Rocklite Ebano Physical Properties

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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Phuong Hong
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Rocklite Ebano Physical Properties

Post by Phuong Hong » Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:35 pm

Hello all,

I am currently having classical guitar built on commission from a respected luthier on this forum, and was wondering about having an alternative fingerboard wood to ebony, which can be a bit sensitive to humidity. I have contacted Steve Keys at Rocklite for information on the physical properties of the Ebano, but he stated that they are still working on finalizing the data to be released later this year or next year on their website. For those who has worked with Rocklite Ebano, what has your experiences been with it as a fingerboard wood in terms of wear resistance, playability, stability, etc.? How does it hold up after months or years of rigorous playing? Has anyone gathered scientific data on it including Janka hardness, density, and accelerated wear tests? Thank you in advance.

Regards,
Phuong Hong

amezcua
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Re: Rocklite Ebano Physical Properties

Post by amezcua » Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:50 am

I thought Rocklite were the only people making Ebano . Unless there are others making it there will not be any long term results. I used some Ebano for bindings because the natural ebony decided it wanted to twist as well as bend. It can be very stubborn wood if the grain gets awkward. I did little tests on some Ebano like snapping in two to see how it broke. It did not burn in a different way . When heated it behaved perfectly for bindings. So if Rocklite make it into fretboards it should be very good. Hardness seemed the same as natural ebony . Does rigorous playing become a danger to ebony ? What are you doing to your poor guitars ?

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Phuong Hong
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Re: Rocklite Ebano Physical Properties

Post by Phuong Hong » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:25 pm

amezcua wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:50 am
I thought Rocklite were the only people making Ebano . Unless there are others making it there will not be any long term results. I used some Ebano for bindings because the natural ebony decided it wanted to twist as well as bend. It can be very stubborn wood if the grain gets awkward. I did little tests on some Ebano like snapping in two to see how it broke. It did not burn in a different way . When heated it behaved perfectly for bindings. So if Rocklite make it into fretboards it should be very good. Hardness seemed the same as natural ebony . Does rigorous playing become a danger to ebony ? What are you doing to your poor guitars ?
Thank you for your response, Amezcua.

I understand that Ebano has not been out for a long time. Short of having concrete data, I was hoping to hear the experience of builders or players of guitars with Ebano fingerboards after a few months or a year of playing and how they would compare to guitars with ebony fingerboards during similar time spans (perhaps an informal A-B comparison). I am looking for alternative choices to fingerboards partly because of the reasons you described: in addition to being non-sustainable, ebony is also finicky to work with and maintain. Rocklite seemed to put out the most attractive product at the moment since their boards actually look like wood compared to other manufacturers.

amezcua
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Re: Rocklite Ebano Physical Properties

Post by amezcua » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:21 pm

It`s sad that much of the brown and stripey ebony wood is wasted. As wood it is just as good as black and on this planet it will not grow forever. Be gentle with your guitar(s) .

Martin Woodhouse
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Re: Rocklite Ebano Physical Properties

Post by Martin Woodhouse » Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:05 pm

I've made a few Rocklite fingerboards, but haven't done any scientific testing other than measuring the density. The piece I measured was 0.96 grams per cubic centimetre, which is quite ebony-ish. Other than that, I've noticed that it seems to be a bit less stiff than ebony (though I haven't actually measured it), so it might be worth adding some extra stiffness to the neck to compensate. Hardness seems about the same as ebony.

Keith
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Re: Rocklite Ebano Physical Properties

Post by Keith » Sat Dec 02, 2017 9:48 pm

below is a thread about richlite which seems to be the older American version of rocklte. LMI sells it.


viewtopic.php?t=76130
be true to the one you love but have many flings with different guitars

guitarras en la espiritu de la:
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Martin Woodhouse
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Re: Rocklite Ebano Physical Properties

Post by Martin Woodhouse » Sat Dec 02, 2017 9:55 pm

richlite and rocklite are unrelated, despite the similar names. rocklite seems to be made from laminated black-dyed wood veneers, whereas richlite is apparently (never tried it) a paper-based material.

Keith
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Re: Rocklite Ebano Physical Properties

Post by Keith » Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:08 am

The O.P. stated he was looking for an alternative to ebony and richlite is one alternative which has a background that appears to be favorable.
be true to the one you love but have many flings with different guitars

guitarras en la espiritu de la:
Marcelo Barbero
Jose Ramirez III

Martin Woodhouse
Luthier
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:05 pm
Location: Cambridge, UK

Re: Rocklite Ebano Physical Properties

Post by Martin Woodhouse » Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:04 pm

The O.P. was also specifically asking for information about Rocklite, so confusing it with Richlite isn't very helpful, as they are quite different materials. Black Richlite is another possible ebony alternative though - I'm not trying to argue with you. Another option would be Blackwood Tek: I've tried that a couple of times, but found it to be quite brittle and not as hard or heavy as ebony.

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Phuong Hong
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Re: Rocklite Ebano Physical Properties

Post by Phuong Hong » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:14 am

Thanks to everyone for your responses. In the end, we decided to stay with premium ebony as it was the more familiar material with a known track record. As long as I pay attention to the temperature and humidity, everything will be fine. However, I will keep these materials in mind for possible future guitars when there are more data and reviews on alternative fingerboards after long periods of use.

Martin,

Based on your experiences with these materials, do you still prefer good old ebony for fingerboards?

Martin Woodhouse
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Re: Rocklite Ebano Physical Properties

Post by Martin Woodhouse » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:04 am

I decided to stop using ebony about a year ago, because most of the ebony species which are usually used for guitars are endangered to some extent, and I didn't feel that it's really sensible to keep using them: that's why I've been testing out these alternatives. At the moment I'm using FSC certified katalox or Rocklite for fingerboards, and I think that they're both better fingerboard materials than ebony: both are as hard or harder and both are more stable than ebony. If you want something that looks like ebony, but with better stability, then Rocklite is a good choice.

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