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Old August 15th, 2010, 07:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Southern yellow pine

So I've got some 120 year old southern yellow pine planking. Any thoughts on it's potenial as tone wood for a body?

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Old August 15th, 2010, 08:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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From my personal experience with a log from a 50 year (or so) dead standing tree, you may eventually get a guitar built but you'll be constantly breaking out the turpentine to clean your bits and blades from the gunk that builds up on them.

I made a very crude body from some of the outer wood which was beautifully eaten by boring beetles but the core wood was unusable because of the resin. Sorry, I have no pic since I gave the guitar away to a close friend.

My advice: it's a lot of trouble.
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Old August 15th, 2010, 08:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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ok thanks for the info
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Old August 15th, 2010, 09:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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There's huge variation in southern yellow pine, especially reclaimed southern yellow pine.

Some of it is very well suited for building a solid body guitar. Some of it is not at all suited for it. Of course, it needs to be dry and sound first of all.

You can have two pieces, both all heart wood and both with 15 rings to the inch and one weighs half what the other weighs. The difference is the resin content. The resinous (pitchy) wood would not be well suited for a guitar. It's also no fun to work with for any purpose.

I'd look for all heart wood, tight rings (at least 12- 15 rings per inch), clear (no knots), straight grained, and not too resinous. When planed it should have a nice pinkish/peach/orange color. The pitchy stuff tends to be either loud yellow or deep red or both.

Standing dead pines tend to have buggy sapwood and pitchy heartwood. the very high resin content comes from the tree trying to save itself by making a lot of resin to stop whatever is killing it (could be physical damage, pine beetles, etc). Once it's dead, the bugs tend to get into the sapwood and have their way. I wouldn't think standing dead timber (any species really) would be a good source of body wood.

We make flooring, millwork, furniture, and architectural timberwork out of reclaimed southern yellow pine, so this is sort of my specialty. Someday soon, I hope to build a guitar out of it. Just need a few 8 day weeks...
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Old August 15th, 2010, 09:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Welcome, Teledrooler! Mr. Cash is offering a salutation to the warden.....
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Old August 15th, 2010, 09:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Who would be crazy enough to build a guitar from Southern Yellow Pine! hehe




All guitars sound differnt individually because they are all different, but these Southern Yellow Pine bodies have all sounded phenominal. They all tend to have more Mids, less Treble and nice round bottom end. I think they make great teles.

You just have to watch out for knots, sap/resin, and weight. Some of that pine can get really heavy, and sometimes when you cut the a shape out of the board, the it looses some structure and splits. Flatsawn or liberal rift sawn pieces tend to develop surface cracks, so when you make one out of yellow pine, make sure you are cool with its mojo.

Its so soft, its pretty annoying to work with. It will scratch and dent if you look at it wrong, so you have to protect it like a babies head. It is also very tough to sand it and keep it perfectly flat. You need to raise the grain several times before applying finish.
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Old August 15th, 2010, 09:51 PM   #7 (permalink)
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consider my self a fairly talented all around builder and fabricator, it's what i do for a living. however this would be my first body build. does it make a difference that it will probably be CNCed?
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Old August 16th, 2010, 10:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teledrooler View Post
consider my self a fairly talented all around builder and fabricator, it's what i do for a living. however this would be my first body build. does it make a difference that it will probably be CNCed?
Seems like it would make it easier.
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Old August 16th, 2010, 06:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Colt is right, good tonewood, selection is inportant. Handle it very gently. CNC shouldn't even break a sweat machining it. There are plenty of files available for CNC code just search for whichever format works for you.
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Old January 6th, 2013, 07:49 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I've built about 8 or 9 guitars out of southern yellow pine salvaged from a building built in 1905. The resin in the stuff is super gunky, and you have to scrape off the bearings on your router bits ever few passes. Pretty wood though, bright yellow with pink streaks. I wouldn't worry about avoiding knots, so long as they aren't located on the tip of a bout, or in the neck pocket. Also, it's very soft and dents easily, so finish it with oil instead of something that makes a shell.
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Old January 6th, 2013, 08:05 PM   #11 (permalink)
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My admittedly limited experience with SYP is that its resinous, and splintery. But apparently it can vary, and 120 year old wood deserves something better than a fireplace.

EDIT: Whoops, Zombie thread!
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Old January 6th, 2013, 08:08 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Sent it over to me, for my 5e3 build! The timber here is rubbish!
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Last edited by Dave1234; January 6th, 2013 at 08:08 PM. Reason: Typo
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