Dare I bind in Ebony?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
amezcua
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Re: Dare I bind in Ebony?

Postby amezcua » Thu Apr 06, 2017 11:40 am

I have been working out ways to fit ebony bindings . Using a violin sides bender got near the shape but it tends to dry in a more opened out shape. When I removed the first attempt done with hot hide glue I wanted to clean off excess glue so used the steam from a kettle with the switch held down . The glue cleaned off alright but then I discovered how easy it was to bend the ebony binding with steam alone. Use it on both sides of the ebony and it becomes pliable. Keep it in shape until it cools down . Make a line drawing to use as a shape guide. Just a few inches at a time will get it close to the proper shape .
I have made violins but never a guitar . I tested some Titebond against the dry hide glue and next day it popped apart with hardly any pressure. So don`t mix up your glues if you can avoid it .

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Brian McCombs
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Re: Dare I bind in Ebony?

Postby Brian McCombs » Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:36 pm

You ever have somebody respond to an old topic you created but have no recollection of having written it in the first place? I was thinking as I read it.....I wonder who is thinking of using ebony? Oh, that would be me....I'm thinking of it, again.

I bound in ebony for the first time just recently and found it to be hands down the easiest material I've used. I guess I like to ask questions 4 or 5 years in advance.

Bent like plastic, retained its shape, doesn't bleed, joints blend together nicely, and it makes for a solid uniform color. The sooty sawdust is a downer but it tastes ok...has a vanilla pepper flavor, light on the pallet.
I'll use it again on one of the guitars I hope to build for 2017.

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tom0311
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Re: Dare I bind in Ebony?

Postby tom0311 » Thu Apr 06, 2017 1:10 pm

I bound an EIR guitar in ebony a weeks ago and it was an absolute nightmare. Half the binding strips split under the slightest bit of pressure and they didn't keep their shape well at all. I imagine this is down to the quality of the binding strips I bought, but as I don't make my own binding strips I won't be buying/using it again.
“There are two means of refuge from the misery of life - music and cats.”

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Michael.N.
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Re: Dare I bind in Ebony?

Postby Michael.N. » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:48 pm

It does depend on the runout. Some stuff will bend but with a nasty twist. If it does that then it's unlikely to conform to the rebate very well and there's no 'give' with ebony. You will also find that once it's moisture has been driven out by the intense heat it becomes brittle and it 'locks', the more you try to bend it the more it resists. A trick that I use (just on the waist) is to wrap that area in foil. That helps to retain both heat and moisture. Just don't touch the foil with your hands, it too gets mighty hot. These days I use bog oak bindings, a little easier.
Historicalguitars.

amezcua
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Re: Dare I bind in Ebony?

Postby amezcua » Tue Apr 11, 2017 12:23 am

The Rocklite ebony substitute works like a dream .Looks the same but does just what you want without the hard work and breakages .It stays in shape too .And it won`t develop any nasty twists.

Victor Seal
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Re: Dare I bind in Ebony?

Postby Victor Seal » Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:45 am

I bend ebony bindings on a bending iron. No problem. Just go slow.

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tom0311
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Re: Dare I bind in Ebony?

Postby tom0311 » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:04 pm

Victor Seal wrote:I bend ebony bindings on a bending iron. No problem. Just go slow.


If they're good, well cut bindings, it's fine. If the grain is at a > 45 degree angle to the edges, it's a nightmare. Not had the issue with any other wood, I guess the better quality ebony is used for fingerboards and other stuff.
“There are two means of refuge from the misery of life - music and cats.”

amezcua
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Re: Dare I bind in Ebony?

Postby amezcua » Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:27 pm

I compared the normal ebony strip with Rocklite by clamping a short bit in the vice. Then breaking it as close to the clamp as possible. The ebony breaks in an untidy way . The Rocklite under a magnifier shows a neat break with ebony fibres sticking out in a very even pattern . It`s certainly still ebony .Maybe they slice it all and laminate it again .It will be in the Patent description .
For years only the blackest ebony was used . Any brown stuff was often burned. But that`s how we treat the planet . Sitting on the branch of a tree and sawing through the branch till we fall off it .

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geoff-bristol
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Re: Dare I bind in Ebony?

Postby geoff-bristol » Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:41 pm

One thing I do not like with ebony - is its such a good colour when left natural unpolished. Very black ebony - once polished looks almost like black plastic ! Not really quite right somehow. I like ebony for headstock veneer - but do not polish the face.
That said - most of my ebony is coming from leftovers of very clean Magegascar, cello board offcuts etc - so is mostly 'black'.
Any more bandings I would go with a cheap grade bass fingerboard stock - as stripey as possible.

Never had a problem bending ebony - in fact I would say its one of the easiest woods to bend ! Any wood at 45 deg curl or split will break - figured pear was a nightmare.

Any way - just beacuase a banding breaks is no big deal. Glue it back together and glue on a splint on the outer face. Once glued in place - shave off the split.


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