View Full Version : Engraving Black Ebony

Scott Shepherd
01-21-2008, 11:00 AM
I have an inlay job right now that requires black ebony. It's the first time I've cut that. WOW is that stuff hard! 100% power 50% speed made it a whopping .006" deep. It's a pretty large inlay as far as inlays I have done, so it's taking forever.

Not to mention the point that it's very brittle. After 1 hours work on a small part of it, I lifted it off the table and found myself holding only half of it. DOHHHH!

Any tips or tricks I should know about, or do you just have to baby it when handling and cook it with a lot of power when rastering?

And for darn sure, don't look at it when it's cutting. WOW, it's like staring into the sun. I think this is the devil's wood.

Mitchell Andrus
01-21-2008, 11:07 AM
Do you really NEED ebony? I use a lot of it for dimensional trim, but when I need black in an inlay design, black dyed veneer works swell and matches the characteristics of the surrounding wood so uneven swelling/shrinkage is avoided. If you're setting into a table top or similar and are worried about hardness, run some CA on the strip before finishing.

I do cut ebony on the laser, 1/16" at best and yes, it's hard.

Joe Pelonio
01-21-2008, 11:11 AM
There are other veneers that brake easily too, transfer tape on it will help and also minimize charring. I leave it on until after it's glued and that also keeps glue off the face and reduces the sanding.

Scott Shepherd
01-21-2008, 11:14 AM
Yes, it has to be ebony. The customer supplied it and they specifically said that the end customer demanded it be ebony. He said he tried to tell him that it would eventually split, and they guy said he didn't care, he wanted black ebony.

George M. Perzel
01-21-2008, 12:32 PM
Hi Scott;
Very tough wood to cut or engrave-as you obviously know by now. Be very careful cutting at slow speed as the stuff catches fire easily (don't ask me how I know). I found it easier to cut or engrave doing multiple runs at higher speeds. I was cutting 1/16" stuff for clock hands and was able to get a reasonable result with two passes at 3% speed/100% power with a 60 watt laser.
Good luck
Best regards;

Scott Shepherd
01-22-2008, 11:02 AM
Here's a couple of shots of it being rastered. Crazy bright light. Sorry for the poor photos, it was shot through the lid, which had a slight glare on it.

Click to enlarge