Least inclined to break or split: rosewood or ebony?

Out of an average samle of ebony and an average sample of rosewood, (each about 1/8 inch thick), which one is:
a) least likely to split from natural drying out b) least likely to break from repeated flexing c) least likely to split or break from an impact accident?
The piece will get some slight flexing for the coming years, and may be subject to the occasional accidental impact. I'm not sure how well seasoned the piece will be when I receive it. I just want to maximise my chances of making the best choice.
Many thanks
Frank
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Authoritative answer: "the _other_ one."
Serious answer: 'insufficient data'.
the missing information: _how_big_ a piece? _supported_ how? how much 'flexing'? how hard an impact? over how big an area? (a blunt blow is significantly different than a needle-point impact) . . . just for starters.
Comment: a glue-up of 5 or more plies of veneer is probably going to be far superior in durability, over a solid lumber piece, regardless of which wood you use.
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Robert Bonomi wrote...

I'm willing to stick my neck out, having worked with both of these woods a fair amount. All else being equal, I say:
a) rosewood, definitely b) rosewood, definitely c) rosewood, definitely
That said, with care, both can be put into excellent service. Rosewood is a lot less fussy, though.
Cheers!
Jim
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wrote:

You surprise me. I thought ebony would be much stronger. But I bow to your greater experience. I'm glad you said rosewood though, because that'll match the rest of the job better.
Now I'll reveal what the item is (I could have done that before really, couldnn't I?). Ever seen the metal arm rest on a banjo? (The thing designed to stop the player's forearm touching the surface of the head.) Well I'm looking at the guitar version of this. (Not many people even know they exist.) Invented by English folk guitarist John Pearse. For an illustration, see:
http://www.jpstrings.com/armrest.htm
I'm not sure how it'll be fixed to the side of the guitar. Possibly double-sided tape. Possibly screws. Not sure yet. I'll probably uses something "different" like silicone. We'll see...
Thanks for the help
Frank

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Frank, You need to meet a couple of criteria to sell something like this to a musician. It's got to be needed, it's got to not damage the instrument or finish, and it has to not impede the accoustics of the instrument. Might I suggest taking a look at how the chinpiece is attached to a violin - kind of a clamp, across the side of the instrument type of arrangement; sounds like a very similar application to what you describe. By using felt padding, you can make it not wreck the finish (as silicone would), damage the wood (as screws would), or affect the accoustics (as both would - silicone would have a serious dampening effect on the top's resonance). The sides are pretty inflexible in compression, so a clamp arrangement would keep the forces in a direction that won't interfere with the top's (and back's) movements.
I'm not sure I'd buy one, myself, but if it was comfortable, looked nice, and doesn't involve modifying the instrument to use it, I think you might have something here.
Dave Hinz
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wrote:

That is the point I can't get by. I can understand why on a Banjo or a Violin you would want one (as both have extremely sensitive sound boards - and rely on resonance from the top of the instrument), but a guitar? A guitar top does resonate but not nearly as much as the other two. Just my .02 as a musician.
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wrote:

Actually, the top on a guitar is doing quite a number of interesting resonances simultaneously - it needs to to make the sound. Without it, an accoustic guitar would be as loud as an un-powered electric guitar (not very, in other words). In order to find many (any) people willing to try this, it'd have to take that into account.
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Frank, if you're planning to buy a John Pearse armrest, I'd say you'll be fine with either one and they will help the sound of your guitar by preventing your forearm from damping the top. I have a rosewood one that matches the sides and headstock of my guitar and it looks great. Most people use ebony, to match the fingerboard and bridge. But the relative rarity makes my rosewood one that much better, to me. You can't go wrong either way.
They are attached using double sided tape. It's a no-brainer to put them on.
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Frank wrote:

Very familiar with the banjo armrest. You won't break it so long as you use any species harder than pine. Select for appearance.
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Frank wrote...

Ebony is heavier, harder and more dense, but also more brittle, harder to dry and more prone to splitting. In the 1/8" thickness that you mentioned, the difficulty drying shouldn't pose a problem, though.

Which species are you using? Both Santos or Honduran Rosewood are a joy to work, although extra dust protection is recommended. I can't say about Brazilian, personally, as I've never had a good enough excuse to afford any. (G)

Rosewood should do very well. In ebony, the overhanging tips of the inside curve *might* chip if the grain were oriented carelessly and the part received a healthy bump there. However, from the looks of it, just about any hardwood should do.
Cheers!
Jim
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Out of curiosity, what is a 8' 4/4 9" wide piece of Brazilian worth? (Flatsawn, not quartered).
scott
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Scott Lurndal wrote...

It depends on a lot of things, not the least of which is whether it was legally harvested. I have seen smaller pieces of "pre-ban" Brazilian rosewood in greater thicknesses go for over $85bf, and have heard of even higher prices. Sometimes, a special piece of wood can't be priced in the usual way, as it really is not a commodity. In these cases, the price is whatever the market will bear.
Jim
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This piece is pre-ban (purchased over 20 years ago). I've several other narrower boards along with it (purchased at $5bf) - not enough for an entire piece of furniture; about 30bf of 4/4 S4S.
scott
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Frank wrote:

No!!! Don't do it Frank! Use that silicone anywhere near a guitar or other wood instrument and you're hearby shunned. Nasty, nasty stuff. And that includes all the foolish products out there like string-ease (sp?) that are silicone based. Silicone will permanantly ruin the finish of the wood. It is next to impossible - really, it's impossible to get this stuff out of the grain once it's on there and refinishing is about impossible should it ever be required. Silicone also dampens the resonance of the wood.
Place your feet together and click your ruby red slippers three times and repeat, "I will never use silicone or any silicone based product on a nice wood instrument".
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On Thu, 20 May 2004 11:34:35 GMT, "Mike Marlow"

I even goose-stepped up and down my street in my ruby-red slippers while chanting the above slogan... I think it has sunk in now... Jake
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Jake wrote:

Got pics?
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