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Thread: How can this be good practice?

  1. #1
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    How can this be good practice?

    Taylor Guitars is playing a benign paternalistic role in running an ebony mill in Cameroon. One terrific thing they've done is they discovered that stripy ebony trees had been left to rot since instrument makers wanted only black! Now they're cultivating a taste for striped ebony in their clients.

    They produce a line of cutting boards using ebony pieces too short for instruments. Their construction seems fatally flawed to me. They have a thick ebony veneer on each side of a sapele core, but it sure looks to me like the ebony is at cross grain to the core, as if creating lumber core plywood. But the ebony is too thick for that, and in my experience creating a plywood with ebony veneer of much width is courting cracks in any climate that will force dimensional change (almost all). Even if the core ran long grain differential shrinkage would , I would think, likely produce cracks. But this is Taylor Guitars---so am I missing something?...

    https://stellafalone.com/products/re...-cutting-board

  2. #2
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    With Bob Taylor behind these I am confident those details have been worked out. This is neat ! Thanks for posting. Bob paid a visit to Franklin in the 1970's I think that would have been in Sandpoint Idaho.
    Missouri, it's not that bad. Best Regards, Maurice

  3. #3
    Ebony isn't fun to glue to begin with. They must have used a marine epoxy or some other specialized adhesive.

  4. #4
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    They look cool but Id be afraid of cutting across the fibers and releasing them in my food.
    No bueno
    Aj

  5. #5
    I'm still totally confused about the fascination with all things cutting board over the last couple of years.
    These are pretty, but IMO a bit more art than utility.

  6. #6
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    That looks right to me. It's just thick plywood, and with plywood you make the layers 90 degrees to each other. The Germans are making walls of plywood with laminations that are something like 1" thick, maybe more. There's a guy who participates here sometimes that makes door exterior door panels with layers that around 5/8" thick, IIRC.

    If Martin has the glue figured out, I see no reason it won't be durable.

    John

  7. #7
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    I made some 5/8" Maple plywood; 5/32, 5/16, 5/32, no problems with that after 10 years.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by al ladd View Post
    ...They have a thick ebony veneer on each side of a sapele core, but it sure looks to me like the ebony is at cross grain to the core, as if creating lumber core plywood. But the ebony is too thick for that, and in my experience creating a plywood with ebony veneer of much width is courting cracks in any climate that will force dimensional change (almost all)...
    Judging from their photos the relative dimensions seem entirely appropriate for the application. I have seen this type of lamination used successfully on yachts many times.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  9. #9
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    Andrew makes a good point Ebony has some small toxicity and potential allergy concerns. The all knowing internet seems to think it is OK around food.


    Missouri, it's not that bad. Best Regards, Maurice

  10. #10
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    Multi-color ebony for fretboards has been popular in "bespoke" guitar builds for quite a while now.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  11. #11
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    I'm still totally confused about the fascination with all things cutting board over the last couple of years.
    These are pretty, but IMO a bit more art than utility.
    Envision a new house. In the new house is an open concept kitchen/great room.
    In that kitchen/great room, the owners - entertain (more like they play "look what I have".).

    An artistic cutting board adds more envy factor.
    My granddad always said, :As one door closes, another opens".
    Wonderful man, terrible cabinet maker...

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Engelhardt View Post
    Envision a new house. In the new house is an open concept kitchen/great room.
    In that kitchen/great room, the owners - entertain (more like they play "look what I have".).

    An artistic cutting board adds more envy factor.

    Well, my cutting boards let me prepare food, I must be doing something wrong.

  13. #13
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    Watch a few of those TV shows where they do makeovers for people.
    It drives me nuts when the primary reason for a $75k to the sky is the limit makeover is so they can - - entertain.

    Our furnace guy gets a kick out of it too. He tells us about all the places he goes into where they have things in the kitchen/great room/powder room to impress visitors. The you get upstairs to the bedrooms and clothes are laying in heaps on the floor - mattresses are on the floor - literally the only place there are any furnishings is the kitchen/great room/powder room.
    My granddad always said, :As one door closes, another opens".
    Wonderful man, terrible cabinet maker...

  14. #14
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    Mark Knophler captures the essence of this social phenomenon with his signature wit and humor in the song "My Parties" It is a favorite.

    Missouri, it's not that bad. Best Regards, Maurice

  15. #15
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    Thanks for these interesting replies.

    I still think these boards, especially the larger of them, will crack if used as a cutting board in most US locations. There's 22" of ebony width being restrained by the sapele long grain core. At over 1/4" thick, the ebony is too thick to be restrained like a veneer. Guitar makers know that African ebony is very risky to use as a back because of its brittleness.

    The above examples that refer to exterior doors miss the point that in most US locations outdoor variation of EMC over a year is much less than indoors, and up at a higher range where splitting is less likely to occurr. https://www.fpl.fs.usda.gov/documnts/fplrn/fplrn268.pdf Surprising to me is that the west is much worse than most of the US in this regard.

    Cutting boards get wet in use and in washing, and then in a heated cold climate home get immediately exposed to super dry air, a recipe for cracking. And cutting boards can't really be protected by a movement inhibiting finish. Many US homes will experience a 5-6% range of EMC over the year even without the added moisture of cutting board use.

    If I had money to burn, I'd buy one just to test my hunch. I'm a little inclined to try making one myself, but I know from my experiences making small ebony veneer topped boxes only 3" wide that, using my techniques, the board would certainly crack badly. Maybe Taylor has a secret sauce, but it's really basic physics that says these will fail. That 22" ebony top wants to move about 1/4" in width over the course of a year almost anywhere in the US. https://www.woodweb.com/cgi-bin/calculators/calc.pl
    Last edited by al ladd; 11-29-2022 at 9:43 PM.

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