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EBONY, MISC

Diospyros spp. and Swartzia spp.

click here for a discussion of the genus Diospyros


Diospyros spp. and Swartzia spp. of the family Ebenaceae.

note that the following species on this site have some considerable similarities, even to the point of being difficult to tell apart by the fine grain detail in a well-cleaned up end grain shot. They CAN generally be distinguished by other characteristic in the face grain and in the color, but I just wanted to note their similarities in case you have any confusion among them.

my samples:
NOTE: these pics were all taken in very bright incandescent lighting --- colors will vary under other lighting conditions


"Brazilian ebony" listed as Swartzia Laxiflora --- I am dubious about this designation, but the dealer I bought it from is reliable and I need to do more research. Although at first glance, this appears to be panga panga, it is MUCH too heavy to be that. COLOR IS TOO RED ! The pic below shows the correct color for this wood.


another plank (from the same dealer) and closeup




Brazilian ebony exposure series. The top pic is raw and the lower pic is at one month. Only the right part of the plank has been exposed to sunlight. To see the whole series, click here: Brazilian ebony exposure series Pretty clearly, the exposure to air matters almost as much as the exposure to sunlight, since the left side of the plank, which is totally covered from sunlight exposure, but not quite from air exposure, has darkened almost as much as the right side which is totally exposed. On the far left, the wood was jammed down into a cardboard cover and thus somewhat protected from even air exposure and that portion is not quite as dark as the rest.


yet another plank from the same dealer, this one a little lighter in color


"Brazilian ebony" listed as Swartzia Laxiflora --- I am dubious about this designation

end grain closeup and END GRAIN UPDATE of the piece directly above


Brazilian ebony plank showing huge similarity to panga panga in the face grain


closeup of the plank directly above


both sides of a plank of Brazilian ebony / Swartzia spp. --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. For more detail on this plank, see the sample directly below.


both sides of a sample plank of Brazilian ebony / Swartzia spp. --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. This sample was cut from the plank directly above.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of kalimantan ebony / Diospyros subtruncata --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above. It was particularly difficult to see the pores in this sample, so this image is deliberately overexposed so that they show up better


both sides of a sample plank of kalimantan ebony sent to me by a correspondent in Osaka, Japan. I believe the wood is from Malaysia. Kalimantan is the name of either all or half of the island of Borneo, depending on what political group you belong to in that area. The slight orangish tint of the second shot is apparently a patina. The first side was that color also, but I sanded it down for the pics and the orange sanded off.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


unknown wood sent to me from Japan along with several other types of ebony. The owner said it was an ebony and he was emphatic that it is not gaboon ebony nor kalimantan ebony, and he was even more emphatic that it is not macassar ebony which is what it looks like. I'm sure it's an ebony, but the owner was only able to ID it as "sulawesi amara", a name that I believe only occurs in Japan and which I could not find in any English reference. A web search turned up exactly one set of wood with that name, on a Japanese web site, and it was clearly zircote, which this wood clearly is not. SO ... ebony, but who knows what kind.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Benin ebony / Diospyros mespiliformis --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. This species is more generally known in the USA as African ebony.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of tendu / Diospyros tomentosa --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. This species is more commonly known in the USA as Indian ebony.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Indian ebony (tendu) / Diospyros tomentosa --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of New Guinea ebony / Diospyros papuana --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of New Guinea striped ebony / Diospyros spp. -- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. Since the vendor has not supplied a botanical name, I'm taking his word for it that this is New Guinea striped ebony.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of New Guinea striped ebony / Diospyros insularis --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of New Guinea striped ebony / Diospyros insularis --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of mabolo / Diospyros blancoi --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. This species is more commonly known in the USA as velvet persimmon.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Malasian blackwood, / Diospyros ebonasea --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Guyana ebony / Swartzia bannia --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Guyana ebony / Swartzia bannia --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Guyana ebony / Swartzia bannia --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of Namibia ebony / Euclea pseudebenus --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. Note that the specific epithet means "false ebony". The owner of this piece had it as "pseudoebenus" (with an "o") which makes sense in English but apparently not in Latin; "pseudebenus" is correct.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above


both sides of a sample plank of brown ebony / Diospyros crassiflora --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by David Clark whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. The vendor of this sample had it listed as Dalbergia crassiflora but based on the end grain characteristics it is clear to me that it is NOT that species and I don't know what it is. I don't even know that it is an ebony at all. Mark Peet pointed out that it looks a lot like Handroanthus spp. and in fact I now see that it might be ipe.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above




both sides of a sample plank of Brazilian brown ebony / Caesalpinia pluviosa --- HUGE enlargements are present. This sample was loaned to me by Mark Peet whom I thank for this and other contributions to the site. NOTE: this is not a true ebony. I have included it on this page only because it is commonly sold as an ebony even though it's not a true ebony.


end grain and end grain closeup of the piece directly above


END GRAIN UPDATE from directly above

web pics:




planks and turning stock listed as Asian ebony --- most of these are either waxed or moistened for the pics


turning stock listed as Asian blackwood


cane blanks listed as Asian ebony


turning stock listed as Malasian blackwood


Asian white stripe ebony


listed as Brazilian ebony but the color is much too red to be correct for what I understand Brazilian ebony to be. It could well be that this is just a vendor's gross misrepresentation of the color but it COULD be a different species ... one with which I am not familiar. Also, these appear to all be from the same vendor


Brazilian ebony planks with believable color


Brazilian ebony planks with color that is slightly too red


Brazilian ebony planks with color that is just plain silly. At least one of my own samples had a web pic like this --- the dealer is honest but has no time to color correct his pics for ebay. The red in these pics is an effect of the camera --- I'm sure the wood is grayish black, just like my own samples up above.


listed as Brazilian ebony


listed as brazilian ebony with botanical name Swartzia spp. and with completely believable color


both sides and a closeup of a plank listed as Cameroon ebony, from the BogusColorVendor


both sides and a closeup of a plank listed as fiddleback Cameroon ebony, from the BogusColorVendor


planks and turning stock listed as Indian ebony / Diospyros ebenum


scales and pen blanks listed as Indian ebony / Diospyros ebenum


kalamantan (aka kalimantan) ebony turning stock --- the is a wood that I've only seen advertised a couple of times in the USA and a few times from companies in Asia. I cannot find it in any reference work. Kalimantan is the name of either half or all of the island of Borneo (depending on what political group you belong to in that area).


planks and turning stock listed as Malasian striped ebony


planks and turning stock listed as New Guinea striped ebony


planks and a closeup listed as New Guinea striped ebony


listed as striped ebony --- as with the the "New Guinea striped" directly above, I don't know if this is macassar ebony or another variety.


planks of East Indian ebony, Diospyros melanoxylon


East Indian ebony turning --- looks like a weapon


planks and turning stock listed as kayu malam (which is a common name for Sabah ebony / Diospyros durionoides)


guitar sets listed as kayu malam (which is a common name for Sabah ebony / Diospyros durionoides)