Limba has been an important wood in Africa due in part to its universal popularity. Although its population was considered threatened from over-exploitation in the first half of the 20th century, a concerted effort was made to preserve the species and expand its natural range. Regional and national programs from the ’50’s through the ’70’s across West and Central Africa were quite successful. Limba has a characteristic light base color, ranging from a pale yellow to a light golden brown, to a pale tan — and sometimes muted to the point of having a greyish appearance. It often has dark brown or black overlapping highlights (as well as lighter colored patches, occasionally ranging from yellow to orange), which is what distinguishes White Limba (also called “Korina”) from Black Limba (same wood / same species; just differing aesthetics). Its sapwood is only slightly lighter in color than its heartwood and can sometimes be difficult to discern.
Despite its medium to coarse texture and a small silica content, its typically straight grains (those sometimes irregular or interlocked) and modest hardness and density make it generally quite easy to work. Its glues and finishes well (with a moderate natural luster); its base color takes on a more golden tone under a clear lacquer finish. It is considered neither a tough nor durable wood, so such finishing is recommended.
Not currently listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Why We Love This Wood
This wood became quite popular with US electric guitar builders after being glamorized by Gibson Guitars in 1958. Limba was used exclusively as a body and neck wood with the introduction of their radical ‚ÄúFlying V‚Äù and ‚ÄúExplorer‚Äù models. (It was Gibson who actually coined the name ‚ÄúKorina‚Äù for the wood ‚Äî a name by which it is now commonly known within the US guitar luthier community.) To this day, it remains a popular wood for guitar necks and bodies. It should be noted that the wood is decidedly non-durable and is susceptible to insect attack.
By the early 1950‚Äôs, the wood was thought to be severely endangered. Efforts were made to replant the wood in plantations across its natural range for the next twenty-plus years. The species expanded beyond its original rainforest habitat, making its way into savannah areas and even penetrating regional evergreen forests.
8/4 Lumber – Black Limba
4/4 Lumber – White Limba
8/4 Lumber – White Limba
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Gorgeous colors and grain patterns have resulted in the exploitation of this beautiful species for use in production of “Hongmu” furniture. It looks similar in appearance to Kiaat/Muninga, another member of the Pterocarpus genus. We only have a few hundred BF of this endangered species left and don’t expect to get any more when it runs out.
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This South American species is closely related to the domestic Osage Orange.
The lumber it yields is typically a bit cleaner with less defects.
It is pretty hard and dense making it tough on tools, but it turns and finishes well.
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Spalted Tamarind comes from South East Asia. The decay/spalting gives the wood awesome spiderweb type patterns that add character and excitement to its appearance. The spalting is most prevalent in the sapwood which is prone to attack from bugs and fungus which cause it.
It is moderately difficult to work, but turns and finishes well. Sometimes the rot is more endemic than is obvious from looking at the surface of the lumber result in some wastage (lost pieces).
Take care to use good dust collection and a dust mask, as the fungal spores add more to the air than dust alone.
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This vibrant Central American wood can features primary colors ranging from orange to golden brown (with gold, red and sometimes even green accent coloration). It is thought to be the closest relative to Brazilwood (famous for its use in stringed-instrument bows), and Chakte Viga shares many of the same acoustic properties. Grains are straight, but sometimes interlocked — otherwise, this wood works easily, and finishes well. It has a fine texture and excellent natural luster. Sap is a pale off-white to pale yellow.
Chakte Viga is a wood that has been starting to emerge from relative obscurity over the last decade or so, being one of the lesser-known and -demanded woods from the tropical Central America region. We feel it has a huge untapped potential as a guitar tonewood, as well as in fine furniture production in the US. The wood has some very subtle aesthetics, sometimes exhibiting a 3D-like shimmering chatoyance after being finished with clear lacquer.
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Longhi is an African wood with similar working properties to its more well-known cousin, Anegre. Its color varies from a greyish-white to beige to pinkish-brown color, which slightly darkens with age and UV-ray exposure. Its generally light appearance makes sapwood difficult to distinguish. Its grains are typical straight (though occasionally interlocked) and its texture ranges between fine and medium-fine. It can sometimes possess mottled or subtle tiger-striped figuring.
The wood must be carefully dried, as it is susceptible to fungus. It is considered to be moderately durable, and moderately stable. Longhi has a solid strength-to-weight ratio, which makes it a popular choice for flooring and decking.
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Heartwood can vary from pale yellow to a light, muted reddish brown; sapwood is grayish-white. There are many species of Birch, worldwide; it is one of the most popular woods, ironically, for both veneer and utility applications. Figured pieces are the more desirable for veneer, with wide, dramatic curly figuring (similar to Cherry) decorating the surface.
American Birch works easily — it turns, glues and finishes well — although most boards have very little natural luster. It’s a versatile wood that can be used for a number of different applications, but it needs to be protected, as the wood will decay when exposed to the elements. (… and if left unprotected will rot.)
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