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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 1:25 pm 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2007 5:20 am
Posts: 74
I recently found a local lumber yard that supplies wood to cabinet makers
and construction contractors that sells, walnut, maple, birds eye maple,
bubinga, cherry, birch, sapelle, padouk, zebra wood etc.. all kiln dried.

Can this wood be used right away for guitar building or does It require
additional drying? I was suprised when I found this supplier, because this
kind of place is very rare in NYC. Thanks.

Ron Mack


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 1:30 pm 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

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The topic title should read "Lumber Yard Wood for Guitar Building"


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 1:41 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood

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Location: Newark, DE
First name: Jim
Last Name: Kirby
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When you bring the wood home and saw it up, you should let it acclimate to your shop for a little while anyway. For most wood from suppliers of this sort that I have seen, the required time hasn't been very long, and the wood is usually dry enough as is. Sounds like a nice place.
It's always good to be on the lookout for stuff at places like this when they are close by. I recently found some Western Redcedar at a place that in all regards is a lumberyard (as opposed to a specialist wood vendor) that just didn't belong there. (Or rather, it belonged in my garage). Yards that cater to furniture makers are often great places to pick up boards for species where QS wood
is readily available - Bubinga, Wenge, Zebrawood.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 1:47 pm 
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Koa
Koa

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Location: United States
Is the stuff quartersawn?   Generally you'll want it to be so...


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 2:13 pm 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

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Thanks for the tip Jim. I'll be sure to let the wood acclimate.

Rick I did'nt get around to asking them yet about the wood being
quatersawn. I totally forgot. I will ask them first thing monday morning.
Thanks for reminding me.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 2:24 pm 
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Koa
Koa

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Unless they have a instrument specialist there, they likely have no idea what to look for for instrument wood. There's a lot more to it than just finding something quartered..  So, now you must be the one to educate yourself.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 2:40 pm 
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Koa
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What else is there to look for? (besides the obvious defects?)

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 2:54 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Most lumberyard wood is kiln dried, so it's dry wood, not necessarily aged wood.

Aged wood helps a little with stability.

Down in my shop is a high dollar bass guitar with a shrunken fretboard. So, what is the problem? Well, it wasn't seasoned wood, probably kiln dried too, maybe not. A lot of instrument wood is air-dried which may take years depending on thickness to season.

Many of the woods you mentioned are quitar woods. Runout and Quartersawn are especially important for instruments. Quartersawing wood gives you stable wood. Wood with little to no runout are usually easily bent and strong. Top wood should have little runout. Ever see a guitar top that exhibits dark on one side light on the other? That's a symptom of runout.

There is a bunch of info on the internet about these wood qualities and searching it out is important to know.

I have a barn full of walnut and oak, all air dried and seasoned. Turns out there is little demand for these woods for instruments. Down in my shop is a stack of Claro Walnut which will soon become guitars and it's not completely dry yet.

So, harvesting woods for guitars is an art in itself. Good luck in your studies.

Side Note: Not all suppliers know the answers either. I bought some sapele from a supplier new to tonewood for guitar. They were branching out from the violin wood business. Runout killed bending that wood, crack....... during bends it just couldn't stay together, badly cut, too much runout.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 3:41 pm 
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Cocobolo
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Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2005 1:15 pm
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Location: United States
First name: Ken
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State: NC
Zip/Postal Code: 28625
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Ron,

Lumberyards that supply hardwoods to cabinet makers are a great place
to find tonewood. They usually carry top grade lumber because that is
what most cabinetmakers demand. It is usually kiln dried unless a certain
kind of wood degrades in the kiln (ziricote is a good example). If you
resaw the materials, you need to sticker it for a time in your shop and let
it acclimate to your surroundings.   

