June Sales
Unbelievable Bubinga
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bubinga logAs many of you know, Rockler was recently fortunate enough to get in on a truly unique opportunity in the world of exotic lumber. Many of you, in fact, have had a chance to read Woodworker’s Journal Editor Rob Johnstone’s article in the April 2008 issue describing how one very special hunk of wood made its way to the lumber bins here at Rockler Woodworking and Hardware.  For those still not in the know, we’d like to take this opportunity to get the word out once again, so that no one misses this once-in-a-lifetime chance to pick up a few feet of highly uncommon and remarkably figured Bubinga lumber.

What makes this particular pile of lumber so inspirational isn’t just that it’s cut from a prized and not all that readily available species, but the fact that it comes from one of the most amazing trees any of us have ever seen. It was huge, as you can clearly see. Even more importantly, the wood is figured in a both uncommon and beautiful pattern that Rocky Mehta of West Penn Hardwoods – who brought the opportunity to our attention and was a key figure in seeing the project through – has aptly dubbed “curly waterfall”.  Once it’s shined up, this rippling, undulating pattern adds appreciable depth and visual interest to the subtle range of reddish browns and purple veining that even a “run of the mill” piece of Bubinga brings to the table.

bubinga finishedBubinga (Guibourtia Tessmanni or Guibourtia Demeusei) is an extremely dense, stiff wood that resists denting, takes stain well, and finishes beautifully. Rotary cut veneer form the species, known as Kevasingo, is highly esteemed and exhibits a wild, swirling, veined grain pattern. Bubinga lumber isn’t widely know for its exciting figure  (this stuff is definitely an exception) but is valued nonetheless for its other fine qualities and is typically used to make decorative pieces ranging from furniture to knife handles. It works and saws well, but is a little on the mineral-intensive side, so decent carbide tooling for power tools and a willingness to sharpen hand tools is advised. The tree itself likes things wet, and prefers rain-saturated forests, where it can reach a height of 130 to 150 feet with boles of up to 70 feet before the first limb.

Now, you too can have your very own piece of this-one-of a-kind tree.Curly Waterfall Bubinga lumber is available in 4/4 thickness (lumber lingo for 1”) in widths ranging from 6” to 14” (depending on availability) and lengths from 20” to 60”. Order as much as you’d like, but do it soon. There’s a pretty good-sized stack down there, but it’s not unlimited, and the interest is likely to keep going strong. Or consider this option: as you might expect from tree of this magnitude, there are a number of impressively large slabs on the pile, and they’re available individually. Just about any one would make a knockout desk, conference table, bar, or anything that calls for a single very large piece of lumber and a decided “wow” factor.  If you’ve got an important commission on the horizon, or just want to pop for a piece of wood the likes of which neither you nor anyone you know has ever seen, just call 1-800-279-4441 and ask for a quote.

bubinga slicedThere’s just one more thing: you might notice on your way through the checkout that this unique load of lumber is priced a tad bit higher than your typical piece of – oh, say – red oak. But it doesn’t look like red oak either, and nothing else like it is likely to come along anytime soon. And unlike most other lumber deals, it does come with one unexpected bonus: the feeling that you’ve done something meaningful to help ensure that your kids, grandkids, or whoever else you’d like to see happy in future generations, will have the opportunity to work with and enjoy a rich variety of lumber. Rockler is donating 10 percent of the proceeds from every piece sold to the Nature Conservancy’s Adopt an Acre program. So far, though, it seems that most people have found the expense well worth it. At least that’s what we gather from Curly Waterfall Bubinga customer reviews like these:

WOW!!! What a beautiful piece of wood. I showed my husband the article in Woodworkers Journal about the Bubinga, his reply "go buy some!", so I did. I wanted small pieces for pen making, little did I realize the cost. After turning 2 cross cut pieces of the Bubinga I realized the price was cheap in relation to the amazing beauty of this truly "Once in a lifetime " piece of wood. Unfortunately, when it's gone it is gone......I still want some small cutoffs guys!!!

Submitted by Debra White, from Las Cruces, NM

This is expensive wood, now comes the "but" it has to be one of the most beautiful pieces I've seen. I got two 60" and one 30" boards. They were packaged very well. On a scale of 1 to 5 I would rate these a 6 and shipping a 5. This is truly a once in a lifetime chance. 

Submitted by Tom Yost, from Fremont, OH

I ordered a 12 inches by 48 inches 5/4 piece of the curly waterfall bubinga on my first order. I was very impressed not only with the figure but also with the way in which it was milled perfectly. It was dead flat without a hint of a bow, twist,etc. I was so pleased that I immediately ordered 4 more pieces 8 inches by 48 inches 4/4 thick before the supply was exhausted. Once again, all four pieces were perfect. Thank you for offering such high quality and unique wood to those of us who aren't professional woodworkers. Please be on the lookout for similar quality wood in other species.


Submitted by Clinton A. Netherland M.D., from Bastrop, LA


posted on April 4, 2008 by Rockler
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3 thoughts on “Unbelievable Bubinga”

  • David Roberts

    I was fortunate enough to be able to pick a 24" by 72" slab of this beautiful lumber an I must say, I know I'll never see wood this beautiful again in my life. It is an awesome find, and am truely greatful to our friends at Rockler for giving this opprotunity. If you are passionate about your craft, and have an interest in the exotics, this is for you.

  • Blog Editor

    David - Thanks for the kind words and glad to hear you're happy with your purchase. Amazing stuff, isn't it? Whatever you decide to do with it, we'd love to see a picture of the finished product.

  • My father in-law is always looking for amazing wood like this and I'm going to send him this link. He makes amazing pens and bowls from beautiful, exotic wood like this. It's an amazing find when you get to work with rare wood like this. It's something that should be cherished.

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