The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #85750   Message #1590854
Posted By: Bob Bolton
25-Oct-05 - 10:05 PM
Thread Name: Tech: How can I make my own set of Bones?
Subject: RE: Tech: How can I make my own set of Bones?
G'day Tom,

I've made about a hundred sets, over the years, experimenting with various woods - starting with Lignum Vitae, which was a favourite with many vaudeville performers here in Australia. I've found that the really tough Australian hardwoods (many heavier ... and a damned sight harder and tougher than Lignum Vitae!) are too hard ... giving a very sharp sound ... and a sharp shock wave to the fingers.

After all that, my favourites are two surviving sets of those my Dad made in the 1960s/70s from (Australian) Brush Box. They are around 180 mm (~ 7¼") long, 32 mm (~ 1¼") wide and 8 mm (~ 5/16") thick. They were band-sawed, with about 10 mm of curve, from a large block (freehand!) by Dad ... and I need a vernier gauge to measure any variations!

They have a much flatter cross-section that the Percy Danforth pattern and give a rather deeper, more satisfying, "clonk" that I prefer to the "click" of the Danforth examples I have.

You won't get a non-Australian timber with the density and toughness of Brush Box ... but softer timbers like oak give a nice sound and action in these dimensions - and Rock (Sugar~) Maple is nice ... and tough!

(Brett ... but it doesn't like being steam bent! Ebony is very traditional in European sets ... but hard to come by.)