A.Contributing editor Paul Fisette responds: This is a real apples-to-oranges comparison. The short answer is that all of these choices can work for you, but there are distinct differences worth considering.

Meranti (shorea spp.) is commonly sold as Philippine mahogany. But your expectations for meranti should not be confused with the superior properties associated with real mahogany. Merchants separate 125 species of shorea into four groups of meranti. Each has different properties. As a result, when you order meranti, you really don't know what...

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