Blackwood vs Ebony Wood Comparison: What’s The Difference?

Blackwood is more rigid, denser, and more stable than Ebony wood, Ebony wood is easier to work with than Blackwood. In appearance, both the woods are very similar to each other.

Blackwood and ebony are considered the most expensive woods in the world because they are not only sustainable but also trees that are already under threat.

What is Blackwood?

Blackwood is an extremely hard and durable hardwood. It is one of the rarest dark and beautiful woods, and it is widely used for knife handles and musical instruments.

African Blackwood is commonly known as Mpingo (Swahili), or grenadilla. It is a hardwood tree that can be found in many different places across the world. It is typically found in Africa, the Caribbean, and Central America.

What is Ebony wood?

Ebony wood is a very dark, strong, and durable wood that comes from the African continent. It is prized for its deep black color and strong grain. Ebony is the blackest wood that is used for making musical instruments, furniture, and carvings.

Ebony is a medium-sized tree of the genus Diospyros (family Ebenaceae), native to southern India and Sri Lanka. There are many species of Ebony such as Gaboon Ebony, Macassar Ebony, Ceylon Ebony, and many more.

Difference between Blackwood and Ebony Wood

Scientific nameMelanoxylonDiospyros ebenum
Tree Height60 -70 feet (19 – 22 meters)59–79 feet (18–24 meters)
Janka Hardness3,670 lbf (16,320 N) (African Blackwood)3,080 lbf (13,700 N) (Gaboon Ebony)
WorkabilityVery difficultDifficult to work
Common usesMusical instruments, tools handles, and curvingMusical instruments and decorative items


Blackwood uses

Blackwood is a great choice for furniture, flooring, carving, veneer, cabinetry, and wooden sculptures or objects. 

There are many different ways to use blackwood. One of the most popular ways of using blackwood is to make musical instruments such as drums, clarinets, oboes, etc because it is strong and it has a nice sound.

Ebony wood uses

Ebony wood is a beautiful, dark wood that is often used in furniture, cabinetwork, piano keys, tool handles, and other items. 

It has a deep, rich color that is often used in woodworking because it looks amazing. Ebony is also a strong and durable wood, Hence it can be used for all applications that require beauty along with durability.

Blackwood vs Ebony: Appearance 

Blackwood comes in many color variants but is usually medium golden or reddish brown and has dark brown wavy stripes. It can also be completely black with a dark brown or purplish hue. Its grains can be straight and interlocked with a uniform texture. 

Ebony wood color ranges from deep black or brown to jet-black, Grayish-brown streaks are also present. Ebony has a straight grain or interlocked grain with a uniform texture. 

Both Blackwood and Ebony wood tends to darken with age like many other hardwoods. Wood changes color when exposed to UV light and oxygen. 

Which wood is easier to work with? Blackwood or Ebony Wood

Both woods are extremely hard and dense. Generally, Blackwood and Ebony wood is not easy to work with, but blackwood is slightly more difficult to work with than ebony wood.

Due to the interlocked and irregular grain pattern of Ebony, it is prone to tear out and Blackwood creates a blunting effect on the cutter. 

So when you are working on the hardwood like blackwood, ebony, snakewood, ironwood, etc, use sharp and fine tools.

Ebony wood has a lot of oil content so it can occasionally cause problems with gluing. Stains, and finishes well.

Blackwood or Ebony Wood: Which wood is easier to care for? 

Both blackwood and ebony are strong and tough woods, which do not damage easily and do not require much care. Since it is an expensive and rare wood, its maintenance is also expensive.

Blackwood and ebony can be cleaned by applying a small amount of lemon oil to a cloth. This is one of the most effective ways. It retains moisture in the wood and will stop it from cracking and splitting.

You should avoid vinegar, ammonia, or other alkaline products for cleaning, as they spoil the color and grain texture of the wood.

Rot Resistance

Blackwood and Ebony are both very good rot-resistant and moisture-resistant hardwoods. Ebony is well resistant to insect attacks while blackwood is moderately resistant.

Ebony wood contains oil (a complex chemical compound) which helps in the prevention of rot, infestation, and overall decay.

Blackwood or Ebony Wood: Which is more expensive?

Blackwood is rarer and more expensive than Ebony wood. African blackwood can cost $100 to $150/sq board foot while ebony costs $90 to $100/sq board foot. 

They are prized for their dark heartwood. The price of wood depends on its quality. The cost of fine wood is always high.

Blackwood vs Ebony Wood: Hardness

Blackwood and Ebony are one of the hardest woods. Therefore, their weight is also very high compared to other hardwoods.

Blackwood Hardness 

Species name Janka Hardness
African Blackwood3,670 lbf (16,320 N)
Burmese Blackwood3,350 lbf (14,900 N)
Malaysian Blackwood3,180 lbf (14,140 N)*
Australian blackwood1,160 lbf (5,180 N)

Ebony wood Hardness

Species name Janka Hardness
Macassar Ebony3,220 lbf (14,140 N)
Gaboon Ebony3,080 lbf (13,700 N)
Ceylon Ebony2,430 lbf (10,790 N)
Mun Ebony3,000 lbf (13,350 N)


Blackwood and Ebony woods both have their own unique qualities that can make a beautiful finished product. 

Blackwood is known for its deep, rich color and its ability to hold a great deal of detail. Ebony, on the other hand, is known for its durability, rot resistance, and ability to stain.