Personally, I would not make a big deal out of the fact you are an
instrument maker. I find most retail yards don't know a lot about
tonewood and if they do, they take advantage of "their" knowledge in
higher prices. There has been a lot of great advise in this discussion
about quartersawn lumber, runout, etc. Educate yourself before you go
shopping. Most retail lumber dealers, if you are friendly, will let you go
through a huge stack of lumber even if you are only buying one or two
boards as long as you put things back as good or in better shape than
you found them. You judge what is good. You pick out what you want.
Sorting for something you like at a tonewood dealer can take time so
purchasing a board or two from a lumber dealer can take a long time.
But there are "gems" out there to be found in the most unlikely places.
Most lumberyards don't grade their own lumber. It is graded before it
comes to them and they don't inspect every board. It may take a few or a
dozen trips to find what you want. A good a yard rotates its stock often,
so there is always new wood to look at on a regular basis.

Ex. I found two wonderful pieces of figured mahogany at a local lumber
dealer stuck in with the rest of the "ordinary" stuff. They were from the
same log. One was flat cut and had a great quilt. The other was quarter
sawn and had a fantastic curl. Got them for the price of regular
mahogany.

So have some fun. Educate yourself and be patient. Take your time.
Know what you want and keep an eye out for it. You don't have to
purchase anything until you find what you want. There are lots of finds at
the local lumberyard.

Ken




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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 3:47 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
Brazilian Rosewood

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Location: Victoria, BC
First name: John
Last Name: Abercrombie
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[QUOTE=Mackie]
Rick I did'nt get around to asking them yet about the wood being quatersawn. I totally forgot. I will ask them first thing monday morning.
[/QUOTE]
If you are looking for bargains, you will probably have to go through the stack to find (close to) quartersawn wood. You also have to check the edges for runout, as has been mentioned. If you start asking for 'quartersawn boards, good for guitars', you may find the price rises! Then again some yards (not the ones I go to) don't let you go through the stacks at all.
It's a good idea to take a small gouge/chisel with you to check the end grain- a lot of the imported stuff has ends that are covered in paint, and it can be tough to see the difference between the saw marks and the grain lines. It's probably best to check with the management before shaving the end of boards.

You should think out some possible cutting plans for your boards before you hit the yard as well...it helps to decide on what widths (and lengths) will leave you with the least 'leftovers'.... you can only use so much binding, headplate material, etc... Decide if you are willing to do 3-piece backs as well...

Happy hunting!

Cheers

John


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 4:19 pm 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2005 11:13 am
Posts: 1398
Location: United States
If you don't know how to look for the proper wood, you'd be better off buying from a lutherie wood supplier such as some of the sponsors here. Knowing how to look at wood and understand it is Lutherie 101. You're not there yet. Stick around; read up; get some good books on this subject; don't go hunting for bargains when you don't know what to look for yet...it's easy to build a guitar that warps and folds up if you don't understand wood. Get to know the terminology; read outside the guitar realm; find a guitar maker nearby who will chat with you and share some tips. Understanding wood is not only intellectual, but it becomes a very visceral experience.   You get to where you can see inside the boards or billets, and you can tap and scratch and sniff out the good stuff.   

Yes, there are bargains to be had at harwood lumber yards, but you have to learn what to look for.   We luthiers are a total pain in the ass to lumberyard owners; we want the top 2% of the FAS wood.   

One tip...well, several.   If you want to be welcome at a lumber yard, know the lingo; carry your own tape measure; know how to calculate board footage; and leave the stacks of lumber neater than you found them. The yard owners don't suffer fools lightly, and if you screw up, you'll make it all the harder for the rest of us.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 5:30 pm 
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Mahogany
Mahogany

Joined: Sat Feb 10, 2007 5:20 am
Posts: 74
Thanks everyone for your contributions. This isn't something I will rush into.
I not going to cut off my Tonewood Supplier. Just looking to explore some
local options.

