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How to work my way around a log of Gaboon Ebony

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Forum topic by Karl Joonas posted 04-16-2019 05:04 PM 975 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Karl Joonas

4 posts in 37 days


04-16-2019 05:04 PM

Topic tags/keywords: gaboon ebony ebony african blackwood log milling drying

Hi there,

I just received an offer from a log dealer and ended up having a whole log of gaboon ebony (4m long, 90+ cm diameter) transported to my yard in the next 45 days.

I’m now wondering how to go about milling it. Is it possible to air-dry whole slabs when it comes to gaboon ebony this size? There is very little information on internet which is why I’ve decided to start a topic of its own.

What I have so far found out is that it’s rather hard to find larger boards or pieces of ebony, but the reason behind it still not so very certain.

My normal approach would be: mill it into slabs, seal the ends, sticker and let them air-dry for years before doing anything with them and maybe move them inside after 2 or 3 years. But as the wood is expensive, there really is no room for experimenting.

I am hoping to dry most of them as thin slabs, but I’m also very impatient to start working on some bits sooner.

Any advice on the approach is very much appreciated.

Thanks


17 replies so far

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

6180 posts in 2627 days


#1 posted 04-16-2019 11:30 PM

Karl, if that log becomes to much a problem you can send it to me. I’ll give it a very loving home in my shop!

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

2205 posts in 2160 days


#2 posted 04-17-2019 12:15 AM

I’ve seen some very large slabs of gaboon ebony. Unless your in Africa it should be sealed with wax.
Ebony takes forever to dry.
You should resaw thick and store someplace cool.
Some of the blanks I’ve used in the past were very unruly I hope you have better luck then me.
On another note I thought Gabon ebony was on the endangered list.
I was paying over a hundred dollars a bft when it was available.
Almost jet black some lites.

The reason you don’t see large slabs is the trees take a very long time to grow and they don’t get very big.
Even a blank big enough for a fret board is rather amazing.
There’s a article out somewhere on the harvesting practices of true Gabon for fret boards and it’s very disturbing.:(

-- Aj

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Karl Joonas

4 posts in 37 days


#3 posted 04-17-2019 11:23 AM

If I had that log sent over to you what would you do with it @Burlybob?

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mahdee

4286 posts in 2129 days


#4 posted 04-17-2019 12:36 PM

3’ in diameter…. The only way to manage that is to slab and sticker it. Some folks put heavy items on the top slab (like concrete blocks) to prevent the wood from twisting and warping too much.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View Karl Joonas's profile

Karl Joonas

4 posts in 37 days


#5 posted 04-17-2019 12:39 PM

Thanks for your advice AJ,

So you recommend resawing thick slabs and cover the whole slabs with wax right after?

How thick is thick enough and could they spend a year or two outside? (Scandinavian climate -25..+25)

View MPython's profile

MPython

118 posts in 174 days


#6 posted 04-17-2019 02:20 PM

Aj2 is spot on when he said “Ebony takes forever to dry.” I purchased a piece of 8/4 X 9” X 30” Gabon Ebony from a well known, reputable dealer. The ebony was represented to have been air dried for 15 years. It arrived with 18% moisture content, way wetter than it had to be for saw totes. I rigged up a little finishing kiln and brought it down to 7% to 8% in three months. The kiln is s simple tall box, open at the top and bottom with a single incandescent light bulb at the bottom. It acts as a chimney drawing slightly warmed air up passed the ebony that was susp[ended inside on a wire rack. The very gentle, slightly warmed air flow kept the ebony from warping, but hastened the drying considerably. That was several years ago. I’d probably still be waiting if I had depended on air drying. This is probably an impractical drying solution if you’re dealing with large boards, but it works like a charm for smaller pieces. Here’s a couple of photos of my finishing kiln (sorry they’re sideways):

