Have you ever seen Texas Ebony?

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Project by RichardH posted 05-01-2010 04:48 AM 8026 views 0 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Texas Ebony is probably my favorite wood to turn. It’s pretty hard to come by even here in Texas, but it sure is pretty. Texas Ebony trees are VERY slow growing, kind of messy with droppings, and kind of thorny as well. The only wood I have come by is from way down south texas in the Rio Grande Valley area.

Here are two small boxes I turned out of a nice little piece. You can see some nice spalting in the sapwood. Sometimes the wood is very dark, but others it just has rich chocolate tones.

I rough carved both of these boxes and let them sit for a little over a year to stabilize. Worked well as they have nice and subtle vacuum fits.

I’m curious if other LJs out there have come across or ever used this type of wood before?


-- "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it...It's the hard that makes it great."

22 comments so far

View brian watts's profile

brian watts

53 posts in 4225 days

#1 posted 05-01-2010 04:55 AM

very nice .. really like the color of the wood


View scrappy's profile


3507 posts in 4673 days

#2 posted 05-01-2010 08:41 AM

Nice shapes and designs. Really like the colors in the wood. Great job.

Keep it up.


-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View michelletwo's profile


2795 posts in 4258 days

#3 posted 05-01-2010 01:13 PM

never seen it, but it sure is pretty. Nice little boxes

View Deedee's profile


21 posts in 4425 days

#4 posted 05-10-2010 08:22 AM

I’m from Dallas, but my husband is from McAllen area. Think I can find any down there? Maybe I can get something useful out of my next visit to the in-laws?

View RichardH's profile


295 posts in 4245 days

#5 posted 05-10-2010 05:28 PM

McAllen is a perfect area to look for Texas Ebony. They even have a nature center there where you can see these trees and know what to search for. BTW, another very interesting wood from that area to keep an eye out for is called Huisache. Huisache is typically a short scrubby tree with yellow flowers (also called Sweet Acacia though I’ve never heard anyone in texas call it that :-) Good luck in your search!


-- "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it...It's the hard that makes it great."

View bigike's profile


4058 posts in 4531 days

#6 posted 05-10-2010 05:35 PM

very sexy grain.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View BlueStingrayBoots's profile


866 posts in 5244 days

#7 posted 06-10-2010 08:33 AM

I live in Mission. I have a small mill operation, its more personal but I like meeting new people with wood craft interests and your welcome to stop by.

View a1Jim's profile


118253 posts in 4820 days

#8 posted 06-10-2010 09:52 PM

Great turnings I’ve never seen any in person


View VanLewis's profile


13 posts in 4283 days

#9 posted 07-01-2010 08:25 AM

Texas ebony also grows on both sides of the AZ-Sonora border. The only piece i ever found was from a landscape tree in Tucson. It was not as dense as ironwood, but denser than oak, with grain like ironwood. Related leguminous species. I have found excellent but expensive chunks of ironwood through McBeath. If amyone finds a source for Texas ebony please post! Nice projects and posts!

-- Van

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 4168 days

#10 posted 07-01-2010 08:59 AM

Never heard of it before, but it is beautiful! Great job!

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View RichardH's profile


295 posts in 4245 days

#11 posted 07-01-2010 04:51 PM

Thanks VanLewis, it is definitely hard to come by – I’ve got a couple of small pieces before from friends down in south texas, and have seen a couple of chunks every now and then in Woodworking shops here in Austin.

I believe LJ member BlueStingrayBoots runs a milling operation down in south texas and may have some of this for sale…here is one of his old posts with a picture of just how beautiful the slab lumber is. I definitely have to think up a project for one of these some day:

-- "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it...It's the hard that makes it great."

View mmh's profile


3697 posts in 4965 days

#12 posted 07-01-2010 09:16 PM

I’ve made several cane handles with Texas Ebony and I purchased a few logs from BlueStingRayBoots. You want to specify if you want more solid brown wood or if you like the wide variety of gold/brown colors. I like the veins of gold running through the brown heartwood as it has a lot of character. I’ve just recently finished a cane if you care to take a look at my projects page.

BTW: Nice turnings!

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Leo's profile


7 posts in 5215 days

#13 posted 07-02-2010 07:58 PM

Texas Ebony I Love it. There are two slightly different names for this species: Pithecolobium or Pithecellobium which is Greek for monkey and ear-ring. It is known as Texas Ebony, Mexican Ebony, False Acacia, or Ebony Blackbead. Flowers generally occur at the ends of branches. The leaves are small, dark green.

Height: Up to about 30 feet.
Flowers: Dense, plume-like spikes of very fragrant, light yellow to white blossoms at the ends of branches. Enjoyed by bees.
Blooming Time: June to August.
Stems/Trunks : An attractive gray smooth trunk; the stems have small curved thorns.
Leaves: The leaves are small, dark green, bi-pinnate (compound), arranged on a 1 inch to 2 inch long stems. Leaves fold up at night or in subdued sunlight.
Seed Pod: A dark brown to black, woody seed capsule four to six inches long, maturing in mid to late summer. hanging on till late spring the next year. Seeds are dark red – brown.
Elevation: 0 – 3000 Feet.
Habitat: Low elevation landscaping in Arizona. Native to Texas and Mexico.
I do have some of it in my woodshop. I’ll get it out and see what I can come up with. It is a very very dense wood. Even the sapwood is dense. A Good solid heartwood is considered “prime” wood as the older trees usually have the heart rot from the pith out. However, not on all. One of the rare trees where heartwood sometimes on rare occasions is white inside the outer limits of the dark heartwood. Which makes for interesting turnings. An interesting story, My Grandfather once told me, when he was young, he built fences out of “Ebano Blackbead”, and said he had to “soak the nails in oil the night before” for them to penetrate the wood. One of those stories, that I just nod my head yes, and quietly laugh under my breath. Yes sir , Grandfather…...

-- Exotic Wood Freak!!!

View RichardH's profile


295 posts in 4245 days

#14 posted 07-02-2010 08:37 PM

Leo, Great background and especially the story about your Grandfather. It reminded me of a story an old farmer told me back in the southeast about the bodark (osage orange) fence posts that he had planted…he said “you plant the pole, and put a rock on top, when the rock has worn completely away…it’s time to put in a new post” :-)

I think there are probably lots of interesting domestic wood species that don’t get much woodworking attention…I’ve come across some other surprises such as Texas Persimmon, Madrone, Texas Mountain Laurel, Crepe Myrtle Roots, etc. None of these would work well for large scale projects, but make interesting turnings or smaller boxes, etc.

-- "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it...It's the hard that makes it great."

View Karson's profile


35278 posts in 5643 days

#15 posted 08-27-2010 02:53 AM


BlueStingRayBoots here on Lumberjocks, Usually has some Texas Ebony for sale. I’ve bought some pen blanks from him.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

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