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Very old fingerboard wood

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Mon Rominee, May 6, 2004.

  1. I have a stash of old wood I acquired a few years back from a cutlery factory. It is really nice, straight grained wood, originally intentionned for high end knives. I have @ 50 blanks of Ebony, and @ the same amount of what appears to be rosewood. Do not know the origins of either, but the ebony has coated ends, so no cracks, and the rosewood varies from rich reds to lighter browns dependent on the board...

    The rough dimensions are 18.5" long X 3.25"-ish wide x 5/16" thick.

    I'd be willing to part with some or all...if anyone can find a use for them. PM me, make me an offer.

  2. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    got any pics??
    I'm trying to make basses at the moment....a fun jaunt from guitars. I'm in the market for some fretboards, although I havent ever tried cutting my own fret slots before. Maybe now is the time if the price is right. Are they long enough for a 34+ " scaled length??
    PM me with some pics and prices if possible.
  3. A fender style neck uses a 24"+ (after installation) slab of wood. With these, I think you're limited to guitar length pieces.

    Maybe a real short scale bass? :)
  4. Hambone is right, too short for basses, but I have to ask.. if you butted up two pieces at precisely a fret-install point, and then went ahead with the construction...if glued properly, would you still eventually run into issues at that joint, seeing it's not a consistent, singular piece of wood?

    Just curious, as I've seen many multi-lam fretboards on say Carl Thompson & early "melted" Conklin basses, and always wondered about stability as a result of interrupted grain and that kind of tension...

    Thoughts??? I was thinking, grain looks aside, butting the ends at the 12th fret, and then doing the neck up...do you think it would be stable if glued really well?

  5. I don't think butting would do it well.

    Your pieces are thick enough to do a nice lap joint with about ½" of overlap. Put THAT joint at the 12th fret and you might have something.
  6. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Or to clarify what Ham probably meant, put the lap joint spanning from one fret to another (rather than centered on one fret).
  7. Boy that's pretty presumptious of you...

    And after careful consideration - I agree that's exactly what I meant to say ;)
  8. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Thinking about it more, you'd want the lap joint positioned so that
    - the upper (toward the strings) butt-seam is hidden below a fret
    - the lower (against the neck wood) butt-seam is maybe a quarter inch short of the next fret. This will leave a quarter inch of full-thickness wood between the lower seam coming up from below, and the next fret kerf coming down from above.

    On a 24-fret instrument, the joint could fall near the center of the fingerboard. About the 8th or 9th fret or so, just guessing. The closer it is to the head, the longer the lap you can make, or the bigger the space you can make between lower butt and next fret kerf.
  9. Hmm.... boatbuilding again... when we have two pieces of wood and want to make one long piece of wood, we use a scarf joint rather than a lap joint. Done correctly, with the proper glue, it is as strong as the original wood--and of all the joint available it affects the bending curve the least (thus I assume the resonance as well).

    8:1 should be fine for your application since it's going to be bottom glued anyway. 10:1 or 12: if you're feeling really picky.
  10. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    I thought of a scarf joint too. But I think the problem with a scarf joint is that after radiusing the fingerboard surface, the joint line would be an arc, instead of a line hidden under a fret.