Timber Harvesting in the Solomon Islands

As a follow-up to the timber-of-the-month featuring Queen Ebony, as sourced from the Brisbane Wood Show, SITCO Australia have sent some photos through to me of the timber being harvested.

Some AMAZING heavy, thick planks of Queen Ebony.  I’m imagining a heavy-topped Queen Ebony workbench – it would look incredible.

2 cutters operating surrounded by S.I Blackwood trees

2 cutters operating surrounded by S.I Blackwood trees

Fresh cut Ebony

Fresh cut Ebony

Queen Ebony Chainsaw cut

Queen Ebony Chainsaw cut

Some amazing planks coming off the chainsaw there.  When we shop for timber around the traps here, we often seem to scavenge for scraps that look good.  It is amazing to see whole trees of quality timber (and remember this is eco-timber – working towards accreditation for best practice, which is an excellent direction for Pacific Island nations to work towards – long-term sustainable businesses.

Free Hand chainsaw

Free Hand chainsaw

Queen Ebony

At the recent Brisbane Wood Show, I picked up some interesting ebony, hand milled in the Solomons, and sold by SITCO Australia. It is also known locally (in the Solomons) as Tubi, and is marketed as a premium hardwood and as part of the Solomon Islands eco-timber products. For those who understand Latin: Xanthostemom melanoxylon- Myrtacea

The timber looks really interesting, and initially starts out a whole range of shades.  It darkens significantly when exposed to air (although I’m not sure as yet over what period).  Some of the carvings that were displayed were as stunning as they were a deep, rich black. Many of the traditional wood-carvings done in the Solomons use this timber.

Solomon Ebony

Solomon Island Queen Ebony

This piece has really picked up with the application of some burnishing oil, revealing some really interesting character.  As is readily apparent, is there is significant checking from all edges.

I have some other pieces that I bought at the show (as mentioned here), so will be really interesting to see how they come up in different applications, such as turned pens.  Ebony is typically a very expensive timber, even in very small quantities, so the size and pricing of this source of a very dark version (once it has sufficiently oxidised) is particularly interesting.  The colouring of the piece above is very light compared to the older samples I saw, so if it doesn’t really look like ebony yet, time will tell!

It is not currently recognised as a true ebony, (as in timbers from the Diospyros spp. family), but when you end up with a timber that becomes a stunning jet-black, close grained, heavy hardwood, what is in a name?

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