This is essential in helping to reduce pressure on the exploitation of pristine rainforests elsewhere. PRH is built on a renewable and recyclable resource model and as one of the first of Puerto Rico’s hardwood distributors, believes that sustainability is much more than just a marketing device; it is a practice that ensures a healthy future for our lives and businesses.

PRH is located on the land known as Las Casas de la Selva, home to the Tropic Ventures Sustainable Forestry Project established 30 years ago by The Institute of Ecotechnics in the southern mountains adjacent to the Carite State Forest, in Patillas, Puerto Rico.

PRH was created and developed by Andrés Rúa and Thrity Vakil, also both Directors of Tropic Ventures Sustainable Forestry and Rainforest Enrichment Project. As founders of the Agroforestry Development Advisory Council (CADA), their broader vision is to promote sustainable forestry in Puerto Rico and convert unwanted trees into a valuable resource.

Here are some images from the award ceremony, 24th May 2016

Winners of Sustainability Award: Puerto Rico Hardwoods, and Crosstech
Above: L-R: Keila Lopez, Grupo Guayacan Program Manager, Andrés Rúa, CEO PR Hardwoods, 3t Vakil, President PR Hardwoods, Jose David Torres, Crosstech, Jose Humberto, Crosstech, and Francisco Uriarte, Chairman of Grupo Guayacan.

Below: All the semi-finalists on the night.

EnterPRize’s objective is to strengthen startups through a rigorous educational curriculum, mentoring and access to capital. In this 10th edition, EnterPRize broadens its offering through two phases focused on promising startups that are capable of growing locally and internationally. This new generation of entrepreneurs has the capacity of launching innovative projects with a global economic mindset and we’re proud to be part of the start of their entrepreneurial journey,” said Laura Cantero, Executive Director of Grupo Guayacán. EnterPRize seeks to identify startups and entrepreneurs with significant potential and to spur their development by providing access to the tools and resources they need to scale.

The PRH team: Alex Figueroa, Magha Garcia, Andrés Rúa, 3t Vakil, & Ricardo Valles. 2016

Grupo Guayacán, Inc. is a private sector driven non-profit organization founded in 1996 with a unique model that has coupled private equity investment with a series of programs aimed at developing, strengthening, and advancing Puerto Rico’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Aireko Foundation’s vision is that Puerto Ricans develop and sustain leading organizations and enterprising initiatives recognized in and outside Puerto Rico for their sustainability. Our mission is to promote the development of individuals, businesses and non-governmental organizations in a measurable and sustainable manner in Puerto Rico, in order to achieve positive social, economic and environmental change. We value and support education, charity, entrepreneurship and solidarity, integrated with a dynamic search for sustainability.

April 2016 Mahoe (Hibiscus elatus) available

SUSTAINABLY GROWN AND HARVESTED HARDWOOD.

#LENGTHWIDTHTHICKNESSBOARD FEET$ $20 per bftNOTES
A44.571.252.70$54.00SOLD
B57101.254.94$98.80SOLD
C6571.253.94$78.80SOLD
D6771.254.07$81.40SOLD
E64.5101.255.59$111.80SOLD
F65.58.51.254.83$96.60SOLD One side (F2)few pin holes
G63.5813.52$70.40SOLD
H73914.56$91.20SOLD
I7471.254.49$89.80SOLD
J6081.254.20$84.00SOLD
K676.52.256.80$136.00SOLD
L5661.252.91$58.20SOLD
6a433.751.251.39$27.80SOLD
6b39.5411.09$21.80SOLD
6d3841.251.31$26.20SOLD
6e36.541.251.26$25.20SOLD
6f24410.66$13.20SOLD

All dimensions are in inches and all slabs are slightly larger than stated. All pieces have been planed on both sides.
Shipping is not included. We accept secure payments through Paypal.

Please include in your email to 3t@eyeontherainforest. org
1) Your shipping address.
2) Your shipping preference for a quote: Priority (8-12 days) or Standard Mail (14-18 days) .

