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View Full Version : Is this Bubinga?



John Miliunas
03-29-2003, 11:41 AM
Maybe this should be on the "Support" forum, but this one typically get more "hits". So, here it is. A friend of mine (Yeah, I still have one after my dog died...:D ) brought this chunk of wood over Thursday. He says he got it from a guy who's in the shipping business and this came out of a trailer or container, originally built in Africa. The piece originally was about 6-3/4" wide by @54" long. On either long side, there was a dado cut to about 1/2 its thickness and @1/2" wide. There were a couple streaks perpendicular to the board's length, which appeared to be rust, indicating prolonged contact with metal. This board is Heavy, with a capitol "H"! The rusty streaks cleaned up quite easily with just a couple passes through the planer. Also, very, very minimal cupping and the board is darn-near dead flat. The grain is extremely dense, but "open", almost like very tight Oak grain. Also, the grain is very straight. Another thing I noted was that it's extremely easy to pick up very minute slivers and, even after planing, the surface has a very fine "steel wool" feel to it. However, a quick pass with a ROS and it's as smooth as a baby's bottom. I'm figuring it kinda' looks like Bubinga, though it's not as dark as the Bubinga I've seen. I've attached a pic to see if anyone has any ideas.

Peter Lyon
03-29-2003, 12:31 PM
John,

At least on my monitor, is doesn't appear orange enough to be bubinga. I can't tell in the photo that you posted whether or not you've tried the trick of wiping the board it with a small amount mineral spirits. Sometimes I find this helpful for identification purposes.

Actually, the reason why I posted was to share with you a story that I was involved in that your friends situation reminded me of.

A few years back, a fellow I work with asked me would I be interested in buying a some hardwood? The story was that he knew of this widow who was trying to get rid of her late husbands stash of wood. I arranged to meet the lady at her daughters farm where the wood was being stored in two large (8'x10'x40') shipping containers. They were so full that after opening the doors, the only way in was to start climbing over the 6' high stacks of lumber (mostly tropical in nature).

I asked the lady where all this came from and she replied that her husband was a longshoreman who for years had carefully culled every pallet of the good pieces. They ranged from 1st to FAS in quality and from 4' to 12' in length and 4" to 10" in width and there were NO nail holes. Also, he also had stuff sent from overseas ports sent directly to him.

I didn't end up purchasing the wood due to space constraints (my 3-car garage wouldn't have contained more then 60% of it) even though it broke my heart to say no to this deal . She ended up selling the entire load to another woodworker at my work for the princely sum of $2500 (ha, ha). Included amoung the species present that I saw were bubinga, padouk, cocobola, koa, brazillian cherry, rosewood, to name but a few.

Well, for whatever reason the lady liked me and a few weeks later gave me a call. She asked that since I missed out on most of the stuff, would I at least be interested in the small amount still in her garage? The small pile turned out to be about 12' in legnth by 6' wide and 4' high. It took me three full sized pickup loads to get it all home. After sharing some of my good fortune with friends and family, I still have many hundred board feet of lumber left. And finally, to the point, some of it looks exactly like the board you posted!

What I've discovered is that most of the stuff is pretty much "unclassifiable". I generally refer to it as "tropical" and call it good. I suspect your what your friend has is similiar in nature.

Peter Lyon



;) ;) :o

Garrett Lambert
03-29-2003, 12:58 PM
Looks a lot like some I have. Bland colour, very tight but very subdued grain, and VERY heavy. You can find lots of examples via a Google search.

Cheers, Garrett

Gary Hern
03-29-2003, 1:10 PM
Ipe' fits into that catagory, but htere are quite a few different ones that fit that description. I'd have to agree with the other post, doesn't appear to be enough red/orange in it for Bubinga.

Ken Salisbury
03-29-2003, 1:24 PM
Like Peter said --- wipe it with a little mineral spirits and see if it looks like this:

<p align="center">
<IMG src="http://www.klsal.com/bubinga.jpg">

John Miliunas
03-29-2003, 2:43 PM
So, went back out to the shop and hit it with some Mineral Spirits. I'll be dipped if it doesn't look just like the sample pic which Ken attached! I'm 'bout 95% sure that's what it is. Oh, and Peter, I thought I was doing well with my little freebie! Sheeeesh....Wish I lived closer to you!:D :D :cool:

Ken Salisbury
03-29-2003, 4:24 PM
Originally posted by John Miliunas
So, went back out to the shop and hit it with some Mineral Spirits. I'll be dipped if it doesn't look just like the sample pic which Ken attached! I'm 'bout 95% sure that's what it is. Oh, and Peter, I thought I was doing well with my little freebie! Sheeeesh....Wish I lived closer to you!:D :D :cool:

OK John --- the bill is only half of the material --- No need to send Fed X --- Regular UPS Ground will be fine.