Ebonol softer than wood?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Temcat, Dec 17, 2013.


  1. Temcat

    Temcat

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    Location:
    Saint Petersburg, Russia
    So I brought my friend's Squier VM modified fretless that needed fretboard repair to my luthier who'd never seen ebonol fretboards before. He carefully applied epoxy at one small damaged spot and sanded it down to see how the material reacts. He then said it all was surely repairable but the material was even softer than wood - he didn't say which wood and I didn't ask, but I suppose he must have included rosewood in what he meant, because otherwise it wouldn't make sense to choose such a generic word.

    What is your experience with ebonol? Did you too find it softer than some or most popular types of wood?
  2. Lownote38

    Lownote38

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2013
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    It's not wood. It's basically compressed cardboard. REALLY compressed cardboard. The spot he repairs will be harder than the rest for sure. Ebonol is definitely not as resistant to damage as rosewood or ebony in my experience.
  3. Major Softie

    Major Softie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2011
    Location:
    South Lake Tahoe, CA
    I believe Ebanol is actually harder than most all woods, but hardness is not the same thing as abrasion resistance. Hardness is it's resistance to being depressed by impact. So, how easy Ebanol is sanded or worn down by strings is not the same thing as its "hardness."
  4. lz4005

    lz4005

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2013
    It's not just paper, there's a phenolic resin involved that is similar to epoxy. The paper and resin combo is cured under heat and pressure to make a hard composite.
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  6. RSBBass

    RSBBass

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    Sorry but hardness is resistance to abrasion. What you are talking about is compressive strength.
  7. Session1969

    Session1969 Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Funny, it felt more like plastic to me.
  8. Major Softie

    Major Softie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2011
    Location:
    South Lake Tahoe, CA
    Sorry. You are mistaken. How does a durometer measure hardness? By the depth of an indentation.

    BUT!!!!!

    After a little research, I see that we are BOTH wrong, as the Mohs scale of hardness measures abrasion resistance, while the Durometer scale of hardness measures indentation. Apparently there is ALSO a third scale as well. Hardness is separated in to the categories of scratch hardness, indentation hardness, and rebound hardness.

    So, we're both wrong.

    BUT!!!!!

    We're both also right. :hyper:
  9. MR PC

    MR PC

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    Interesting information, and nice that it s so easily repaired/dressed. Whatever, it sure works well! These Squire Fretless JAzz Basses are a tremendous value.
  10. polyrhythmia

    polyrhythmia

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Aren't a lot of fretless fingerboards actually polyester rather than ebonol?
  11. KramerDon

    KramerDon

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Location:
    Southwestern Michigan
    My mid 70's Kramer 650B has an ebonol fingerboard and it's held up at least as well as rosewood or ebony
  12. KramerDon

    KramerDon

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Location:
    Southwestern Michigan
    I've seen epoxy coatings over the fingerboard for fretless,seems like a good thing altho I've never had the chance to play one
  13. nojj

    nojj Guest

    Joined:
    May 20, 2013
    My Kramers with Ebonol fretboards show little sign of wear,
    despite decades of use.YMMV

    The problem is there aren't that many luthiers around anymore with 1st hand Ebanol experience.
  14. RSBBass

    RSBBass

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    Cool to know. I am a geologist so I went with the Moh's scale as the basis for my comments.
  15. Lownote38

    Lownote38

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2013
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    That's due to the resin holding it together.
  16. Lownote38

    Lownote38

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2013
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Epoxy is the way to go over any type of finger board material. It changes the tone, feel and everything for the better. If you can go find one to try out, I definitely suggest you give it a go.

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