|Forum topic by Jonathan||posted 03-02-2011 05:08 PM||3075 views||0 times favorited||6 replies|
03-02-2011 05:08 PM
I have an opportunity to legally (approved and properly documented) get a good amount of ebony (Kamagong, aka: “ironwood” and “mabolo”) from a friend who will be returning from the Philippines in a few months, at some very attractive pricing. Wiki link to Kamagong and Mabolo.
I have only worked with very small pieces of ebony before from pen blanks, and they were a different species.
With that being said, I am wondering what your favorite uses for ebony are? What would you build, or use it for, if you could get it in a larger quantity, and larger sizes?
It sounds like I might be able to get pieces that are up to 6”x8”x7’-long. Not that I want any that thick, but some smaller pieces that are a bit thicker might be good for bowl blanks, or something similar? I’ve also heard that it seems very prone to cracking though when turned because of any residual heat from drilling, sanding, polishing, etc. and that you have to avoid building heat when turning it. I thought a pepper mill out of it would be a nice project to tackle at some point, as well as a few smaller bowls or platters, depending on the size of the stock.
I’m certainly thinking about using it on all sorts of things, from small tabletops, to drawer fronts and/or aprons, to boxes and accent strips.
Never having worked with this particular species, I’m looking for pointers on what possible sizes to look for, or avoid. I just would hate to miss out on this wonderful opportunity and in a year from now, saying, “boy, I wish I would’ve known,” or “size AxBxC would’ve been really good for this project”.
I know these types of exotics tend to dry very slowly and are rather oily. The wood will be selected sometime in the next few days, so that’s why I’m asking what sizes might be ideal for this particular species. I am already anticipating having to work around a fair amount of cracks/splits within the boards and will be ordering extra because of this, then using the smaller off-cuts for smaller projects, or accent strips. My friend will also be placing the wood in his solar kiln to dry a bit before returning to Colorado. So, for turning stock, for instance, if it’s best to not go into the solar kiln, maybe that stock can be wrapped in plastic wrap, as I’m not sure he’s got easy access to wax right now.
Forgive my relative ignorance on this subject, but that’s why I am posting, to learn as much as I can now and avoid a heartache or two down the road. I have yet to turn anything, for instance, but that facet of woodworking really intrigues me and is something I’d like to try my hand at this year. I plan on taking a class or two on the subject, or connecting with a turner or two in our local woodworkers guild, which I joined at the beginning of the year.
-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."