March 28th, 2012, 04:19 PM
In my stash of wood I have a very nice light weight swamp ash blank that is actually big enough to get two bodies out of it if the blanks are cut out of it horizontally. The thought of this is kind of upsetting to me aesthetically. I've always thought single piece swamp ash blanks should be reserved for traditional Black Guard/Broadcaster type builds with a semi transparent blonde finish. I am wondering if more experienced builders here have opinions or insights as to why this would be a bad idea besides just the aesthetics of it. It is unlikely that I would actually create horizontal grain blanks out of this unless someone can talk me into it. I would like to hear other reasons why this is a bad idea and not a waste of good wood to cut it into a single body with traditional grain direction. Thanks in advance for your input/insight.
March 28th, 2012, 04:24 PM
I'd be concerned about wood movement. Note what it says about movement across the grain. I think there was a thread in the last 6 months or so where a top was glued like what you are intending to do, and it started to delaminate with the base wood if I recall correctly...
March 28th, 2012, 05:11 PM
There was a guy on here not long ago that had done that and his setup kept going out of whack with temperature and moisture changes that go unnoticed with the grain in the proper direction.
March 28th, 2012, 10:35 PM
I've actually done this twice. The first time was with a 3 piece ash blank with the grain horizontal and a walnut cap with the grain vertical like normal. So far it's been fine.
The second one didn't fare so well. I say don't try it. http://www.tdpri.com/forum/tele-home-depot/306406-my-body-cupped.html
March 28th, 2012, 10:44 PM
Wooden things don't like to be built that way. At a certain point, you've just got to look around and notice that everything made out of single, solid-wood panels gets built with the grain on the long axis, be it a table, a bench, or a door. That goes double for guitars, and guitarbuilder and Mike are telling you why.
Lots of tensions get placed on guitars, and the wood wants those tensions along the grain rather than across it.
March 28th, 2012, 11:18 PM
Make one Jazzmaster out of it.
March 28th, 2012, 11:24 PM
You'll have two crap guitars instead of one great one. If that's what you want, then go for it! :grin:
Wood is a sponge (even finished wood) because when it was a tree each ring when it was still in service in the inner layer of the bark was designed to actually be a sponge - to lift water.
A piece of wood has three dimensions:
Because a tree needs to be able to hold the weight above the roots, it's a very stable material in the longitudinal plane. You get very little expansion and contraction with changing moisture levels in that plane. Almost none with humidity changes once dry.
But the radial and tangential planes will shrink and expand over their lengths amounts that are actually noticible - like when a door jams because of all the rain, or when floorboard become squeeky in the middle of winter with the dry of central heating.
Putting the strings across the tangential or radial plane means humidity varation will produce a tuning varition in the guitar. Humidity changes put a correctly constructed guitar out of tune and can even wreck an acoustic.
No one makes stringed instruments susceptible to radial or tangential movement. You shouldn't either.
March 29th, 2012, 06:34 AM
Excellent description Nick JD.