Question on a build...wood

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by truckiescott, Sep 16, 2020.

  1. truckiescott

    truckiescott New Member

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    Folks, this will be my first attempt to build a guitar. It is for my son. I am more than a beginner in woodworking (by no means an expert) so I guess that is not my primary concern. I plan to build an SG utilizing both maple and mahogany for the body and neck. My vision is to have basically a 1.5" stripe of maple running up from the body to the neck with mahogany on either side. Needless to say I want to do something a bit different.

    My question is do any of you luthiers see a problem with using both woods together in this scheme? I read that the maple is preferred in the neck since it is stiffer.

    Any shared wisdom would be much appreciated.
     
  2. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    No reason not to do that. But if you are putting two different timbers together, they must seasoned properly - three years or so. Kiln-dried wood from a normal commercial timber store will still have far too much movement left in it. Then when you are bringing one down to size, cut to about a quarter inch too big, then set it aside for a week for its internal strains to settle before you cut it to final size. I know it sounds bothersome, but by doing this you will have a stable guitar that will never split apart at the joints.
     
    chilipeppermaniac likes this.
  3. Silvertone

    Silvertone Well-Known Member

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    You should have no issues with laminating wood together for a neck. It is actually my preferred method as it gives a neck great strength properties. Be careful using that much maple as it is a heavy wood and an SG body is notoriously thin and light. You could have a problem with neck dive. I built a SG body from spalted curly maple and a laminated neck a while back. The neck was mahogany with maple strips. It was one of my favorite guitars and I actually sold it to my friend's wife for a Christmas present to my friend.

    Here is a couple pics -
    first_coat.JPG first_coat-back.JPG



    Kiln dried wood from a reputable commercial supplier will not have movement left in it, related to moisture content anyway. Not sure where this came from? Possibly buying 2"x4"s at Home Depot you are asking for trouble but commercial kiln dried lumber should have a moisture content of 8% - 10%, which air dried wood, no matter for how long, will not get down to that percentage. I would always recommend seasoning in your shop environment for a certain period of time after purchasing, and modifying it's size, especially if it is not climate controlled.

    Regards Peter.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2020
  4. donepearce

    donepearce Well-Known Member

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    Well, the right amount of moisture in the wood is whatever it will be in its working environment. The problem with kiln drying is that the outside gets too dry, while the inside remains damp. There is no substitute for time to stabilise that.
     
  5. Silvertone

    Silvertone Well-Known Member

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    I've never heard that before. The place I get to kiln dry my wood tests the pieces and are between 8% - 10% all the way through when done. Thicker material takes longer but eventually it will all get down to that percentage. If I get really thick pieces dried I put in a couple of offcuts the same thickness and we cut those down the middle to test the moisture content to make sure they are done. Any wood will take on moisture and release it depending on environmental conditions but ideally you have the wood finished before this happens in extremes, which allows it to slow that process and minimize movement relating to the fast changes in humidity. I have air dried lots of lumber as well and I find it not as stable although depending on the species it retains more contrast between heartwood and sapwood. I mostly cut and dry black walnut. Rule of thumb 1 yr / inch of thickness when air drying will produce a suitable moisture content. Usually between 10-13%.

    I've also glued lots of woods together. Frankly taking into consideration grain direction and generally a good glue joint is stronger than the wood outside of it, gluing multiple pieces together greatly increases stability.

    Cheers Peter.
     

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