Bolivian "Rosewood" (Pau Ferro) considerations

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Backbeat8, Sep 2, 2018.

  1. Backbeat8

    Backbeat8 Tele-Holic

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    You can view a ton of different Bolivian Rosewood lumber cuts here, or Pau Ferro as it is being called. Personally I am still having a hard time finding one that I actually like, I've seen a couple that are ok, I think I definitely prefer this more parallel grain pattern, it seems to be pleasing. The actual density and playing surface however is another story, and it is just so literally smooth that it feels like that synthetic Richlite stuff. Other than that, I have also read that it actually lighten in tint over time. And that it does not take oils at all. So this is not like Ebony, or Rosewood (Indian actual Rosewood). It apparently does take stains well though. But overall it is simply extremely non-porous.

    Basically what I am saying is that: don't expect to find some hidden gem of a guitar with a "dark" Pau Ferro fb on it. It aint happening.

    Also, usable lumber typically is no wider than 8 inches, so you don't get very large pieces to work with, it seems like it is what it is.

    It is apparent now that it really is a "light" tinted wood, it is not as dark as actual Rosewood. So that should be considered, in pairing it with a potential body finish.

    It's actually apparently slightly denser than Indian Rosewood.

    https://www.cookwoods.com/collections/bolivian-rosewood
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  2. Backbeat8

    Backbeat8 Tele-Holic

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    And for comparison, here is East Indian Rosewood, which is what I think is still being used or maybe it's not, well you can buy it here so apparently it's usable (by Fender).
    https://www.cookwoods.com/collections/east-indian-rosewood
    [​IMG]
    Now that is Rosewood.

    But going back to Pau Ferro, it is completely usable and a good wood for fretboards, I think you just need to think carefully about how you want to implement it with respect to your gear acquisition. It can work well, aesthetically speaking, probably better than the darker Rosewood in some situations, but these may a bit more carefully chosen. I think it can look ok next to the 3-tone burst for instance. Maybe with the Daphne Blue idk. Or a dark grey.Or even black actually. Darker brown and black dont go great
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2018
  3. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    No problem, just stain it down until it looks like rosewood.
     
  4. musicalmartin

    musicalmartin Poster Extraordinaire

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    Tis the spawn of the devils wood and Satans goat .It rots your fingers and numbs your mind .I have a rosewood neck for sale as it happens .......

    I think Squier SE Strats use PF .Its a very good neck .
     
  5. Backbeat8

    Backbeat8 Tele-Holic

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    Cant say I am a fan of the RW necks.
     
  6. Finck

    Finck Tele-Afflicted

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    A potassium permanganate solution is an easy way to darken the wood. The product doesn't act as a stain, it reacts with some substances in the wood. Some woods darken more than others, some experiences are needed. Unfortunately I don't have a piece of pau ferro to experiment by myself and see the result, but I've tried with cedar, maple and pine and the recipe works.
     
  7. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    The LP here is a 1970 Global branded model (I believe ghost built by Ibanez) It has a mahogany neck that the prior owner had ripped out the frets and sanded down so it was light gray-brown when I got it. I used a couple coats of ebony stain and installed stainless steel frets.

    The Squier is a 2011 marketed as 'Rosewood' (could be or could be something else), and not too far from the PF pictures above. Same stain works on rosewood, though only oil on the Squier neck.


    StratandGlobal_IMG_4737c.JPG
     
  8. Chester Burnett

    Chester Burnett Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    I've had this guitar since before PF became "the wood you got stuck with because you can't have Rosewood" and I chose it mainly for it's looks. Rosewoods been such a staple that it's hard to look at anything else without it feeling a little off somehow. I think there are plenty of wood choices that make great boards. I'd like to see some Walnut fretboards.
     
  9. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    Actually the two Pao boards I have look just like brown-ish rosewood. In fact they are both darker than one of the RW boards I have. In terms of "slick feel" both of mine feel similar to ebony which I count as a good thing. I do think a lot of the boards on cheap guitars hanging in GC look pretty bad, dry, and just terrible these days, and it's a sad commentary on sustainable forestry that we can't get a beautiful brazilian RW board now at any price.
     

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  10. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    No idea how I just posted a picture of - I think - Cartagena, Colombia...
     
  11. Jsil13

    Jsil13 Tele-Holic

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    Image1535891917.497519.jpg
    Here's a neck I just made from pau ferro. I really like the look of it. I also have it as a fretboard on a roasted maple Warmoth neck. It had a more interesting grain than rosewood I think. But that could just be mine.
     
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  12. darren7

    darren7 Tele-Holic

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    I love Pau Ferro, in look and feel.
     
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  13. Tony Forman

    Tony Forman Tele-Meister

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    To me Pau Ferro is like a kind of half point between rosewood and ebony. Over time it does indeed darken; or at least the Pau Ferro fretboard on my SRV Strat has over the last 13 years I've had it. So in that respect it has taken on a dark rosewood look. The feel and hardness of it reminds me of ebony. Yes, it doesn't take oils well, and is not very porous. It still makes for a great board.
     
  14. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

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    I have read some negative reviews on the neck use of that wood. I will have to see.
     
  15. guitfiddles

    guitfiddles TDPRI Member

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    Wow, that’s beautiful! I had an SRV that I bought in 1997 that had a gorgeous pau ferro fretboard but some jack ass stole it a while back.
     
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