Have you ever seen Texas Ebony?

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Project by RichardH posted 1582 days ago 3336 views 0 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Texas Ebony is probably my favorite wood to turn. It’s pretty hard to come by even here in Texas, but it sure is pretty. Texas Ebony trees are VERY slow growing, kind of messy with droppings, and kind of thorny as well. The only wood I have come by is from way down south texas in the Rio Grande Valley area.

Here are two small boxes I turned out of a nice little piece. You can see some nice spalting in the sapwood. Sometimes the wood is very dark, but others it just has rich chocolate tones.

I rough carved both of these boxes and let them sit for a little over a year to stabilize. Worked well as they have nice and subtle vacuum fits.

I’m curious if other LJs out there have come across or ever used this type of wood before?


-- "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it...It's the hard that makes it great."

22 comments so far

View brian watts's profile

brian watts

53 posts in 1616 days

#1 posted 1582 days ago

very nice .. really like the color of the wood


View scrappy's profile


3505 posts in 2065 days

#2 posted 1582 days ago

Nice shapes and designs. Really like the colors in the wood. Great job.

Keep it up.


-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View michelletwo's profile


2234 posts in 1650 days

#3 posted 1582 days ago

never seen it, but it sure is pretty. Nice little boxes

-- We call the destruction of replaceable human made items vandalism, while the destruction of irreplaceable natural resources is called development.

View Deedee's profile


21 posts in 1816 days

#4 posted 1573 days ago

I’m from Dallas, but my husband is from McAllen area. Think I can find any down there? Maybe I can get something useful out of my next visit to the in-laws?

View RichardH's profile


295 posts in 1636 days

#5 posted 1573 days ago

McAllen is a perfect area to look for Texas Ebony. They even have a nature center there where you can see these trees and know what to search for. BTW, another very interesting wood from that area to keep an eye out for is called Huisache. Huisache is typically a short scrubby tree with yellow flowers (also called Sweet Acacia though I’ve never heard anyone in texas call it that :-) Good luck in your search!


-- "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it...It's the hard that makes it great."

View bigike's profile


4031 posts in 1923 days

#6 posted 1573 days ago

very sexy grain.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View BlueStingrayBoots's profile


725 posts in 2636 days

#7 posted 1542 days ago

I live in Mission. I have a small mill operation, its more personal but I like meeting new people with wood craft interests and your welcome to stop by.

View a1Jim's profile


112018 posts in 2211 days

#8 posted 1541 days ago

Great turnings I’ve never seen any in person

-- Custom furniture

View VanLewis's profile


13 posts in 1674 days

#9 posted 1521 days ago

Texas ebony also grows on both sides of the AZ-Sonora border. The only piece i ever found was from a landscape tree in Tucson. It was not as dense as ironwood, but denser than oak, with grain like ironwood. Related leguminous species. I have found excellent but expensive chunks of ironwood through McBeath. If amyone finds a source for Texas ebony please post! Nice projects and posts!

-- Van

View jusfine's profile


2280 posts in 1560 days

#10 posted 1521 days ago

Never heard of it before, but it is beautiful! Great job!

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View RichardH's profile


295 posts in 1636 days

#11 posted 1521 days ago

Thanks VanLewis, it is definitely hard to come by – I’ve got a couple of small pieces before from friends down in south texas, and have seen a couple of chunks every now and then in Woodworking shops here in Austin.

I believe LJ member BlueStingrayBoots runs a milling operation down in south texas and may have some of this for sale…here is one of his old posts with a picture of just how beautiful the slab lumber is. I definitely have to think up a project for one of these some day:

-- "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it...It's the hard that makes it great."

View mmh's profile (online now)


3391 posts in 2356 days

#12 posted 1520 days ago

I’ve made several cane handles with Texas Ebony and I purchased a few logs from BlueStingRayBoots. You want to specify if you want more solid brown wood or if you like the wide variety of gold/brown colors. I like the veins of gold running through the brown heartwood as it has a lot of character. I’ve just recently finished a cane if you care to take a look at my projects page.

BTW: Nice turnings!

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Leo's profile


7 posts in 2607 days

#13 posted 1520 days ago

Texas Ebony I Love it. There are two slightly different names for this species: Pithecolobium or Pithecellobium which is Greek for monkey and ear-ring. It is known as Texas Ebony, Mexican Ebony, False Acacia, or Ebony Blackbead. Flowers generally occur at the ends of branches. The leaves are small, dark green.

Height: Up to about 30 feet.
Flowers: Dense, plume-like spikes of very fragrant, light yellow to white blossoms at the ends of branches. Enjoyed by bees.
Blooming Time: June to August.
Stems/Trunks : An attractive gray smooth trunk; the stems have small curved thorns.
Leaves: The leaves are small, dark green, bi-pinnate (compound), arranged on a 1 inch to 2 inch long stems. Leaves fold up at night or in subdued sunlight.
Seed Pod: A dark brown to black, woody seed capsule four to six inches long, maturing in mid to late summer. hanging on till late spring the next year. Seeds are dark red – brown.
Elevation: 0 – 3000 Feet.
Habitat: Low elevation landscaping in Arizona. Native to Texas and Mexico.
I do have some of it in my woodshop. I’ll get it out and see what I can come up with. It is a very very dense wood. Even the sapwood is dense. A Good solid heartwood is considered “prime” wood as the older trees usually have the heart rot from the pith out. However, not on all. One of the rare trees where heartwood sometimes on rare occasions is white inside the outer limits of the dark heartwood. Which makes for interesting turnings. An interesting story, My Grandfather once told me, when he was young, he built fences out of “Ebano Blackbead”, and said he had to “soak the nails in oil the night before” for them to penetrate the wood. One of those stories, that I just nod my head yes, and quietly laugh under my breath. Yes sir , Grandfather…...

-- Exotic Wood Freak!!!

View RichardH's profile


295 posts in 1636 days

#14 posted 1520 days ago

Leo, Great background and especially the story about your Grandfather. It reminded me of a story an old farmer told me back in the southeast about the bodark (osage orange) fence posts that he had planted…he said “you plant the pole, and put a rock on top, when the rock has worn completely away…it’s time to put in a new post” :-)

I think there are probably lots of interesting domestic wood species that don’t get much woodworking attention…I’ve come across some other surprises such as Texas Persimmon, Madrone, Texas Mountain Laurel, Crepe Myrtle Roots, etc. None of these would work well for large scale projects, but make interesting turnings or smaller boxes, etc.

-- "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it...It's the hard that makes it great."

View Karson's profile


34870 posts in 3035 days

#15 posted 1464 days ago


BlueStingRayBoots here on Lumberjocks, Usually has some Texas Ebony for sale. I’ve bought some pen blanks from him.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware †

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