From a log of walnut to guitars.

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Donnie2112, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. Donnie2112

    Donnie2112 Member

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    So my grandparents had this big black Walnut tree in their side yard my entire childhood, around 3 years ago it died and had to be cut down. A 6 foot section of the trunk is still sitting in my grandparents yard. At any rate I'm hoping to get some guitar bodies out of it.

    My plan was to have my dad got up to my grandmas house and cut the wood in a shape that would be useful to a luthier, then I was hoping to send it to a custom shop for further processing into a telecaster of my specification.

    Here's my questions. What shape, dimensions and part of the log should be cut in order to get a guitar body or two? How should I store the wood between getting it from my dad and sending it off to a custom shop? What custom shop would help me with this project?
     
  2. EADGBE

    EADGBE Member

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    Probably quarter sawn.

    [​IMG]


    But I believe the wood should be kiln dried sometime before a guitar can be made from it.
     
  3. dangeroso

    dangeroso Member

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    Anything but rift cut. Do you know how you want the grain to look? Bookmatched across the center, or solid slab?
     
  4. PB Wilson

    PB Wilson Member

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    What's the diameter of the log?

    What's the diameter of the dark heartwood?

    If it's not too big, quartersawing might lead to a bunch of very narrow boards with a large lighter-looking strip across the edge what might not look so hot, depending on your tastes of course.

    If you are making solid body guitars, don't worry about quartersawing. Just get it cut through and through and choose the best, most clear sections for your guitar bodies. Walnut is on the more stable side of the domestic hardwoods. You've got that going for you. It's also beautiful as well.

    I had two walnut trees sawn up into 2" slabs years ago, one for best face and one that was 3' in diameter I had quartered. I'm beginning to use it now (probably ten years later). It's amazing wood and a real sleeper in lutherie. Best of luck!
     
  5. PB Wilson

    PB Wilson Member

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    By the way, if I had to do it over, I'd have sawn the bigger log through and through for guitar projects as well as other stuff like a large slab tabletop or something like that. Have fun dreaming up how you're gonna use it all. Read up on stickering and drying it and check around for a local person with a WoodMizer bandsaw setup.
     
  6. cardamonfrost

    cardamonfrost Member

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    If the log is big enough diameter, even plain sawn (flat sawn) will provide some boards that have the grain at 90 degrees to the flat (like quarter sawn).

    I dont see the need for kiln drying, but most certainly 1.5 years per inch of thickness drying time. I have a black cherry that I flat sawed for Tele bodies and some furniture. Hopefully by this fall I will be able to use it for something! I thnk that the target (if you have acess to a moisture meter) is less than 6%.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    C
     
  7. Donnie2112

    Donnie2112 Member

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    Thanks for your responses, I am not certain on the diameter of the wood as i have not actually seen the piece of trunk in question. I will forward some of this in info to my old man.

    My thought was that if I had a big enough piece I'd try to do a book matched or perhaps single piece solid body. If it ended up being too thin I thought I might just use it as a back.


    I will try to get details from my dad, is there a resource out there that any of you know if where I can just forward him a link so he can cut it properly?
     
  8. Donnie2112

    Donnie2112 Member

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    Also, do any of you guys have a recommendation for a custom builder that accepts customer provided wood?
     
  9. cardamonfrost

    cardamonfrost Member

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    I would think that any builder would use your wood, however they may advise against it.

    C
     
  10. John Hurtt

    John Hurtt Supporting Member

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    Most will probably use it...if it is useable. Some might cut you a small price break as well.
     
  11. bumblefingers

    bumblefingers Member

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    I know Bob Logan would for a fact, I would imagine Ron Kirn would as well. Probably any of them, just a function of what you want to spend.
     
  12. SPROING!

    SPROING! Member

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    First question I want to ask is what killed the tree?
    Is it full of worm holes or otherwise damged?

    Also, keep in mind that walnut is HEAVY. Darn near as heavy as rock maple.
    I'm finishing up a walnut tele now and had to make it nearly hollow to keep the weight at seven pounds.
     

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