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Ebony Sanding Dust Contaminating Maple Neck


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Hi all,

I'm currently sanding the edges of my ebony fretboard, which is already glued to my maple neck (which has yet to be shaped)

I'm noticing the ebony sanding dust is starting to discolour the maple.

Is this going to be a problem? Will it come off, and leave the maple nice and clean?

I was assuming I could sand both woods together, and that the maple would clean up afterwards.

I thought it would be the best way to ensure a straight edge along the neck and 'board.

Should I rig up a straightedge and use a router bit?

Appreciate any help.

DJ

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Hi Doug,

Yes I have, and it makes very little difference, sadly!

The problem is that the dust is so fine it gets everywhere, and it gets rubbed into the sandpaper and then rubbed into the maple.

Even if I hold the neck so that the ebony dust is falling away from the maple, the black dust is still present on the paper.

Any other thoughts anyone??

Thanks,

DJ

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If your neck is not shaped yet, it will go off when you sand the neck. The dust is not smaller than any other wood dust, but it's black. So yes sanding ebony makes a mess. Just use different sandpapers for the maple.

Even if your neck was shaped, a little sanding with a fine paper, 240 or smaller, should remove the remaining dust. Maple has a very tight grain, so dust can't go deep into it. It's only surface dust.

Edited by MescaBug
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Until you get both to a finished state then worry if it is still a problem. Possibly a solvent wiped over the surface would help when you get to that point and still have some discoloration. maple is pretty Smooth when sanded so you should not have contamination issues with the ebony. I would finish up the ebony first and yes using paper with ebony loaded into the paper does not help. make sure you are using a good no load sand paper.

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Plenty of experience with this problem...

Of all the suggetions mentioned so far, only the scrapers will work. But there's a learning curve to using them, and you don't want to practice on your neck.

Tape off the ebony, then carefully sand the maple with 220 grit (new sheet) until the dust is removed. Now spray the maple with a few coats of rattle can shellac, remove the tape and then sand the ebony while trying to keep off the maple. Take the ebony down to whatever grit you want to finish with, then tape it off again and go back and do the same on the maple (again...don't mix your ebony and maple papers).

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Plenty of experience with this problem...

Of all the suggetions mentioned so far, only the scrapers will work. But there's a learning curve to using them, and you don't want to practice on your neck.

Tape off the ebony, then carefully sand the maple with 220 grit (new sheet) until the dust is removed. Now spray the maple with a few coats of rattle can shellac, remove the tape and then sand the ebony while trying to keep off the maple. Take the ebony down to whatever grit you want to finish with, then tape it off again and go back and do the same on the maple (again...don't mix your ebony and maple papers).

thanks man, that sounds like a sensible suggestion! :D

DJ

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Yep, scrapers are the way ahead. If you're not comfortable doing all the shaping/smoothing with one, a couple of strokes after sanding will clean things up. Wiping with a solvent is not a good idea, it's more likely to drive the discolouraion deeper, or make the pigment bleed from the sanding dust into the maple.

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I'm not familiar with scrapers at all.

Do you mean eg. cabinet scrapers like these?

What I lack in experience I make up for in willingness (and open-mindedness!) so I'm eager to try this out on some spare wood!!

Therefore I would welcome any help regarding scrapers.

thanks,

DJ

Exactly! Cabinet scrapers. They're easy to use but they have to be sharp (burnished) to work properly.

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