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Author Topic: sawing guitar parts  (Read 1350 times)

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Offline farmfromkansas

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sawing guitar parts
« on: June 19, 2021, 02:41:37 PM »
Could someone explain the proper way to cut the neck for a guitar?  Part of the tree, and the size.  I want to build a good guitar before I give out. And for the sides as well, or do you just use 4 quarter and plane down for an accoustic guitar?  I have some highly figured walnut that would make nice parts, if they can stand to be bent.
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Offline doc henderson

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Re: sawing guitar parts
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2021, 04:00:03 PM »
I guess the founder of Grizzly tools builds guitars and they have a nice gallary on their site.  sorry I have no real world experience.
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Offline Dan_Shade

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Re: sawing guitar parts
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2021, 04:27:40 PM »
Quartersawn wood is best.  The more stable the wood, the better.

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Offline grabber green

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Re: sawing guitar parts
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2021, 04:47:06 PM »
What wood do you plan on using for the neck?  Quarter sawn is what I use for necks but lots of necks are made with flat sawn also. You can also cut the neck out as one piece as some do ,but I like starting with 3/4"to 1" thick and gluing a scarf joint at the head stock and stacking blocks for the heal end. Walnut usually bends pretty easily ,practice with some scrap first till you get the hang of it.  Planeing 4 quarter down to 1/8" would be alot of waist plus planers tend to destroy figured walnut when its down that thin. Resaw that thick board with a bandsaw or a hand ripsaw and sand to final thickness. Post some pics of your walnut. Also what wood are you using for the soundboard?

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: sawing guitar parts
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2021, 05:00:49 PM »
AH, now THIS is an artform for sure and every step matters, especially the first steps, such as milling. Now I am not a luthier, but I have several  friends who are world class high end luthiers and one I ma very close with. He is coming over someday soon to pick through my racks for 8/4 ash for his collection. I can forward any specific questions you may have to him for answers. His guitars generally sell for 6 -8 grand a pop and he has a long lead time, he also does repairs and rebuilds on quality older instruments. Right now he is snowed under with work. Most of his clients are touring musicians we all know about.  I also work at the International invitational Luthiers Showcase every year in Woodstock every year and am fascinated by the builders that come in and plop down several hundred bucks and walk out with a big smile on their face and a armful of small wood. Tonewoods are an odd market. Luthiers collect wood that expect to use on "some project" 20 years from now when the wood is 'just right'. My friend has 200 rosewood fingerboards he found and are sitting in his shop waiting for the right repair jobs to come along.
 Anyway, I digress. To your question: you want straight grain form end to end and the grain should lay such that it runs from the back of the neck toward the finger board. SO if you were looking at the top of the neck and down the body while the instrument laid on a table, the grain would be vertical. Pay particular attention to the grain and wood that will wind up where the peg head meets the neck proper, this is the weakest point in the instrument and it must be flawless.
 As for bending, again, pass on specific questions and I will do my best to get you answers from a good pro. I know we have a good builder here on the forum, but his user name escapes me right now. All I know is Luthiers use more clamps and jigs than I have ever seen used in any other craft trade. Holy cow! It almost looks like "I have 75 clamps, I wonder if I can fit them all in this 16" bend section". :D
 Best of luck, this is the height of craft. Having spent hours listening to major custom builders debate the values of particular glues, and what is the best way to prepare hide glue, I know it is a place I don't yet have the courage to venture.
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Offline Resonator

