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Yo.
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Discussion Starter #1
Much has been recently made about rosewood being on appendix 2 of CITES, but if you guys dig deeper, Mahogany is also appendix 2. The true mahoganies are there. African (sapele) and Philippine (meranti) mahoganies are not listed, but those aren't true mahoganies, just alternatives.

Which brings me to this question. I was not aware mahogany was even listed on CITES until today and I have shipped a few mahogany guitars internationally without ever applying for a CITES permit. Some I knew for sure were Honduran mahogany. They all made it fine, no delays, no checks. Is it just me or does anyone else get the vibe nobody's really enforcing the restrictions on guitars, and the fuss about having a permit for a guitar was kind of blown out of proportion? Methinks they're really just going after Asian furniture guys, and don't really care about used instruments being sold.

That said, the guitar I'm selling now I'm applying for a permit. It's definitely South American mahogany. Just in case that one customs official does have a bad day and wants to check.

Appendices | CITES
 

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In the last few months I shipped a half dozen Gibson's to the USA (including two 50's LP Juniors with Braz boards) and all made it safely without issue.
 

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The risk of detection is low but my biggest issue is the dealers (and most private sellers now) in the US won't ship to Canada. It definitely limits the purchasing options for boutique guitars and even for some of the big brands.

It has curtailed my GAS so in the end, not a bad thing!!
 

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Maybe the difference here is that a rosewood fretboard is perfectly visible to the naked eye. Mahogany is generally covered by a topwood, or at the very least finished with stains or paints. Unless you gouge a chunk out of the guitar to have a look at the wood or have some piece of paper included that says what the guitar is made of, no one is going to know it is made of mahogany.
 

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Of note though, this is only applicable to the three genuine mahogany species:

Swietenia humilis (Pacific Coast mahogany)
Swietenia macrophylla (Honduran mahogany)
Swietenia mahogani (Cuban or West Indian mahogany)

Probably 90% of 'mahogany' guitars out there aren't genuine mahogany (Swietenia genus) so are not impacted by this.
 

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Yo.
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Discussion Starter #7
Maybe the difference here is that a rosewood fretboard is perfectly visible to the naked eye. Mahogany is generally covered by a topwood, or at the very least finished with stains or paints. Unless you gouge a chunk out of the guitar to have a look at the wood or have some piece of paper included that says what the guitar is made of, no one is going to know it is made of mahogany.
I shipped a Hamer recently that was Honduran. The back and neck were clear gloss, so it was very visible. But yeah, unless the customs guy takes a look and knows immediately it's mahogany, I don't think they'd know what to look for.
 

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Yo.
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Discussion Starter #8
Just got an email back from Environment Canada:

David,

The Swietenia macrophylla is only within scope of CITES if it is in logs, sawn wood, veneer sheets or plywood. Finished products are out of scope.

Cheers,

Lise Jubinville

Chef d’unité, Politique et opérations des permis CITES / CITES Canada - Organe de gestion
Gestion de la faune et affaires réglementaires / Service canadien de la faune

Environnement and Climate Change Canada / Gouvernement du Canada

[email protected] /Tel 1 855 869 8670


Head, CITES Permit Policy and Operations Unit / CITES Canada - Management Authority
Wildlife Management and Regulatory Affairs / Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment et Changements climatiques Canada / Government of Canada

[email protected] /Tél 1 855 869 8670
That explains a lot.
 

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I just read on MLP about a guy in the UK having his guitar, inbound from the US, confiscated by customs for not having the appropriate CITES import papers, so no.
I think the main issue there was UPS sticking it's nose in where it didn't belong and seriously messing things up.
 

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Yo.
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Discussion Starter #14
Yes, a while back. You do need a permit for rosewood, even if it's on a guitar. I have a suspicion this might loosen up a bit in time as Mahogany is in the same appendix as rosewood, yet they're being very lenient with it.
 

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The ban is on big leaf mahogany. Not all species of mahogany are included, just the one species of Honduras mahogany called
Swietenia humility.
 

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The ban is on big leaf mahogany. Not all species of mahogany are included, just the one species of Honduras mahogany called
Swietenia humility.
No, as pointed out above, there are three species banned - all in the Swietenia genus.

And species humilis is the least affected, as it is generally small logs and not used for instruments (from what I've read). It is an issue with the other two species: macrophylla (Honduran) and mahogani (Cuban), both of which are instrument woods, although somewhat rare compared to all the 'similar to mahogany' mahogany guitars out there.
 

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Be interesting to see what they decide to do in 2019. To require a new Taylor, or a $100 used Squier, with a 'rosewood' board to need a permit is silly. That does nothing to save any trees at all.
 

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I can't help but think back to the 50's & 60's when virtually every house was built with mahogany moldings, doors, cabinets, etc. And not all plywood veneers either, there was a lot of solid mahogany used. Wonder how many millions of mahogany trees were cut down during those years for the US/Canada markets when mahogany was "in style"? No wonder there's a shortage.
 
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