You have given me a lot to think about. Thank you.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 5:49 pm 
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Walnut
Walnut

Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 6:54 pm
Posts: 11
Location: Hobart Tasmania Australia
Very good advice Rick, there is poeple like me who love Wood and really would love to see it made into Guitars, even thou i have worked with wood most of my life when it comes to Guitars i have much to learn, but the one thing i have learnt is to make sure all my wood is quartersawn, regards Bob.http://www.tasmaniantimbers.com.au[QUOTE=Rick Turner]If you don't know how to look for the proper wood, you'd be better off buying from a lutherie wood supplier such as some of the sponsors here. Knowing how to look at wood and understand it is Lutherie 101. You're not there yet. Stick around; read up; get some good books on this subject; don't go hunting for bargains when you don't know what to look for yet...it's easy to build a guitar that warps and folds up if you don't understand wood. Get to know the terminology; read outside the guitar realm; find a guitar maker nearby who will chat with you and share some tips. Understanding wood is not only intellectual, but it becomes a very visceral experience.   You get to where you can see inside the boards or billets, and you can tap and scratch and sniff out the good stuff.   

Yes, there are bargains to be had at harwood lumber yards, but you have to learn what to look for.   We luthiers are a total pain in the ass to lumberyard owners; we want the top 2% of the FAS wood.   

One tip...well, several.   If you want to be welcome at a lumber yard, know the lingo; carry your own tape measure; know how to calculate board footage; and leave the stacks of lumber neater than you found them. The yard owners don't suffer fools lightly, and if you screw up, you'll make it all the harder for the rest of us.[/QUOTE]


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 4:13 am 
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Koa
Koa

Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 8:29 am
Posts: 960
Location: Northern Ireland
First name: Martin
Last Name: Edwards
Focus: Build
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[QUOTE=Rick Turner]One tip...well, several.   If you want to be welcome at a lumber yard, know the lingo; carry your own tape measure; know how to calculate board footage; and leave the stacks of lumber neater than you found them. The yard owners don't suffer fools lightly, and if you screw up, you'll make it all the harder for the rest of us.[/QUOTE]

Rick may not count well, but he talks sense!!

I know George Lowden prowls around lumber yards.... When I was in his factory last year he was as proud as a new Dad about some gorgeous quilted Mahogany he'd got for pennies.

I've had some maple for necks and a bunch of walnut from my local

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 4:46 am 
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Koa
Koa
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Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2005 1:00 pm
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City: Duluth
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Hi Ron,

As you look through stacks of lumber, trying to find wood that is quartersawn (well, most everything on your list except Birdseye Maple, which is flatsawn) and wide enough for guitar backs (7-1/2" to 8"), you may find boards that are not quartersawn across the entire width of the board. If you want symmetry in the back, sometimes you can find boards that are close to quartersawn on one edge. Make that edge the joint in the back, and even if the rest of the board is riftsawn to flatsawn, you'll get a good looking bookmatch.

For your sides, you may find that it is sometimes even more difficult to find material for sides than for backs. Of the species on your list, Zebrawood is an exception, as it is usually all pretty well quartersawn. You may need to select riftsawn material in some species.

Happy hunting!

Dennis

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 4:50 am 
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Cocobolo
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Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2006 9:19 am
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Jose Ramirez III's book reports that the first western red cedar tops that he used was accidentally found by a helper (who mistook it for Spanish Cedar for necks)in a local lumber yard in Spain, and was excellent.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 6:57 am 
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Koa
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One thing not to look for at a lumber yard is top wood. All top wood (except koa, I suppose) should start with split billets and no lumber yard wood starts there. It can be quite difficult to determine runout and a board that looks perfect can turn out to be worthless.


Back and side sets and even neck wood can be had but I have some great lumber yards nearby and I will go through piles of stuff and walk away empty handed maybe 2 out of 3 times. More than that for neck wood.


I disagree somewhat on the importance of quarter sawn for back and side sets. Dimensional stability of some back and side woods is not as effected by grain orientation as most top woods. And some back/side woods are as stable or more stable flat sawn than some top woods when quartered. I'm NOT recommending flat sawn but rift sawn is often a fine choice in my book.