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Re: sawing guitar parts
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2021, 05:12:54 PM »
No personal guitar building experience, but I agree with OG, from what I've seen it is VERY fussy work. A lot of going by feel and art to the woodworking, and difficult to assemble the finished pieces. And when it's built it has to create sound like one piece of wood, without cracking from the string tension. They have kits available to learn the different pieces, and I would recommend practicing on lesser value wood before you use the good walnut.
Just FYI, electric guitars are a lot easier to build. ;D smiley_guitarist
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: sawing guitar parts
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2021, 07:07:09 PM »
Resonator makes a super point. Those kits are not very expensive and they will take you through the process before you make you 'forever guitar'. Make your mistakes on the kits, then get it right for the good wood you have. I really like that idea, in fact, so much I might go back and look at a Mando kit to work on this winter.
Tom Lindtveit, Woodsman Forest Products
Oscar 328 Band Mill, Husky 450, 372 (Clone), Mule 3010, and too many hand tools. :) Retired and trying to make a living to stay that way. NYLT Certified.
OK, maybe I am the woodcutter now.
I can work with wood, but I am NOT a Woodworker, yet.

Offline Dan_Shade

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Re: sawing guitar parts
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2021, 07:12:12 PM »
On the other end of the spectrum, make one, learn and be happy.

I built an acoustic guitar when I was a junior in high school back in the 90s, I had a great book by David Russell Young.  I didn't understand a lot of things, but the guitar came out ok.

By luck the sides were quartersawn, which helps bending.  Though minimal grain runout is probably more important.

I built an electric a few years later, definitely easier, but they have their quirks too.

Depends on what you want, and what your goals are.

Have fun! 
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lots of dull bands and chains

There's a fine line between turning firewood into beautiful things and beautiful things into firewood.

Offline Dan_Shade

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Re: sawing guitar parts
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2021, 07:20:58 PM »
For the side material, I'd experiment a bit.

I have no experience here, but I would saw at a 1/4", cut to approx length, and coat the ends by dipping in anchor seal or melted paraffin wax.

Maybe thin sticks for drying.

If I had something really valuable, I would find someone with specific experience.

I think luthierie is one part science, one part craftsmanship, and a debatable part myth....

Your mileage may vary. 
Woodmizer LT40HDG25 / Stihl 066 alaskan
lots of dull bands and chains

There's a fine line between turning firewood into beautiful things and beautiful things into firewood.

Offline grabber green

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Re: sawing guitar parts
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2021, 07:47:09 PM »
 I agree with you dan . If you have any woodworking aptitude at all its not that hard to build a good sounding guitar. The luthier world is full of myth and art with a lot of hype based on feelings.Keep an open mind and don't just rely on what someone told you is wrong just because someone else told them the same. If you mess up some walnut ,throw it away and saw some more.  Also ,I have built several acoustic and electric guitars and wouldn't say electrics are easier at all, just different. 

Offline Dan_Shade

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Re: sawing guitar parts
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2021, 08:26:07 PM »
I think the only thing that truly requires extreme precision is the fret slotting.

If that gets messed up, then the whole thing is messed up.

Woodmizer LT40HDG25 / Stihl 066 alaskan
lots of dull bands and chains

There's a fine line between turning firewood into beautiful things and beautiful things into firewood.

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: sawing guitar parts
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2021, 08:38:44 PM »
Frets are an issue, and an study unto themselves. Check out this video and jump to around the 3:30 point before you give up.

There are much more complicated fret patterns than this, if you can believe it.
Tom Lindtveit, Woodsman Forest Products
Oscar 328 Band Mill, Husky 450, 372 (Clone), Mule 3010, and too many hand tools. :) Retired and trying to make a living to stay that way. NYLT Certified.
OK, maybe I am the woodcutter now.
I can work with wood, but I am NOT a Woodworker, yet.

Offline Dan_Shade

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Re: sawing guitar parts
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2021, 08:59:33 PM »
I got a chunk of ebony, and a backsaw from Stewart Macdonald to saw the slots when I made my electric guitar.

Ebony is hard.

Woodmizer LT40HDG25 / Stihl 066 alaskan
lots of dull bands and chains

There's a fine line between turning firewood into beautiful things and beautiful things into firewood.

