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Alembic Club » Owning an Alembic » Troubleshooting » Archive through November 30, 2011 » DARKENED Cocobolo top..Refinish?? « Previous Next »

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Intermediate Member
Username: roberto

Post Number: 118
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Sunday, June 19, 2011 - 7:22 pm:   Edit Post

My 1991 Alembic with Cocobolo top have definitely became almost black visually..Will sanding and refinishing "wipe" out the darkened wood and reveal the fresh Cocobolo colour again?
Anybody ever done this with success?

Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 1608
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Monday, June 20, 2011 - 1:44 am:   Edit Post

What about a pic to see how dark it is?
Advanced Member
Username: chuck

Post Number: 262
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Monday, June 20, 2011 - 7:20 am:   Edit Post

If you sand you should use a good mask as the dust is toxic.

Senior Member
Username: dfung60

Post Number: 495
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Monday, June 20, 2011 - 11:02 am:   Edit Post

I think the darkness that the wood attains over time is part of the nature of that piece of wood. I guess you could strip the finish, resand the top, then refinish, but it would be a crapshot at best. It could easily cost thousands of bucks to try out.

David Fung
Senior Member
Username: pierreyves

Post Number: 873
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Monday, June 20, 2011 - 11:17 am:   Edit Post

I think to get the original color, you have to sand at least 1 mm, what is not realistic. How long time the original color has turned black? the bass was exposed to the sun?
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 4891
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Monday, June 20, 2011 - 11:48 am:   Edit Post

Also, cocobolo is very oily and may present problems when finishing. A review of the Factory-to-Customer threads will reveal that it isn't uncommon for Alembic to have problems with finishing cocobolo instruments. As I recall, Flax's Dire Wolf had to be refinished at least twice.

Bill, tgo
Intermediate Member
Username: roberto

Post Number: 119
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Monday, June 20, 2011 - 11:59 am:   Edit Post

terryc, I ll post pictures..
dfung60, it wont cost more than $100 here.
pierreyves,I bought the bass in 1998 and as far as I remember, it is a little lighter that time..the wood figures/lines were visible.
chuck and lbpesq, thank you very much for the warning...makes me think twice..

Username: mica

Post Number: 7366
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Monday, June 20, 2011 - 1:00 pm:   Edit Post

It does darken over time, and the oxidization can penetrate a good mm or more. Just try to remove the same amount of wood on the top and the edge where it rounds over. I wouldn't worry about the peghead veneers, else you might sand through them.

The rate of oxidization is one of the reasons we don't like to slice up much Coco Bolo until we're really ready to use it. If we have an old bookmatch, the top will be darker than an elbow cut, which exposes deeper, less oxidized wood.

If you are adventuring into refinishing yourself, note that we use an acrylic urethane as a sealer, after wiping down with acetone to evacuate the oils from the surface. The bulk of the finish is polyester. Hope this helps!

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