#25: Bubinga

Bird number: 48
Date: March 5, 2012
Wood: Bubinga (Guibourtia)
Source: Woodcraft

I goofed when I posted this one originally. I said that it’s Yucatan Rosewood. Then I went out to my shop and noticed that the Rosewood bird is still on the bench, waiting for me to carve it. This bird is carved from Bubinga. Unfortunately, there are 13 different species of Guibourtia, so I can’t say for sure which one this is. Although it resembles Guibourtia demeusei more than it does any of the others I’ve seen pictures of. Perhaps not surprisingly, another name for this species is African Rosewood.

When I post the Yucatan Rosewood, you’ll see how easily one could become confused. The woods are very similar. Fortunately I had written on the Rosewood bird cutout and hadn’t yet carved it. Otherwise I probably would not have caught the mistake.

Guibourtia are evergreen trees that can grow more than 150 feet tall. They’re native to swampy or periodically inundated forest regions of tropical Africa (most species) and South America (three species). It’s used for harps, bass guitars, and other musical instruments, furniture making, handgun grips, and other places where luxury timber is desired.

One thing I’m learning in this project is that many woods, even those from trees that are at best distantly related, look very similar to each other. For example, this Bubinga looks very similar to the Yucatan Rosewood I previously mentioned, and also to the Eucalyptus I’ll be carving soon. If I didn’t have them marked, I would be hard pressed to tell the three apart.

There’s no doubt that the Bubinga is pretty stuff. It’s hard–around 2,000 on the Janka scale, depending on the species–and quite dense. Hard to cut with a knife, but I had no trouble with the power carver. It sure takes a nice finish, too. I’m looking forward to carving something from the chunk I have left.