Mahoe is the timber tree currently being harvested from 26 – 30yr old plantations at Las Casas de la Selva. Mahoe or Hibiscus elatus, (also known as “Blue Mahoe” for the characteristic coloration of its wood after milling), is a tree native to Jamaica and Cuba. A volunteer species, characteristic of open disturbed habitats and also found, due to its shade tolerance, as an understory tree in secondary forests, mahoe grows to 25 m tall and upwards of 100 cm DBH (KIMBER, 1970). It was recognized as a potentially important species for plantation and forest enrichment after a survey by Jamaican foresters (LONG, 1963 cited in KIMBER, 1970). It is an excellent wood with a rich variety of colors and attractive grain, but surprisingly, very little mahoe is currently being produced anywhere else. The first plantings in Puerto Rico were in the 1940s and it has been also been introduced to other Caribbean islands and Hawaii for evaluation. It has become naturalized in Mexico, Peru, Brazil, southern Florida and the West Indies (CHUDNOFF, 1982 cited in WEAVER, FRANCIS, n.d.)

BUY OUR MAHOE WOOD

Mahoe lumber (wood from the mill that requires no further processing) is $20.00 per board foot. Mahoe turning and carving blanks are $26.00 per board foot. Wood for sale may include some sapwood, and all ends are anchor-sealed. Mahoe can vary greatly in color from tree to tree, the blue tone does not tend to endure for many years. The wood transforms over time to shades of browns, purples, greys, and bluey-greens.

SEE MORE MAHOE FOR SALE: SERIES 7 SERIES 8 SERIES 9 MAHOE SLABS MNOPQRS

Fiesta del Arbol November 2015

This event was dedicated to forester Dr. Frank Wadsworth, and Andrés presented a plaque to celebrate his 100th birthday.

We had a table to show off some of our latest products, cheese boards, chopping boards, tostoneras, and samples of Puertorican hardwoods.

Mahoe Madness August 2015

The mahoe tree, Talipariti elatum, was planted nearly 30 years ago at Las Casas de la Selva, and we are currently thinning the mahoe plantations. This rare and beautiful wood is available in various dimensions, including very large slabs. Help support sustainable forestry in Puerto Rico by buying our wood, and sharing this info widely.

All Mahoe lumber at $20-$24 per board foot, unless otherwise stated.
Images show both side of each piece.

Please ask if you want the slabs cut smaller and/or fitted into Flat Rate mailing boxes.
A large Flat rate box to USA is $18.95
Priority Mail Large Flat Rate Boxes Size A) 23-11/16″ x 11-3/4″ x 3″ Size B)12″ x 12″ x 5-1/2″

All dimensions are bigger than the specs below and the average width is taken on tapered slabs.
Please contact us for Mahoe turning and carving blanks.

Q: 59″ x 5.5″ x 1″=2.25 board feet =$45.00
R: 65″x 5.5″ x 1″ =2.48 board feet =$49.60

I: 48″ x 8″ x 1″= 2.66bft = $47.88 (discounted for check on one end)
J: 47″ x 6.5″ x 1″= 2.12bft =$42.40
K: 57″ x 6″ x 1″ = 2.37bft =$47.40
L: 70″ x 5″ x 1″ = 2.43bft = $48.60 SOLD

H: 72″ x 8.5″ x 1.75″ = 7.43bft = $148.60 SOLD

G: 71″ x 6″ x 2.25″=6.65bft =$133.00 SOLD

F: 48″ x 12″ x 1.75″=7bft=$168.00 A real primo slab. SOLD

Students from University of PR – Department of Fine Art

In April this ebullient group of students from the Department of Fine Arts, University of Puerto Rico, arrived on a day trip to find out more about the forest plantations at Las Casas de la Selva, and to see the timber operation; the sawmill, drying shed, and workshop. Everyone was wowed by our wood collection, that we inherited from Jose Mari Mutt, and have been adding to. Eyes opened wide at the beauty of these different and relatively unknown hardwoods that Puerto Rico has. Many discussions ensued about sustainable use of forest resources, especially wood, and later all left smiling, having bought some of our wood to create their latest projects. We look forward to seeing the results soon.

Fine Artist and our Mahoe Hardwood- May 2015

Joel Kaufman of Ellicott City, MD, has created this fine intarsia piece in about 6 months, and we are honored to share it with you. The pattern was replicated from a Phillip Ratner tapestry.  There are 50 different wood species using no stains or coloring with over 400 individual pieces.  It has over 100 shims and measures 19” x 35”.

