The Rough Lumber Chronicles- Exotics: An Odyssey of a Village Boy River Walker #1: Solid Ebony Table- For His Majesty The King

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Blog entry by VillageBoy posted 10-11-2011 07:01 AM 8557 reads 0 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of The Rough Lumber Chronicles- Exotics: An Odyssey of a Village Boy River Walker series Part 2: WOOD GLOAT- CREAMY, FIDDLEBACK-CURLY, SWIRLY, MARBLED GABON EBONY GOODNESS.... »

The Rough Exotic Lumber Chronicles: An Odyssey of a Village Boy River Walker

Greetings all,

Thank you for your warm welcome!

I am rookie woodworker w/experience in residential/commercial remodeling. Found a good connection on rough exotic lumber and decided to get my workshop together so I can build furniture with some wicked looking wood.

Got a bunch of wide boards of Gabon Ebony with dimensions: 3-4” x 12-19” x 73”

Boards fairly square but not level because they were milled with chainsaws. I started planing the boards to remove the saw skips and partially level the faces out (creating piles of expensive mulch). It’s incredible seeing the difference a couple passes with the hand plane makes.

I was considering getting a big 5hp planer but now I’m thinking about getting a 19” bandsaw first. My thinking is that with the bandsaw I could re-saw the boards on two sides and take a fairly level board from the center and send it thru the thickness planer, and on to the drum sander.

Could really use some words of wisdom from some more experience woodworkers. Any advice on re-sawing wide plank Gabon Ebony and other exotics on Bandsaw? I’m looking to get something with 5HP….?


PART II- The Saga Continues

Moon Light…... Smells Like Rain.

Long day at the office… Now for a relaxing excursion into shop.

Back to his majesty’s table. At first, I’m thinking, an all black boss pilgrim style tressle base would do it. Simple. But tough & elegant. It was agreed upon and we began the process of picking, matching, etc.

So I’m going through my little pallet of boards and I happen across two strange boards. They were pretty much al whitish crayon peach with some lines here and there… but I couldn’t see much grain pattern through the saw chatter on the boards.

Earlier That Day:

….now earlier my partners concluded that what I thought to be “rainbow ebony” was actually black & white ebony. I did not concur.

LOW AND BEHOLD!!! The kings most dedicated retainer is again validated in his belief in finding things strange & wonderful even in the midst of a pallet of obvious good fortune (luck, chance)!

So I pull the boards out, take rest, drink a quart of water and throw em on two roller tables where they will be gently planed by hand to reveal their true nature and more importantly, their intentions. Considerations must be made when considering a commission by his majesty.

But first, lets see what the miter saw has learned from the end grain.

To be continued…....

22 comments so far

View Ole's profile


67 posts in 3962 days

#1 posted 10-11-2011 04:04 PM

You may want to consider using a router-based jig to level one side of your slabs. They are pretty easy to find on here and there is an article in the current issue of FWW magazine.

I’d imagine it to be very difficult to face one broad side of a wide board on a bandsaw. One limiting factor would be the size of the fence as a reference surface, for instance. You’d pretty much need a fence as tall as your board is wide and pretty long as well. Then you’d also have to be able to rest it against that fence throughout the entire cut to get a some what accurate result.

I have to admit that I have only used a router jig to level endgrain cutting boards, but I’m sure other members will be able to chime in regarding their experiences with workbench tops, or big honkin’ slabs of whatever.

Good luck and please post some pictures!


View ghazard's profile


382 posts in 4395 days

#2 posted 10-11-2011 05:34 PM

Holy Gabon Ebony batman! Don’t think I’ve ever seen Gabon of such big dimensions. You are sitting on a gold mine there, brother! (using your small dimensions, that is 18.25 bdft at my local price for Gabon of $90/bdft = $1642.50 per board!)

I’d love to see some pics of that! Must be awesome just to look at! :)

Take a look at the GaryK method of plaining big boards. This could work.

Have fun with and can’t wait to see pics.


-- "Hey, you dang woodchucks! Quit chuckin' my wood!"

View VillageBoy's profile


64 posts in 3305 days

#3 posted 10-12-2011 09:17 PM

Thanks for the input guys.


I took a look at the “GaryK method” and I am definitely intrigued. Looks like a must build for me. I am going to try it out this weekend before I buy another piece of equipment.

Forgive me, I am definitely a woodworking rookie at best……

That said, how does this thing work?

Is it that the router passes that allow for the jig/sled rails, and the jig/sled rails act as a “prosthetic” that creates one level side of the board, so that when it passes through the planer you get a level cut on the opposite side of the board?

—- VillageBoy

View VillageBoy's profile


64 posts in 3305 days

#4 posted 10-12-2011 09:23 PM


BTW- ebony prices are crazy in my neck of the woods too.Some vendors sell at $109-120/bf and 20-30/lb! Somehow the stars aligned and I crossed paths w/a guy with an unbelievable sourcing connection. He get’s wood from Gabon that I have rarely if ever seen on the open market.

