This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry, And Building", by James C. et al. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry And Building.
Besides the woods which grow in the United States, a number of others are brought in from foreign lands for use in the best grade of public buildings and private residences. The most popular of these are the mahogany, rosewood, satinwood, French burl, and Circassian walnut.
Mahogany comes from Cuba and Mexico, and formerly was obtained also from Santo Domingo and Honduras. Other kinds of so-called mahogany are also obtained from Africa and India, and some come from South America. The wood is generally imported in the rough log and cut up by the purchasers as it is required. It is easy to work, will take an excellent polish, and stays in place very well if it is properly seasoned. The color varies from very light to deep red, which becomes darker and richer with age. There is also what is called white mahogany, which is golden yellow in color. The wood is very costly and can only be used for the best work. Generally it is used in the form of veneers.
It is hard and strong and very durable, but brittle and hard to work. It is so costly as not to be used for anything but the finest cabinet work, for which it is valued on account of its color, which is very light yellow, and its satiny luster. It takes a very good polish.
French burl comes from Persia, and Circassian walnut from near the Black Sea. Both of these woods are very expensive and can be used on that account only in veneers and only for the best work.