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Forum topic by Maveric777 posted 01-27-2011 05:17 PM 1286 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2693 posts in 3075 days

01-27-2011 05:17 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question bubinga

The other day I was asked if I would consider building a box for a big American Cancer Society’s auction coming up. I am tickled to death I was thought of for such a worth cause and of course I said i will do everything possible to make it happen.

So now the hard part… Deciding what to build….lol

I still have a good bit of curly maple left on the rack and thinking about exploring into some new lumber to go with it. Right now I am leaning towards bubinga as the main stock of the box. Just gave the mill a call and they told me they have a good bit of it in stock and come on down to dig through it.

So before I head that way I just figured I would ask for any tips, tricks, or pitfalls with this type of wood? Is there something I need to watch out for or to expect?

As my bride said “You have a short deadline and now is not the time to experiment”... So I am going to with a box similar to my last project (Jewelery Box) but use bubinga instead of purple heart…. Oh and no inlay…lol

Normally I like learning as I go, but this time I dont have time for any costly errors.

Thanks in advance for any insight!

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

8 replies so far

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3159 days

#1 posted 01-27-2011 05:34 PM

IMO, working with Bubinga is very similar to purpleheart. I don’t think you’ll have any problem. And you won’t have the problem of the grain to fill either. Go for it, and congrats on being chosen for this.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3073 days

#2 posted 01-27-2011 05:58 PM

I’ve worked with Bubinga quite a bit and I really like it. It is a very hard wood but it is easy to work with.

However, I have an opinion I will share – When I put 2 woods together, I want one of those woods to be the star and the other to play a supporting role. If you combine curly maple (which can be very nice) with a well figured bubinga, you may have 2 woods competing for attention. If I wanted the curly maple to be the star, I would use cherry, bloodwood or a very straight grained bubinga to complement it. If I wanted the bubinga to be the star, I would look for some straight grained maple or birch or any other light wood to complement it.

That’s just my opinion. I’m sure some others would disagree.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4217 days

#3 posted 01-27-2011 06:08 PM

I have to say I agree with Rich. Bubinga tends to have a lot of figure. Combined with curly maple, the result might be a little “busy”. That being said, the combination might work beautifully depending on the individual pieces of lumber you select.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3773 days

#4 posted 01-27-2011 07:05 PM

I would make a box like the one you made before. Anybody would be proud to have a beautiful box like that. Your last box is very impressive looking and beautifully done! That is my vote.

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Bertha's profile


13528 posts in 2692 days

#5 posted 01-27-2011 07:10 PM

If you’ve used purpleheart successfully, you’ll enjoy bubinga. For handwork, it shares the typical difficulties of purpleheart but it finishes to a spectacular smooth surface. I’m no wood expert but I seem to recall acquiring boards that had vastly different appearances. One had a wonderful rich red straight & parallel grain pattern; another would be dull pink. I think you’ll find it a fantastic wood. That’s what the sled of my osteometry board (projects) is made from. If you can still score the waterfall bubinga & can shell out the $$$, I can’t imagine the result.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Maveric777's profile


2693 posts in 3075 days

#6 posted 01-27-2011 07:38 PM

Thanks you all for the info. Very, very informative! When I called them earlier he mentioned he knew he had a ton of straight grain, but wasn’t sure about anything with figure. Rich I am going to take your advice and run with it about looking for straight grain. I never thought of the figuring competing for attention. I could see that making the piece to busy or cluttered.

My main goal is to incorporate something “Different” in this project that is not a common thing. So I was pretty hell bent on using babinga. Now that I have some info under my belt I am off to the candy store… Umm .. I mean mill….lol

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3049 days

#7 posted 01-29-2011 05:29 AM

Well, you can always pick up a piece or two of the figured boards for another project! I’m pretty bad about that when lumber shopping: if I see something that’s a bit out of the ordinary, I’ll pick it up and stow it away for later.

I’d also agree with looking for a straighter/plainer bubinga to pair with figured maple.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View Schoey's profile


23 posts in 3474 days

#8 posted 01-29-2011 04:57 PM

I agree on the choice of bloodwood. Be careful and watch for splinters. Looks awesome with figured maple!

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