So having invested heavily in a new parcel of Ebony the big question is, what type of Ebony is it? Well we believe it to be what is commonly termed Amara Ebony, as opposed to being what some call ‘true’ Macassar Ebony. True Macassar is becoming very difficult to source and the overall quality and width of logs is simply not good enough to be used in the applications that can afford to spend the sort of money these logs now demand. Amara Ebony on the other hand offers the flitch width as well as the clarity and straightness of stripe that Macassar was so sought after for. However the name ‘Macassar’ is slightly confusing and is often used to describe both Macassar and the very similar looking Amara Ebony. So do we have Amara, Macassar or Macassar Amara Ebony in stock?
After consulting the font of all knowledge… Google, I’m still not entirely convinced I have an answer I’m entirely happy with. According to Wikipedia (a source I’m not completely convinced about given it had me hilariously profiled as a former pro-cricketer that was thrown out of the game due to a betting scandal – thanks guys) true Macassar Ebony is so named as its endemic to the island of Sulawesi and ‘Makassar’ is the main sea-port through which the logs have to pass. As Indonesia is made up of over 12,000 inhabited islands (and lot more that aren’t) and Ebony trees are widespread throughout the whole archipelago, these island contain ‘similar’ species, many of which are almost indistinguishable from Macassar. So Q.E.D. Amara Ebony comes from a different island or islands and is a different specie?
Well no. Yes it’s true that Amara Ebony is very similar in structure and appearance to Macassar, but differs in that it has a slightly more orange or pink stripe to it – thus it fits that it’s a similar, yet a different specie. Ah, and here lies the problem, according to more than one website, Amara is basically a made-up name to describe a different type of Macassar Ebony and as it is actually categorised as the same specie, developing the different colour due to environmental and soil conditions.
So we have answer. Well not according to the other font of all knowledge… my dad. According to him the only way to tell if it is true Macassar Ebony is to see if it sinks in water.
The piece at the bottom of the glass is from an older stock of ‘true’ Macassar. Same species, but different density due to ‘environmental and soil conditions’… I don’t think so!
Fascinating stuff hey?… Welcome to my world. Anyway regardless of what it should be called it looks great and on the upside if you did want to build a boat out of it at least it would float.
I used some of the last lot we had in to make doors for the downstairs of my house, which look amazing and can be used as rafts if we ever flood. I will post some pictures. In the meantime here’s a couple of pictures of some of our current stock.