IMG_0136

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MPython

118 posts in 174 days


#7 posted 04-17-2019 02:26 PM

Aj2 is spot on when he said “Ebony takes forever to dry.” I purchased a piece of 8/4 X 9” X 30” Gabon Ebony from a well known, reputable dealer. The ebony was represented to have been air dried for 15 years. It arrived with 18% moisture content, way wetter than it had to be for saw totes. I rigged up a little finishing kiln and brought it down to 7% to 8% in three months. The kiln is s simple tall box, open at the top and bottom with a single incandescent light bulb at the bottom. It acts as a chimney drawing slightly warmed air up passed the ebony that was susp[ended inside on a wire rack. The very gentle, slightly warmed air flow kept the ebony from warping, but hastened the drying considerably. That was several years ago. I’d probably still be waiting if I had depended on air drying. This is probably an impractical drying solution if you’re dealing with large boards, but it works like a charm for smaller pieces. Here’s a couple of photos of my finishing kiln (sorry they’re sideways):

IMG_0136

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MPython

118 posts in 174 days


#8 posted 04-17-2019 02:29 PM

Aj2 is spot on when he said “Ebony takes forever to dry.” I purchased a piece of 8/4 X 9” X 30” Gabon Ebony from a well known, reputable dealer. The ebony was represented to have been air dried for 15 years. It arrived with 18% moisture content, way wetter than it had to be for saw totes. I rigged up a little finishing kiln and brought it down to 7% to 8% in three months. The kiln is s simple tall box, open at the top and bottom with a single incandescent light bulb at the bottom. It acts as a chimney drawing slightly warmed air up passed the ebony that was susp[ended inside on a wire rack. The very gentle, slightly warmed air flow kept the ebony from warping, but hastened the drying considerably. That was several years ago. I’d probably still be waiting if I had depended on air drying. This is probably an impractical drying solution if you’re dealing with large boards, but it works like a charm for smaller pieces. Here’s a couple of photos of my finishing kiln (sorry they’re sideways):

IMG_0136

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MPython

118 posts in 174 days


#9 posted 04-17-2019 02:36 PM

UGH!!! Sorry for the multiple posts! I was having trouble editing the photos attachment(s) and inadvertently ended up posting the same thing three times. Can’t figure out how to delete two of them. My apologies..

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

2205 posts in 2160 days


#10 posted 04-17-2019 04:22 PM

That’s very cleaver Mr python. My last chunk of Gabon I gave to a friend to display on his desk. It was 3×3 6or7 inches tall. I had it drying for 4 years in my home. I watched it bulge and crack over and over.
So I new resawing would not go well so I polished it to display all the beauty.

Anyways I like your idea .Thanks for sharing

-- Aj

View Carlos510's profile

Carlos510

270 posts in 734 days


#11 posted 04-17-2019 04:40 PM

Thats an excellent set-up for small pieces MPython. I’ll have to remember that one, safe and compact. Lots of similar ideas for welding rod storage but I never associated the idea with wood drying.

-- "If time is money, then I need a loan" , http://www.hobbyworkshopprojects.blogspot.com/

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

8291 posts in 3160 days


#12 posted 04-18-2019 01:19 AM

You are talking about a very precious and endangered piece of wood, not to mention very large. IMHO you should be talking to experts in the industry, not inquiring on a forum. (No disrespect for fellow LJ’s)

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese! http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1208 posts in 857 days


#13 posted 04-18-2019 01:26 AM

Be sure it was harvested legally. Do your due diligence! Google Gibson ebony to see what can happen.

A log that size will likely yield tens of thousands of dollars in lumber. If you are not sure how to properly dry it call Rich Hearne at Hearne Hardwoods.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View Tony_S's profile (online now)

Tony_S

967 posts in 3445 days


#14 posted 04-18-2019 08:54 AM



You are talking about a very precious and endangered piece of wood, not to mention very large. IMHO you should be talking to experts in the industry, not inquiring on a forum. (No disrespect for fellow LJ’s)

- shipwright

Sage advise

-- It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. Aristotle

View Karl Joonas's profile

Karl Joonas

4 posts in 37 days


#15 posted 04-18-2019 10:04 AM

Yeah I’m a aware of the lawsuit Gibson had upon themselves, TungOil, but I know my source and nothing dodgy there.. Thanks for the contact, I’ll be contacting Rick at Hearne Hardwoods. And shipwright you are absolutely right about the fact that I should be talking to experts, but I was hoping the inquiry would lead to one as it turned out did. Thanks everyone

showing 1 through 15 of 17 replies

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