Anyone Use Ebony? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 Old 09-06-2009, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
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Anyone Use Ebony?

Hey guys! First post, I am pretty excited to have this knowledge base available for my projects!

I was blessed with an opportunity to go to Africa this summer (Uganda) and I wanted to bring back some Ebony for turning. I did this last summer as well, but only bought a small piece for tinkering with. Anyways, I LOVE working with the wood, but the safety guy at our university woodshop has forbade me to use the lathe (or any of the newer tools) because it is so hard.

So I've got a chunk of Ebony, I would love to see go to a craftsman, and preferably one that would allow me to see the product! Its got a workable size of about 7x5x3" but its still rough cut, right off the tree. Weighs about 15-20 lbs. Very pretty, dark brown wood, still has the light brown bark attached. I'll send pics to anyone interested. Thanks!

It sure was a pain in the butt to haul it all over Africa and back home!
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post #2 of 13 Old 09-06-2009, 02:18 PM
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If you are looking to send it to someone, I will definately use it. I have been making pens for several months and haven't worked with much Ebony. I would be more than happy to make some pens and send it back to you also.

PM me if you are interested. We can talk details.

Fred

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post #3 of 13 Old 09-06-2009, 04:21 PM
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Ebony definitely heats the tools up. Had my drill bit smoking a bit from drilling a pen blank, not good. I didn't have much trouble turning the blank as you can easily control how much and how fast you cut. Helps to have a good sharpening system.
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post #4 of 13 Old 09-06-2009, 08:41 PM
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If you have sharp tools and take light cuts it doesn't matter how hard it is. It won't damage the tools or the lathe. I've turned several woods that cut like Ebony. It's not a big deal. You won't be able to take big cuts and hog out wood but it cuts so clean it's worth turning.
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post #5 of 13 Old 09-07-2009, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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Well as much as I agree with you, the politics of the art department doesn't really allow for rational arguments. Their way or the high way, its okay though, they let us use some really great tools.

As far as offloading the ebony goes...I was sorta hoping to sell it, being a poor college kid and all. Ive seen some pieces on ebay goin for quite a bit. I just thought Id give you guys first dibs!
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post #6 of 13 Old 09-07-2009, 10:50 PM
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For selling it your best bet is ebay and if you're a poor college kid you should try to max your return for it. Take good pics and it should go for a nice chunk of change.

I'm a bit puzzled by your specs. If it is 3"x5"x7", that's .7BF and discounting a bit for the bark which you mention, call it .6BF. At 17lbs, that works out to 340lbs/ft3 which is WAY WAY out of line with wood. Something doesn't add up.

Paul

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post #7 of 13 Old 09-07-2009, 11:11 PM
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:O

I'd love to use ebony for turning, but the only hardwood store near me (45 min out of town) wants a LOT of money for it. Last time I was there, they had tiny pieces - maybe 1"x3"x6" - for $30+ !!! I'd say you could pay your next semester's tuition with a 3x5x7" block.
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post #8 of 13 Old 09-07-2009, 11:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b00kemdano View Post
:O

I'd love to use ebony for turning, but the only hardwood store near me (45 min out of town) wants a LOT of money for it. Last time I was there, they had tiny pieces - maybe 1"x3"x6" - for $30+ !!! I'd say you could pay your next semester's tuition with a 3x5x7" block.

For tiny amounts the pro-rated BF price is humongous ($240/BF on your example) but it goes down as the size goes up. For the .6BF he has, if it's good quality then about $50 to $80 is what to expect.

You can never have too much pepperoni on your pizza or own too many clamps.
www.hobbithouseinc.com/personal/woodpics/
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post #9 of 13 Old 09-08-2009, 08:43 AM
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oic. cut it up, then sell it! :D
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post #10 of 13 Old 09-08-2009, 09:54 AM
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Ebony really isn't that hard. I'm surprised that anyone who knows anything about wood shops is concerned that it's too hard to work without damaging tools. That's just ridiculous, especially for an "art" shop that is expected to be used for different mediums.

I personally don't like working ebony because I think it smells disgusting (at least macassar ebony) and I was sorely disappointed when I found that out recently. I turned a couple of ebony tuner knobs for my daughter's guitar (my first finished turning projects on the new lathe) and I suspect that's the last ebony I'll be using. I really like the way it looks but really don't like working it. Everyone has a different opinion though.

As for selling it, I'd probably either put it on ebay as a bowl blank or find some way to cut it up for pen blanks.
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post #11 of 13 Old 09-08-2009, 12:13 PM
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I have only turned a little bit of ebony. While it is dense, it is down right silly to say that it is dangerously dense...

It does heat up while drilling, but I found it no harder to turn then most woods. I would rather turn ebony then a black palm...

However Ebony is prone to cracking, many say because of the heat that is created while drilling. And finishing ebony can be a pain.

Here is one pen that I made, took me 3 trys to get the finish right...
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post #12 of 13 Old 09-08-2009, 03:04 PM
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Dvoigt, That pen looks great. It almost looks like a black acrylic pen, and not wood. That finish is awesome.
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post #13 of 13 Old 09-08-2009, 10:49 PM
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I'm with Frank, that seems crazy they would say it's too hard to work with. Sharp tools and light cuts would get it done.

Dvoigt that pen is awesome! Really really nice!

John
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