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Zebrawood Question (Read 2141 times)
Geoff_Smith
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Zebrawood Question
Aug 24th, 2005 at 7:42pm
 
Hey all,
I was wondering if anyone has worked with zebrawood?  I was thinking about using it for the back and sides of a tenor.  What should I use for the top?  Spruce?  Cedar?  Also, how does this wood bend?  Thanks for the help!

Geoff
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rcelley
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Re: Zebrawood Question
Reply #1 - Aug 27th, 2005 at 5:21pm
 
I've not used it for instrument building but have worked with it for small woodworking projects (boxes, scroll saw stuff etc.). It rates out about the same density as rosewood and works about the same I would say. Very attractive striping which will not be enhanced by color stains, definately a clear finish wood in my opinion. I would think it would bend about like Rosewood as well. That's about all I can chip in with.
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Rich Celley
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Re: Zebrawood Question
Reply #2 - Aug 28th, 2005 at 7:00pm
 
Luthier's Mercantile started offering zebrawood a couple years back as an acoustic guitar wood, so I suppose it would work for ukes as well. I would pair it with a spruce top. Looking at the wood, I thought it would make a cool looking soundhole rosette... at least that's why it's in my workshop.
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Geoff Smith
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Re: Zebrawood Question
Reply #3 - Sep 1st, 2005 at 7:42am
 
Thanks for the info.  I will take your advice and pair it with a spruce soundboard.  In terms of bending, the best way to find out is to try it! 

On that topic, will two lightbulbs (around 60 watts) work as well as a heating blanket on the bending jig?  If the results are similar, it might be worth the savings.
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rcelley
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Re: Zebrawood Question
Reply #4 - Sep 1st, 2005 at 1:10pm
 
You might just want to start a new thread on the topic if it hasn't been covered in any depth before. As far as I can tell everyone bends differently. Light bulbs, blankets, blanket on top or bottom, metal sheets to support one side or the other or both, how hot, how hot for how long, pre-heat or start cold and then heat all together, 60 watt, hundred, two hundred, one bulb, two bulbs, measuring the temperature somewhere in the process, or just heating up an aluminum pipe with propane flame, or steel pipe, or ceramic...see what you've started. I use a blanket because I have one. I put a metal support sheet down on the jig and then the blanket and then the wood. I heat the blanket for a minute or two first. Then I spray the piece down with distilled water, put it on and start the bending, spraying with distilled water whenever a part dries out, I never have the blanket on for longer than it takes to steam sprayed water pretty much on contact. I bend as continually as possible without forcing it, turning on the blanket briefly when neccessary to keep things steamy. When I get a piece fully bent into the jig I spray it down well one last time, heat it until it mostly dries the surface and then unplug the blanket and let it all sit there until the next day, at least twelve hours. If the bend isn't enough I put the piece in first and then the blanket on top and heat up the well sprayed wood under the blanket until steaming and then I unplug and let it sit for a few more hours. Works for me, and it took a fair amount of wood to figure it out. Side pieces must be thin enough to bend. Ukeman says .075 and that is I think, a good starting point. Some woods might be better a bit thinner and some okay a bit thicker. If you don't have a good pair of calipers you just have to measure as best you can. If sides tend to break on you and you think everything is as should be it is probably a matter of thinning down the wood more. Block sand with 80, 100, 150 and 220 on both sides to thin relatively quickly and in a controlled way. No matter what else is happening, sometimes you do just have a bad piece of wood. I generally order an extra side set up front, just in case.
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Rich Celley
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Re: Zebrawood Question
Reply #5 - Sep 5th, 2005 at 10:57am
 
I used zebra wood on one of my tenor ukuleles.  It's not as hard as rosewood, bends relatively easy and I would use it again if I had more.  Pictured is the back of the ukulele and, as you can see, there are some pretty tight bends. ...
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