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African Ebony Diospyros crassiflora

THE BLACKEST OF ALL WOOD
Ebonies can be difficult to Identify, as they are all heavy and black and there is some confusion regarding their names. African ebony is sometimes mixed up with Gabon ebony (D. dendo) on suppliers' Inventories. The color is much the same, though African ebony is reportedly the blackest of all, with just a few paler gray or beige streaks.

KEY CHARACTERISTICS
Type Tropical hardwood
Other names Sometimes named after country of origin (Nigerian ebony, Cameroon ebony, etc.)
Similar species D. piscatoria, Gabon ebony (D. dendo) Alternatives Macassar ebony (D. celebica), English oak (Quercus robur)
Sources Central and West Africa
Color Mostly black, but some black or gray streaks. Very dark when finished.
Texture Very fine and even
Grain Straight, with some interlocking
Hardness Very hard
Weight Very heavy (63 lb./cu. ft.) (1000 kg/cu. m)
Strength Very strong and resistant to shocks and heavy loads. Surprisingly good for bending, though it is unlikely to be used for that.
Seasoning and stability Quick to season and stable once dry Wastage Supply is so limited that you may encounter boards with splits or streaks that are hard to avoid, but the lumber is likely to be used for smaller components, so wastage can be managed moderately well,
Range of board widths Limited
Range of board thicknesses Limited
Durability Very durable, though some risk of insect attack to D. piscatoria.

VARIATIONS
Often converted into veneer.

SUSTAINABILITY
D. crassiflora has been listed as endangered by IUCN. There is no evidence of certified supplies.

AVAILABILITY AND COST
It is very expensive and increasingly rare.




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Updated: 12/2017   copyright 2011 Rowecraft