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Ebony, Macassar

Common Name(s): Macassar Ebony, Striped Ebony, Amara Ebony


So named for the Indonesian port-city of Makassar, which is one of the primary points of exportation.

Thicknesses

Tree Size: 50-65 ft (15-20m) tall, 1.5 ft (.4 m) trunk diameter

Distribution

Southeast Asia

Scientific Name

Diospyros celebica

Specific Gravity: Basic 

0.89

Specific Gravity: 12% MC

1.12

Janka Hardness

3,220 lbf (14,140 N)

Colour/Appearance

Heartwood has dramatic striped appearance, somewhat similar to Zebrawood. Yellow to reddish brown body with darker brown or black stripes. Sharply demarcated sapwood is pale gold colour.

Grain/Texture

Grain is usually straight, but can sometimes be interlocked; fine uniform texture and good natural luster.

Endgrain

Diffuse-porous; medium to large pores in no specific arrangement; solitary, with radial multiples of 2-4 common; mineral deposits present; growth rings indistinct; rays not visible without lens; parenchyma reticulate, vasicentric.

Rot Resistance

Heartwood is rated as very durable; poor insect/borer resistance.

Workability

Tends to be rather difficult to work, due to its high density, blunting effect on cutters, and its occasionally interlocked grain. The wood is also prone to checking and splitting during drying, and drying defects are not uncommon. The wood is excellent for turned objects.

Odor

Macassar Ebony has a mild, slightly unpleasant odor when being worked.

Allergies/Toxicity

Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Ebony in the Diospyros genus has been reported as a sensitizer, and Macassar Ebony has been specifically reported to cause skin irritation.

Pricing/Availability

Likely to be extremely expensive, along with most other Ebony members in the Diospyros genus. The tree grows slowly, has a very limited natural habitat, and is highly desired for the wood’s aesthetic appeal and toughness.

Sustainability

This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices, but is on the IUCN Red List. 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.
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