November 10, 2011 | 6:00 pm CST

Bubinga, a.k.a. African Rosewood, consists of two species (Guibourtia tessmannii and G. pellegriniana). It is a hard and heavy tropical wood grown in Cameroon, Gabon and the Ivory Coast of eastern Africa. Some supplies of this wood available in North America are from environmentally responsible or managed sustainable sources. It is widely available as lumber and veneer in the U.S. market and is often quite expensive.

Bubinga trees are generally large, often reaching heights of more than 100 feet with trunk diameters of 3 feet. Logs may weigh thousands of pounds. When freshly sawn, the wood has an unpleasant odor that disappears after drying. The high density, hardness and rich grain make this wood perfect for decorative flooring and table tops.

Other lumber species available in North America in this same genus include benge or mutenye (G. Arnoldiana), and ovangkol or ehie (G. Ehie). These relatives are much browner in color than and not nearly as dense as bubinga. Bubinga logs with very irregular grain are rotary-cut into veneers and are sold under the name of kevasingo.

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About the author
Gene Wengert

Gene Wengert, “The Wood Doctor” has been training people in efficient use of wood for 35 years. He is extension specialist emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.