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ukegirl13
10-10-2011, 06:02 AM
I am wondering if anyone has had any problems with Zebrawood as far as the sides cracking up the grain when putting them into the mold after bending.

I had no problems in bending the sides but when I put them into the mold one of the sides split going up the side where it was not supported by the mold. Of course other woods have never given me this problem.

I have made a zebrawood uke in the past and and can't remember if I had these same problems or not. I think I would have remembered if I had this much trouble. Maybe this piece of wood is just really weak. They were bent at 300 degrees and left in the side bender for a couple of days. They had a lot of springback when taking them out and were very brittle. Should I have gotten them into the mold sooner? Or maybe bent them at a higher degree? I have some more wood and want to try it again but don't want to make the same mistake twice! Any thoughts are much appreciated.

Allen
10-10-2011, 10:16 AM
I've not used Zebra wood, but from your description is seems like excessive spring back would be your main concern along with what must be a tendency to split easily along the grain. Can't speak about your bending procedures but if it was me and I noticed that much spring back I would be going to the hot pipe and touching up the sides before committing them to the mould. As well if they want to split that easily, I would add fabric strips to the sides as is done with guitars to stop splits from going right around the instrument should they occur.

Liam Ryan
10-10-2011, 10:20 AM
So you took a piece of timber, forced it into a mold that it didn't fit into and it broke? Yep, that'll do it. The solution seems pretty obvious to me. Bend it more. How? Choose your own adventure. There's heaps of information out there.

Vic D
10-10-2011, 02:34 PM
I still have a plank of the stuff and I've decided it'll be used in bowed psalteries. I remember it was a bit slower to bend than other stuff and it's very dense. Lots of pitch pockets and kinda nasty to work with. Now I've only worked with one piece but I just don't think I like it as a tone wood although given enough experience with it one would probably figure out how to make it sing. To me it seems to lack ummm life. It's very pretty though.

Steve vanPelt
10-10-2011, 04:12 PM
Hi Toni, here's a link to a recent thread over at the Other Luthier Forum all about the fun working with zebra wood. http://luthiersforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10101&t=33728

I had a ziricote side crack on me just for looking at it. Some of this stuff is just cracky by nature. When I get sides that just won't behave, I give them an extra couple heat/cool cycles and that seems to help.

Steve

ukegirl13
10-11-2011, 05:33 PM
No, it wasn't forced just my mold is not the same thickness as the sides. So where the side was sticking up over the mold it split there. Actually, it was just one side so I think it also had to do with just that piece of wood. I don't know...the ends just needed to be supported.

ukegirl13
10-11-2011, 05:40 PM
Hi Toni, here's a link to a recent thread over at the Other Luthier Forum all about the fun working with zebra wood. http://luthiersforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10101&t=33728

I had a ziricote side crack on me just for looking at it. Some of this stuff is just cracky by nature. When I get sides that just won't behave, I give them an extra couple heat/cool cycles and that seems to help.

Steve

Thank you Steve, I will take a look at the link you provided. Yes, it seems very brittle to me. And you and Allen are right I should of heated them back up. Oh well, next time...

ukegirl13
10-11-2011, 05:44 PM
I've not used Zebra wood, but from your description is seems like excessive spring back would be your main concern along with what must be a tendency to split easily along the grain. Can't speak about your bending procedures but if it was me and I noticed that much spring back I would be going to the hot pipe and touching up the sides before committing them to the mould. As well if they want to split that easily, I would add fabric strips to the sides as is done with guitars to stop splits from going right around the instrument should they occur.

Fabric strips...? You mean tape wrapped around? But of course, that makes sense! Ok, so I should of reheated them and added the strips as the extra precaution. Very good! Thank you very much Allen!

ukegirl13
10-11-2011, 05:50 PM
I still have a plank of the stuff and I've decided it'll be used in bowed psalteries. I remember it was a bit slower to bend than other stuff and it's very dense. Lots of pitch pockets and kinda nasty to work with. Now I've only worked with one piece but I just don't think I like it as a tone wood although given enough experience with it one would probably figure out how to make it sing. To me it seems to lack ummm life. It's very pretty though.

I did get one Zebrawood uke done and loved the look. Lots of deep pores to fill though. And actually it sounded really great. I made the mistake to show a client that one as an example of what I could do for her and now she wants a zebrawood one. Damn it, I should of showed her the Koa one I had also just finished. Live and learn! I think I'm going to try to talk her out of making a Zebrawood one. Just too much trouble.

ukegirl13
10-11-2011, 06:02 PM
Thank you all for your replies!

maclay
10-11-2011, 07:25 PM
Yes zebra wood can be prone to cracking. Other woods to watch out for include Ziricote, African Blackwood, Malaysian Blackwood, Wenge, and Brazilian Rosewood just to name a few. The properties that give the wood a nice glassy tap tone , also make them brittle.
Some woods require a little more care during and after the build.....woods like Ziricote display more tangential movement in response to humidity changes, and can cause cracks.

Allen
10-11-2011, 08:44 PM
Fabric strips...? You mean tape wrapped around? But of course, that makes sense! Ok, so I should of reheated them and added the strips as the extra precaution. Very good! Thank you very much Allen!

