Buck Partners with Taylor Guitars for Ebony Wood Models

Thanks to an unusual new partnership, Buck is reimplementing ebony wood on six of its core models. The difficult-to-source material returns after more than 25 years of absence in Buck’s lineup. The comes about from a new collaborative effort between Buck Knives and Taylor Guitars.

When the 110 Folding Hunter debuted in the sixties, its handle covers were originally made from ebony wood. “Ebony” is the name we use for wood in the genus diospyros, hardwoods that are distinguished by their toughness, density (dense enough to sink in water), and resistance to warping. For knife makers, this makes it a great choice for anybody who wants the unmistakable look of wood but also added stability and usability. It may not be quite as impervious to wear and time as a material like G-10, but it’s far from fragile and exhibits a more distinct character.

Luthiers prize ebony in particular for fretboards, and Taylor Guitars began the Ebony Project in 2011 to establish a sustainable source of a material that had, by then, become increasingly difficult to procure. Due to the overharvesting of ebony wood in the 70s,80s, and 90s, supplies began to dwindle. As they dwindled, the risk of coming into illegally-procured and -sourced became very real, and in the United States Federal regulations were implemented to prevent manufacturers from overstepping their bounds. The guitar maker Gibson found itself slapped with a lawsuit in 2012 after the illegal acquisition of ebony and rosewood. Taylor runs an ebony sawmill in Cameroon, Africa, and established a replanting regimen for ebony that they claim is scalable over time.

Acknowledging these difficulties, Buck switched away from ebony covers in the 90s, moving to the resin-treated woods we’re used to on modern versions of the 110 and its kin. But by partnering with Taylor, Buck can bring this classic material back into their lineup. You can now find the 110 and 112, in automatic, finger grooved, or standard configurations, available in ebony again. The relatively new 101, fixed blade version of the famous 110, is also benefiting from the partnership and can be had with ebony as well. It appears that the ebony scales are a total replacement, with the Dymondwood models no longer showing up on Buck’s website at this time.

Knife in Featured image: Buck 110 Folding Hunter