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Thread: thickness of (and source for) ebony veneer for back of peghead

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    Default thickness of (and source for) ebony veneer for back of peghead

    Hello again everyone.
    I'm working on shaping the neck on an F5, working roughly from the Siminoff book.
    I'm looking for some guidance on what thickness/material you all use for the veneer on the back of the peghead.
    I have an ebony headstock veneer that is ~0.10 inches or so, and trying to sand that down on a belt sander has proven difficult.
    I also have some 0.020 inch "ebonized" veneer from LMI, which I thought would make things easier, but I don't love the look of it. Plus it seems too thin.
    Ideally I think I'd like an ebony veneer at roughly 0.40 or so, but haven't seen these available anywhere.
    Any good sources for this stuff?
    Any thoughts on proper thickness?
    What about the thin ebonized veneer? Good? no good?
    You can see I'm full of questions and I'm all ears.
    Thanks
    -Dan

  2. #2
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: thickness of (and source for) ebony veneer for back of peghea

    I've been looking for .020" to .030" black ebony veneer for years and haven't found a source. I have some brown streaked macassar ebony veneers, but that's not the look I usually want. Google will find you many sources for macassar.
    You'll find a lot of advise to use the black fiber material that a lot of makers and manufacturers are using, but if you're like me you won't like the look of it, same with the ebonized veneer. You'll be told that Gibson used black dyed pearwood and that's what you need, but if you're like me you won't like the look of it. You'll also find suppliers who will offer to sand peghead overlays down to the thickness you want, but if you're like me you don't like the idea of turning that much wood into black dust.
    If you find a source please let me know!

  3. #3
    Andrew C. Jerman
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    Default Re: thickness of (and source for) ebony veneer for back of peghea

    Steve at Cumberland acoustic just sent me a bunch of nice black ebony veneers for the topside of my head stocks.

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    Registered User amowry's Avatar
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    Default Re: thickness of (and source for) ebony veneer for back of peghea

    I'd say ebony the veneer I use is about 1/32", though I just eyeball it. It just has to be thin enough to bend. I make my own, so I'm not sure where to get it.

    I've also used the ebonized maple veneer, and it works well. It doesn't look quite the same as ebony under finish, but it's not bad. It's definitely softer, so it doesn't protect that point on the back of the headstock very well (you know that sharp spot that the instrument rests on when you set it down-- who designed that, anyway? .

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: thickness of (and source for) ebony veneer for back of peghea

    Quote Originally Posted by amowry View Post
    ...it doesn't protect that point on the back of the headstock very well (you know that sharp spot that the instrument rests on when you set it down-- who designed that, anyway? .
    I know I'm not the first to think of putting a point protector there. That's where we really need one!

  6. #6
    Tony Bare
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    Default Re: thickness of (and source for) ebony veneer for back of peghea

    Rockler has veneers in their catalogue. I met a guy at a jam last week who had his second "F" mandolin. It was a pretty thing to behold especially for a second try. He told me some of the problems that he would do over. One was the headstock. He read that dyed pear wood was the old Gibson way so he tried it. He said that it looked really good untill he had to level the inlay. There were spots (especially in the sun light) that he had sanded or scraped through the die and had to touch up. He couldn't get the touch ups to match perfectly. I wouldn't have noticed it if he hadn't brought it to my attention. The fern inlay was good too.
    Tony Bare

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    Violins and Mandolins Stephanie Reiser's Avatar
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    Default Re: thickness of (and source for) ebony veneer for back of peghea

    I've been using a veneer 1/40th from Roger that is so far the closest I have come by. I think it is dyed pearwood. It seems 'okay' but ideally I'd like to use actual Ebony. I've thought about belt sanding it down on the bench sander, but so far have not.
    http://www.stephaniereiser.com then click mandolins

  8. #8

    Default Re: thickness of (and source for) ebony veneer for back of peghea

    I just saw it off a 3/4" plank of ebony...pretty easy to do with any good bandsaw.

  9. #9
    Registered User amowry's Avatar
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    Default Re: thickness of (and source for) ebony veneer for back of peghea

    And with that new sander of yours!

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: thickness of (and source for) ebony veneer for back of peghea

    Yep, I've sawed them from pieces of ebony too, but when you think about it, if I allow 1/16" for saw kerf and end up with a 1/32" veneer, that's not a very efficient use of a resource, not to mention that all the waste turns into black dust.
    It must be very difficult to slice ebony veneers, other than macassar, because I can't find anyone who does it. I'd be glad to settle for african blackwood or something, but I can't find it either.

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    Registered User amowry's Avatar
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    Default Re: thickness of (and source for) ebony veneer for back of peghea

    Yes, I always figured it was pretty much impossible to slice black ebony veneer.

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    Registered User Rob Grant's Avatar
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    Default Re: thickness of (and source for) ebony veneer for back of peghea

    Andrew wrote:
    "Yes, I always figured it was pretty much impossible to slice black ebony veneer."

