I have a project that involves gluing ebony to maple.
What glue should I use?? Any tips?
I need to bend 1/4 inch thick ebony to about a 30 inch radius. How
well does ebony bend? Should I steam it?? Any tips on steaming/
Thanks very much,
I've used CA ("super glue") with good results on ebony. Sometimes what's
needed is to put a thin coat of glue on the ebony and let this dry before
doing the actual glue-up. A light sanding on the dried glue helps too
(don't sand through the glue!).
Ebony is dense, impermeable and very slightly oily (nothing like
teak). Most glues will work, but don't rely on something that needs a
permeable surface. I'd be slightly suspicious of neat PVA, but the
yellow aliphatics are fine. Personally I use hide glue, same as most
other decorative inlay work. Certainly most "modern" (i.e. anything
non water-based) glues work fine: cyano, rubber contacts, epoxy.
Ebony is hard and brittle. Brittleness varies, but some can be _very_
brittle. Old, long-dried ebony is very brittle.
It's also endangered and near impossible to obtain. Most new "ebony"
you can buy isn't true ebony anyway, it's one of the blackwoods (which
we haven't managed to endanger yet, but we're working on it). These
are less brittle, pretty good timber, but the sapwood is pale brown
and you usually can't use the whole blank.
I only use old recycled ebony, and only in small pieces for
decoration. Most of it is from damaged clarinets (I was given a boxful
by an instrument shop when they moved).
Nice easy radius, but 1/4" is thicker ebony than I'd ever expect to
have success with bending.
It doesn't! Too impermeable to get steam into it and steaming anything
thicker than veneer just isn't going to happen.
I'd consider laminating your ebony to get 1/4" instead. Personally I'd
probably use ebonised maple (or sycamore, locally) instead. That will
bend well, ebonises nicely, and a good piece of hard maple gives a
smooth surface that's hard to distinguish from ebony at this size.
Search the archives for a recipe based on vinegar and steel wool. Works
great on tannin-rich timbers like oak or chestnut, but maple might need
a pre-treatment with tannins first. It's all standard stuff and
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