- "Makassar Ebony" redirects here. Not to be confused with Diospyros macassar, a junior synonym of D. rumphii.
Makassar Ebony (Diospyros celebica), is a species of flowering tree in the family Ebenaceae that is endemic to the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. Its common name is derived from the main seaport on the island, Makassar.
Makassar Ebony wood is variegated, streaky brown and black, nearly always wide-striped. It is considered a highly valuable wood for turnery, fine cabinet work and joinery, and is much sought for posts (tokobashira) in traditional Japanese houses. That is why Japan used to be the main importer for this wood. It is also used as a wood in fingerboards for guitars and other related instruments.
The tree grows up to 20 meters height under favourable circumstances, although such trees are rarely seen nowadays. Since Makassar Ebony has been a woodworkers' favourite for centuries, most of it has been felled and used in high quality furniture. The wood is often defective, showing cracks, and in particular heart shakes and splits. It is not easy to dry and is best given ample time for this. Converting logs into boards as soon as possible is recommended.
As an exceptionally beautiful timber, ebony has been much appreciated by woodworkers all over the world through the past two centuries. It has now become very scarce: only small amounts are available on the market as the region of growth is quite restricted. As a result, Makassar ebony is nowadays among the highest priced timbers in the world.
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