Find out if your furniture is solid mahogany or veneer.

How to Know Mahogany Furniture Vs. Veneer

by Kim Blakesley

Solid mahogany wood furniture is difficult to distinguish from a good mahogany veneer glued to the surface of a lesser quality wood. Veneer is a thin slice of wood, in this case mahogany, that is carefully attached to the surface to trick the eye into thinking the piece is solid wood. A short checklist will help you decide whether a piece is solid mahogany or simply mahogany veneer.

Look at the edges of the furniture to see if there is band of wood that has wood grain going in a different direction than the top area. Tabletop edges are locations where banding is easy to see. If you see banding, it is a veneer covering up the edge of the wood that was used to construct the piece of furniture. A table with banding is not a solid mahogany piece of furniture.

Check the back and underside of the furniture to see if it is the same wood as the surface. If the type of wood is different from that on the finished surface, the piece is not solid mahogany. A common practice is to put better quality wood on the surface and a lesser quality of wood underneath.

Look at the wood grain on the surface and follow it through to the edges. If the wood grain continues from the top over the edge and matches, the furniture is made from solid wood. If it does not match, the piece is at least partially made with veneer.

Look at the surface of the piece of furniture and notice whether all the wood grain is going in the same direction. When multiple directions of wood grain exist on the surface, the piece is made with veneer.


  • Conserve natural resources by purchasing a piece of furniture with mahogany veneer. The same amount of wood used to make one solid wood mahogany table can make 15 to 20 tables covered with a veneer, according to Furniture by Dovetail.

About the Author

Kim Blakesley is a home remodeling business owner, former art/business teacher and school principal. She began her writing and photography career in 2008. Blakesley's education, fine arts, remodeling, green living, and arts and crafts articles have appeared on numerous websites, including DeWalt Tools, as well as in "Farm Journal" and "Pro Farmer."

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images