    Actually the stuff slices easier then bread. Our local ebony (photo below) can be sliced very thin.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Rob Grant
    FarOutNorthQueensland,Oz
    http://www.grantmandolins.com

  13. #13
    Registered User amowry's Avatar
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    Default Re: thickness of (and source for) ebony veneer for back of peghea

    Do you mean with a veneer knife?

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    Registered User Rob Grant's Avatar
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    Default Re: thickness of (and source for) ebony veneer for back of peghea

    Andrew wrote:
    "Do you mean with a veneer knife?"

    The only veneer knives I'm familiar with are on big industrial "peelers." I just slice the stuff with a ~12mm band saw blade. Properly set up you can slice the stuff as thin as a piece of typing paper. Of course, you lose the width of the saw kerf to fine black dust (looks remarkably like black gun powder). All the ebony I've sliced off local logs is very consistant in texture and doesn't present any difficulty when slicing. The same can't be said of our local rainforest "black walnut" which usually contains so much silica that it will literally "eat" a fresh bandsaw blade before one can make a single pass!
    Rob Grant
    FarOutNorthQueensland,Oz
    http://www.grantmandolins.com

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: thickness of (and source for) ebony veneer for back of peghea

    There's the "problem". We were referring to a veneer knife (slicer) when using the word "slice". With the band saw, that's resawing. Think it has anything to do with the whole hemisphere thing?
    (Wish I could find a big chunk of ebony washed up in a creak around here!!)

  16. #16

    Default Re: thickness of (and source for) ebony veneer for back of peghea

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    Yep, I've sawed them from pieces of ebony too, but when you think about it, if I allow 1/16" for saw kerf and end up with a 1/32" veneer, that's not a very efficient use of a resource, not to mention that all the waste turns into black dust.
    That reminds me of the day when a fellow luthier friend was going to come over to my shop to help me slice (resaw) some brazilian planks I happened on a few years back. He said he couldn't wait to help me slice away half of it into dust. It was pretty funny yet tragic at the same time. We figured we could make a sheet of Brazilian MDF with all that...
    Don Williams

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    Default Re: thickness of (and source for) ebony veneer for back of peghea

    John,you should live down here in Southern Ohio. A fellow just sold me an Ebony tree seed the other day while he was delivering my Ginseng finding dog.
    Jim

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    Default Re: thickness of (and source for) ebony veneer for back of peghea

    You can go line to Dick in Germany. They carry a complete line of Ebony veneers..gavin

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    Registered User buddyellis's Avatar
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    Default Re: thickness of (and source for) ebony veneer for back of peghea

    This what you're talking about?

    http://www.dick.biz/dick/product/903105/detail.jsf

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    Default Re: thickness of (and source for) ebony veneer for back of peghea

    It appears that Dick offers only 70mm x 540 mm pieces. I've been considering an ebony veneer on the back of my old F-2's peghead to cover a poorly glued repair. But it seems that the peghead of my F would require a piece 100mm x 180mm...will this ebony source be of any use to F style mandolin builders?

    And alternatively, maybe there is opportunity here for a side business for Rob or others.

  21. #21
    Registered User buddyellis's Avatar
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    Default Re: thickness of (and source for) ebony veneer for back of peghea

    Well as is the case with many of these sellers, I'll bet you can ask for a minimum width and they can work with you.

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    Registered User testore's Avatar
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    Default Re: thickness of (and source for) ebony veneer for back of peghea

    A&M hardwoods out of Canada I think. .6mm dyed pearwood.
    vesselmandolins.blogspot.com

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    Default Re: thickness of (and source for) ebony veneer for back of peghea

    try woodcrafters for the thin stuff....they sell it in packets and have single pieces as small as 1/16 inch.....they have a lot of different types wood ....i started resawing my own and have seved lots.......keith
    kterry

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    Default Re: thickness of (and source for) ebony veneer for back of peghea

    I just got a packet of dyed veneer from Woodcraft. There's no species identification on it. For $19 I got 8- 12" x 4.5" sheets that are .03" thick.
    This is thicker than the large sheet I got from LMI and quite a bit blacker. This photo was taken after sanding it.
    Obviously not as hard as ebony, and a little more of a pain to deal with (splits, tearout while shaping) but it looks like wood which is better than the fiber stuff, which I discovered needs to be dyed to look right.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Registered User barry k's Avatar
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    Default Re: thickness of (and source for) ebony veneer for back of peghea

    The dyed pearwood is tough to come by because of the dying process, which involves chemicals and heat and a pressure cooker (giant one), I dont believe there is an American company that even mess's with it any longer. The stuff I get is out of Europe,( and still tough to buy) and dyed through and through and the end result is no splotches or redying. The poor grades of ebony available now, just make the end results a little undesirable to me, tough enough to get good wood to make nice fingerboards with.

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