Gluing African blackwood (Full Version)

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Njål Bendixen -> Gluing African blackwood (Jun. 12 2017 20:05:47)

Hi All

I need to glue two pieces of African blackwood together with hide glue. I have never used African blackwood before. It is a very oily wood, which may make it difficult to glue with hide glue. Does any of you have any experiences? I have read somewhere that it can help to clean the wood with solvent before gluing, which I have also never done before. In this case, which solvent to use? I have always been afraid to use solvent before gluing because I am afraid that the solvent may leave a residue after evaporating.


Peter Tsiorba -> RE: Gluing African blackwood (Jun. 12 2017 21:54:11)

I have built many African Blackwood guitars, all using hide glue. I have never experienced any issues with gluing. As with any gluing procedure, fresh, clean joinery and proper technique are critical.

I advise against using solvents to "clean the oils". From my own testing, I believe this to be a misguided practice.

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Njål Bendixen -> RE: Gluing African blackwood (Jun. 13 2017 20:40:48)


Thank you for the advice. I will proceed without fear.

Nice looking guitar! I noticed the rib struts. Why do you use them, do you think it affects the sound? (Hope it is ok to ask.)


Peter Tsiorba -> RE: Gluing African blackwood (Jun. 14 2017 20:31:00)

Hello Njål.

I don't always use cross-grain side braces, although a couple, especially on the flatter stretch of the sides, just below the waist is a good practice. On this particular guitar, I wanted to keep the weight down, due to the heaviness of blackwood, and for that reason, the sides are quite thin, at around 1.4mm. The cross-braces are there as an insurance against warping and any possible side checking in the future. That way, I have both the lighter weight, as well as the strength.

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Peter Tsiorba -> RE: Gluing African blackwood (Jun. 14 2017 20:39:28)

Njål, I forgot to answer your question as to effects on sound. The stiffness, and even more so, the weight of the sides most definitely affects the sound, as do the details such as shape/size/mass of glue blocks. Antonio de Torres used notoriously thin sides. Modern trend is toward heavier, stiffer side, or double sides with solid linings. And everything in-between.

Yes, it all affects the sound, and the fun part for us luthiers, is exploring and deciphering which "recipe" works best for us.

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