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Wood Identification, Ebony?

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Forum topic by Bobby57 posted 12-22-2015 02:09 AM 750 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Bobby57

13 posts in 349 days


12-22-2015 02:09 AM

I bought my house from an estate years ago and the previous owner was a carpenter / woodworker. The estate had left many items behind with my approval. One of those items was a 40 inch long log about 7 inches in diameter, it is almost black in color and is extremely heavy and dense. I had always assumed it was ebony but never confirmed it. I had always worked with wood but never turned wood till this past weekend after i bought a vintage Delta 1460 lathe which by the way works beautifully. What’s the best way to identify this wood? interested in turning with it when I have a little more practice. Thanks for your input

-- Bob, Carmel, NY


12 replies so far

View bearkatwood's profile

bearkatwood

1198 posts in 474 days


#1 posted 12-22-2015 02:54 AM

If that is indeed ebony or even african blackwood, you have a very pricey board there :) both run around $100 BF, Nice find. If it has a tangy stale coffee smell to it and it is JET black with some dark brown streaks it is ebony and if it smells sweet and floral and has some reddish hues and not quite black it is african blackwood. Wear a mask when turning it and use a vacuum, use mineral spirits on any parts that will be glued up and have fun with it.

-- Brian Noel

View rustynails's profile

rustynails

663 posts in 1991 days


#2 posted 12-22-2015 05:41 PM

If it is Ebony I dont think I would turn it as it is to pricey for all that wast????

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Bobby57

13 posts in 349 days


#3 posted 12-22-2015 05:50 PM

Was thinking the same thing actually, maybe cut off a small piece and turn a plate instead of a bowl to minimize the waste but still get to see a finished ebony piece from my hands.

-- Bob, Carmel, NY

View LiveEdge's profile

LiveEdge

486 posts in 1082 days


#4 posted 12-22-2015 06:06 PM

You might be able to distinguish Ebony from African Blackwood by weight. You can either calculate the rough volume with geometry or even get a more accurate volume by dunking it in water and measuring the displacement. Blackwood is about 25% heavier (80lbs/cu ft) versus Ebony (60lbs/cu ft).

Actually, I came back to add that the water bath might give it to you right off. Blackwood sinks while Ebony floats.

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Bobby57

13 posts in 349 days


#5 posted 12-22-2015 06:14 PM

I’ll try that in the bathtub, I’ll let you know what happens. Is there any way that it could be a species other than those two?

-- Bob, Carmel, NY

View tomsteve's profile

tomsteve

393 posts in 681 days


#6 posted 12-22-2015 07:42 PM

take a sander and clean up a spot both on endgrain and face of log and post pics.

View Bobby57's profile

Bobby57

13 posts in 349 days


#7 posted 12-22-2015 08:03 PM

I’ll do that this evening

-- Bob, Carmel, NY

View LiveEdge's profile

LiveEdge

486 posts in 1082 days


#8 posted 12-22-2015 09:26 PM

One thing that has me puzzled is that both of the woods mentioned have light colored sapwood. I assume we are looking at the sapwood and not bark?

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Bobby57

13 posts in 349 days


#9 posted 12-23-2015 02:28 AM

didn’t get to see if it floats, hand sanded the end a little and the side, but here are some more pics

-- Bob, Carmel, NY

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LiveEdge

486 posts in 1082 days


#10 posted 12-23-2015 04:06 AM

What about something like Bog Oak? Frankly I have no idea what it is because of the lack of obvious sapwood in a rough piece of timber. I’m interested in hearing what other people think.

View bobasaurus's profile

bobasaurus

2658 posts in 2646 days


#11 posted 12-23-2015 04:19 AM

Could be some variety of ironwood as well. But if that’s ebony, nice score.

-- Allen, Colorado

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5765 posts in 948 days


#12 posted 12-23-2015 04:37 AM

I thought ebony had really light colored sapwood.

A Rosewood maybe?

Cut the end grain with a sharp tool and take as close of a pic as you can. Pore size and density along with growth rings can help you identify the exact species if.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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