lightest/strongest wood for a pedalboard

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by jrm, Jan 22, 2008.


  1. jrm

    jrm Member

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    hello gurus:

    I am beginning to make plans for my pedalboard (I know.. I've said that before), however, I need to make it as light and strong as possible. What type of wood, and what thickness would you recommend?

    -jon
     
  2. Rasta

    Rasta Member

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    I'm a wood dork almost as much as I am a guitar gear dork (and really, I truly am a dork). I actually got my degree in Wood Science and know more about wood than I ever wanted to know.

    Head on down to Home Depot or Menard's and get some birch plywood. I'd think 3/8" thick should be enough for you unless you're building a BIG board, then maybe 1/2". There's some imported Baltic Birch from Asia (China and Russia, mostly) but it tends to off-gas a lot of formaldehyde. I'd try to stick with a domestic, or maybe a Canadian maker. In the end, though, most veneer core plywoods are going to weigh about the same and behave about the same.

    Good luck!
     
  3. jrm

    jrm Member

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    thanks Rasta! What about something like spruce?
     
  4. plan-x

    plan-x Supporting Member

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    +1 on the Home depot 3/8" birch. I've made several boards with that stuff. My largest board is 15x30" and loaded down with 14 pedals. It flexes a little bit but it hasn't snapped. Much lighter than 1/2" plywood. I would recommend a coat of primer on the whole board to keep it from warping. If you use any glue to put down a velcro freindly surface(carpet) it will warp if it hasn't been primered cause it's so thin. I don't think 1/2" plywood has these issues but it weighs twice as much.
     
  5. Rasta

    Rasta Member

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    A Spruce face veneer is rather uncommon. In fact, I'm not sure if there are any veneer suppliers in the country peeling it as a face veneer. It will probably be in the core veneers of the plywood (cross-plies).

    Then again, you'll probably be painting or carpeting this board, right? So the specie of wood really won't matter that much, anyway. But if you wanted something really cool, find a veneer core plywood with a spliced A Maple face that could match the fretboard of your guitar? Man, that's enough to make me want to build my own board right there....
     
  6. Rasta

    Rasta Member

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    1/2" isn't quite twice the weight of 3/8", but it's not far off (stick with a veneer core, not an MDF or Particle Board core - it adds to stiffness and keeps weight down). If warping is a concern, you should make sure it's a balanced panel (ie - the same primer or varnish on both sides, or carpeted face and primer/varnish back).


    Okay, wood dork off...
     
  7. Structo

    Structo Member

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  8. jrm

    jrm Member

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    Thanks fellas. This is all good info. Yeah, I don't really care what the wood looks like... just that it is strong and light. This info is helping me get headed in the right direction. Anyone else want to weigh in?
     
  9. Jacobpaul81

    Jacobpaul81 Member

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    I used Knotty pine for my board. That's what was laying around my garage. Basically old barn board. It's super light, and incredibly sturdy, considering how soft a wood it is. I have no fear of standing on my elevated (puma-trailer trash style) board and jumping up and down. =)
     
  10. jamison162

    jamison162 Member

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    Home Depot: 5 Ply Luan (roughly 1/2"), it's just the right size, light enough and smooth finish. Smoother than ply.
     
  11. JUSTJOB

    JUSTJOB Member

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    Western Red Cedar, Redwood, White Pine 5/8" thick if you have access to a planer, 3/4" if not. Also 1/2" Poplar plywood is another great option and is very light for plywood.
     
  12. ARch

    ARch Member

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    I use birch as well -- bought about 3 4x2 1/4" and 1/2" sections for my many revisions. Sturdy, light, and as long as you engineer the flat top correctly, no flexing at all (ie, don't use a single flat piece for the top).
     

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