Me and 4 friend pooled our money together and bought pallet of rough lumber in the following species:

Padauk L.R.- L.R. is French abbreviation for: L’aube Rouge- red dawn or Lune Rouge- Red Moon. The wood starts out bright orange and rapidly darkens to a deep red-orange-blood-red.

Black & White Ebony- that looks like a combo between Mexican Ziricote Wood and Black Limba.

Rainbow Ebony- a crazy blend of random marbled patches, figured, or water color patterns alternating w/the black heartwood and yellowish sapwood.

Gabon Ebony- mostly pure black w/sapwood outline, but some boards have brown or gold pin stripes on one section of the board

My first time seeing wood like this in person. I will post some photo’s later today and tomorrow.

—- VillageBoy

View Andy123's profile


226 posts in 3359 days

#5 posted 10-13-2011 06:52 AM

Need Photos…........mmmmmhHHHAaaaaa

-- The mistakes I make in woodworking are not mistakes they just give my projects character- Me

View ghazard's profile


382 posts in 4395 days

#6 posted 10-14-2011 02:43 PM


The whole rig is essentially a way to pass the router over the board in a flat plane. As you say, you can flatten one side and then pass the other side through a planer…or flatten both sides on this rig if the planer is not wide enough. Also, I have seen someone make 2 channels on this type of rig, lengthwise on the board a few inches from both sides. Then make up 2 “runners” out of some other wood to sit in the channels. As long as the 2 runners are true and stick up out of the board to be surfaced, you can use that as the flat reference to surface the other side in a planer, then flip and plane the other side. (I have never done this…just describing a method I’ve seen. so I can’t comment on it from experience.)

I love pauduk….and with the collection of ebony’s you describe you could make some seriously sweet looking projects.

Can’t wait to see what comes of it.


-- "Hey, you dang woodchucks! Quit chuckin' my wood!"

View VillageBoy's profile


64 posts in 3305 days

#7 posted 10-15-2011 04:03 PM

Had some time to prep a few boards with the trusty bosch planer last night. Bout to go to work for a few hours and grab the supplies for the planer sled/bridge using the GaryK Method. Keep you posted as I progress this weekend. I’ll be working with the rainbow and the black and white.



PIcs 1&2- Rainbow Ebony 3.4” x 9.5-11” x 37”

Pics 3&4- Gabon Ebony 3.4” x 9.8” x 71.5” (Brown figuring, slight water color pattern on sapwood sides!)

Pics 5&6- Gabon Ebony 3.7” x 12” x 73” (water color pattern on sapwood side!)

From rough sawn (chain sawn), to rough planed…...

Next stop: Thickness Planer
Next stop: Drum Sander

To be continued…....

—- VillageBoy

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3872 days

#8 posted 10-16-2011 07:44 PM

Looks like you hit the mother-load.
Congrats on the find.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View ghazard's profile


382 posts in 4395 days

#9 posted 10-17-2011 04:26 PM

Beautiful! I love the look of pic 1 & 2….

-- "Hey, you dang woodchucks! Quit chuckin' my wood!"

View VillageBoy's profile


64 posts in 3305 days

#10 posted 10-28-2011 02:29 AM

Word from the Mighty Miter Saw:

Further investigation required.

—- VillageBoy

View VillageBoy's profile


64 posts in 3305 days

#11 posted 10-28-2011 02:52 AM

Jointer Reports:

“Not what I expected… send him to the big guy and see what his faces looks like when he gets back. The boards’ll talk then. Then and only then will we know what were dealing with.”

“Oh, and uh, I don’t know what the meaning of these curls are… They don’t seem to be marks from the planer, sanding sponge took at 220 and premature 320 grit to the sides and nothing seems to be able to get these curls to move. Better call a specialist and get to the bottom of this.”


—- VillageBoy

View VillageBoy's profile


64 posts in 3305 days

#12 posted 10-28-2011 03:06 AM


View Bertha's profile


13588 posts in 3579 days

#13 posted 12-13-2011 05:27 PM

I’ve never seen such an expensive display of wood on this site. Truly incredible.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 3926 days

#14 posted 12-13-2011 07:58 PM

Very Very Nice !!!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View VillageBoy's profile


64 posts in 3305 days

#15 posted 12-22-2011 06:47 AM

Been a while since I checked in…. Thanks for the feedback guys I appreciate it.

Trying to figure out what to do as I am a complete novice (with enough equipment to behave otherwise).

Finally found the center planks for the King’s Table. Keep showing his majesty different options for figured center piece planks and he keeps changing his mind.

I think we got it narrowed down now and we can commence with assembly of the table top. Here is the first option for the figured center piece planks. So far, I plan to put a pure black (Ebony) miter frame around the table top to give t the necessary width and length.

Again, I appreciate the input/feedback. Let me know what you think.

Pic 1- “Cyclone Ebony” Book Match Center Piece Planks for Table (no planing, no sanding, fresh of the bandsaw)

Pic 2- “Cyclone Ebony” (3.5” x 12.75” x 72”) add water.

Thanks Guy’s


showing 1 through 15 of 22 comments

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