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Fingerboard material


PhilipKT
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So, idly wandering around Ebay, found an ad for a Rosewood cello fingerboard, and another for a maple cello fingerboard, and one for “Indonesia Ebony” fingerboard.

Rosewood?Maple? Do they work? And what’s the difference between “Indonesia” ebony, and regular ebony?

Just wondering.

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The nubmers in the chart above don't look correct to me, quite a few of them appear too high to me. The mahoganies, spruces and several other species. Also Ebony is not always denser than water....

And anyone heard of European Redwood?

Indonesian is more often called Macassar Ebony, nice wood but often stripey. Some guitar makers love it for back and sides. If you stain it black it looks just like the african (common) ebony

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2 hours ago, HoGo said:

The nubmers in the chart above don't look correct to me, quite a few of them appear too high to me. The mahoganies, spruces and several other species. Also Ebony is not always denser than water....

And anyone heard of European Redwood?

Indonesian is more often called Macassar Ebony, nice wood but often stripey. Some guitar makers love it for back and sides. If you stain it black it looks just like the african (common) ebony

Well I know of a redwood tree in Cornwall UK, so I guess it is possible......................

Apparently it comes from private forrests in Scandanavia or Russia. https://www.timbercladdingsolutions.co.uk/european-redwood-timber-cladding-the-ultimate-guide-to-european-redwood-timber-cladding/#:~:text=European Redwood%2C also known as,Certification in Scandinavia and Russia.

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dwight asked about maple some five years ago - i guess now is as good as any to reply about that.  

using maple for a violin fingerboard just doesn't cut it.  it allows or hinders an unwanted/unneeded tone.  i'll just guess that maple is around 60% to 70% at best of what an ebony or a good rosewood blank could offer for tone enhancement.

sure, i could play day in and day out using a fiddle with a maple fingerboard but also in the mean time i'd also be thinking i'm really missing something too - like how good this could be with ebony.

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3 hours ago, Shelbow said:

Well I know of a redwood tree in Cornwall UK, so I guess it is possible......................

Apparently it comes from private forrests in Scandanavia or Russia. https://www.timbercladdingsolutions.co.uk/european-redwood-timber-cladding-the-ultimate-guide-to-european-redwood-timber-cladding/#:~:text=European Redwood%2C also known as,Certification in Scandinavia and Russia.

There are redwood trees planted in parks here too but not for commercial purposes.

This link is again interesting, they call the siding redwood which is according to them scots pine but the actual product I see IS spruce. SUre sounds more exotic. This is marketed around here also as "baltic" or "nordic" spruce siding. Pine has distinctive reddish heartwood while they offer pale colored siding.... The northern spruce trees grow smaller and knotty which gives it the appearance.

 

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No I’m not needing a new fingerboard, I don’t think I’ll need a new fingerboard in my lifetime even as much as I play, I just was thinking how attractive Rosewood might be on a dark red or dark brown cello in contrast to Ebony but I’ve never seen a rosewood Fingerboard so I can’t imagine it being very successful or it would be in wider use. About a year ago I asked about whether Bodark would work, or Osage Orange some call it, And the response was that the feel is too slippery and the wood is extremely hard to work

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3 hours ago, Shelbow said:

@PhilipKT get yourself a Lignum Vitae fingerboard :lol:

I played some lovely bows made by Samuel Kolstein with frogs made of Lignumvitae, the frogs are beautiful and the bows played great. I should have bought one. Very hard wood, Which may explain why Ins never used, because I don’t know of any problem with it

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1 minute ago, PhilipKT said:

I played some lovely bows made by Samuel Kolstein with frogs made of Lignumvitae, the frogs are beautiful and the bows played great. I should have bought one. Very hard wood, Which may explain why Ins never used, because I don’t know of any problem with it

They use it for making the soles of some wood planes as it is so hard.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Emmerich-No-741-P-Primus-English-Pattern/dp/B00IJN4KS8

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Rosewood can be stripey or quite blunt dark brown...

Here is Catnips bench with violin with Rosewod board: (scroll down)

My friend has bass that after planing showed fresh striping of Macassar ebony. We thought it was ebony before planing. Old rosewood darkens and stain and sweat can cover the color completely over time. We left it natural but it eventually darkened again after few years of use.

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Maple has the longest history of any fingerboard material. It works just fine but will not hold up to as much abuse as harder woods and so I can't recommend it for use with modern string materials. Rosewood (dalbergia spp.) Fingerboards have been around for a very long time, and depending on the species or sample could be as good as much of the ebony that circulates these days. Would look very sharp on an instrument with all rosewood fittings. 

At this stage I prefer densified walnut for all applications where ebony might be used. It is available from Sonowood in Switzerland. I have tried a lot of ebony alternatives seeking a better and more responsible material and haven't found it til now. It is damned expensive, however. Its my hope someone else will figure out what they are doing and give them some competition.

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3 hours ago, JacksonMaberry said:

Maple has the longest history of any fingerboard material. It works just fine but will not hold up to as much abuse as harder woods and so I can't recommend it for use with modern string materials. Rosewood (dalbergia spp.) Fingerboards have been around for a very long time, and depending on the species or sample could be as good as much of the ebony that circulates these days. Would look very sharp on an instrument with all rosewood fittings. 

At this stage I prefer densified walnut for all applications where ebony might be used. It is available from Sonowood in Switzerland. I have tried a lot of ebony alternatives seeking a better and more responsible material and haven't found it til now. It is damned expensive, however. Its my hope someone else will figure out what they are doing and give them some competition.

 That’s very interesting. I wonder how soon people are going to start buying derelict old instruments just to recycle the fingerboard and pegs.

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14 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

 That’s very interesting. I wonder how soon people are going to start buying derelict old instruments just to recycle the fingerboard and pegs.

I had a schuster & co violin fixed up for my son the fingerboard ebony was jet black, even the luthier that worked on it commented on it.

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14 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

 That’s very interesting. I wonder how soon people are going to start buying derelict old instruments just to recycle the fingerboard and pegs.

That is interesting. I have a whole bag of old pegs that I'll sell you for $1 each plus shipping. I will warn you that I can pretty much guarantee that none would be usable.

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