Pau Ferro Vs. Ironwood?

Telfer

Member
Messages
235
Gibson is now stating that some of its fretboards are made of Ironwood...which I'm guessing is really just Pau Ferro.

Pau Ferro is a well known species in guitar building...so why did Gibson change the name to Ironwood?
 

tiktok

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
25,073
The "name" of woods is always sort of a grey area, typically with multiple acceptable names for the same wood. Take Machaerium scleroxylon, for example.

Pau Ferro is a wood of many names, and is sometimes called Morado: and because the wood is so similar in appearance and working properties to rosewood, it is also sometimes referred to as Bolivian or Santos Rosewood. The wood has been used in various capacities as a substitute for the endangered Brazilian Rosewood. Although the wood is not technically in the Dalbergia genus, it’s in a closely-related genus (Machaerium), and contains the same sensitizing compounds found in rosewoods—about as close to a true rosewood as a wood can get without actually being a Dalbergia species.


If I was an instrument manufacturer, particularly Gibson, I'd want to avoid the words "Brazilian" or "Rosewood" on any documentation, or even words that look similar, such as "Bolivian", ya know?
So, hey! Ironwood! A good American word for a good American company! And totally non-CITES affected.

That said: ten pages.
 

swiveltung

Member
Messages
14,483
Many species are called Ironwood evidently. Most are pretty hard. Not sure what they are actually using but hopefully not Iron Bark (lignum vitae) as it's heavy like steel!
Pau Ferro pretty different I think.
 

Seth L

Senior Member
Messages
24,303
Pau Ferro is also known as Ironwood. Wonderful fretboard material, at least from a playing standpoint.
 

s2y

Member
Messages
20,606
I have had pao ferro on many basses and it's a very nice fingerboard. It seems to be somewhere between ebony and rosewood in terms of tone. Seems more stable than ebony. Maybe a hair less durable than ebony, which is probably only a concern if fretless. My fretless with pao fero has flat wound strings.
 

Telfer

Member
Messages
235
Many species are called Ironwood evidently. Most are pretty hard. Not sure what they are actually using but hopefully not Iron Bark (lignum vitae) as it's heavy like steel!
Thats the problem...the word 'ironwood' is just a generic word popularly applied to many different species.

It also sounds terrible...people will assume its heavy like iron and causes neck dive.

Pau Ferro applies to one specific species.
 

ieso

Member
Messages
3,809
pau = wood
ferro = iron

I have a Martin with PF fretboard and bridge. Very good material.
 

Guitarworks

Member
Messages
12,518
Pau Ferro is a fine fretboard material. I'd have no problem with Gibson just calling a spade a spade and saying they're now using Pau Ferro as a replacement for Rosewood, which CITES will very likely force them to stop using at some point if they haven't already.
 

K-Line

Vendor
Messages
8,901
Pau Ferro is a fine fretboard material. I'd have no problem with Gibson just calling a spade a spade and saying they're now using Pau Ferro as a replacement for Rosewood, which CITES will very likely force them to stop using at some point if they haven't already.
I have been having to dig deep into the new CITES regulations. Now, every guitar shipped outside of the USA will need a permit if it has East Indian Rosewood. This is really a PITA. I have been investigating the use of Pau and it does not currently show up as a restricted use wood. SO the plan for my Europe and Asia dealers is to transition to Pau. It is a great wood and it looks outstanding. But what to do with all the rosewood I already have. All must be used for domestic guitars.
 




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