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Guibourtia spp.

A NOTE ON THE TERM "KEVAZINGA" (aka kevazingo): Kevazinga means, literally, "rotary cut bubinga". I have seen several dealers refer to "flat cut kevazinga" which is just a silly contradiction in terms (flat cut rotary cut) and stems from the mistaken belief that "kevazinga" is a generic synonym for ALL bubinga, which it is not. It ONLY refers to the rotary cut veneer, so there is no such thing as a kevazinga plank since you can't rotary cut a plank.

my samples: --- colors are accurate throughout

both sides of a sample plank of bubinga / Guibourtia demeusei --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.

end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above

END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above

both sides of a sample plank of bubinga / Guibourtia demeusei --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.

end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above

both sides of a small plank --- HUGE enlargements are present

end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above

END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above

both sides of a sample plank of bubinga / Guibourtia spp. (incorrectly stated as "sp") --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.

end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above

both sides of a sample plank of mottled bubinga / Guibourtia tessmannii --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. The labled side is raw but the 2nd side has been sanded to a glass-like polish with only 400 grit and so shows details better and is clearly richer in color. It also shows the figure BETTER than the raw, which typically happens with strong figure such as this but sometimes not with weaker figure such as a light curl. The French designation shown is "curly" not mottled, and using "curly" for the figure on this piece is pretty common, but strictly speaking it really is mottled, NOT curly.

end grain before and after sanding down to 400 grit

end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE of the piece directly above

plank, closeup, and end grain

another plank (and closeup), this was cut from the same long plank as the one directly above

quartersawn plank and end grain

another piece from the same plank as above and the same piece mositened with water

end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE of the piece directly above --- sanding scratches are very evident on the closeup but the update shows the fine grain detail quite nicely

two pictures showing both sides of a set of small flats, all cut from the same plank. The first two come from an area of near-quartersawn cut and the second two come from an area of flat cut.

two shots showing both sides of a pair of small pieces cut from the same plank (both the same plank as each other and the same plank as the flats directly above). The upper piece is rough sanded on a belt sander with 60 grit and the lower piece is moderately well sanded by an orbital sander with 100 grit. You can see the improvement in color in the lower piece due to the finer sanding.

end grain of the two pieces from directly above. The butt end of the piece on the right has been orbital sanded with 100 grit and it, like the sides, shows color improvement due to the finer sanding. If you look at the enlargement You can still see the coarse sanding marks (on the top surface) which I did not totally remove with the 100-grit sanding

two sections and a closeup of the same 8-foot long plank

both faces of a small section of bubinga that I got in a mixed lot --- this piece is exceptionally dense and hard and is clearly from a crotch area. It is also somewhat darker in color than is normal for bubinga.

end grain pic and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


a resawn quartersawn plank section (= a set of thins) and a turning block from the same vendor that looks like it is from the same larger plank. The more reddish color of the turning block is the correct color for both pics

planks photographed at a lumber yard

figured planks photographed at a lumber yard

a batch of small planks and a closeup

two pics of a ring, contributed to the site by John Fuher whom I thank for this and other contributions. Enormous enlargement are present

box shot in a craft store and a closeup of the top

two pieces of veneer on top and two small thins on the bottom

I've had several pieces of bubinga, from different suppliers, and all of these pieces above seem well representative of everything I've had, although I did have a couple of pieces that had better figure than these, back before I got consistent about saving samples of everything. The first web pic below gives some idea of what I mean.

veneer --- really pretty; color here is accurate --- this piece contains a little more red tinge than is usual.

quartersawn veneer with very accurate color

quartersawn veneer with a mottle figure that is stronger than what shows up in these pics

flat cut veneer

flat cut veneer sheet and closeup

flat cut veneer with a small bubbly figure that doesn't show up well at all in these pics. I don't know whether to call it pomelle, mottle, or what --- it shows up better in the enlargements. The colors of the heartwood are accurate but the sapwood appears slightly richer than in reality.

this piece came in a lot of kevazingo (see below) but has none of the swirl normally associated with rotary cut veneer --- just an oddity, I guess

"waterfall" veneer --- rotary cut veneer with this particular pattern is also know as "Kevazingo", and there are more pictures of it from the web down below. This sample is not as spectacular as Kevazingo sometimes appears, but it is a decent representive piece for the type and the color shown is accurate but will change dramatically with the application of a finishing agent. See the next pic down from here.

This sheet of Kevazingo has been treated with natural (colorless) stain, just to see how it would look. Looks pretty good to me! Color is accurate; the stain brings out the red nicely. This piece started out exactly the same color as the unfinished sample directly above.

kevazingo samples --- colors are accurate:

the following pics are distance shots of some of the same sheets from which the closeups above were taken:

this sheet of bubinga is from a flitch that is harder and stiffer, although not appreciably thicker, than that of most of the samples above, and I note that it seems to be a cross between flat cut and rotary cut.

on the left is a pic from a well-known lumber and veneer dealer (not the BogusColorVendor) who exaggerates the colors in their pictures sometimes and on the right is a shot of the same piece by the buyer. This is a minor exaggeration compared to some of the shots by this vendor, although they do not generally rival the BogusColorVendor in outrageousness.

web pics:

bubinga grow to large sizes. This is a couple of good-sized (but not the largest I've seen pics of) bubinga logs being free-cut and then a milled piece showing some nice figure. Pics provided by Pat Dean whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.

more pics from Pat Dean, again with my thanks. These are of a bubinga log that had what Pat calls, appropriately, a "chevron" figure. The differnce in color between the outer slab (first pic) and the inner slab (2nd pic) is likely because of a change in the natural light in which these pics were taken.

