Macassar Ebony


Common Name(s): Macassar Ebony, Striped EbonyScientific Name: Diospyros celebicaDistribution: Southeast Asia

Tree Size: 50-65 ft (15-20m) tall, 1.5 ft (.4 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 72 lbs/ft3 (1,150 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .89, 1.15

Janka Hardness: 3,220 lbf (14,140 N)

Modulus of Rupture:No data available

Elastic Modulus: No data available

Crushing Strength: No data available

Shrinkage: No data available

Color/Appearance: Has a dramatic striped appearance, somewhat similar toZebrawood. Light to reddish brown body with darker brown or black stripes.

Grain/Texture: Has a very fine texture and small pores. The grain is usually straight, but can sometimes be interlocked.

Endgrain: Diffuse-porous; small-medium pores in no specific arrangement; solitary, with radial multiples of 2-4 common; mineral deposits present; growth rings indistinct; rays not visible without lens; parenchyma reticulate, vasicentric.

Rot Resistance: Heartwood is rated as very durable in resistance to fungi decay, though it is reported to be susceptible to insect attack.

Workability: Tends to be rather difficult to work, due to its high density, blunting effect on cutters, and its occasionally interlocked grain. The wood is also prone to checking and splitting during drying, and drying defects are not uncommon. The wood is excellent for turnery.

Odor: Macassar Ebony has a mild, slightly unpleasant odor when being worked.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, Ebony in theDiospyros genus has been reported as a sensitizer, and Macassar Ebony has been specifically reported to cause skin irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Likely to be extremely expensive, along with most other Ebony members in the Diospyros genus. The tree grows slowly, has a very limited natural habitat, and is highly desired for the wood’s aesthetic appeal and toughness. Macassar Ebony is not listed as an endangered species, but is still considered to be at-risk.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices, but is on the IUCN Red List. It is listed as vulnerable due to a population reduction of over 20% in the past three generations, caused by a decline in its natural range, and exploitation.

Common Uses: Veneer, high-end cabinetry, billiard cues, musical instruments, and other small specialty items.

Comments: So named for the Indonesian port-city of Makassar, which is one of the primary points of exportation. There’s not much mechanical data available on Macassar Ebony, but judging from its weight, and the properties of other species such as Diospyros crassiflora, this wood is likely to be exceptionally hard, heavy, and strong.