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Black and White Ebony's unique coloration pattern? (Read 659 times)
 
Pete Passof
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Black and White Ebony's unique coloration pattern?
Aug 11th, 2021 at 5:25pm
 
Does anyone know what causes the wood of Black and White Ebony to have its unique coloration pattern.  Possibly an insect such as ambrosia beetle or a fungi, i.e., ambrosia maple?

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Ed Weber
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Re: Black and White Ebony's unique coloration pattern?
Reply #1 - Aug 12th, 2021 at 9:29am
 
I think it's more of a characteristic of the tree itself, not an insect or fungus. I've read that the unripened fruit is used to make black dye, leading me to believe it's a naturally occurring color in a normal healthy tree.
Why it has the look it does, I've not been able to find out.
It could simply be the regions where it grows, the climate and what the tree uptakes from the soil can all play a part.
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Bill Moschler
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Re: Black and White Ebony's unique coloration pattern?
Reply #2 - Aug 14th, 2021 at 7:37am
 
I think the black in ebony is heartwood formation, like Ed said.  I think the white is sapwood.  I have never really had a piece of "black and white" ebony.  I have seen some pieces with the white sapwood on the edge but passed on them for the heartwood.
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Ed Weber
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Re: Black and White Ebony's unique coloration pattern?
Reply #3 - Aug 14th, 2021 at 9:18am
 
Bill Moschler wrote on Aug 14th, 2021 at 7:37am:
I have never really had a piece of "black and white" ebony.


I have a few pen blanks and other small pieces but they're just a portion of the wood with no context.
I would like to see a cross-section of a log to get a better idea of what's going on.
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robo_hippy
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Re: Black and White Ebony's unique coloration pattern?
Reply #4 - Aug 14th, 2021 at 11:00am
 
I do have a black and white ebony piece in my collection, turned by Odie over at the AAW site. I could not tell any hardness difference, and generally the sap wood is softer. Ebony logs can have lots of color variation, but more like swirls like when you first pour cream into your coffee, but I only like my coffee with knife and fork.... No clue really as to what causes this coloration. I have wondered if it is a different sub species of the ebony...

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Robert Hayward
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Re: Black and White Ebony's unique coloration pattern?
Reply #5 - Aug 14th, 2021 at 12:01pm
 
I recall a story told by an owner, or maybe exec, of one of the big names in guitar manufacturing. Fender, Gibson? The story was about the difficulty of obtaining all black Gaboon ebony for the fret boards and other pieces of guitars.

The loggers talked of having to cut down an Ebony tree to see if it was black or streaked. At the time the streaked trees were left to rot on the forest floor.

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Ed Weber
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Re: Black and White Ebony's unique coloration pattern?
Reply #6 - Aug 14th, 2021 at 12:15pm
 
Some species of ebony don't grow very large. Any pieces of usable lumber of any size can get quite expensive. Small pieces for knobs pulls and embellishments are more common for this reason.
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