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Thread: Bubinga

  1. #1
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Bubinga

    I got this great piece of 8/4 Bubinga for a couple inlaid chess boards but there will be some left. Is there any place in tue mandolin world for Bubinga? This board is dried to around 7% and is heavy as heck! Nice slightly purple hue the picture doesn’t catch it at all. Thanks!

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  2. #2
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Bubinga

    Flat top back and sides!
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  3. #3
    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bubinga

    I have used Bubinga veneer for the headstock plate on several mandolins. I really like the way it looks with an inlay under shellac or lacquer. I think I recall seeing it listed in the Lacey Act schedules as a semi-protected rosewood. Not sure about that.
    Tom

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    Default Re: Bubinga

    Should make for good back and sides. I’ve seen some high end guitars with Bubinga back and sides, but I didn’t get to hear those guitars being played unfortunately. I have heard one high end drumset made with Bubinga drum shells. It sounded great and visually the set was stunning. Some of the Beeswing figuring that occurs is really lovely.

  5. #5
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bubinga

    Interesting thanks guys! What is bees wings figure? Here is a section that looks cool with alcohol on it. I put an Otto light to try and get a better representation of the woods color. It’s still more orange in the picture than it is to my eye.

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    Default Re: Bubinga

    Lovely looking piece of wood.

    Beeswing figure is hard to describe…. Imagine a quilted figure with both horizontal and vertical separations, and the quilted bits being ovalish in shape. It tends to be a fairly organized pattern.

  7. #7
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bubinga

    I have always avoided this wood because of its price. 4/4 was around 15$ and the 8/4 about 20$ a bdft. But he does get some nice boards in. I grabbed the only 8/4 piece he had. I hadn’t even considered it an instruments wood until I realized I might have a bit left over. Now I’m excited!
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  8. #8
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bubinga

    Have I seen it used for fretboards and possibly bridges, or am I dreaming?
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  9. #9
    '`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' Jacob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bubinga

    For visual reference, guitar with (laminated?) "waterfall" bubinga back and sides.

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    Dreadnaught with Bubinga

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Bubinga

    Independent guitar makers have been making instruments from bubinga for years. I haven't heard of a bubinga mandolin yet, but there's no reason not to give it a try.

    A quick google search of the subject suggests that you might want to wear a mask when cutting and sanding it. Apparently, like cocobolo, the sawdust can be an irritant to some people.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Bubinga

    Without looking it up, I'm guessing it's density is in the ballpark of a rosewood. It has a nice resonant taptone and makes a good tonewood. I built a Celtic style OM with it 20 years ago (it was cheaper than rosewood then).

  12. #12
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bubinga

    Thanks everyone, i am really wanting a chess board or two out of it but now that I know it may be a instrument candidate. I am hesitant to use it for that. Maybe one for our use and the rest for music.
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  13. #13
    Registered User Mandoborg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bubinga

    One of my favorite all time woods to use on anything and everything. Never made an entire Mandolin out of it, but I've used it for fingerboards, bindings, headplates, bridges, etc.... It's a Beautiful wood when combined with the different maples. Get in there and use it !!

    Jim


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  14. #14
    Registered User artdeco's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bubinga

    I have made one mandolin from it. www.mlatkinson.com/aman2.htm
    MLAtkinson
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  15. #15
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bubinga

    How did it sound? Looks great!
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  16. #16
    Registered User Denis Kearns's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bubinga

    My Phil Crump octave mandolin has burbinga back and sides, redwood top; a very nice instrument.
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Bubinga

    i had a quilted Bubinga back 000-12 fret guitar i traded into around 15, luthier was Marc Beneteau who has been making guitars since early 70's. it was beautiful, tone was nice, i traded it after a year or so for something(as usual).

    of late, i acquired a Beard Jerry Douglas "Blackbeard" resonator with a bubinga fretboard, body is all mahogany with a translucent black. the bubinga makes it look awesome. honestly, i picked it up because i liked the total looks 1st and foremost. that its a killer dobro just adds to the recipe.

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  18. #18

    Default Re: Bubinga

    Bubinga is one of my favorite tonewoods. And probably my favorite legume.

  19. #19
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bubinga

    In comparison to maple do I need to change the way I carve the back very much?
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Bubinga

    I don't know, but before you go any further, how vertical is the grain??
    The more perpendicular the grain is to the face of the board, the better.
    If it is parallel to the face, it may not be very suitable for an instrument.

    If you are not familiar with the terms "quarter-sawn" and "slab-sawn," look them up, and then inspect the ends of your board.
    Vertical grain, very good. Diagonal grain, less good. Horizontal grain, save for your chess boards.
    Last edited by rcc56; Yesterday at 10:47pm.

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  22. #21
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bubinga

    Thank you everyone for your input.

    @rcc56 I neglected that and got my hopes up. Sadly it is not even close to vertical. So the good news is I can use it all for chess boards and the bad news is I would be using it for a back and sides. Maybe overlay and fret board or bridge? Maybe. Well, probably not a bridge but headstock overlay and fret board should be doable or maybe even some inlay and binding. I won’t be trying to hold any back and just build a couple chess boards.

    I need to make a check list of things to look for ahead of time and not just notice once I start. That has happened a few to many times.

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    Not being familiar with this wood I marked up the picture, ruff with a finger on a phone, red is the saw marks, green Is the direction of some checking and purple I think is the grain. Unless it is medullary and the checking is the grain. I need my morning caffeine and to wake up a bit more. My cherry and black walnut check with the grain. I haven’t noticed darker medualry rays before in wood I use. This is my first time with Bubinga. Any thoughts welcome!

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  23. #22
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bubinga

    I cleaned the end up better. It looks way off from vertical and the checks seem to follow the medullary rays. Am I seeing this correctly?

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  24. #23

    Default Re: Bubinga

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bertotti View Post
    In comparison to maple do I need to change the way I carve the back very much?
    Oh yes. Quite a bit. I've made 5 mandolins with bubinga backs. Each one I get the guts to make it a little thinner. Currently my targets are 2mm (0.08") in the recurve and somewhere between 3-4mm in the center. Leave the area towards the neck block in the 3-4mm range though, don't do the "speaker cone" ring pattern where it gets thin between the center of the back and the neck block.

    Don't be surprised if it weighs over 160g!

    I would use that piece of wood. It's not like working with spruce or maple. The grain is crazy and while it would be nice if it were quartered, it's really stable and super strong. Avoid the checks, obviously, but other than that, it should be fine.

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