Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Gaboon Ebony

Gaboon Ebony
Since we are all going to be buying our own wood at some point for at least one of our projects I thought it might be useful to some people in the class to do some research on exotic woods that they might be interested in. The picture above is a turning stick of gaboon ebony. This particular piece of wood is pre-cut so that it may be turned on a lathe. You can buy pieces like this in all types of wood. I found a website that has information on a very wide variety of different wood, most of which I have never heard of (http://www.hobbithouseinc.com/personal/woodpics/#letterA). I chose gaboon ebony because I have some experience working with it. This is the blackest wood in existence, it is so dark that you can hardly see the grain. It is actually just the inside of the ebony tree.
It comes from Africa and can be very expensive. I bought a small amount last semester at Southern Lumber for $70 per board foot, which was on sale at the time. Since it is so expensive it is mainly used in small amounts for details such as piano keys or knife handles. It is very dense and can be fragile if dropped on a hard floor. It's extremely hard to work with because of the density, but if you are persistent you will definitely be happy with the outcome. When gaboon ebony is finished just by sanding it is extremely smooth to the touch and very beautiful. It has a natural shine and can be finished to a higher polish than most wood. If you absolutely have to have a finish on it www.woodturnersresource.com recommends using a sanding sealer before applying any oil or lacquer.
When you are working with ebony it is important to not be exposed to the dust for long periods of time. A dust mask is recommended when handling this wood because it can be toxic. I would not advise you to make an entire table of ebony, but if you want to add some small black details this wood can be that extra elegance you need.


Nancy Sevier said...

Hey, that's a good tip and good idea to research wood. Thanks.

Squerl said...

That is beautiful wood. Squerl