Milling Logs For Usable Wood

White Oak Milled LogRecently I had a white oak tree taken down in my yard.  It was my favorite tree and I hated to see it go, but it was dying at the top.  The tree was about 2′ in diameter, and straight as a die.  The bottom 30’was flawless and could have been used as a veneer log.

Once the tree was taken down, I had the bottom 30′ section cut into three pieces, and had them hauled away to the mill. I met up with the sawyer at the mill to oversee the cutting of the logs. I wanted to make sure they were cut just the way I wanted. Once the wood was milled it was taken to a kiln to dry. The wood would then be ready to use in as little as three months. Read more

Lumber from Trees in the Yard

Make Lumber with Little Log Hauling MachineSometimes you can find the best lumber right in your own backyard. Getting the wood milled can be difficult but if you are willing to do the work you can end up with spectacular lumber from trees right in your own yard. But I must warn you it is not easy.

I had to cut down a beautiful white oak that I loved but it will yield lots of really nice wood. Granted white oak is not used on guitars but there are a lot of uses for this magnificent wood. The tree was about 80 feet tall and straight  as an arrow. The bottom 26 feet or so of the tree could be considered a veneer quality log without a branch or defect and perfectly shaped. I had the bottom 24 feet cut into three 8′ sections so I could get some quality lumber. See video below.

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Guitar Building Materials – Part 4

Materials for Guitar Building

For guitar building you will not only need wood for the guitar, but you will also need wood to make fixtures, jigs and any number of things that will come in handy during the process. Here is a brief guide to what you will need.

Rough Cut Wood for the Guitar

flitch cut treeMost yards will just have bundles of rough cut planks that they are bought from a broker. The planks are kept bundled or piled according to species. They are random cuts of wood, possibly each from a different tree that grew in a different locations. The minerals in the soil where a tree grows has a tremendous effect on the color and streaks in a piece of wood. To get an exact match it is necessary to get all the wood from the same tree, if not it will be hard to find two pieces that match. In this case you will being doing good if you can get close.

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Buying Guitar Wood – Part 3 – What to Look For

Buying Guitar Wood – What to Look Out For

There are some things that you want to avoid when picking out guitar wood. Runout can be a problem as well as highly figured wood. These things can compromise the integrity of the guitar as it ages. And it can be a problem almost immediately if the flaws are pronounced enough.

Building a guitar is a lot of work and takes a long time. Don’t waste your time and efforts using bad materials. Learn what to look out for right away. And don’t be taken in by all the fancy wood grains you see in some guitars. These guitars will almost certainly develop problems at some point because of the wood selection.

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Buying Guitar Wood – Part 2

Buying Guitar Wood -Materials and Types of Lumber Yards

The first order of business is to know something about lumber yards and the wood and other materials you will be using for your project. For guitar wood you will be looking for a yard that sells what’s referred to as “exotics”, and a nice selection of domestic woods. Exotics are the imported fancy species like rosewood and the like, domestics are homegrown woods like maple, cherry and so on.

For jigs and fixtures you will be looking for a combination of plywood, MDF and domestic hardwoods. If you are extremely lucky you may find everything you are looking for in the same yard, but it’s not likely. You may have quite a ride to get to a good yard, so you want to be prepared when you get there as shopping around for some of this stuff may not be an option. Read more