Wood Species Information & Its Applications to Wood Projects
Posted by Lee Swindel
|Bubinga Tree:||Lumber & Grain Pattern:|
There are nearly 20 different species of bubinga trees that grow throughout the world. At least a dozen of those species are found in the West Equatorial Africa Region, where it is warm and humid. They are primarily native to the Cameroon, Gabon, Ivory Coast, and Congo nations, although a few species are found in South America. They typically grow in tropical climates, along jungle waterways such as swamps, streams and lake shores. Bubinga is commercially known as African Rosewood.
Bubinga is a beautiful and interesting wood with colors ranging from pinkish-red to deep red with irregular purple and brown streaks throughout. Its grain pattern primarily varies from straight to interlocking, but can have a variety of other figures such as waterfall, pommel, and quilted. It has a fine texture with small pores. Also, if rotary cut, the patterns can show swirling and veining throughout. It is a very hard, dense, and heavy wood, weighting an average of 58 lbs/cu. ft. Also, it possesses an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio, bending strength, and shock resistance. Bubinga is a very durable wood due to its oily nature, which provides protection from insects, decay, and wet surroundings.
Usually bubinga can be worked with power equipment without much difficulty if the grain is straight or wavy, but hand tool use is only rated as average. Tearing and chipping can occur when jointed or planed if the grain patterns are highly figured. One way to minimize this is to take thinner cuts. Also, blades and cutters can be dulled due to the hard nature of the wood, so carbide tipped tools are recommended. Bubinga is an excellent turning wood, but is only rated average for carving. It holds fasteners very well, but pre-drilling is necessary. Coating screws with wax will eliminate much work, and help prevent breakage. Bubinga sands well, but gluing can pose problems due to its high density and oily nature. Cleaning the surfaces with acetone prior to gluing can help prevent some of the problems, and allow the adhesives can achieve maximum strength. The wood accepts stains easily and can be finished to a bright, glassy luster. For best results, the surfaces should be cleaned with acetone, and then a sealer should be applied to help prevent the natural oils from bleeding through the stain or finish. Due to its relatively fine texture and small pores filler is not required prior to staining.
Because of its beautiful patterns and colorings bubinga has many uses. Some of these include: turnings, such as bowls, pens, trinkets, and other novelties. Bubinga is also used for fine furniture, flooring, tool handles, knife handles, and jewelry boxes. Bubinga posses wonderful tonal qualities and is used in the construction of musical instruments, such as guitars and drums. Rotary cut produces beautiful patterns, and are very popular for making paneling and decorative veneers. Typically bubinga costs about $10.00/bd. ft., but the dramatic shapes and colors found in some of the highly figured pieces can cost as much as $80.00/bd. ft.
All Exotic Woods:
- African Ebony
- Honduran Mahogany
- African Padauk
- Brazilian Rosewood
Wood Species Index