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Ebony, African
Ebony, African
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EBONY, African

Carving
Musical Instruments
Africa
Imported
Hardwood
Turned Objects
Inlay
Tool Handles
Dark
Application
Products
Lumber

Common Name(s): Gaboon Ebony, African Ebony, Nigerian Ebony, Cameroon Ebony

Heartwood is usually jet-black, with little to no variation or visible grain. Occasionally dark brown or grayish-brown streaks may be present. Grain is usually straight but can also be interlocked. Fine even texture with very high natural luster.

Thicknesses

Tree Size: 50-60 ft (15-18 m) tall, 2-3 ft (.6-1 m) trunk diameter

Distribution

Equatorial West Africa

Scientific Name

Diospyros crassiflora

Specific Gravity: Basic 

.82

Specific Gravity: 12% MC

.96

Janka Hardness

3,080 lbf (13,700 N)

Colour/Appearance

Heartwood is usually jet-black, with little to no variation or visible grain. Occasionally dark brown or grayish-brown streaks may be present.

Grain/Texture

Grain is usually straight but can also be interlocked. Fine even texture with very high natural luster.

Endgrain

Diffuse-porous; medium to large pores in no specific arrangement

Rot Resistance

Ebony is rated as being very durable, with good resistance to termites and other insects.

Workability

Can be difficult to work due to its extremely high density. Has a dulling effect on cutters. Tearout may occur on pieces that have interlocked or irregular grain. Due to the high oil content found in this wood, it can occasionally cause problems with gluing. Finishes well, and polishes to a high luster. Responds well to steam bending

Odor

Mild, unpleasant odor while being worked.

Allergies/Toxicity

Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Ebony in the Diospyros genus has been reported as a sensitizer. Usually most common reactions simply include eye, skin, and respiratory irritation

Pricing/Availability

Gaboon Ebony is among the most expensive of all available lumbers: usually about two to three times more expensive than most species of Rosewood. The small size of the tree, and its high demand for ornamental work may contribute to its seemingly outlandish price.

Sustainability

This wood species is in CITES Appendix II (for Diospyros species from Madagascar), and is on the IUCN Red List. It is listed as endangered due to a population reduction of over 50% in the past three generations, caused by exploitation.
Ebony, African
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