Joel: “The blue mahoe pieces are the water on both sides of the ark, the whale’s spout of water (this is where I love the varying shades of blue mahoe), the translucent pieces through the whale and the stripe on one of the people on the ark.  No other wood I could find had these various shades of blue/purple/green and it was very easy to cut, shape, sand and finish”.

Here is a link to the process:

Symposium and Exhibition of Forest Products at IITF, 6th December 2014

SEE MORE IMAGES HERE:
https://plus.google.com/photos/114745085458651133282/albums/6089798854434161681?authkey=CLytzaWvsMmIfg

L-R: Luis Soto, (Land Authority Director) Carmen Guerrero, (Secretary of DNR), Connie Carpenter, Magaly Figueroa, (USDA State & Private Forestry), Andrés Rúa, 3t Vakil, (Tropic Ventures and Nuestra Madera), Magha Garcia, (Director Pachamama Organic Farm), Sheila Ward, (Mahogany for the Future), Edgardo Gonzalez (Landscape Conservation Center).

Collecting Ausubo seedlings

Collecting seedlings sounds like an easy task, but carrying full tree bags up and down forest slopes back to the homestead is demanding physical labor.
Our current Earthwatch Team assisted with this task on New Years Eve, and in one morning we collected 110 Ausubo (Manilkara bidentata) seedlings.

Ausubo (Manilkara bidentata), also known a balata, is a large evergreen forest tree that was probably the most important timber tree of Puerto Rico. It grows best in Puerto Rico on alluvial plain where it may reach the age of 400 years. Ausubo is extremely tolerant of shade. The strong and attractive wood makes it highly valued commercially an it is widely used in the tropics for many woo products. The tree is often tapped for its milky latex the source of balata gum. Although growth is slow, ausubo is planted for shade and timber.

Ausubo is one of the strongest and most attractive commercial woods in Puerto Rico. It is widely used in the tropics for railway sleepers, bridging, heavy construction, furniture, turnery, flooring, violin bows, and billiard cues. Its strength, high wear resistance, and durability qualify the timber for use in textile and pulpmill equipment. Its excellent steam-bending properties make it suitable for boat frames and other bent work.

The heartwood is light red when cut and turns to dark reddish brown when dry. The sapwood is whitish to pale brown. The wood is very hard, strong, fine textured, and heavy, with a specific gravity of 0.85. The wood rates excellent for boring, fair for planing, and poor for turning. It is difficult to air season and shows severe checking and warp if dried too fast. The wood finishes very well and resembles mahogany.

This info is by Peter Weaver, one of our favorite foresters, and good friend. For more detailed info on this tree and its properties see: https://www.na.fs.fed.us/pubs/silvics_manual/volume_2/manikara/bidentata.htm

Pines and orchids -14th September 2013

L-R: Tania Hernandez Caraballo,  3t,  Jim Ackerman, Escarlin Reyes Genao, Carmen-Iris Rodriguez, and Joel Salcedo Mejias (Pic by Andrés R♪a)

Prof. Jim Ackerman brought his students to Las Casas de la Selva to make observations on exotic orchids and pines. Our friend Carmen Iris, (second from right), studied with Jim 26 years ago. Always a pleasure to spend time with Jim and get the downloads on his current studies and forest insights.

Oh, and the puppy is the new addition to Carmen Iris and Alberto Rodriguez’ household.  An adorable pedigree German Shepherd, 2 months old, called Ninja,

Talking about wood

L-R: Mark Schofield (Ex-Editor of Fine Woodworking Magazine); Yolanda Flores (Department of Agriculture); Augusto Carvajal (Biologist); Magaly Figueroa (USDA Forest Service, IITF); Andrés Rúa (Tropic Ventures Research & Education Foundation); 3t Vakil (Tropic Ventures Sustainable Forestry Project); Connie Carpenter (US State & private Forestry, IITF); Christina Cabrera (Departmento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales, Ayudante Especial, Oficina del Secretario); Aileen Amador (Departamento de Transportación y Obras Públicas).

CADA meeting at the International Institute of Tropical Forestry, 30th August 2013.
Consejo Asesor para el Desarrollo Agroforestal de Puerto Rico

“Working towards the development of Sustainable Forestry in Puerto Rico, and the research and creation of a forest products industry and relevant markets.”

See www.nuestramadera.org for more info on this new council and its mission, founded in May 2013 by Andrés Rúa and 3t Vakil.

All images by 3t Vakil