The names “Utile” and “Sipo” refer to the same species, but it seems as if the public has not yet decided on which name it prefers, as both names are used with equal frequency. In the same genus as Sapele, the two species are cousins and telling Utile and Sapele apart can be difficult. It goes without saying then that Utile is an excellent alternative to Sapele as well as Mahogany.
Utile Wood Price
Utile is an African species that is used as a cheaper alternative to Genuine Mahogany, and it is a very popular species in our lumber yard. The price will often fluctuate either below or above Sapele depending on availability and the particular season. Pricing can be heavily influenced by the popularity of Sapele and yet Utile still remains a relatively unknown species of wood. The working characteristics are probably the closest to Genuine Mahogany as far as the homogenous grain and ease of carving and shaping.
Utile still has an interlocking grain like other African species, giving it an alternating light and dark banded look. Although this is not as intense as African Mahogany’s bands, Utile is much easier to work and produces less tearing, so it is often chosen over the other African species of Genuine Mahogany alternatives, especially in projects that require a clear coat or stain. Often used as an exterior siding product, you get a good, uniform color throughout and excellent weather resistance.
Utile’s hardness is somewhere in between African Mahogany and Genuine Mahogany, which again makes it a good Genuine Mahogany alternative. For a while, Utile was hard to acquire and was listed as vulnerable, but responsible planting and foresting practices have dramatically increased the wood’s availability.
We still take great care in our sourcing to acquire only the best specimens, however, as a wide variety of quality exists, depending on the import region.
UTILE Wood SPECIFICATIONS
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At J. Gibson McIlvain Lumber Company, we maintain a large volume of Utile in stock at all times, and we generally sell this lumber for exterior uses, cabinetry, and millwork, as well as other applications. The Mahogany-like color and texture make Utile a prized alternative that delivers many of Mahogany’s benefits – without the Mahogany price tag.