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Question about fretboard species (Read 2471 times)
Bill Errickson
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Question about fretboard species
Feb 2nd, 2006 at 2:03pm
 
Does anyone know if it matters to substitute Bolivian Rosewood for Peruvian? Also would it be possible to use Canary Wood, for a fretboard. It's blonde in color with red, yellow and sometimes purple streaks. It would show wear from oil on your fingers more so than ebony or rosewood, but it's a beautiful material. Old woodworker and musician wanting to start building ukes.  Mahalo.
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zac_in_ak
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Re: Question about fretboard species
Reply #1 - Feb 2nd, 2006 at 4:46pm
 
Well I havnt built my uke yet (got the wood) the way I understand it as long as its dense like ebony or rosewood you should be fine the color may be an issue after some time but you can apply some stain to darken it but still let you see the wood pattern

Just my  $.02 worth
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Bill_Errickson
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Re: Question about fretboard species
Reply #2 - Feb 4th, 2006 at 12:36pm
 
Thanks Zak, I appreciate your comments. Everybody's 2 cents helps make it happen.
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achock
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Re: Question about fretboard species
Reply #3 - Feb 10th, 2006 at 9:22am
 
Hi Bill,
The main thing you're looking for in a fretboard is durability and feel.  Rosewood and Ebony are popular choices because rosewoods are handsome and readily available and Ebony is just so undeniably beautiful.

Stay away from oily woods like Teak, which would make a sticky fretboard.

All fretboards will show wear after time and will need to be re-oiled (fretboard-oil).

The fretboard does not make any notable difference in sound!  (that question comes up a lot)  So feel free to choose based on the criteria of grain density and aesthetics in the order that is most important to you.

Snake wood, Cocobolo, and Rock Maple are nice alternative fretboard materials.  The Bolivian Rosewood or Pau Ferro is getting very popular for fretboards.  I'm not familiar with the Peruvian rosewood....I'd stick with the bolivian....is there a price difference?

The canary wood is a different story....a softer wood from the magnolia tree.  It will work, but isn't the best choice for durability.

-Asa
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Bill Errickson
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Re: Question about fretboard species
Reply #4 - Feb 11th, 2006 at 7:35am
 
Mahalo Asa,  Maybe I'll go with the bolivian rosewood. I have some of that in the shop. The uke is coming along. I'm inlaying the rosette today in pua abalone. Day off from work. Woo Hoo! I know this sounds like a shameless plug but I'm just proud of my son's work. When you have some time, check out his website. www.surfartstudios.com. He's a surf artist working in stained glass murals,tiki carvings with pearl inlays and metal veneers, and paintings. Mostly in Hawaiian style. He just came back from surfing on the North Shore. He's not happy about being back in school though. This is not a marketing thing I just like to share his work with other people who create things of beauty with their own hands.  Best Regards.  Bill
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Ukeman
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Re: Question about fretboard species
Reply #5 - Feb 23rd, 2006 at 1:49pm
 
Aloha Guys:

For those wanting to try different types of hardwoods for fingerboard usage the key words are stability and hardness. The fingerboard gets in a lot of usage and them flying fingers need a hard surface to do their magic without excessive wear.

Being a former General Contractor in my other life here is a tip!

Your local florring supplier has a huge array of hardwood flooring samples of world wide availability. Flooring material has the same needs a fingerboard has..durability without too much undue movement. Not a fun nor cheap thing to remove and replace a buckingling hard wood floor..think wow...daddy just lost thousands!!!!

Ask for a few samples of a product of your choice...look for vertical grain and mill a sample on your bandsaw you should get at least two....  or more fingerboards....with different kinds of hardwood. 
Laters ukeman                                          
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rcelley
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Re: Question about fretboard species
Reply #6 - Feb 23rd, 2006 at 5:23pm
 
Thanks for the nice tip Ukeman. I guess I'd just add that in general one would want a fairly closed grain wood as well. Oak or ash for instance are dense and durable (hence their use as flooring and baseball bats) but their open grain would probably cause them to wear fairly quickly and feel quite rough as fingerboard woods. But It got me thinking why not corian or micarta. both are durable, come in a wide range of interesting colors and can be worked and polished up just like wood. Martin guitars got and gets a lot of moaning from the purists about its micarta fingerboards but they actually do play well in terms of feel and are extremely stable. people bashed them as being "plastic" fingerboards but micarta is thin layers of paper press bonded with resins, and is therefore technically a wood product. I'm not making any claims for these or other non trad products, but thinking outside the trad box might lead to some creative options.
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konacat
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Re: Question about fretboard species
Reply #7 - Feb 23rd, 2006 at 8:52pm
 
What a great idea Ukeman I wouldn’t have thought about flooring. Maybe if you lucky you could find some Ipe. You won’t find wood any harder than that. Hey Ukeman, maybe you could take several colors of wood and laminate the flat sawn into nice looking quarter sawn and make necks?

Philip
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Ukeman
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Re: Question about fretboard species
Reply #8 - Feb 25th, 2006 at 12:40pm
 
Yo Kona Kat....and if'n we be trippin:
Ya can use thin flatsawn stock...stack em vertical and laminate these up to make the multi colored coat of Joseph fingerboard. Actually in my personal neck construction the profile of my neck including headstock and break angle is made into a one piece side veiw template. I trace this template onto a flatsawn spanish cedar board the standard 3/4" thickness....three patterns, bandsawed out and then trimmed on my table router using the template double sticked one at a time taped to the 3 rough neck cutouts and in 5 minutes I have 3 pieces ready to laminate...Got a  laminated neck...super strong...no need to fool with scarf joints or connections for the headstock and angle....very efficient on wood usage..and the neck taper is already done!  Kinda cool...add thin colored veneers using the same template and you can add colored stripes twixt the cedar lamis and get some cool pin striped necks.  Over and out    laters  ukeman
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