flat cut planks

identified as a flat cut bubinga plank, this looks to me more like goncalo alves, but that could be just due to the color being incorrect and the grain being significantly different than normal for flat cut bubinga.

quartersawn planks

plank with wet and dry sections --- the color seems a bit too brown to me in this pic.

misc planks


13-foot-long figured plank

mottled planks and closeup

mottled planks

waterfall planks that have been moistened for the pics

curly planks

closeup of a huge slab of figured bubinga that is about 14 feet by 4 feet by 2 1/2 inches thick

figured slabs --- the figure on the first one is more apparent in the enlargements and the second one has been moistened for the pics, so the figure in it is easy to see. Both levels of enlargment are present for both pics

flat cut planks that appear to have been moistened for the pic

figured planks and turning sticks

figured slabs

figured scales

figured plank with sapwood and then a closeup of it --- the richness of the color is not believeable

bird's eye plank

turning stock

figured bookmatched pairs

knife handle scales

pomelle figured planks

planks pic submitted by Gregory Pizzeck who tells me that the vendor listed them as pomelle but he and I agree that this is mottled figure, not pomelle. The mottle shows more clearly in the enlargement.

both sides of a pomelle figured plank with a lot of sapwood.

correspondent Ron Sardo with a waterfall bubinga log that is almost 8 feet in diameter and 18 feet long, plus a couple of closeups. Both Ron and the log look better in the enlargements. Ron is an accomplished amateur turner; the log belongs to someone else.

bee's wing veneer --- the first one was just listed as "figured"

flat cut veneer --- the cathedral grain in the first few pics is somewhat unusual for bubinga because it normally has such an irregular grain pattern as seen in the last few pics.

flat cut veneer sheet w/ both enlargements available

flat cut veneer --- these are the vendor's pics of a lot I bought and from which some of my veneer sample pics for flat cut bubinga veneer are taken

quartersawn veneer

figured quartersawn veneer

quartersawn mottled veneer --- the last pic is of a lot I bought and from which all of my own samples of quartersawn mottled veneer are taken.

quartersawn mottled veneer sheet with a color that is just ridiculous

block mottle veneer --- colors are just silly


veneer all from the same vendor

veneer sheet closeups with both levels of enlargements. These are all from the same vendor as the set directly above.

pomelle veneer

mottled veneer


quilted veneer, quartermatched

This rotary cut bubinga veneer with the wild swirls is very distinctive and is specifically referred to as Kevazingo (also commonly spelled kevazinga). It sometimes has additional characteristics such as quilting.

veneer sheet listed as kevazingo, but obviously it is just regular bubinga and I put it here only to illustrate the confusion that some dealers seem to have with this designation.

kevazinga, all from the same dealer

kevazingo veneer sheet closeups with both levels of enlargement. These are all from the same vendor as the set directly above.

quilted kevazingo

quilted veneer

"quilted waterfall" veneer --- appartently both of these terms are used pretty loosely with bubinga, although some of these are CLEARY quilted.

waterfall veneer without the "quilted" designation

listed as waterfall veneer, but I just don't see it.

listed as "quartersawn waterfall" veneer

listed as "waterfall pomelle" veneer

listed as "quilted momelle" veneer by a vendor who usually lables the exact same veneer as just "quilted"

guitar backs of curlyl bubinga which I believe has been moistened for the pics.

mottled plank

both sides and a closeup of a quartersawn plank

these shots are all from the BogusColorVendor, so the actual wood in the last 5 pics in particular is not going to be bright red as is shown here. These are probably excellent pieces of figured bubinga, but the color is undoubtedly brown like the figured planks shown in the other web-pics above; this vendor's misrepresentation is THAT outrageously dishonest.

listed by the BogusColorVendor as a burl, but I don't see what there is about it that makes it a burl. Just more of their dishonest marketing, I guess.

Beautiful coffee table by John Ming of Heirloom Woodworking. It's 48"x30" and I'm not sure if the yellowish tint is from the finishing agent or the camera, but I've never seen bubinga have yellow like this. The finish is blond shellac sealer and then multiple coats of lacquer, and John also gave me pics of some black limba with this finish, and in those shots, the wood appears considerably more yellow than other black limba pics I've seen (and my own samples of the wood), so I'm assuming that most likely the yellow is from the finish, not from the camera.

A coffee table made by Al Kalian, topped with waterfall kevazinga veneer. It's intersting the significant difference in appearance depending on the viewing angle.

closeup of the top --- both leveles of enlargement are available

mottled bubinga guitar back

bowls turned by Al Amstutz


mottled bubinga bowl

bowls by Bryan Nelson (NelsonWood). They are, in order, normal bubinga, fiddleback bubinga, and quilted bubinga (mostly sapwood)

quartersawn bubinga highlight on a turned dried-flower-holder. The opposite side is also bubinga, and the other two sides are padauk. The vertical yellow wood is pau amerello and the very bottom is purpleheart. the center, with the holes for the dried flower stems, is red oak and you can see how it split slightly due to my not putting on a sealant for quite some time after I took this off the lathe. Dumb mistake. I drilled the holes for the flower stems and then blithly ignored the fact that this would allow the oak to just SOAK up moisture from the air and then change shape.

The bubinga seen here changes light reflection significantly depending on the angle, so when you move it in the light, it shimmers and is much prettier than this static picture shows.

flat cut bubinga section on a laminated bowl. The pic on the left is fresh off the lathe and the one on the right is after a coat of natural stain. The apparent vertical crack across the middle is a dog hair. Notice how the finish obscures the open grain and muddies the figure just a little, making it softer and richer.