PDA

View Full Version : Ebony binding and rosewood fingerboard...



mwaller
08-24-2010, 01:23 PM
Will this combination look silly on a mahogany uke?
I'm going to attempt to bind my StewMac tenor kit uke with ebony, but I'm concerned that it may be an aesthetic disaster, given the rosewood fingerboard and headstock veneer. Any thoughts? Should I just go for it, or...?
Mika

Bradford
08-24-2010, 01:35 PM
As ebony is black, which is a neutral color it would look OK. My thought is however, if you are going to the trouble of binding with wood, why not go with rosewood, which would look better. It is very difficult to tell ebony binding from black plastic or black fiber when finished.

Brad

erich@muttcrew.net
08-25-2010, 12:22 AM
I've spoken to a couple of very experienced luthiers who said they didn't do ebony binding because it didn't bend well and tended to crack so they would typically use a piece of dark rosewood instead. Our cherry/bubinga uke is made like that (ebony fretboard and bridge, dark rosewood binding) and you can hardly tell the difference.

Anyway these guys are pros, not just weekend builders, so I simply put that on our list of guidelines to remember.

Otherwise I would say the comination of rosewood, ebony and mahogany wouldn't really do it for me (as I said, except for a very, very dark rosewood used as an ebony ersatz for the binding). I would just stick with rosewood and mahogany and leave out the ebony - I think that would look "more better". Just my :2cents: ...

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-25-2010, 07:05 AM
I've spoken to a couple of very experienced luthiers who said they didn't do ebony binding because it didn't bend well and tended to crack so they would typically use a piece of dark rosewood instead.

Anyway these guys are pros, not just weekend builders, so I simply put that on our list of guidelines to remember.


If those guys were really pros, they'd be bending ebony. It's really not that hard unless you happen to get a bad board to begin with.

I love to work with ebony. It's classic and very forgiving in the gluing. To my eye, it is seldom that ebony can not be used with any combination of woods. However, I often find it necessary to use contrasting purfling strips to make it all "fit" together.

ksquine
08-25-2010, 07:44 AM
I've never seen a fingerboard where the binding was darker.....but black goes with anything so go for it. Are you binding the body in ebony too?

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-25-2010, 07:56 AM
I do it all the time. I think binding throughout the instrument should be consistent. It's the thread that ties everything together. So if I'm binding the body with ebony, which I commonly do, the fret board and head stock will also be bound with ebony.
In your case Mika, I would agree with Brad and bind the body in rosewood. It bends very easily, especially for a first attempt.

mwaller
08-25-2010, 01:36 PM
I do it all the time. I think binding throughout the instrument should be consistent. It's the thread that ties everything together. So if I'm binding the body with ebony, which I commonly do, the fret board and head stock will also be bound with ebony.
In your case Mika, I would agree with Brad and bind the body in rosewood. It bends very easily, especially for a first attempt.

OK - you guys have convinced me! I just orded some rosewood binding and will attempt to bind the body in rosewood. I suppose that rosewood trim on mahogany body will give the instrument a vintage Martin Style 1 look...
Thanks!
Mika

erich@muttcrew.net
08-25-2010, 09:19 PM
If those guys were really pros, they'd be bending ebony....

Chuck, I can't explain why they both said "don't do it". I mean, I was asking for custom built instruments and they both went :\ when I said I wanted ebony binding. So it just goes to show that there are folks out there who make a living building instruments (pros) but that doesn't mean they're on the allstar team.

Anyway that was long before I found my way to Ukulele Underground, so now I know I just have to ask the right people. Sorry if the :2cents: wasn't worth that much.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
08-26-2010, 07:10 AM
Understood. Your two cents are always worth a nickel in my book.
My point is that we all have our problem areas and certain procedures that we'd rather avoid but if we stick with it we are most likely able to get over these difficulties. Many builders, for instance, shy away from cutaways because they've had failures in the past. But with enough research, patience and practice even cutaways (or bending ebony) no longer poses to be a problem.