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Ebony – Black & White

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Botanical Name

Diospyros malabarica; Diospyros embryopteris; Diospyros peregrina

Other Names

Black & White Ebony, Malabar Ebony, Pale Moon Ebony

Main Color Group

Variegated

Grain Pattern

Pronounced

Workability

Challenging

Avg Dry Weight - LB/FT3

51

Avg Dry Weight - KG/M3

825

Janka Hardness - LBF

1780

Janka Hardness - Newtons

7920

More commonly known as “Pale Moon Ebony” to US guitar luthiers and afficiandos, this Southeast Asian true-Diospyros ebony is, without question, the world’s most difficult, perplexing exotic wood — and, at times, one of its most visually stunning. (It’s also one of its most sought-after.) The wood is known for the bold jet black ink lines which adorn its creamy, pale yellow base. Both the volume and pattern of its lines are unpredictable, varying greatly from piece to piece. Grains can be straight, wavy or irregular; its texture is fine, with a nice natural luster. Its hardness and density are quite moderate for an ebony.

After being harvested or resawn, the wood exhibits a strong tendency to self-destruct — often changing shape, cracking and checking — if not quickly coated in wax. Although it’s not currently viewed as endangered, the wood has always been in short supply in the US, despite an unquenchable demand from custom guitar builders and wood enthusiasts, alike. Other than the difficulties in drying, it has good working properties; it machines, turns, glues and finishes well.

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Sustainability: Despite its not being listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the government of Laos has just recently (May, 2016) banned all rosewood and ebony exports.

Common Uses: Guitars (specifically, fretboards, acoustic guitar back and sides, and electric guitar “drop tops”), cabinets, furniture, turned objects, carvings, inlay, trim and other small projects.

Comments: Because of its noted self-destructive tendencies, the wood is coated in wax almost immediately after being harvested. Given this, what little makes it to the US market arrives with very high moisture levels, necessitating further drying. (This is where it gets tricky.) Experience has shown that the best drying results are obtained by leaving the wood coated in wax and just patiently allowing it to air dry. Any attempts to speed up this process are very risky; the wood usually winds up punishing the impatient!

Even when dried very slowly, the wood can still change shape. It’s not unusual, at all, to find pieces with major surface checks and cracks that occur even while under wax. For this reason, you see significantly more craft-sized pieces than larger, resawable boards (which typically command a premium price).

Recutting boards will speed up the drying process, of course, but attentive care must be taken to prevent warpage of the cut pieces.

Importation to the US has been through very limited, select channels, on an irregular basis, for a number of years. This wood is most always in short supply, while the demand remains constant. Rare Woods USA is very pleased to be able to offer a limited amount of larger boards and billets of this spectacular exotic wood.

Lumber orders to Southeast Asia can sometimes take 12 to 18 months or more to fill, ship and receive. With the recent banning of rosewood and ebony exportation by the Laotian government, we’re not sure how soon we’ll be able to restock (if at all). For the last several years, US importation of Black & White Ebony has been exclusively from Laos.

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Species Description: Wood Species

ImagePriceGradeDimensionsSKUBuyDescriptionprice_hsort
Ebony - Black & White
$604.0541 x 5.8 x 2.2 inEBBLWH1009
Out of stock

Spectacular figure

604.05
Ebony - Black & White
$360.3748 x 3.8 x 1.6 inEBBLWH1008

Some wormholes

360.37
Ebony - Black & White
$531.0040.2 x 5.2 x 2.1 inEBBLWH1007

Surface defect one face

531
Ebony - Black & White
$514.1339.6 x 4.6 x 2.4 inEBBLWH1006

Beautiful

514.13
Ebony - Black & White
$308.3519 x 5.75 x 2.3 inEBBLWH1005

End checks

308.35
Ebony - Black & White
$307.3622 x 5.5 x 2.1 inEBBLWH1004

Wormholes – Pretty!

307.36
Ebony - Black & White
$344.8621.25 x 5.75 x 2.3 inEBBLWH1003

End checks

344.86
Ebony - Black & White
$257.0718.4 x 5.5 x 2.1 inEBBLWH1002
Out of stock

Wormholes, face check, Gorgeous!

257.07
Ebony - Black & White
$347.7335 x 6.25 x 1.75 inEBBLWH1001
Out of stock

Slight Check back side

347.73

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