Ebony is among the rarest and most expensive of all the woods in the world. Ebony trees are part of the Diospyros genus, an extensive grouping that contains at least 700 species of trees, shrubs and bushes, including persimmons. Several of these species of trees are harvested for their wood. Ebony is native to Africa, Madagascar, Southern India and Southeast Asia.
Black ebony, Diospyros crassiflora, also known as Gaboon or African ebony, is one of the densest and heaviest woods known. Ebony is a slow-growing tree, taking as long as 200 years to reach a size useful for timber as these trees typically grow about ½ inch per year. In contrast, balsa wood can grow up to 10 feet in one year. Gaboon ebony is endangered and is included on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources ‘Red List of Threatened Species’ because of over-harvesting. However, there are several varieties of ebony wood for sale that have the same lustre and beauty as traditional Gaboon ebony.
If you’re looking for some ebony wood for sale, here are a few reasons you should choose to buy ebony wood.
Beauty and lustre
Most people think of ebony wood as jet black. Although black ebony is the most traditional type used in furniture, musical instruments and other ornamental applications, there are several varieties of ebony. Black and white ebony is a variegated yellowish-brown wood with black bands. Macassar ebony features light brown wood with dark striations. Only the heartwood of some species is jet black, with little visible grain. This appearance gives a lustre that is not found in other woods.
The small pores, even grain and fine texture of the wood give ebony an unequalled beauty. The high natural oil content yields an attractive lustre and sheen when finished. It has been used as a decorative embellishment for furniture, musical instruments, carvings and the manufacture of small ornaments.
The density and hardness of the wood makes it extremely durable and resistant to rot. It has a high natural resistance to termites and other wood-boring insects. Although its hardness makes it difficult to work with, it’s easy to bend using steam.
Embellishment of musical quality of instruments
Ebony is used as an ornamental and tonal addition to musical instruments, including guitars and woodwinds. It’s prized by musicians, who state that ebony gives a brighter, warmer tone to notes. Its oily surface lets a musician’s hands slide easily over frets of stringed instruments, allowing faster movement in playing.
Because trees must grow for at least 70 years to reach a size that’s useful for woodworking, ebony is rare. Woodworkers, artists and craftspeople around the world prize the wood for its appearance. Because the wood is so rare, it’s often applied as a veneer to furniture to give the beauty and lustre of solid ebony wood. The darker the wood, the more rare and valuable it is, so any piece of furniture you own made with ebony wood is going to be a completely unique item.