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Thread: Desert Ironwood Fretboard

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Desert Ironwood Fretboard

    Anyone use desert ironwood for a fretboard? Someone gave me a stick of it a couple of years ago and the wood database says it's extremely stable. It's tough as nails and heavy, so, just like other fretboards. Honestly, this might be heavier. I've got some Texas ebony I've used before and it's heavier than that, even.

    Little sapwood showing in the pictures. The sapwood appears to be just as hard as the heartwood. One of the pictures shows it alongside a piece of Texas ebony.

    desert-ironwood_PXL_20210413_023150587.jpg

    desert-ironwood_PXL_20210413_023239592.jpg

    desert-ironwood_PXL_20210413_023625611.jpg

  2. #2
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    Santa Rosa, Ca. USA
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    You could try sanding it and trial cutting it to see how it is to work with, but desert ironwood is so hard and dense that it will probably dull your fret saw. It is also so dense that glue may not penetrate or bite onto it and may cause issues gluing it to your neck. I know you can not nail into it when used in construction, so I would experiment before committing to using it.
    http://Kelaliuke.com
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelali Kev View Post
    You could try sanding it and trial cutting it to see how it is to work with, but desert ironwood is so hard and dense that it will probably dull your fret saw. It is also so dense that glue may not penetrate or bite onto it and may cause issues gluing it to your neck. I know you can not nail into it when used in construction, so I would experiment before committing to using it.
    Good idea. I need to shave one side on the sled to get it perfectly flat, anyway, I can try cutting a few frets and glue a piece up and see what it does.

  4. #4
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    Kelali Kev brings up some good points. Desert ironwood has a Janka hardness of 3,260 lbf (14,500 N) which is pretty darn hard and dense. But on the other hand Gabon ebony which has never given me any gluing problems is only slightly less dense (Janka Hardness: 3,080 lbf (13,700 N). I would drill some glue relief holes on the underside of the fretboard and/or set some pins to prevent "skating". A preliminary test is always a good idea too.

    Gorgeous wood by the way.

  5. #5

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    Highly prized for knife handles and such. I have wanted to use it for bridge and fingerboards in an attempt to make an all US wood instrument with a desert theme inlay. I wasn't able to find pieces on eBay that were suitable. I considered an RV trip to the Se
    Last edited by Michael Smith; 04-13-2021 at 02:40 PM.
    Michael Smith
    Goat Rock Ukulele
    www.goatrockukulele.com

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Smith View Post
    Highly prized for knife handles and such. I have wanted to use it for bridge and fingerboards in an attempt to make an all US wood instrument with a desert theme inlay. I wasn't able to find pieces on eBay that were suitable. I considered an RV trip to the Se

    I've had the same thought, and this build is close. It would be all US woods except for the purpleheart I used in the inlay. Oh, wait, it has a Spanish cedar neck, too! Next one!

  7. #7

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    For some strange reason my post is getting cut in half. The rest should say.

    Se
    Michael Smith
    Goat Rock Ukulele
    www.goatrockukulele.com

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Smith View Post
    For some strange reason my post is getting cut in half. The rest should say.

    Se
    Uh oh. Looks like the dreaded message demon has got you Michael. Whatever it is after Se seems to be giving the forum indigestion. Try not using any strange marks in the text. I've found that it hates the italics command. Anyway, try resending because you always have something interesting to say.

    By the way, that ironwood is going to make a gorgeous fretboard. Just don't use your prized Japanese fret saw or it will ruin the edge. Maybe a good ol' hacksaw will be best.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sequoia View Post
    Uh oh. Looks like the dreaded message demon has got you Michael. Whatever it is after Se seems to be giving the forum indigestion. Try not using any strange marks in the text. I've found that it hates the italics command. Anyway, try resending because you always have something interesting to say.

    By the way, that ironwood is going to make a gorgeous fretboard. Just don't use your prized Japanese fret saw or it will ruin the edge. Maybe a good ol' hacksaw will be best.

    I'll cheat and use a router bit. Slow but steady.

  10. #10

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    I was trying to post Senora Desert. Desert Ironwood is a member of the pea family of trees. There was a pretty good sized pile of it at a BLM campground I stayed at way back when. I see what the problem was. My auto spell check was putting a tilde over the n in Senora. That was a deal breaker for this forum.
    Last edited by Michael Smith; 04-13-2021 at 07:37 PM.
    Michael Smith
    Goat Rock Ukulele
    www.goatrockukulele.com

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