Wood Veneer and the Marvels of Macassar

wood veneer

There are a number of species of ebony, including Ceylon ebony from southern India and Sri Lanka and Gaboon- African (Diospyros crassiflora) ebony, which is native to western Africa. Macassar ebony (Diospyros celebica) is from Indonesia and named for the port city of Makassar. It is especially prized for the beauty of its multi-colored grain, sometimes described as attractively mottled and ornately-streaked Coromandel ebony. Another common name for Macassar ebony is striped ebony.

More about Macassar Ebony Wood

wood veneerEbony veneer is highly decorative and its use has a long history; sawn veneer ebony pieces have even been found in Egyptian tombs. By the end of the 16th century, luxury fine cabinets were created from ebony in Belgium. The density and hardness of the wood worked well for piano and organ keys. Elegant ebony cabinets were soon being made in Paris, as well, by cabinetmakers known as ébénistes,(working with ebony wood).

ebony veneerA Quick Look at the Qualities of Macassar Ebony

  • Color & Appearance – The wood’s color is light to reddish brown, with darker brown or black stripes. The bold, striped look, in fact, is reminiscent of zebrawood (Microberlinia brazzavillensis).
  • Texture & Grain – The pores of the wood are small and the texture very fine and even, with a usually straight grain.
  • ebony wood veneer, Resistance to Rot – The wood is rated as very durable in its resistance to fungi decay and is likely to be hard, heavy, and also very strong.
  • Workability – Because of its high density, ebony wood can be harder to work than other species; its grain can also sometimes be interlocked. It is highly recommended for lathe turnery.

ebony wood veneerEbony trees grow slowly and have a fairly limited natural habitat. This, plus the wood’s overall toughness and esthetic appeal, make it both desirable and, understandably, costly. Ebonies polish to a gorgeous, glass-like finish, and Macassar ebony is no exception.



wood veneersUses for Ebony Wood Veneer

Wood veneer made from ebony is generally used for decorative, high end work. It has an exotic cachet and is coveted for top quality architectural woodworking, cabinetry, the butts of billiard cues, musical instruments—guitars, in particular—and other small or delicate specialty items.

If you have a project in mind that calls for an exquisite looking and hard-wearing veneer product, consult with a trusted wood veneer manufacturer to learn more about their stock of Macassar ebony.


Sabrina Parisette-HerzogSabrina Parisette-Herzog is a 5th generation wood veneer specialist. Owner and President of Herzog Veneers, Inc., and a graduate of Middlebury College in Vermont, she and her husband Sam started the company in High Point, NC in 1982.
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