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Richlite?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by nofrets, Nov 22, 2015.

  1. nofrets

    nofrets Tele-Meister

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  2. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    that is the definitive description of Bakelite (Garolite) .. I'm sure the site's cost is far more than McMaster-Carr's ..


    Ron Kirn
     
  3. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    9 dollars for a fretboard sized part. That's not a bad price if you didn't want a wooden one.
     
  4. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    True, if you just wanted to experiment. But Ron is right if you compare this to Garolite from MC. The cutting board folks want $43.20 for a 1/4" x 12" x 24" and McMaster-Carr wants $22.35 for the same size of Garolite. But (again) that is the smallest size MC will sell you that is suitable for a fretboard so by all means $9 to give it a try isn't too bad. Not really sure it would bring any advantages but I am always interested in new ideas.

    I've used a lot of phenolic as handle slabs in knifemaking. I would recommend epoxy to glue it down, and don't breath the sanding dust.

    Cheers,
    Rex
     
  5. nofrets

    nofrets Tele-Meister

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    Ah - didn't realize Richlite was essentially an XX phenolic. Thanks, folks!
     
  6. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    and.. have you considered the method required to press frets into a slot cut into a very hard, unyielding material...

    My question... what's wrong with wood?

    ron
     
  7. bendercaster

    bendercaster Tele-Afflicted

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    Martin has a few acoustics that use Richlite for the fingerboard and bridge, if you are curious to see how it looks and feels.
     
  8. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

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    .

    So which is closer to the chemistry lab bench counters, Richlite or Garolite? The purpose stated for the Richlite product seems to be aimed toward counter tops and possibly those nearly indestructible lab benches.

    I have one of the Garolite pieces from MC that will be some Tele pickguards when I can get time on them but my initial impression of the sheet is a fancier Masonite sheet of the that thickness from appearance and feel. I'll know more when I actually cut and shape it which I haven't done yet.
     
  9. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Phenolic plastics are hard to nail down. You start with the phenolic resin. When it's cured, it retains a shape, but isn't very strong. You then add a material, like wood flour, you get Bakelite, which is more impact resistant than the phenolic resin alone, but has little tensile strength. You then reinforce it with paper, linen, canvas, or whatever, and you end up with a material that's strong, and durable.

    What the resulting material is called seems to be a mishmash of manufacturers' product names. Micarta is Bakelite reinforced with linen, and is a common scale material for knives. Catalin is phenolic resin with mineral fillers (often asbestos). Richlite is phenolic resin and paper. And so on.

    Garolite is an epoxy resin and glass fiber material. It's similar to the phenolic materails in the way it's made, but the binder is epoxy rather than phenolic resin.
     
  10. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

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    I made a garolite pickguard a few years ago. It was easy to work with.

    I don't think that phenolic resin is that great of an idea for a fretboard. The material is hard and I would expect some chilling of the fret slots when pressing the frets in or needing to glue the frets in over sized slots. There are other possible issues as well.

    While I get the interest in using alternate materials... wood works really well and can easily last more than a lifetime. National made necks out of bakelite and it was a failure, almost none exist today in playable condition.
     
  11. nofrets

    nofrets Tele-Meister

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    Good point on fretting, I know Gibson and Martin have used it, so it apparently can be made to work. As to the why, mostly just curiosity on my part. Pure black ebony isn't the most sustainably harvested material, so if there's an option for black fretboard material, I'd be interested in checking it out.
     
  12. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

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    I'm a bit prejudiced against ebony, because at least three guitars I can recall that had stability problems also had black ebony boards. However, some others are/have been stable. So, I would rather have synthetic of the richlite type than cheap black ebony.

    What about the possible fret installation problem? Thicker saw?
     
  13. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

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    Very unlikely that an ebony fretboard was the culprit in an unstable neck.... more likely that the neck wood was the problem.
     
  14. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

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    ^^^ I agree, but a couple of the ebony boards I've had shrank and cracked, in both cases causing more than minor cosmetic problems. It could well be just coincidence that it has only happened with black ebony, but off-putting nevertheless.
     
  15. nofrets

    nofrets Tele-Meister

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  16. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    With a name like "Nofrets" I figured you were aiming to use this richlite for a fretless neck, in which case all your problems would be gone. It might also add some good stiffness to a bass neck, for example, since it's a very rigid laminate itself.

    Rex
     
  17. nofrets

    nofrets Tele-Meister

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    I do play fretless bass, but oddly, building basses doesn't hold the same attraction for me as building guitars. I do hope to build a touchstyle instrument at some point, but it'll have to be fretted. Richlite would be a good candidate for that project, as getting the width and flatness I need should be easy.

    Patrick
     
  18. metecem

    metecem Friend of Leo's

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    I worked with Richlite and I'd do it again. The key element is to Richlite as fretboard is to be well equipped. You wanna do this with hand tools? As Ron would say: Forget about it.

    You can do the fret slots the old way, yes, but that'll be it.

    Second thing is that you need certain type of epoxy. Your usual 5 or 15 minute epoxy won't work. Wood glue does not work.

    The dust is extremely disturbing so be aware.

    Apart from these I like it. It's homogenous throughout the material and you get what you hope for. It's easy to polish it up to shine (it'll eventually go dull again after some time).

    I'll actually order some for a new batch in Istanbul. The Black Diamond is usually in stock as 6mm (approx. 1/4") and it's plenty strong.

    I'd say give it a try. This is all what we'll have in 20 years ;)
     
  19. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Can you tell us some more about how it behaves when you profile it? Does shaping a curved surface would reveal witness lines in the paper lamination? And does a machined and sanded surface ever get as smooth as the original outer pressed manufactured surface? I would be afraid that it would behave like MDF in that regard once you profile a fingerboard radius and sand out the position marker inlays. Do you have to seal it with anything?
     
  20. nofrets

    nofrets Tele-Meister

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