quarter sawn vs flat?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by dazco, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. rednoise

    rednoise Member

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    There appears to be some longitudinal grain along the length of the back of the neck, so I'm thinking it is quarter-sawn. Next time I change strings I'll pop the neck and check out the heel. If this turns out to be quarter-sawn, I think I can safely say I prefer flat-sawn, at least on Fender-style guitars. This Warmoth neck is a beautiful piece of work, and it's got a gorgeous tint and finish on it (courtesy of Pedulla) but it just never felt entirely comfortable to me.
     
  2. smallbutmighty

    smallbutmighty Supporting Member

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    Be aware that the necks in those pics are "picture perfect" examples of flat and QS. The grain lines you see may not be so perfectly vertical or horizontal, but somewhere in between.
     
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  3. ellis dee

    ellis dee Member

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    your mother wears army boots....
     
  4. jackaroo

    jackaroo Member

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    In theory the QS is supposed to be “better”...whatever that means.

    I happen to have a similar opinion as some of the other posters...that the Guitars I’ve played that featured QS necks felt stiffer, colder and less enjoyable to play than flat swan versions of the same guitar(strat). I’m going to say that’s not definitive, scientific data...but there seems to be a trend. And in honesty I wanted to like the QS necks because I’m aware of the desirability of QS wood from older Martín guitars. But that bias wasn’t confirmed...in fact it was refuted.

    Odd. I defer to the experts...but I can’t ignore what I felt either.
     
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  5. rednoise

    rednoise Member

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    Yeah, it's not perfect on this one. the long grain pattern is most pronounced along the tuner-side of the neck. Here's a picture - waddaya think, flat or quarter, or somewhere in between?

    [​IMG]
     
  6. smallbutmighty

    smallbutmighty Supporting Member

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    Ha! I'll put that right next to "This guy is the Bob Ross of the guitar world." :D
     
  7. smallbutmighty

    smallbutmighty Supporting Member

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    Based on this pic, that wouldn't be sold by Warmoth as QS.
     
  8. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

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    A great point.

    We try to discuss the behavior of two necks, imagining an idealized version of flat sawn and of quartersawn. When you try to explain what might be expected to happen, we use this idealized model. But then we're so incredibly sloppy in the real world as to what the pieces of wood actually look like. Until we're capable of some sort of way of describing each neck with more precision, there's just going to be so much confusion. I'm kind of tired of being correct in theory, and then have people call one piece of wood flatsawn and another quartersawn when maybe they shouldn't. You end up with a Garbage-In Garbage-Out situation. And a discussion lacking any real utility.
     
  9. wetordry

    wetordry Member

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    Yeah, I dont think a logmill gives a hoot except at that level quarter sawing is nothing but waste.
    Quarter sawn is pretty specific way of slicing or selecting a chunk of wood out of a stack of lumber.
    But at the log level...its about sawing one log off the carriage and the next log on..[​IMG]
    Quarter or flat sawn walnut?
    [​IMG]
    Just the way the slabs come off the log for maximum yield of linear board foot.
    The guy down the road choosing which way to slice a selected board into suitable necks is the guy determining flat or quarter.....as far as necks go.
    Mills just slab it off as fast as possible.
    The mill doesn't have time to fart around with those designations.
    It's the neck makers call.
     
  10. Coolidge

    Coolidge Member

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  11. zombiwoof

    zombiwoof Supporting Member

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    Maybe this is the time to ask about something that I have wondered about for years. When I was young, I had a '63 Strat. I used to stare at the grain of the neck, if you looked at the side of the neck it had very straight equidistant lines going with the length of the neck. It was beautiful, and the guitar in general was great, very resonant (I used to hold it un-amplified up to my ear and play it, it was a great sound that I always thought would be great to amplify exactly as I heard it), and the neck profile is still the nice rounded one that I look for today in a guitar neck. Would that be considered a flat-sawn, rift-sawn, or quarter-sawn neck?. I'm thinking quarter-sawn, as it looked a lot like the neck you show above, however other examples of q-sawn necks I've heard about seem to have the grain go at 90 degree angles to the fretboard, not along the length. I know that every time I see a Stratocaster I notice how the grain of the neck seems to go all over the place, nothing like my old '63.
    Al
     
  12. jwguitar

    jwguitar Supporting Member

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    It’s a stability thing it doesn’t do much to tone one way or the other in my experience. When a neck is flat sawn it is generally less stable than if it is quarter sawn. In a three piece neck like the ones found on fancy jazz guitars the three pieces are quarter sawn with opposing grain. That way the neck is even more rigid.
     
