Carpenter's Mahogany "Brown"
How to use: Wet surface of pan. Gently scrub the surface to allow the watercolour more time to rehydrate. This watercolour is reactive with baking soda solution (1:1 baking soda to water ratio), though the colour change may take a minute to show.
Storage: Store in a cool, dry place, out of direct sunlight. Ensure the pan is dried out before keeping. Even though we boil our inks with natural preservatives, there is still a chance of mold growing. In case that happens, just scrap off the moldy part and you should still be able to continue using the colours.
Through connecting with local woodworkers, we collected horticultural prunings that would have otherwise been sent to an incineration plant to repurpose into our Carpenter's Mahogany Brown watercolours.
For this batch of Mahogany pans, we used our ink-based recipe instead, because we personally love the unique reddish-brown tones found in the Mahogany wood, thereby giving to the current pan that you hold.
The different tones brought out by different extraction methods was interesting to us. The usual lake pigmentation method yielded a washed out, pastel-ish brown. The colour was interesting to us, but we noted that the reddish tones were less obvious after this process. The alteration of the alum : washing soda ratio also subtly changed the pigment tones. For example, the addition of too much washing soda washed out the pigments.
There are many trees worldwide that have the word "Mahogany" in his common name. The "Mahogany" species that we used specifically was the African Mahogany, a large hardwood that could grow up to 60 meters. He is naturally found in various vegetation types, including woodland forest, and savannah in tropical Africa. But turns out that within the "Mahoganys" there are quite a few imposters - not all trees with the word Mahogany in it is a true Mahogany!
Interestingly, most of trees we label as Mahogany are not "true" Mahogany, as the chart above lays out. There are only three genuine mahogany species in the world, belonging to the genus Swietenia. The African Mahogany is not from the "true" Swietenia, but a cousin group of trees known as the genus Khaya. It is still however, generally accepted in the woodworking industry as a substitute for genuine mahogany, though not as durable. The usage of African Mahogany as a substitute dramatically increased after 2003 when the Honduran Mahogany, one of the three genuine Mahogany species, was listed as an endangered species by CITES. Today, the African Mahogany is the most common "mahogany" in the market.
According to the open-source database by the World Agroforestry Centre, many parts of the African Mahogany has been used for a myraid of medicinal purposes. Its bark is very bitter and is well regarded as a fever remedy. An extract of the bark is reputedly useful for treating a range of maladies including jaundice, dermatoses, scorpion bites, allergies, infection of the gums, hookworms, disinfection of wounds and even constipation. The bark also used in traditional veterinary practice, for example for cattle suffering from liver fluke, for ulcers in camels, donkeys and horses, and in horses for internal ailments associated with mucous diarrhoea. Both the seeds and leaves have also been used as medicine for treating fever and headache, whilst preparations made from the roots have been used against syphilis, leprosy and as an aphrodisiac.
Our Mahogany watercolours are available for sale at our Etsy shop. We hope you have as much fun creating with this African Mahogany watercolour pan as much as we enjoyed experimenting with her colours!