Hand Tools

Subject:
This is my experience...
Response To:
Re: wood chemistry ()

David Weaver
..shopping for spruce for archtops (which I haven't made yet). If the wood is going to age or hang for several years, it really doesn't need to be kiln dried as the age is what takes the behavior out of the wood.

I learned the hard 2 years ago sawing a perfectly sawn blank out of a large 14/4 cherry slab that as KD and very dry that it will still move a lot.

I have the same guitar neck still in a guitar - it twisted seasonally, fortunately in the right direction for a guitar. The seasons changed and it went back, and so on. After it did this a couple of times, it stopped moving and has landed close to flat. It's safe to use now two years later.

There's no substitute for hanging a neck and observing it through a few seasonal changes. While the english planes that I get still shrink after a very long time when they get over here, none have ever twisted, and I've not had anything air dried more than a couple of years old that moved in anything other than width.

George suggested the same when I mentioned getting large billets and sawing them - they don't just relieve themselves of tension after sawing, but they move. The decision by the bassoon makers, I'm sure, is an economic one from experience - it can't be skipped based on technical arguments just as even the baked maple billet that I have and resawed into four necks, ultimately moving well past the tension that was obviously in the board in the first place (of course, the baking is advertised to relieve all of this tension - if the billet that I bought was baked any harder, it would've had charcoal in it).

The issue with air drying wood is that if it continues to move seasonally after a while and can't be sized down to be suitable, it has to be thrown out. This is still done in better acoustic guitar factories (not just small makers). The neck blanks are sawn only from good wood, but then stored and stacked. They are sorted after a certain period of time into those that moved and those that didn't. The ones that did are worked over again to be straight (so that they can be checked later). If they get resized more than once or twice, they usually end up being thrown away.

I have more stories from George re wood that went a certain number of seasons and then finally stopped, but there's no need to recount them all.

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