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is Palisander Coco Bolo wood?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by mahrous, Oct 16, 2005.


  1. mahrous

    mahrous

    Aug 13, 2005
    Egypt
    those Alembics are really beautiful! and Coco Bolo has been tickling my fantasy for a long time.

    i visited the biggest wood dealer here in Egypt and he told me that Palisander (which he has in abundance) is Coco Bolo!

    can anyone confirm this please?

    is it ok to use it for fretboards instead of Ebony and Rosewood (rosewood is not imported here but Ebony is available in limited quantities and sizes)
     
  2. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    Montréal
    I'm pretty sure palisander is from the rosewood family, and I'm also pretty sure it's not cocobolo. It's either indian rosewood or some other type of rosewood. It should be perfectly suitable for use as a fingerboard wood. (Indian rosewood is called Palisandre des Indes in frech)
     
  3. Frank Martin

    Frank Martin Bitten by the luthiery bug...

    Oct 8, 2001
    Budapest, Hungary, EU
    And in German, they simply call Rosewood Palisander.
    It is most probably not cocobolo.
    Especially if he has a large quantity of it. Cocobolo is rare and expensive.
     
  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Yup, Palisander is rosewood, also sometimes miscalled Rosenholz in German.
     
  5. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Rosewood refers to a genus, dalbergia. Cocobolo is in that genus, delbergia retusa.

    Palisander seems to be used abroad to refer to the genus much as rosewood is used here in the US. I have heard, here in the US, palisander refer to a particular species, but I don't think there is a generally agreed upon species "palisander" in the US.

    As long as it is a delbergia it will exhibit roughly the same working properties (which can be tough) and the same grain patterns as cocobolo. The major difference among the species in Dalbergia is color. Cocobolo is marked by intense reds and oranges. In the end, if you like the look and it captures what you like about the wood in the Alembics, it doesn't really matter what the actual species is, though, does it?
     
  6. mahrous

    mahrous

    Aug 13, 2005
    Egypt
    the wood that he calls Palisander cant be Rosewood. Rosewood is similar to mahoganny in grain patterns (lines or long fingers).

    this one is actually similar looking to Coco Bolo but without the extreme yellows, reds and oranges. it is also very heavy!

    on top of that, it is the second most expensive wood he has in his stock and when i meant abundance, i meant so compared to Ebony and Rosewood.
     
  7. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Mahogany (swetenia or khaya) and rosewood (dalbergia) are very different genuses. Mahogany is light to medium weight with little or no variegation (grain lines), rosewood is heavy and hard, oily, with very distinct variegation.

    Without the reds it may be a dalbergia but probably not cocobolo. Seeing as how cocobolo comes from nicaragua and honduras, it's not surprising. My guess is that it is probably something a little closer to home. Perhaps it is indian rosewood. This wood is has a brown/puple color where cocobolo has reds. The other alternative is that the cocobolo has darkened. If you can skip plane a piece, it might brighten up.

    It's not uncommon to find two woods called the same thing at two different dealers or one wood called two different things at different dealers.
     
  8. mahrous

    mahrous

    Aug 13, 2005
    Egypt
    i am very well accustomed with mahoganny. i wasnt implying that rosewood is like mahoganny. the grains is similar.

    what i was saying, rosewood's grain (as seen on both of my basses) is similar to a Padauk's and mahoganny's straight lines grains. this Palisander that i have is more wavy. i am gonna sand, polish it and post a pic of it today
     
  9. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    mahrous, what you are telling us is that your basses have cheap rosewood fretboards. Which is highly common with standard market basses, due to the relatively low prices of low figure rosewood.
    High figured rosewood, however, is rather expensive, thus not very popular for mass production.

    Palisander and Jakaranda are two synonymes to rosewood, that are common in Europe. It is seldom used for cocobolo, for the simple reason that cocobolo is a very rare wood.

    Palisander is, IME, most often imported in highly grained qualities, because the main market is exclusive boxes and furniture, which ends up very pricey. Actually, I have never seen any rosewood, with any name, that hasn't been highly figured and higly priced, except on mass produced basses.

    Having said this, my guess is that you have found a nice piece of Dalbergia, though not the orange D.Retusa.
    I may change my guess after seeing a pic ;)
     
  10. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I think we'll tell a lot from the picture.

    The waviness of the grain in rosewood has less to do with the species and more to do with how the tree is grown and cut. Plantation-grown indian rosewood is rarely spectacularly figured. Old-growth can be. Quarter-sawn rosewood is generally straight-grained, flat sawn can vary a great deal.
     
  11. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    Definitely not cocobolo, the figuring and color are wrong for that particular species. Not sure what it is, but you can definitely eliminate cocobolo...

    It looks "rosewood-ish", but nothing that I can put a finger on myself, maybe one of the resident experts will recognize it.
     
  12. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    To be honest it looks like machaerium (pau ferro or morado) to me. This is a south american wood that is used all over guitar and bass building, especially as a rosewood substitute for fingerboards.

    It could also be a rosewood, but I am going with pau ferro. Definately not dalbergia retusa (cocobolo).

    A smell-test would probably be able to verify that it is, but those are hard to do over the internet. ;)

    Whatever it is it looks like it will make an excellent top.
     
  13. mahrous

    mahrous

    Aug 13, 2005
    Egypt
    i can easily calculate its density for you if that could be of any help.

    i have a large amount of knowledge concerning woods and so on, let me know what kinda test your talking about. everybody seems to like that wood so far and it looks like i am gonna be using it!

    also, that thing is like a brick! i couldnt put a hole in it without a hammer!!!!!
     
  14. mahrous

    mahrous

    Aug 13, 2005
    Egypt
    a quick question:

    is 55mm (2.16inches) too thick for a neck-thru 6strings single cut bass body? if so, what is the optimum thickness for a bass body?
     
  15. It depends on what you like. I have a bass that is 75mm thick and one that is 38mm.
     
  16. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Machaerium is in the same vicinity density-wise as several of the rosewoods. If you'd like to estimate and post the density, that would be cool. My guess is that it will wind up in the vicinity of 850kg/m3, but let's see what happens.

    The smell test I referred to just means that having worked a handful of different rosewoods and pau ferro, I can get a good idea of what you have from the smell when you work them. Each has a very distinct odor (especially cocobolo). Doesn't help much over the internet! :O

    Typical solibody thickness is 38mm (1.5") or 42mm (1.625").
     
  17. mahrous

    mahrous

    Aug 13, 2005
    Egypt
    oh well, the odor test wouldnt work then.

    i am using 55mm for the single cut 6stringer. i might be using more for the 7stringer but i am guessing if its a neck-thru, i dont need that much thickness. i will try to go down to 45mm