You might be a little confused about my comment about fabric reinforcement. There are a few tutorials out there on applying them, but for the life of me I can't find any right at the moment. But here is a page on the OLF that has some images of what I was refrying to. Not usually done on ukuleles, but always done on guitars. Either the fabric ones, or popsicle stick type braces. I favour the fabric ones because they go under the linings very nicely.

Bias Tape Side Reinforcements. (http://www.luthiersforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10102&t=9045&hilit=fabric+side+strips)

ukegirl13
10-16-2011, 11:01 AM
You might be a little confused about my comment about fabric reinforcement. There are a few tutorials out there on applying them, but for the life of me I can't find any right at the moment. But here is a page on the OLF that has some images of what I was refrying to. Not usually done on ukuleles, but always done on guitars. Either the fabric ones, or popsicle stick type braces. I favour the fabric ones because they go under the linings very nicely.

Bias Tape Side Reinforcements. (http://www.luthiersforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10102&t=9045&hilit=fabric+side+strips)

Ahhhh...bias tape dipped in thinned glue. Thank you, I knew guitars had wood slats glued to the sides but didn't know about this technique. It seems they glue them in after the sides are in the mold. I wonder if I could glue some on first at the ends of the sides before I try bending them. I guess the heat would just make them slide right off. They split when sliding them into my mold. Oh well, just have to give it a go. I am thicknessing some new sides now so I will try it. I will try and heat them up again too before I try to put them in. That should do the trick!

Thanks again Allen. I appreciate your help.

ukegirl13
10-16-2011, 11:05 AM
Yes zebra wood can be prone to cracking. Other woods to watch out for include Ziricote, African Blackwood, Malaysian Blackwood, Wenge, and Brazilian Rosewood just to name a few. The properties that give the wood a nice glassy tap tone , also make them brittle.
Some woods require a little more care during and after the build.....woods like Ziricote display more tangential movement in response to humidity changes, and can cause cracks.

Hi Jake, yes I did have that happen to a Ziricote back. I got a compression crack right in the middle of the back after it was attached. I filled it with I think CA and then after the finish was on you can barely see it. The uke was for me so it didn't matter but I was still a little bummed cause it is a gorgeous piece of wood.

Vic D
10-17-2011, 09:42 PM
I did get one Zebrawood uke done and loved the look. Lots of deep pores to fill though. And actually it sounded really great. I made the mistake to show a client that one as an example of what I could do for her and now she wants a zebrawood one. Damn it, I should of showed her the Koa one I had also just finished. Live and learn! I think I'm going to try to talk her out of making a Zebrawood one. Just too much trouble.

I really don't like working with it and the plank I have is rift sawn but now that I've read up more on it I think I'm gonna give it another shot with my first tenor. Everyone says it has the tone of indian rosewood so, might as well try again since it's sitting around. The first one I made out of it was overbraced I believe. Sure is pretty stuff though and it looks great with mahogany. And yes the piece I have has lots of pores and pitch pockets all over... I think I've got a low quality piece.

dave g
10-18-2011, 01:41 AM
I've worked with it once: http://www.wsukes.com/131/u131.html

I don't remember it being particularly hard to bend...

ukegirl13
10-18-2011, 07:38 PM
I've worked with it once: http://www.wsukes.com/131/u131.html

I don't remember it being particularly hard to bend...

Nice Zebra uke Dave! There was no problem bending it, just one side split up the grain when putting it into the mold. I tried to mend it with Ca but really just made matters worse. I have some more and am determined to conquer! ;) I think I am going to bend them then before putting them into the mold I will put some binding tape crosswise on the inside to hold the grain together while putting it into the mold. Just one side did it at the bottom so maybe it was just that piece of wood. I don't know...

Liam Ryan
10-18-2011, 11:22 PM
So did the side match the shape of the mold? I just don't see how the side could crack if the side was bent until it matched the mold?

Timbuck
10-18-2011, 11:47 PM
My only experience with Zebra wood was when I played a Soprano made from it..It looked very good.... striking in appearance..But I was disapointed with the volume.. it was a very quiet sounding uke.

Sven
10-19-2011, 03:21 AM
My only experience with Zebra wood was when Ken played a Soprano made from it.. He didn't look very good... I was disappointed in the quality of playing...

(utter bs but can't help myself, need a break from fiddling with expenses)

Timbuck
10-19-2011, 10:26 AM
My only experience with Zebra wood was when Ken played a Soprano made from it.. He didn't look very good... I was disappointed in the quality of playing...

(utter bs but can't help myself, need a break from fiddling with expenses)

*Note to Mrs Timbuck*..."Cross Sven off the Xmas card list this year"

Vic D
10-19-2011, 02:02 PM
My only experience with Zebra wood was when I played a Soprano made from it..It looked very good.... striking in appearance..But I was disapointed with the volume.. it was a very quiet sounding uke.

Same here. I'm thinking I'll push the boundaries on thickness the next zebrawood uke I make. If it is indeed like rosewood in tone I'd like to try to figure it out. Might just sing really nice, or collapse.