As most of you already know, this is a very popular African import. There are multiple species of the Guibourtia genus that are known as Bubinga, so colors and aesthetics can vary dramatically. A variety of different, quite strunning figures often decorate its grains (pommelle, waterfall, mottled and wildly flamed); its base color can range from a lighter pinkish red to light- to medium-brown. Trees can grow to towering proportions, so the larger specimens are often cut into large, live-edge slabs.
Sustainability: This species is listed in CITES Appendix II but not on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species; although there have been some rumblings that this status could be changing, amidst a downturn in (US) supply over the last year or so.
Common Uses: Veneer, inlays, musical instruments, fine furniture, cabinetry, turnings, and other specialty items.
Comments: Bubinga is well known for its use as a rosewood substitute. [Ironically, perhaps, more strikingly figured examples (with pommelle or waterfall figuring) can fetch prices greatly eclipsing typical rosewood price thresholds.] The wood has become hugely popular and constantly in demand with veneer mills, furniture craftsmen — who love building desks and conference tables with the often stunning, huge slabs — and progressive guitar luthiers. Its nickname, “African Rosewood,” can be very misleading, as the wood is not of the Dalbergia species, and not all wood sold as “African Rosewood” is Bubinga (or is even of the Guibourtia species).
Over the last year, we’ve seen supplies in the US dip — leading to price increases on the wholsale and retail level, and causing some sources to speculate that Bubinga could possibly be drawing the attention of CITES and / or the IUCN in the very near future.