In Shop Blog

We may receive a commission when you use our affiliate links. However, this does not impact our recommendations.

During the Woodworking in
America conference, several readers brought along some boards of nasty
wood for me to try to tame during my lecture on scraper planes. I was
able to plane or scrape all the woods, except for one.

Texas ebony. Also known as the dreaded Ebenopsis ebano. Just seeing that taxonomic nomenclature gives me heebies.

I couldn’t plane the stuff (though planemaker Ron Brese managed it with
one of his supertools). At the end of the conference, the reader who
brought the wood, Steven Schafer, promised to send me a pallet load of
the stuff for me to play with.

I laughed. People promise me lots of stuff. Beer. Their first-borns. Weasel pelts.

But dang if Mr. Schafer didn’t come through. This morning on our loading dock was the pallet he promised with a quick note.

Funny guy, Mr. Schafer.

— Christopher Schwarz

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

Recommended Posts
Showing 8 comments
  • Steve


    The style of pallet used here is a "two-way" pallet (not to be confused with a Cincinnati three-way); a pallet jack can be used on the two ends, but not the sides. Pallets that have notches in the stringers, allowing access with a pallet jack from the sides, are "four-way."

    A forklift, on the other hand, can access either kind of pallet from all four sides, because the forks are thin enough to get under the stringers even without the notches.

  • Jeff Jones

    Don’t pallets always have fork lift slots on the side pieces??

  • Steve

    I was wondering why the strapping seemed a bit looser than when I had packed the pallet, but I see now that the pallet has spontaneously disassembled itself. I guess that’s the last time I’ll try to build a pallet using 23ga headless pins… I wonder if they make ring-shank headless pins? I’ll bet they’d hold better…

    I made the pallet using wood from an actual (full size) pallet, by the way. It looks poplar-ish, but I’m not sure.


  • David at Build A Gazebo Today

    Just stumbled upon this blog… That’s just beautiful ebony!

  • Gary Roberts

    Yeah! Wow! Where did you find a smooth plane that size? Musta been from Texas too. I figure it’s a mutant #4?


  • Bill

    Oh I think I like Mr Schafer. I have one of those pallets on my desk full of scratch paper. Looks like good pen making material!

  • Forget the wood. Tell us more about Paul Bunyan’s smoother!

  • Adrian Baird Ba Than

    Superb jape!
    Not a funny wood,though.No,not funny at all.

Start typing and press Enter to search