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 Post subject: Ebonizing a neck.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:57 pm 
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Ever since I saw this done on a guitar built by Dion Guitars, I’ve wanted to give it a try. There were several YouTube videos on how to do it which like most how-to-vids on YouTube required a bit of sifting before settling on a plan of attack. If you don’t know what it is, it’s basically white vinegar, some washed 0000 steel wool, a plastic container, and several days time while the vinegar breaks down the steel wool. Using a foam brush, I started with a wash of very strong black tea to add additional tannins to the surface, aiding in the chemical reaction. I let that air dry for an hour or so, then applied the vinegar mixture. It starts to turn dark almost immediately. I let that dry and repeated the process. I let it hang in my cure room for 2 days, then applied 4 very thin coats of Ecopoxy.

Anyway, I like the way it came out and will definitely be doing this again.

Best, M


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 Post subject: Re: Ebonizing a neck.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:59 pm 
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Very nice!

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 Post subject: Re: Ebonizing a neck.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 8:23 pm 
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Looks great all around. What was the underlying neck wood? Thanks for showing and the recipe.



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 Post subject: Re: Ebonizing a neck.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 9:57 pm 
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Looks great. I've never tried that on mahogany before, assuming that is what it is. If you boil the steel wool in vinager it speeds e process up to just a few hours.



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 Post subject: Re: Ebonizing a neck.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 10:06 pm 
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Beautiful match to the EIR back!

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These users thanked the author Chris Ensor for the post: Michaeldc (Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:18 am)
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 Post subject: Re: Ebonizing a neck.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2020 11:59 pm 
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looks great! I'm curious as to how you applied the Ecopoxy. Brush? Rag? how long between coats etc. Thanks

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These users thanked the author martintaylor for the post: Michaeldc (Fri Jan 10, 2020 12:39 pm)
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 Post subject: Re: Ebonizing a neck.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 12:12 am 
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Beautiful work Michael - stunning back strip too.



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 Post subject: Re: Ebonizing a neck.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 5:04 am 
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That turned out nice!

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 Post subject: Re: Ebonizing a neck.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 7:43 am 
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rbuddy wrote:
Looks great all around. What was the underlying neck wood? Thanks for showing and the recipe.


It’s sapele


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 Post subject: Re: Ebonizing a neck.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 7:45 am 
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Lovely work,
Did the end grain take the ebonizing more and give that nice shaded look to the heel, or am I seeing it wrong? Did you have to do any "nib" sanding after treating the neck with tea and iron solution?



These users thanked the author Clay S. for the post: Michaeldc (Fri Jan 10, 2020 12:39 pm)
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 Post subject: Re: Ebonizing a neck.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 8:00 am 
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martintaylor wrote:
looks great! I'm curious as to how you applied the Ecopoxy. Brush? Rag? how long between coats etc. Thanks


I made applicators out of cotton rag, kind of like FP pads. Apply very light coats. You want to wipe off as much Ecopoxy as possible. I let each coat cure overnight in a heated room, though 6hrs is likely enough. Rub out with 0000 steel wool between coats. I applied 4 coats, and then rubbed out with 0000.

M


Last edited by Michaeldc on Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:17 am, edited 1 time in total.


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 Post subject: Re: Ebonizing a neck.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 8:08 am 
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Clay S. wrote:
Lovely work,
Did the end grain take the ebonizing more and give that nice shaded look to the heel, or am I seeing it wrong? Did you have to do any "nib" sanding after treating the neck with tea and iron solution?


I sanded the neck to 320 and raised the grain with alcohol followed by another light 320 pass. I applied the cocktail twice and found I didn’t need to sand before applying the epoxy. The color is petty consistent. The endgrain on the heel is only slightly darker.



These users thanked the author Michaeldc for the post: Clay S. (Fri Jan 10, 2020 1:32 pm)
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 Post subject: Re: Ebonizing a neck.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:05 am 
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I love that look and plan to try it myself one day. Thanks for the detailed explanation. Burton LeGeyt does something similar, but with dyes.

Here's an example from an old OLF thread:


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 Post subject: Re: Ebonizing a neck.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:31 am 
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I love that look.

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 Post subject: Re: Ebonizing a neck.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 1:45 pm 
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Dyes give a more homogeneous appearance, but I think the vinegar/ steel wool solution acting on the tannins is the much nicer looking of these two examples. It makes me want to build a sapele guitar and ebonize the whole thing. bliss



These users thanked the author Clay S. for the post: Pmaj7 (Fri Jan 10, 2020 2:05 pm)
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 Post subject: Re: Ebonizing a neck.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 2:21 pm 
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Clay S. wrote:
Dyes give a more homogeneous appearance, but I think the vinegar/ steel wool solution acting on the tannins is the much nicer looking of these two examples. It makes me want to build a sapele guitar and ebonize the whole thing. bliss


I’ve got 2 A-style mandolins on the bench with sapele back and sides. They are both getting the ebonizing treatment for sure. I haven’t decided on a top top coat, but I’ll likely pore fill and shoot them with endurovar.


