Woods favorited by Birba

Birba works with a variety of wood types giving our customers choice in aesthetic, price and finish to best fit their needs. Here is a brief overview of the species we prefer.


Kiaat, also known as African or Wild Teak, and Mukwa, is a deciduous African woodland tree found from Zaire in the north to Kwa-Zulu Natal in the south. Heartwood color can vary widely from a lighter golden brown, to a darker reddish or purplish brown. Colors tend to become more subdued with age. Grain is straight to interlocked. Medium to coarse texture with a low natural luster. Kiaat is commonly used for furniture, boatbuilding, veneer, turnings, and other small wooden objects. This wood species is not listed in the Red List of Threatened Species.

African Mahogany

African Mahogany is a firm Birba favourite due to its resemblance to the teaks frequently used in American mid-century interiors. This quality hardwood is an affordable alternative to the more expensive imported teaks, though its lesser price tag should certainly not be interpreted as an indication of an inferior quality wood. This beautiful hardwood is frequently used for veneer, plywood, turned items, furniture, boatbuilding, and interior trim. Also known as Lagos Mahogany, Uganda Mahogany, Khaya Mahogany. Heartwood colour is variable, ranging from a very pale pink to a deeper reddish brown, sometimes with streaks of medium to dark reddish brown. Colour tends to darken with age. Quartersawn surfaces can also exhibit a ribbon-stripe appearance.  Grain is straight to interlocked, with a medium to coarse texture. Good natural luster with a light-refracting optical phenomenon known as chatoyancy. This wood species is not listed in the Red List of Threatened Species.

American Walnut

American black walnut, American walnut, Canadian Walnut, Black Hickory Nut, Gun Wood, Canaletto, Nogal, and Tocte. An absolutely beautiful hardwood, though more expensive than some of our other options due to import costs from the USA. Heartwood can range from a lighter pale brown to a dark chocolate brown with darker brown streaks. Colour can sometimes have a grey, purple, or reddish cast. Sapwood is pale yellow-gray to nearly white. Figured grain patterns such as curl, crotch, and burl are also seen. Grain is usually straight, but can be irregular. Has a medium texture and moderate natural luster. This wood species is not listed in the Red List of Threatened Species.


Also Known as Sapele, Sapelli, Sapeli. Heartwood is a golden to dark reddish brown. Colour tends to darken with age. Besides the common ribbon pattern seen on quartersawn boards, Sapele is also known for a wide variety of  other figured grain patterns, such as: pommele, quilted, mottled, wavy, beeswing, and fiddleback. Grain is interlocked, and sometimes wavy. Fine uniform texture and good natural luster. An absolutely stunning species but should be used with caution as it is listed as vulnerable due to a population reduction of over 20% in the past three generations, caused by a decline in its natural range and exploitation. Listed on the IUCN Red List, but not listed on the CITES Appendices.


Oak is the workhorse of the furniture industry due to its reasonable price, availability and ease of workability. Heartwood is a light to medium brown, commonly with an olive cast. Nearly white to light brown sapwood is not always sharply demarcated from the heartwood. Quartersawn sections display prominent ray fleck patterns. Grain is straight, with a coarse, uneven texture. Aesthetically beautiful, stable, resilient. This wood species is not listed in the Red List of Threatened Species. 

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