# [HOW TO] Optimal Wood Density for Lightweight Bodies

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by thame2010, Oct 25, 2009.

1. ### thame2010TDPRI Member

Age:
29
Mar 23, 2009
Osorno, Chile
Optimal Wood Density for Lightweight Bodies

Hi everybody! I've been reading this forum for quite a while and I've learned a lot! So, thank you all for sharing your knowledge. Now it's my turn to give something back.

Ok, let's get it started.

The other day I was thinking that it would be great to know, how much would a finished body weight, (all cavities routed) prior to start working on a body blank. This way you could tell if the body blank still needs more time to dry or maybe the wood is just heavy.

So, here's what I did:

First, I took Terry Downs "Rev. D" Telecaster Template, and drew it in Google Sketchup (3D Modeling Software) with the right dimensions (I only removed the truss rod access for vintage necks from the model).

Then, my intention was to calculate the volume of the body (with an external plugin) but I had serious trouble with it so, what I did was, making the body shape without cavities, and then on a separate model, I drew each cavity to calculate their volume separately.

Look at this images and you'll understand what I mean:

Ok, I hope you get the picture.

By the way, there's one little detail. Cavities such as pickguard screw holes were so small that the plugin rounded the volume to 0 ml (mililiters) so I decided to ignore those. Please keep in mind that this model and also the volumes calculated are not 100% accurate but very close.

Let's move on to the math part:

Body Volume = 4739 ml
Cavities Volume = 326 ml
-----------------------
Total Volume of Routed Body = (4739 - 326) = 4413 ml (mililiters)

Ok, now that we have that, we can see what's the density we're looking for in our wood.

Let's say we want to have a body that weighs 4 lbs (1814 grams) or less (use another value if desired).

Density = Mass/Volume = 1814 grs / 4413 ml = 0,411 gr/ml

Density = 0,411 gr/ml = 0,237 ounces/inch^3
(if you want other units, check out http://www.digitaldutch.com/unitconverter/)

This would be the highest density we should have if we plan to build a body that weighs less than 4 lbs (1814 grs).

Now all you have to do is, take a ruler, measure your body blank, calculate it's volume (Width x Height x Depth), see how much it weights and then, calculate it's density (mass / volume). By comparing this density with the one calculated above you can tell if the body blank is still too heavy or just right.

I'm sorry if I wrote this in a confusing way, English is not my mother language so, you'll have to forgive me

P.S.: If this was posted before, shoot me!

Last edited: Oct 25, 2009

2. ### ShepherdFriend of Leo's

Jan 17, 2008
Nick JD, ever been to Chile? Say about 22 years ago?

3. ### oigunTele-Afflicted

Apr 29, 2009
Haarlem, Holland.
Great work Bro !!!!

4. ### barkleyTele-Afflicted

Aug 6, 2009
Australia
Good work!
Thanks for sharing!

5. ### preebPoster ExtraordinaireVendor Member

Age:
51
Sep 10, 2008
Sonoran Desert
Great! Thanks. Very useful

6. ### tdownsFormer Member

Nov 8, 2003
Texas
I did that a few years ago. Here's the result.

I think your command of the English is very good. I respect that very much.

Let me know what you think. I let AutoCAD calculate the volumes based on that Rev D drawing. I always thought it would be cool to determine the body weight from a blank weight. After I posted this back then, folks didn't seem to excited about it. I guess I'm just a nerd engineer!!

Thanks for posting.

7. ### thame2010TDPRI Member

Age:
29
Mar 23, 2009
Osorno, Chile
Hi Terry! I'm glad YOU replied

I tried to calculate the volume using AutoCAD too but couldn't manage to convert the pickup, control panel, and neck routes to solids (using CONVTOSOLID after specifying the thickness). Ended up using Sketchup which gave me quite a small error (seems like I missed by 3in³! Not so bad after all )

It's great to know I'm not the only one who thinks in this kind of things

Much Regards!

(P.S. Just listened to the music on your website. You got some serious skills!)

8. ### preebPoster ExtraordinaireVendor Member

Age:
51
Sep 10, 2008
Sonoran Desert
I never saw Terry's post and I'm sorry I didn't.
I had to go by weighing the blank first and the body when cut, and do the calculations.
I came up with this guesstimate:
For a max weight of 3.5 Lbs Tele body I needed to buy wood @ max 1.85 Lbs per Board Foot

This is very close to your theoretical calculations... so I guess it also works in the real world.

Thank you both!

9. ### Woz05Tele-Meister

Age:
30
Jan 10, 2009
Springfield, TN
Volume = 264.14 cubic inches via SolidWorks.

The only thing missing from my model is the filleted edge along the body, this was made from Terry's print.

File size:
21.5 KB
Views:
72

10. ### Woz05Tele-Meister

Age:
30
Jan 10, 2009
Springfield, TN
UPDATED:

Right after I posted the previous post I got the filet to work right along the edges.

Body Volume = 263.78 cubic inches

File size:
20.5 KB
Views:
61

11. ### thame2010TDPRI Member

Age:
29
Mar 23, 2009
Osorno, Chile
Hi "preeb", it's good to know this works
By the way, I'm a huge fan of your builds

Woz, that model is fantastic!
I believe I know why Terry's volume differs with yours a little; he specified the depth of the neck, neck pickup and bridge pickup route to be 0.625" while on his Rev. D template it says that the depth of neck pocket is 0.625", neck pickup is 0.687" and bridge pickup 0.85". Anyway, it's pretty darn close so it really makes no big difference. Mine differs more with yours since I didn't (couldn't!) consider the screw holes.

By the way Woz, do you think it's possible that you could share that wonderful CAD model with the forum?

Thanks for the replies!

12. ### Woz05Tele-Meister

Age:
30
Jan 10, 2009
Springfield, TN
If someone would like to post instructions as to how to do this (post SolidWorks files) i guess I could share

I also have the pickguard, and the neck is in progress (trying to get the curvature on the backside of the neck done)

File size:
19.1 KB
Views:
61

13. ### RodeoTexPoster Extraordinaire

Sep 14, 2005
Nueces Strip
You guys are great with your computer drafting and calculation skills. I think I would have just shoved a body into a giant graduated cylinder of water. Low tech, I know...

14. ### Woz05Tele-Meister

Age:
30
Jan 10, 2009
Springfield, TN
But that would have worked just as well!

15. ### Nick JDDoctor of TeleocityAd Free Member

May 12, 2007
Queensland, Australia

16. ### preebPoster ExtraordinaireVendor Member

Age:
51
Sep 10, 2008
Sonoran Desert
I was wondering if it's possible to do the same for a Strat body...
P-Bass and Jazz Bass will be great too... but this is probably asking too much (-;

17. ### thame2010TDPRI Member

Age:
29
Mar 23, 2009
Osorno, Chile
Sure! I could give it a try but I would need some templates. Do you have templates for the bodies you mentioned?

18. ### preebPoster ExtraordinaireVendor Member

Age:
51
Sep 10, 2008
Sonoran Desert

Jan 10, 2009
Ohio
nice.

does that outline come close to what you find?

20. ### preebPoster ExtraordinaireVendor Member

Age:
51
Sep 10, 2008
Sonoran Desert
?