Ebony by Agora is a global supplier of the finest ebony wood, and we supply master craftsmen, builders and architects with high quality ebony that is both sought after and sustainable.

Do you own a graceful piece of ebony furniture, or a beautiful ebony sculpture? Consider yourself privileged. Ebony is a notoriously difficult wood to work, and a successful end product takes hours of skill and patience. So when next you run your fingers over the ebony fretboard of your beloved guitar, consider these facts about this unique wood…

Rarity

To start off with: the name “ebony” is given to a number of trees in the “Diospyrus” genus, that exhibit an extremely high density and black colouration of the wood. These types of trees grow mainly in the tropical regions of West Africa and South-East Asia, are very slow growing, and don’t reach a very large size at maturity. Many of the species have been overharvested due to high global demand, which has lead to a number of ebonies being under CITES restrictions. Those that aren’t usually demand a high price.

All the ebony farmed and sourced by Ebony by Agora are sustainable farmed ebony wood.

Hard-hearted

If different types of wood had star signs, ebony would be a Taurus: extremely stubborn and hard-headed. Or rather, hard-hearted in the case of this wood: Ebony heartwood is extremely dense, ranging from 2400lbf to 3200lbf on the Janka scale, making it some of the hardest wood in the world. What is the Janka scale? Basically, it measures the force required to embed an 11.28mm steel ball into wood to half the ball’s diameter.

Ebony wood is so dense that it sinks in water – so we wouldn’t recommend you building a raft out of it…

Ebony by Agora regularly supplies ebony wood to makers of wooden planes and equipment, pieces that are known for their durability.

Volatile

While Ebony wood is highly durable and rot resistant, it also tends to suffer from significant shrinkage and seasonal movements (reacting to heat, cold or humidity). Combined with the hardness of the wood, this can lead to loud cursing from woodworkers, and many blunted tools. This is one of the reasons why ebony is mostly used for smaller, more intricate work: fine carvings, musical instruments and lathe-turned items.

Ebony wood has a high natural oil content, which makes it difficult to glue the wood. But it can be worked to a lustrous, glossy finish when sanded!

Need advice on working with ebony wood? Contact Ebony by Agora today, and we’ll guide you through the ebony wood working process.

Shades of black

While ebony is mostly known for its solid black colour, the various species can differ in appearance. For example:

  • Gaboon ebony: very dark, slightly brownish-black
  • Ceylon ebony: deeper black, occasional dark-brown streaks
  • Mun and Macassar ebony: lighter brown with tightly spaced solid black growth rings
  • Black & White ebony: pale yellow with random, solid black streaks in the wood

All of these factors make ebony a wood best suited for master woodworkers. It may be tough to work, but the end product will end up being a beautiful, much-treasured heirloom.

Ebony by Agora supplies quality striped and black ebony wood, and we cater to demand.