Help with Wood Identification

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by SRCRS, Dec 28, 2012.


  1. SRCRS

    SRCRS

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2012
    I was hoping someone may be able to help me identify this. It's either Bubinga or Cocobolo. It was bought several years ago. Can't remember what it is now.

    Attached Files:

  2. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

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    Location:
    Norman, OK
  3. SRCRS

    SRCRS

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    Apr 23, 2012
    Thanks, anything in particular make you say that?
  4. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

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    Houston Tx
    Looks to me like cocobolo. Does it have a sort of spicy smell to it?
  5. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

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    Norman, OK
    Well, the color could be either, but the wild grain and dark "landscape" lines are indicative of a rosewood.
  6. bassteban

    bassteban

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    Northern California
    I'm no expert but all the half-dozen pieces of coco I've seen had a very strong red-orange tint that Im not seeing here

    Edit:OK, read the whole OP; I vote cocobolo
  7. SRCRS

    SRCRS

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    Apr 23, 2012
    Hopkins, I'll have to go smell it, thanks for the input. In person it is not very red/orange either bassteban. I'll say this, the planks are kinda heavy for their size
  8. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

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    Nicaraguan and Panamanian cocobolo often exhibit subdued color compared to Mexican coocobolo, even though they are all the same species (Dalbergia retusa).
  9. bassteban

    bassteban

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    Yeah, the pattern def says coco, almost certainly NOT bubinga. Colors often change after prolonged exposure to air. Very nice, whatever it is. Make something! :)
  10. Eric Perry

    Eric Perry

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    I'm far from an expert, but the grain looks too wild to be Cocobolo, to my eyes.
  11. TigerInATrance

    TigerInATrance

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    NW New Jersey
    That is some of the nicest cocobolo I've seen in quite a long time... Beautiful grain and would make a stunning looking matched top and back.
  12. David Jayne

    David Jayne

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    Location:
    Brookfield, CT
    I'm going with Bubinga. Coco usually has straighter grain. But, make a small cut and see if it's redder inside. If so, probably Cocobolo.
  13. TigerInATrance

    TigerInATrance

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2011
    Location:
    NW New Jersey
    looks a lot like this yes? (cocobolo)
    [​IMG]


    Not like this... (bubinga)

    [​IMG]
  14. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

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    May 20, 2005
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    Behold yon mexican cocobolo:

    [​IMG]
  15. SRCRS

    SRCRS

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    Apr 23, 2012
    hey guys thanks for your opinions on the wood! i took a closer look at it definitely has some spots where it looks to have a bit of red/orange. The wood was bought about 12-15 years ago. And i do plan on having a matched top and back. I'm beginning to believe that it is indeed cocobolo.

    So since I am going with the thought that it is Cocobolo, I have heard that it is hard to glue. Which kind of glue would you guys suggest?
  16. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

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    May 20, 2005
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    Titebond wood glue works fine, but you'll need to wipe the surface with acetone before you glue it up to remove some of the surface oils.
  17. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging! Supporting Member

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    Jul 29, 2006
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    IME/IMO/FWIW/EIEIO

    Cocobolo is very resinous; bubinga is comparatively dry. End grain of cocobolo is clogged with resins; end grain of bubinga is open and dry..

    Cocobolo typically has irregular, dense, closed grain and is very fine-textured. 66 pounds per cubic foot.

    Bubinga has coarse, open, grain. 55 pounds per cubic foot.

    Bubinga's hardness can make it challenging to scrape and sand; lots of elbow grease, and sandpaper, required. Skipping grits not recommended! Bubinga produces dry sawdust.

    Cocobolo scrapes and planes well, despite its hardness. Its abundant resins generate oily sawdust that clumps and loads sandpaper mercilessly. I routinely run bubinga through drum sanders without difficulty; power sanding cocobolo is prohibited in all of the woodworking labs at my college because of its propensity to ruin sandpaper and the health risks associated with exposure to airborne cocobolo sawdust.

    Bubinga finishes well and easily, but requires pore-filling to achieve a high sheen level that looks consistent and undimpled.

    Cocobolo is well known for its resistance to some finishes, which often refuse to dry or cure properly, even days after application. On the other hand, cocobolo can be polished to a lustrous glow through sanding alone, without the benefit of finish.

    Cocobolo can be difficult to glue using white or yellow thermoplastic glues like Titebond or Elmers; epoxy or urea-formaldehyde adhesives make glue-up more predictable and lessen the likelihood of failure. Both species require excellent joinery prior to glue-up because of their relative hardness and inflexibility, and resistance to clamp pressure. That said, Bubinga glues well.

    It is common for woodworkers exposed to cocobolo to develop cumulative sensitivities. Symptoms often include severe contact dermatitis and breathing difficulties. Skin and breathing protection, and vigilant self-monitoring, strongly recommended.

    The wood in your photo looks like cocobolo to me. Hope this helps. :)
  18. golower

    golower Supporting Member

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    what are the tonal characteristics of cocobolo?
  19. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging! Supporting Member

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    It sounds like wood. ;)
  20. SRCRS

    SRCRS

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    Apr 23, 2012
    Thanks everybody for the input. Jazz dog do you have any tips on a type of finish to use for the CoCobolo?

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