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Ebonol softer than wood?

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

  1. 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


    Aug 8, 2013
    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. 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


    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.
  5. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    Sorry but hardness is resistance to abrasion. What you are talking about is compressive strength.
  6. Session1969


    Dec 2, 2010
    Funny, it felt more like plastic to me.
  7. Sorry. You are mistaken. How does a durometer measure hardness? By the depth of an indentation.


    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.


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

    MR PC

    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.
  9. polyrhythmia


    Feb 10, 2010
    Aren't a lot of fretless fingerboards actually polyester rather than ebonol?
  10. My mid 70's Kramer 650B has an ebonol fingerboard and it's held up at least as well as rosewood or ebony
  11. 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
  12. nojj

    nojj Guest

    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.
  13. RSBBass


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


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    That's due to the resin holding it together.
  15. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    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.