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Ebony, Macassar

Commercial names:

Macassar ebony, Indian ebony (UK and USA); coromandel, calamander wood (UK).

Other names:

Tendu, temru, tunki, timbruni (India and Celebes).


The Celebes Islands.

General description:

The heartwood is dark brown to black, streaked throughout with bands of greyish-brown, yellow brown or pale brown. The grain is mostly straight, but may sometimes appear irregular or wavy. The texture is fine and even. The weight is about 1090 kg/m3 (68  1b/ft3) and the specific gravity is 1.09.

Mechanical properties:

This timber is an exceptionally heavy, dense hardwood. The black heart tends to be brittle and this species is used mostly for decorative purposes, where strength properties are of minor importance.


This particular timber is difficult to dry. The trees themselves are usually girdled for two years before felling, then a further six months air drying in plank and stored under cover. It should be protected against drying too quickly to avoid checking and degradation. There is very small movement in service.

Working properties:

This material is hard to work with both hand and machine tools due to the timber being a brittle nature. There is severe blunting of cutting edges. Pre-boring is needed for nailing and it is also difficult to glue. However, this timber takes an excellent finish.


It is liable to attack by forest longhorn beetle and moderately resistant to termites. The timber is very durable and extremely resistant to preservation treatment.


Selected pieces of this timber are used for cabinet work, brush backs, walking sticks and sapwood is used for tool handles, etc. It can also be used for musical instruments, snuff boxes, inlay work, billiard cues and excellent for turnery.