Substitutes for rosewoods

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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Trevor Gore
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Re: Substitutes for rosewoods

Post by Trevor Gore » Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:10 am

Ramon Amira wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:57 am
Maybe I missed it, but it seems that nobody mentioned Cocobolo, which an incredibly beautiful rosewood. Francisco Navarro has used it. Take a look on his website - under "Grand Concert Classical" - there is a photo of a guitar with a stunning Cocobolo back. I don't know if Cocobolo is on CITES or not, but to me it looks even better than Brazilian rosewood.

Cocobolo is indeed a rosewood, i.e. Dalbergia sp., so hardly a rosewood substitute. ALL Dalbergias are CITES listed; Bazilian in Appendix I, the rest in Appendix II. That's why this discussion is focused on substitutes and alternatives.

The OP...
zavaletas wrote:While Brazilian has been listed on Appendix I since 1992, as of January 2nd 2017 all dalbergia species of rosewood are now listed in Appendix II, and require CITES permits to import or export. Wanting to avoid all the hassles of CITES importing and exporting permits-- or the problems traveling abroad with such instruments, many people are interested in guitars made with alternative woods...

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Re: Substitutes for rosewoods

Post by adamjohnson » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:00 am

Paul Micheletti wrote:
Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:30 am
I've had a couple of sticks of Ipe, and it was all the green stuff. It has all the working properties of a concrete block. It will instantly dull even the hardest japanese blades. I sure would never want to plane a fingerboard from that stuff. I didn't know there were other types of Ipe.
The red ipe is the least common in the lumber yard, the green and the brownish/greyish stuff is what you generally find. What is sold as ipe is about a dozen or so related species, occasionally you see some green heart mixed in with ipe as well. Almost all, if not all, ipe is sold green and undried, once it has dried out it becomes considerably easier to work, abit like osage orange with some quirks.

Western saws work better, do not dull as fast either, I suspect something around 9 TPI with little set and every third tooth a raker would be ideal for resawing fingerbaord sized stock. Crosscutting is not bad at all, just use a finer tooth then you would normaly use for the job, western worked better then eastern here as well. I did resaw my ipe finger board with my rip kataba though, I have since switched to western all around for ipe. Planes need to be high angle, a toothing plane and scraper plane really make life easier. It will scrape to a very fine finish. I suspect a 60 degree plane would be ideal, my highest is 50 and does allright, considerably better then my 45s, lower then 45 tends to dig in no matter which way you push it.

Ipe is rather enjoyable to turn on the lathe, made some chisel handles out of it.

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