For instance, here's an approximate comparison of dimensional change between 16" wide Sitka and several species of back/side woods, flat sawn and quarter sawn, going from 45% RH to 20% RH.


-Quarter sawn Sitka would shrink .094"


-Flat sawn Sitka would shrink .168"


-Quarter sawn Coco would shrink .058"


-Flat sawn Coco would shrink .094"


-Quartered Mahogany .065"


-Flat sawn Mahogany .089"


-Quartered Brazilian .063"


-Flat Brazilian .101"


IRW is an exception with quartered at .058" and flat at .128"


Movement data comes from here http://justwoodworking.com/software/wood_move.php


A wood I would intentionally look for rift sawn instead of quarter sawn is Wenge due to the fact that it splits so easily when quartered.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 7:09 am 
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Koa
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No disagreement from me, Kent. But one of the first things a newbie should learn is how to read grain and to understand exactly what you have just put forth there. There are valid reasons for leaning toward quartered wood, and if you're going to use rift or flatsawn, you should know where you can and why and what the risks are. Note that the wood that has the least difference between radial cut and flat sawn is good old mahogany...and that is one of the reasons why mahogany has been so valued by pattern makers and fine furniture builders.   The stuff just doesn't move around much.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 7:42 am 
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Koa
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Location: Is this heaven? "No, it's Iowa."
All good advice here. However in regards to quartered lumber, I would add this exception... material used to glue-up multi-ply necks should be flat sawn with little or no runout.

long

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 8:35 am 
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Cocobolo
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Location: United Kingdom
I learned loads getting my early woods from my local wood yards.
it taught me to read the grain of the board and pick the pieces that may be suitable.
I have found many wonderfull items at my woodyards and you can find the odd gem hiding in the through and through's.
if you are looking at at a stack of through and through cut boards the center one will often be suitable for instruments as it will be quarterd on either side of the pith.
Also it will yield the widest widths of the board.

That said you will have to look long and hard to find good boards at a lumber yard and as kent said you will probably walk away 2 out of three time empty handed.

I would say go for it and look around the lumber yards but dont go there expecting to find a perfect board for your neck blanks etc in any particular visit.

joel


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 8:54 am 
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It is also knowing how and were to cut, along with pickig it out of stacks. Went with a great custom cabinet and furniture maker (did work on multi million dollar yacht's and furniture is well into $1000.) He also builds guitars. He said looked for different things and then how would cut it for what purpose using for. Told me more than once, don't go buy big dollar wood and just cut lengths and think have back, sides or cabinet stuff. Heard it more than once from Bill also. He got the billets, but wasn' leaving it up to me (or anyone) to go make some 22" to 24" cuts for backs and then 34" for sides off the wood he just paid a lot of money for. Told me often like Mike, good way to end up with expensive fire wood.
I "THINK" know what to look for and cut it, but until I have done a lot more study and get a lot more experience from those trust and know what doing, I will buy from them and our guys here.

This wood we use is just to expensive to start cutting and hacking on with no knowledge or enough to get butt kicked. Takes more than a good bandsaw and fence and money to get what looking for.

I am sure most here that go search know what they are doing and know wood working. A few folks (without this resource) will think hey look they are selling wood for pretty good price's on forums and eBay. Go buy a saw to get into tonewood business and well, look for the rest of the story.

We have expert guys here to learn from and get wood from. After a while talk and learn, buy some cheaper wood (if there is any) and make some sets. I will, but for now happy to buy it from those with knowledge.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 9:47 am 
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Koa
Koa

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Location: United States
  I have not built  many guitars yet , but I have worked with much wood ,  all the wood I get from lumber yards shrinks , oak, maple , pine, trim ,fingerjointed trim, even 5 ply birch plywood......  Jody


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