Ebony, the Dark Knight of Details
Small doses can do big things for your furniture
Synopsis: This stunning, slow-growing, extremely dense hardwood is so valuable it’s sometimes sold by the pound. Though there are more than 450 species of ebony, all of them are endangered, so it makes sense to learn how to use this wood judiciously, find legally harvested sources, and “fake it” if necessary. Garrett Hack uses ebony in his furniture for contrasting details such as pulls, beading, and inlay, and he shares his expertise on how to work this challenging but very rewarding tropical wood.
When I saw my first ebony tree in Java more than 30 years ago, I was stunned by its small stature. In a climate where trees grow year-round, this 90-year-old was about 11 in. in diameter. Such stunningly slow growth helps explain ebony’s extreme density, why typical boards are so small, and why the wood is so valuable that it’s sometimes sold by the pound.