Offline farmfromkansas

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Re: sawing guitar parts
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2021, 09:08:35 PM »
Know I am a bit old to start a new type of woodworking, but have a bit of music in my veins, and my eldest son is an amazing guitar player.  He plays stratocasters, a rickenbacker, and accoustic guitars, thought maybe I could build one he might like. And he has 3 young sons, and one might think it would be cool to have a guitar that Grandpa built.  I have no sound board wood, but quite a bit of walnut, was thinking of making a one piece neck, but could laminate one.  And I found one tree that has amazing twisted grain, kind of changes it's look with the way you move it in the light.
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Offline farmfromkansas

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Re: sawing guitar parts
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2021, 09:27:38 PM »
Would osage orange make a good guitar neck? Or mulberry?  Better than walnut? There are lots of these trees in Kansas.
Most everything I enjoy doing turns out to be work

Offline grabber green

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Re: sawing guitar parts
« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2021, 09:55:01 PM »
I have never tryed osage for a neck but I do have a mulberry neck almost completed . Walnut will make a good neck I have made a few that worked great. My favorite local neck wood right now is cherry.  Also if you like mahogany top guitars ,you might just like a walnut top .A few major guitar companies have or have used it sucessfully .It just doesn't appeal to everybody. I highly suggest using a scarf joint at the headstock for the best strenghth.

Offline DocGP

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Re: sawing guitar parts
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2021, 11:57:31 AM »
A ukelele kit makes a great starter/intro to the sport.  

Just another thought.

Doc
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Offline Don P

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Re: sawing guitar parts
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2021, 10:18:03 PM »
I worked the rough end in a cabinet/millwork shop with a guy that had trained as a luthier. We would be running stock and he would see a likely looking piece of tonewood come through. Typically narrow enough he could hold the edges between thumb and middle finger at one of the "nodes" around the quarter point and tap it. If it was good he would bring it over and hold it to my ear and tap it, "Listen to this piece ring!"

I came up with the working theory that every bundle had one or two special pieces in it. One or two was tonewood, or beautiful figure, or one or two would pinch a blade and try to eat your lunch. A whack of wood is like a box of chocolates.
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Offline Satamax

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Re: sawing guitar parts
« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2021, 03:10:11 AM »
Well, i did train as a guitarmaker at some point in my life. And what brought me to sawmills was that. 

Best advice i can give cut a "log" The length of your sides plus four inches, or thereabouts. And split it in four quarters. Bring that to a big bandsaw. Not a sawmill. And Cut one of the faces. Resting on the other one. May be you will have to plane the faces if not square. But if there is too much wave in the faces , knots, defects of any kind. The wood is most certainly not suitable as a tonewood. 

Back to sawing it. You take two slices of one face, 1/4 thick. Turn your piece so the face you were cutting is now on the table, and you cut two slices of the face which was previously on the table. Depending on the size of your quarter, you might take three pairs each face. That's for backs (or tops)  Then you have two options. Take a 1" cut of one face, for a neck. May be another from the other face. This won't give you a perfectly quartersawn neck. And if your piece is still big enough, you split it in two again with the froe. Most certainly plane the split faces to make these flat. cut the outer part towards sapwood perpendicular to that face. Then rest that perpendicular  face on the table, and cut two slices of the split  face, for your sides. May be four or six. May be more if your log was huge. The leftover, you can cut bindings, material for kerf lining. And few other bits and bobs. May be bookmatched veneer for the headstock. 

https://scontent-cdg2-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.6435-9/202371139_6447419918605161_3457678587732265057_n.jpg?_nc_cat=104&ccb=1-3&_nc_sid=8bfeb9&_nc_ohc=HdhjNjKtxfQAX80pGze&_nc_ht=scontent-cdg2-1.xx&oh=b0643d37ba083838d9021f04dd14de19&oe=60D6C75B i'd say, that's a proper bandsaw. 

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Offline Satamax

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Re: sawing guitar parts
« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2021, 03:26:37 AM »
French CD4 sawmill. Latil TL 73. Self moving hydraulic crane. Iveco daily 4x4 lwb dead as of 06/2020. Replaced by a Brimont TL80 CSA.


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