Ebony or African ebony wood (Diospyros Crassiflora) is a wood much appreciated for its quality and dark tone. It is native to the southern half of the African continent, more specifically to countries like Gabon, Mozambique, Tanzania, Madagascar, Congo or Zambia.

Since the time of the Egyptians, Ebony has been known and imported for its high quality. In fact, the art of making quality furniture is known as carpentry.

There are species of the same family and with many similarities not only in Africa, but also in Asia. It’s about the genus Diospyros. The fact that many dark woods are called ebony has become widespread, which is not always correct, as they are sometimes unrelated species. Some even confuse it with woods such as wenge.

Trees can reach 18 meters in height, although today it is very rare. Poaching operations have put the ebony at risk, which together with the slow growth generated a great scarcity.

The price of ebony wood It is one of the tallest in the world. This is due to its scarcity, low production due to the size of the tree and the very high demand for the manufacture of all types of articles where their color offers an ideal contrast.

Features of Ebony Wood

Color: The most well-known and differentiating characteristic of ebony wood is its dark, almost black color. These dark tones are found at the heart, although occasionally brown or gray lines appear. On the other hand, the sapwood can present light tones and is clearly delimited.

Characteristic defects: The trunk can present several types of defects, mainly small holes and rot in the heart.

Fiber: Straight, occasionally interlaced.

Grain: Good.

Density: Ebony is a wood very dense, around 1,050 kg / m3. It is one of the species that does not sink into the water due to its weight.

Toughness: Hardwood with a 7.0 result in the Monnin test

Durability: It is resistant to fungi and insects. Good behavior against humidity.

Dimensional stability:

  • Volumetric contraction coefficient: 0.51 moderately edgy wood.

Mechanical properties:

  • Compressive strength: 591 kg / cmtwo
  • Static flexural strength: 1,326 kg / cmtwo
  • Modulus of elasticity: 158,000 kg / cmtwo

Workability: It is a relatively difficult wood to work with due to its high density and the wear it produces on machines.

  • Drying. Slow, with risk of deformation
  • Saw and brush. No problems, except for the wear caused by the tool.
  • Glued. Easy, although it can cause problems due to its natural oils
  • Nailed and screwed. Requires knockouts.
  • Finish. Easy

It presents a good performance in steam bending.

It can cause skin irritation in certain people. Serious complications are rare.


Ebony Uses

  • High quality furniture. It is the main use and one that made ebony wood one of the best known.
  • Manufacture of musical instruments. Including piano keys.
  • Natural wood veneers.
  • Sculptures, turning and carving.
  • Handles and / or utensils: walking sticks, pool cues …