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Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by tjclem, Mar 3, 2006.
Has anybody noticed or heard about prices going up lately more than other woods in general?
No, didn't really pay attention to it. Ebony, however, is getting exorbitant price tags...
I'm not at all surpised. It has gone up probably 50-100% since I started building basses. Others, like purpleheart and padauk have gone up very little. Honduras mahogany is one of those woods that people can't live without.
Use african instead.
I just bought a board of 6/4 13"+ wide and 8' long so I am ok for a few basses. Isn't African generaly heavier?
Yep, African is heavier. Around my neck of the woods, African is going for $7/bf rough and Honduran is at $8/bf rough (4/4). 8/4 stock is about 50% more.
Ebony is at $60/bf (yikes!) and my guy hasn't gotten anything straight enough for anything but fingerboards in the last couple of months.
Well I don't feel to bad the piece I bought was $120 and it just needs a little thickness sanding. It is pretty smooth.......t
I should probably stockpile now before it gets too high. I've got enough walnut for 2 bodies (at least 4 or 5 if I use it for wings). How is ebony priced? I ask because I'd like to get some neck stringers cut for me, but the last time I got a quote for (2) they were $75/pair -- 36" x 3/16" x 3/4".
I just bought some mac ebony this morning. $58/bf. Probably a little high, maybe a lot high, but this place is always on the high side. They've got the goods though.
I like Walnut but I am having problems with my supplier on that wood. I have never used Ebony for stringers I like Wenge and Bubinga for that.....t
Most of my sources have black ebony at around $60/bf now and macassar at $40-60. I get african here for more like $6 and Honduras is generally no lower than $8. Densities on these woods vary a little but on average khaya ivorensis is actually a little lighter. There are other species of african mahogany that may average higher density and entandophragma (sapele and utile) will generally be heavier.
Ebony neck stringers are not recommended for college students. I went through flurry of customers who wanted ebony neck stringers after seeing them on Alembics. Most of my customers change their mind after seeing the cost. You will burn through a board foot of ebony making stringers if you get lucky and find a 4'x3"x4/4 piece. Otherwise you are going to cut up a larger and more useful piece and run up over a bf. If you are on any kind of budget you probably don't want to go down this road.
I read that ebony in the neck made for great sustain. Actually, it's about the color, really. The jet black color (a la gaboon ebony) is what I'm going for.
Woodcraft had african mahogany at a decent price ($6) -- almost picked up a 12" x 24" piece they had. What is it about honduran mahog. that makes it more desirable in instrument building?
You can use katalox for your stringers and save a ton of $. It's just like ebony, but browner than black. You could dye it though if you wanted the jet black look. I bought a big katalox board off of ebay for under $40, and I couldn't believe how dense and heavy it was. Awesome wood!
Or, you could buy some gabon ebony and live on ramen noodles for a couple months.
Katalox, eh? I'll look into that. I may just go back to wenge, though.
Katalox is quite dark and is very hard. I've seen a few fingerboards made of katalox (IIRC, Jean Baudin had a many-stringed Ken Lawrence Chamberbrase made with fanned frets and a katalox board.)
I made the fretboard on my 10 string bass with katalox. Originally I was thinking ebony, but if I decided to buy a piece that big, I'm pretty sure my wife would notice that we had no money for groceries, and some of her jewelry was missing.
I opted for katalox.
What's the grain like with katalox? Is it fairly open, or really tight like ebony?
I've made 5 neck-thru necks with ebony (48" long!), including my current personal 5-string, and I must say the difference in punch & sustain was pretty obvious. But I've never tried katalox.
wow... must be expensive _and_ heavy as hell wit lotsa neckdive
I don't build, but have been tempted. I have a friend who has a ridiculous amount of 50-70 year old true Cuban mahogany. Most of the boards are about 12"-14" wide, nearly 2" thick and 16' (feet, not inches) long. He probably has 40 of these boards or more. It is beautiful stuff. I have seen a couple of pieces of furniture he has made from it, and it is stunning. I'm not sure what that stuff would cost if you could find it. He doesn't use it very often. He has more people request cherry furniture and cabinets, and he doesn't really build that often any more. I should probably get some from him in case I ever decide to build.
katalox is very fine and tight grained. very similar to black ebony
and katalox is 1/5 the cost!
figured at 1/4 cost! you dont get the black color but that why they make analine dye!
You could go for holly and ebonize it or analine black.
nobody would ever be able to tell it was dyed holly- half of the pianos out today are holly and ebonized holly (black and white) the other are coated maple, etc.
I would also put a nay in for the ebony stringers.
Neck dive?...no sir...ebony & bocote in the body balance it out nicely with the upper horn at the 14th fret even. Heavy?...well, if you want a light instrument, switch to something with wimpy strings, like a guitar.
Expensive?...yes, and worth every penny. All you need is a pair of lams about 0.2" wide running the length of the instrument...lovely.