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 Post subject: Re: Ebonizing a neck.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 8:23 pm 
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Michael - lovely look and nice looking finish. I am building a maple/redwood topped Stauffer necked guitar right now and will be dying the neck black-ish. Since the dyes are alcohol soluble, I have in the past sprayed with a rattle can a few coats of shellac before using the finish, but this Ecopoxy sounds intriguing.

Did you use it as a final finish? Also, I am seeing it sold for many hundreds and even thousands of dollars - do you have a source that sells smaller quantities?

Thanks

Ed


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 Post subject: Re: Ebonizing a neck.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:02 pm 
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Ruby50 wrote:
Michael - lovely look and nice looking finish. I am building a maple/redwood topped Stauffer necked guitar right now and will be dying the neck black-ish. Since the dyes are alcohol soluble, I have in the past sprayed with a rattle can a few coats of shellac before using the finish, but this Ecopoxy sounds intriguing.

Did you use it as a final finish? Also, I am seeing it sold for many hundreds and even thousands of dollars - do you have a source that sells smaller quantities?

Thanks

Ed


Yes, it is being used as a final finish.

I bought mine from West Wind Hardwood Inc. up in Canada. It was $115CA for the 1L kit which included shipping. It is described as EcoPoxy® Build Kits - 1L RESIN + 250ml HARDENER on my invoice.

If you can’t find it, I can do a bit more digging to get you the exact product.

Best, M


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 Post subject: Re: Ebonizing a neck.
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 1:32 am 
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Looks beautiful!
Did you do that finish on the neck for feel, or looks?
Looks like the not shiny finish would make a nice feeling neck.
Alan


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 Post subject: Re: Ebonizing a neck.
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 8:59 am 
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Thanks Michael

I am a volunteer carpenter on 2 tall ships and we have several different kinds of epoxy on hand from very runny (like git-rot) to as thick as you need it. We thicken it like peanut butter for many applications. It would be easy and convenient to get the small amount needed from the storeroom.

Is the Ecopoxy pretty thin? Is it the consistency of Z-Poxy used for grain filling?

Ed


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 Post subject: Re: Ebonizing a neck.
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 9:22 am 
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Ruby50 wrote:
Thanks Michael

I am a volunteer carpenter on 2 tall ships and we have several different kinds of epoxy on hand from very runny (like git-rot) to as thick as you need it. We thicken it like peanut butter for many applications. It would be easy and convenient to get the small amount needed from the storeroom.

Is the Ecopoxy pretty thin? Is it the consistency of Z-Poxy used for grain filling?

Ed


The ecopoxy is thinner than zpoxy and is applied more like FP than a pore filler.

I’ve got no data on the durability of ecopoxy and only gave it a try because one of my favorite pro builders was using it with lovely *cosmetic* results. That said, the ecopoxy feels great under my hand. It’s silky and fast. I can’t say I’d try other epoxies as a final finish.



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 Post subject: Re: Ebonizing a neck.
PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:03 pm 
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I've been building a size 2 guitar (first one of this size) and have been trying a number of new things with it. One of them is a simplified method of coloring the neck. I use vinegar to soften glue when making repairs. I noticed it leaves a black stain if I don't use stainless steel tools in combination with it. I thought I would see how well it might work as a way to color the wood by just dipping steel wool in vinegar and rubbing it on the wood. It did work somewhat. The neck shaft was some mahogany I got from cutting up an old coffee table and the heel block was a darker piece of mahogany that didn't match. I was hoping the "stain" would pull them together but it didn't quite work out that way. :lol:
The picture was taken part way through brushing on a finish and before I knocked the neck on the floor and snapped the heel block (along with some neck wood) off. I glued it back together, touched it up and continued on with the finish. gaah It is interesting how differently the wood took the steel wool /vinegar treatment. Spending more time and adding tannins may have improved the out come but for this guitar I am O.K. with it. Being the first one of this size and working through a few different materials and methods I'm not as concerned about perfection as I might otherwise be.
With the right wood materials the simplified steel wool/vinegar treatment might work fine.


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 Post subject: Re: Ebonizing a neck.
PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:30 pm 
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Liking the look of it.

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 Post subject: Re: Ebonizing a neck.
PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:16 pm 
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Very classy looking instrument!

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 Post subject: Re: Ebonizing a neck.
PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2020 6:51 pm 
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Nice job Michael.
I ebonized the neck of this bouzouki-style instrument. The neck was tasmanian blackwood, same as the back and sides.


Attachment:
F60DBEC1-F5BA-4089-959A-5E98CF58EBC8.jpeg


It was exactly the same approach that you used. One thing for people to be aware of if they try this is the ebonized layer on the surface is very thin. You do it as a final finishing stage before applying your clear top coat. You can easily sand through the black layer to reveal the natural timber colour below. But if this happens you can darken it again by applying more ebonizing solution.


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