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Bubinga finishing techniques

Eric Member

I am involved with a project that we are considering natural finished Bubinga of which I have no experience. It is my understanding that it darkens and changes tone with sunlight and age. Is there anyway to speed this process to achieve this look from the start? kinda hard to sell the client on a future look without a sample to show them. The finish will be a oil or lacquer.

10/31/14       #2: Bubinga finishing techniques ...
Kilgore Trout Member

Almost all premium building materials change with time, and it is considered a positive. Brick, limestone, bluestone, copper, teak, etc. all look much better with some age on them.

The finest furniture and any object that is used develops a patina from use/care that indicates use - and appreciation - over time. Only time will do this, it is wrong to attempt to age things falsely.

The notion that new wood should look old immediately is what gave rise to that ubiquitous gawd-awful dark cherry 'stain' that is sprayed on otherwise decent new pink Cherry to make it look like something it is not.

Just my opinion, though.

10/31/14       #3: Bubinga finishing techniques ...

If your customer is particular about what the wood will age to, you may be in trouble right off the starting blocks. Bubinga ages nicely to a darker less red color. I has a nice deep luster. Not all pieces will age exactly the same. If someone suggests staining it, there is no hope for them, run.

11/1/14       #4: Bubinga finishing techniques ...
james mcgrew Member


Natural finished Bubinga

View higher quality, full size image (800 X 534)

View higher quality, full size image (600 X 400)

11/1/14       #5: Bubinga finishing techniques ...
james mcgrew Member

I will see if I still have the original for comparison

View higher quality, full size image (800 X 534)

11/3/14       #6: Bubinga finishing techniques ...
Keith Newton

My last Bubinga job was a desk that I ordered one of those giant slabs for, I think about 33" wide. It seems I paid $3000 for it.

In the end, his interior desecrator had it stained jacobean, which left me wondering why I didn't just use poplar.

It was like being poked in the eye and kicked in the gut.

I would suggest you take more of a guiding role. I'd start by using a dark paste wood filler for the pores, and if any stain is used, I'd still keep it in the reddish shades.

11/4/14       #7: Bubinga finishing techniques ...
Eric Member

Thank you for the replies.
James, beautiful work. On the color, on my monitor is shows very red, almost no brown left - is that accurate? I'm concerned because that would not be what they are looking for.

11/4/14       #8: Bubinga finishing techniques ...
james mcgrew Member

More redish when freshly done,, deep purple to brown now

12/16/14       #9: Bubinga finishing techniques ...
rick mosher  Member


Bubinga comes in all colors like any other wood species. Best thing to do is get a piece of what you are actually going to use and then make a sample with it.

Cover half of it with cardboard or else cut it in half and put one half in a drawer somewhere out of the light. Put the other piece outside in the sun for a couple days.

Then you will have samples which will show the client the beginning of the natural color change on their piece of wood and they will be able to make an informed decision on how to proceed.

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