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Exotic Hardwood: Bubinga

Posted: Monday, June 20, 2011

Bubinga Exotic HardwoodsIf you are looking for a wood for your floor ingrained with a rich, red color, you may want to consider Bubinga flooring. Bubinga, which is also known as African Rosewood, starts its life as a beautiful pinkish-rose color when it is first milled, and will turn a burgundy-red color with purple stripes when fully aged. This rich wood originates in central Africa, although it can be milled at its harvesting site or in North America.

Bubinga wood comes in a clear grade, which makes it easy to display its warm, inviting color. Interlocking swirls of wood grain make this a great choice for homes where you want the overall feel of the room to be intimate. If you desire the richer color from an aged Bubinga floor, you may want to consider using an oil-based finish, which will bring out the deep red color; a less common choice for Bubinga wood is the freshly milled color, and you should use a water-based finish if you would like a lighter color. You may also hear this wood called by any of its other names: Essingang, Buvenga, Kevazingo, or Ovang.

For a hardness factor, Bubinga is 157% as hard as red oak, with a hardness factor of 1980 out of a possible 2200 rating. This makes it an excellent choice for well-travelled areas. In fact, Bubinga is 8% harder than Hickory wood, 14% harder than Padauk wood, and 98% harder than Teak wood. If you plan on using this wood in areas that may get wet, you may want to consider using heartwood over sapwood; Bubinga sapwood is more permeable than the heartwood and this type of flooring is prone to swelling if not sealed correctly. Additionally, you may need to seal the floor more often if you choose to use the sapwood. Bubinga wood is also resistant to termites.

When installing Bubinga flooring, keep in mind that this type of flooring is quite heavy – nearly three pounds per square foot. You can buy this type of flooring prefinished or unfinished – although you would need to seal the wood prior to installing the flooring for best results. You can also choose how you wish to install the wood; it is available in an engineered form with a veneer top if you are planning on layering it over concrete, and it is available in nail-down form for direct use as well.

If you are looking to tie your flooring into other wooden pieces in the room, Bubinga can also be used for furniture, handles for knives, cabinet veneers, and paneling.