I am quite used to being asked to use difficult timbers and design unusual pieces of furniture but this one took me a bit by surprise. Macassar ebony is quite fashionable now and yes, I have made a few pieces of furniture with this, usually using veneers. But this piece was made from solid ebony. I should have been warned when the first load of timber deconstructed itself in our conditioning kiln. This is a relatively gentle kiln that we routinely use on all timber to just dry it that last bit to be usable indoors. Ok, we start again and take it a bit easier. This lot holds its surprises until we begin laminating up small sections to form larger components. This time it goes bang either side of the glue line, so we change glues and start again. Again it seems to behave then we get tiny little checks and shakes that seem to open and close with the weather. “Its very hygroscopic” says Bob who sold it to me. Sure, tell me about it. Finally we get there, calming its erratic behaviour with several heavy coats of polish. It’s a smashing table but I don’t fancy making another one.