Stratabond / Dymondwood / ColorWood

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Means2nEnd, Sep 10, 2016.

  1. Means2nEnd

    Means2nEnd Supporting Member

    Hello builders I have been trying to find sheets of these materials to make necks. The company Rutland Plywood I think was the manufacturer of these products and suffered a catastrophic fire in 2014 and has maybe since closed for good? I have been trying to find sheets of it mainly for neck construction. Does anyone here know of a similar product? Its multi colored properties are cool but not only is it non void birch plywood it is also stabilized with some sort of resin in all these similar products.
    I was recently geeking out on Mark Vinciguerra’s basses and mainly his bass neck construction. Mark’s mentor and hero was the late great Greg Curbow and actually one of his necks is for sale in the classifieds that is to fit a Zon Sonus bass. You can see Greg used a similar birch laminate product in his neck construction.

    For Sale - ZON Sonus 5 neck custom built by Greg Curbow

    I guess the next best thing would be to just buy the furniture grade non void laminated birch plywood and try to soak in some resin or thinned epoxy not sure but I think without it being stabilized somehow it will be soft on the outer layers. The colored Stratabond just looks amazing and was wondering if anyone knew of an available source or similar product still sold in sheets.

  2. Jonny5bass


    May 3, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    Wish I had answers but I'm sub'd in the hopes that someone has a supplier.
  3. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Why don't you try making your own? Make up a multi-laminate blank from thin strips of wood, dying them different colors. It may take some experimenting to figure out how to get the color all the way through the wood. You'd probably want to use a relatively soft porous wood, something other than maple. Birch, poplar, ash? I've never tried it, but I'm thinking that you'd soak the strips in a bath of alcohol and alcohol-based dye for a few days, then hang them up to dry for a while. Laminate the stack together with a thin marine epoxy. Use a slow curing mix and allow the epoxy to soak into both sides of the strips before stacking and clamping. Something like that.

    Those products may have had the resins forced in deeper by curing the strips in pressure tanks. That's obviously more complicated to rig up in your own shop. But do you really need the wood to be fully saturated with resin? That's just adding extra weight. Any epoxied multi-laminate blank is going to be stronger and much more stable than the same size solid board. No need to turn it into a solid block of plastic.

    And, if you make the lamination yourself, you can make it exactly the way you want it. Whatever you can dream up.

    Go for it!
    Means2nEnd and RBS_Johnson like this.
  4. grisezd


    Oct 14, 2009
    There's a skateboard manufacturer that is or used to be called Schmit Sticks. The owner loves goofy projects and routinely uses void free multi-lam. Look him up.
    Means2nEnd and Macho McHorse like this.
  5. Scoops

    Scoops Why do we use base 10 when we only have 8 fingers Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2013
    Sugar Creek, Wisc
    And then there's a guy that makes guitars out of skateboards

  6. Means2nEnd

    Means2nEnd Supporting Member

    Thanks Bruce, I was hoping you would have some insight. I was thinking of doing that but thought without pressure in the dying process I would wind up with wildly curled and split sheets if only 3 or 4 mm thick. Just may be one of those situations where I have to ask myself "is the juice worth the squeeze" The skateboard builder is using the exact product I am looking for and the guitar guy is using the reclaimed planks of the skateboards for his tops.

    I have seen bow and arrow manufacturers use it, duck calls, knife handles all sorts of products for it's resistance to moisture and it's strength and memory. If anything is still being made with it then it's from leftover stock. It's a real shame there was so many uses for it.

    I agree about the weight and it would be too heavy if completely stabilized. I think I'm going to buy the regular stuff and dye the outside a sold color and soak in the epoxy or resin for a little. I'll get some and post progress when I get into it.

    I did find these guys and the length is max 31.5" which is shorter than I would like to even do a 24 fret neck. Would have a shorter boxy headstock I guess. They seem to be the best match up to what i am looking for..

    WebbWood™ Laminated Wood
    rojo412 likes this.
  7. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    A few years ago Jens Ritter made a few basses from yellow/blue alternating ply. Maybe you can ask him if he has a source other than Rutland for it.

    Also there is is definitely product available somewhere, because it gets used for gun grips. I've seen stuff that looks reasonably like cocobolo, once it's contoured and checkered.
    Maple likes this.
  8. Jonny5bass


    May 3, 2011
    Seattle, WA
  9. Will_White


    Jul 1, 2011
    Salem, OR
    Maybe try these guys (I haven't used them they came up in a Google search for laminated rifle stock blanks) they have at least 7 x 2.5 x34 slabs.
    Laminated Blanks
    Jonny5bass likes this.
  10. pilotjones


    Nov 8, 2001
    Yeah I had forgotten that stocks are made with the same material, too. You should be able to get larger sizes from these guys if you talk to them too, since they make a diagonal cut to make two stock blanks from one wider rectangle.

    It is very heavy material, though.
  11. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Could you get an additional length and then graft on a scarf type arrangement?
    Webbwood was also all that I could find, aside from the odd sole proprietor claiming to have limited private stash of NOS product...

    edit: I just noticed this

    WebbWood™ Sizes
    The widths and lengths shown below are "Usable Material" sizes - the product supplied may be slightly larger than quoted.

    Maybe they can run a 34" + block for you
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2016
    Means2nEnd likes this.