EXOTIC, EXPENSIVE DECORATIVE HARDWOOD
Grown on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi (formerly known as Celebes), this is one of the rarest and most expensive woods you can buy. It is distinguished by the stripy grain pattern, which is largely dark brown or black but interspersed with much paler bands.
The scarcity of the lumber is not helped by the tree's relatively small size.
Type Tropical hardwood
Other names D. ebenum, D. macassar, Indian ebony, coromandel (U.K.), Sri Lankan ebony
Similar species African ebony (D. crassiflora), Indian ebony (D. tomentosa and D. melanoxylon), Andaman ebony (D. marmorata)
Sources Sulawesi, Indonesia
Color Stripes of dark brown and black, with lighter yellow or beige bands
Texture Fine to medium and even
Grain Generally straight, but there may be some interlocking or wavy grain.
Hardness Very dense and hard
Weight Very heavy (68 lb./cu. ft.) (1090 kg/cu. m)
Strength Generally used for decoration, not because the heart can be brittle but because it is so expensive.
Seasoning and stability Very slow to season; the tree is often ringbarked (girdled) for two years before felling to start the drying process. Liable to split if dried too quickly. Very stable once seasoned.
Range of board widths May well be limited
Range of board thicknesses May well be limited
Durability Very durable against rot, but some risk of insect attack
Macassar ebony is often cut for veneer, but there is not much difference between plain-sawn and quartersawn faces.
Supposedly felled only by quota, but it has been listed as vulnerable. Certified lumber is unlikely to be available. There are few alternatives.
AVAILABILITY AND COST
Not widely available, and very expensive.