  13. rednoise

    rednoise Member

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    As I mentioned, I bought this neck about 20 years ago. I kind of doubt I would specify quarter-sawn wood, since I probably wouldn't have known of any reason to do so. Still, QS or no, this is an unusually stiff and stable neck. The guitar almost never needs a truss rod adjustment even with seasonal changes, and the guitar stays in tune for a long time.

    I think I still have the receipt somewhere from my original purchase from Warmoth. I'll have to hunt it down and see what exactly I ordered.
     
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  14. runningman

    runningman Member

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    I haven't read every post, so maybe this has been covered, but...

    why do basically ALL acoustics have quarter-sawn necks?
     
  15. esowden

    esowden Member

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    Personally - I think many get so caught up in the smell of the cork, they forget how to enjoy the wine...
     
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  16. Devin

    Devin Low Voltage Supporting Member

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    I avoid QS necks. I can even hear them in youtube demos and recognize it without reading the specs. All those +4k wildwood fender CS guitars, meticulously relic'd in the hands of a master like Greg Koch..... have the nasal pinched high end of a dentist drill. Unpleasant. YMMV and likely does.
     
  17. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

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    No, that's not why I avoid quartersawn necks.

    +

    If you use care in the selection of the blank and don't try to carve the neck too thin, I don't think you'll get a failure. But it is so obvious, looking at the rendering that explains who quartersawing works, that quartersaw wood cutting yields a bunch of different varieties of pieces - which will present all sorts of ways. My leap of faith is when I say a lot of hunks of wood that are all quartersawn, and presumably someone picks through that and chooses the better half, even among those there's a lot of difference; functional difference. They're inconsistent. Q sawn pieces are not so much uniformly this way or that - that's not it. The point is they vary so much. I'm not demanding that you agree with me here - I'm just imploring each of you to actually look at what's out there with an open mind and your eyeglasses on as necessary.

    +

    I think the biggest origin or source of all this trouble is, quartersawing technique still yields blanks that appear flatsawn, and flatsawing techniques yield at least some blanks that look quartersawn. And don't forget about rift sawing. It is very difficult even for experts to tell looking at some blanks, what approach was used. So some blanks are "flatsawn" 'cause they look flatsawn and others are "flatsawn" because that was what the lumbermen used - that's how they cut up the log. Whew.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
  18. PatriotBadger

    PatriotBadger Member

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    The interesting and largely unknown/overlooked truth about hard maple is that it isn't particularly dimensionally stable. When talking about wood people confuse strength and hardness (which usually increase in tandem) with dimensional stability. They are completely different and wholly segregated from one another. Maple works well enough for necks because necks are small pieces of wood. The stuff is used because it's everywhere, easy to work, is consistent, and comparatively inexpensive (important when so much of it winds up on the shop floor). But nearly every other common wood used for neck construction is more stable. Mahogany (especially Honduran), walnut, purpleheart, bloodwood, wenge, rosewood....the list goes on and on....all far more dimensionally stable than maple. In fact the only commonly used wood with worse stability than hard maple is ebony, and my experience bears that out, I hate the stuff.

    The bottom line is not to worry about it. If you insist on worrying about it, get a laminated neck. All of the laminated necks I've owned - a lot - have very little or no tension on the truss rod and they simply don't move, ever. They are built straight and they stay straight.
     
  19. panther_king

    panther_king Member

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    This is what I'm talking about. Look at the longest cuts from each of those pictures.... it's the same cut. Then the next longest - also the same cut.

    The only really different ones are heartwood cuts towards the center of the plain sawn boards, because the quarter sawn log doesn't get those (because it's quartered, duh).

    This diagram refers to the CUT style - flat/plain, and quartered. The grain orientation is much the same.

    But look at a diagram like this - these cuts (with the same name) focus on achieving a grain type/pattern in a more consistent manner across all the cut lumber. The aren't 'sawn flat' or 'sawn quartered', but achieve what is considered flatsawn and quartersawn grain.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. wetordry

    wetordry Member

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    To do that, a log is cut in half, that goes somewhere else to be cut in half again.
    What's left on the carraige is cut inhalf, that piece has to either be resawn or sent back again to the carraige. Just counting the cuts, its an extraordinary number of extra steps, when you are getting half the wood quarter sawn for free without any effort. Not sure how that half log is gonna be resawn, as well as the 3rd quarter, when what is typically happening is this:

    I only know a couple mill operators, but those extra steps/cuts are gonna make that neck cost triple. Its easier(money) to saw it and let the end user flip the board 90 degrees to cut the neck.

    Because even though this log is plainsawn, half the boards are quartersawn. Sending huge 1200-2000lb cants upstream would be something everyone I know curses.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
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