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New Project to start soon - 100+ year old wood

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by RogerC, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 30, 2011
    My younger son's teacher has a barn on her place that's been there over 100 years. She's given me free reign to go and pick out any wood I'd like to build guitars. I've already done some preliminary scoping and found several pieces that will work.

    I'll likely construct it by using the framing timbers as the body and then overlaying a top made from the outside clapboards, which have a great weathered red paint. They are pretty rough though, so it will be a challenge to mount hardware.

    Right now I'm thinking of black (or brass if I can find it cheap enough) hardware, and a neck pickup ring to avoid needing a pickguard. I've not quite decided on what wood for the neck yet. I've got some great mahogany and walnut for the fretboard to keep things dark. I also have a plain maple neck/fretboard done, and it might look decent with some ambering. Not sure yet. I'm always open to suggestions.

    I plan to make 2 of these guitars - 1 for me :D, and 1 to donate to my church for a raffle to raise money for missions trips. I should be going by the barn this saturday to harvest the wood, so I'll make sure and get pics of the barn and anything I bring back.
  2. OpenG Capo4

    OpenG Capo4 Friend of Leo's

    Aug 4, 2010
    Athens, GA
    I would think you could do a "post" style bridge like a tune-o-matic into weathered wood and not worry about it. Or if you wanted to do a Fender style screw-on bridge, maybe you could drill and glue in dowels of strong/hard wood to screw the fasteners into (I got that idea from your concrete build, lol).
  3. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity

    Aug 3, 2010
    Loganville, Ga.
    Sounds interesting, Roger. Is the teacher demolishing the barn or just letting you pull a few select chunks out of it? What kind of wood is it?

    If the roughness is an issue, old wood planed down to just below the finish level usually looks pretty good--still retains the patina of age, water penetration, nail holes (careful to check for that before applying your tools!), and so forth, but you don't have the issue of splinters, old paint chips, dirt, and the accumulation of the ages on the surface you're trying to work.

    As always, get us some photos when you can.
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  5. SteveO

    SteveO Tele-Holic

    Jul 22, 2009
    New Jersey
    I would wire brush(By hand )the surface to remove the loose stuff,then make a template of the footprint of the Tele bridge.Simply rout out just enough of the surface beneath the bridge,say 1/8" or so, until the bridge sits firmly on the body. If done carefully,should produce a cool recessed look.Could also work for a control plate.
  6. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 30, 2011
    Hehe. thanks, man. I definitely want to stick with a fender style bridge.

    They're not demolishing it, but it's not in very good condition right now. There are a bunch of loose boards lying all over the place, so she's going to just let me go in and get what I want. I'll grab some extra so I can plane some samples down to see how it looks, and I'll definitely be getting lots of pics.

    That's a pretty good idea, Steve. That's kinda what I was thinking, but didn't know exactly how to do what I wanted. I think you just hit exactly no what I pictured in my mind.

    Thanks guys
  7. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    I'd be interested in knowing if your barn wood may have interesting coloration and perhaps smell different. The wood I got for the original "barncaster" had a distinct odor and coloration not found in regular timbers. I think the ammonia in the barn-like atmosphere had a mojo affect on it to some degree.

    Apparently Arlo deleted his pix. Here is the same wood except this was the cutoffs from the boards . Arlo's guitar body was knot free and only had two holes made from forged cut nails. As you can see the pine had discolored some. This was fresh off the drum sander.
  8. mabley123

    mabley123 Friend of Leo's

    Aug 21, 2011
    ashland kentucky
    i bought 2 100 year old reclaimed tiger maple neck blanks from oldwoodworkshop that came from an old barn. they are both 30 x 4 x 2

    here's a pic of 1. they were not cheap either.

  9. Olav

    Olav Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 2, 2010
    Ooooh, that is going in the memory bank.

    @Roger, another cool project, featuring a cool find. Good luck with this, should make for interesting reading. Love the dowel idea.
  10. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 30, 2011
    I'll make sure and let you know.

    That's some serious maple right there. Should make some stunning guitars.

    Thanks, Olav. I'm excited to get started on this one.

    So does anyone have any preferences on neck woods?

    Also, I've not given up on the set neck walnut/alder build. I'm just waiting until I get or get access to a planer so I can get my neck woods down to proper thickness. I figured that this barn wood project would be nice to get started on while I'm waiting to finish the other.
  11. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 30, 2011
    Ok, so here's the barn from which I'm harvesting the wood. It's been there since the early 1900s - when we were still known as Indian Territory.





    There was some newer wood in there as well, though I don't know how new. I found face boards pretty easily, but was having difficulty finding something for the bulk of the body. I wanted to find something that was already loose as opposed to pulling something off that was still attached. I ended up going to the loft and found a few pieces.

    Here are the clapboards I brought back


    And here's the rest. The 2 boards look quite a bit newer, but not "new", but the older header board is about 2 1/2" thick and is really old. Pretty sure it's original to the barn.

    Now I need to make sure and get all the nails pulled, get my body stock milled and ready to glue, and get my face boards milled as well. They'll need quite a bit of stabilization because they're so weathered. Once I get some nice edges jointed on them, I'll probably inject some glue into the major cracks and see if I can get them to close up any. Once they're glued onto the body, though, I think it will all be ok.
  12. Rod Parsons

    Rod Parsons Friend of Leo's

    Sep 26, 2009
    Winchester, Va.
  13. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 30, 2011
    Thanks, Rod.

    Here's the body blank gluing up. Before gluing I took a wire brush and just cleaned everything up. My wife being a microbiologist was happy to see me wearing a dusk mask while doing so :lol:




    There are quite a few small nails that I can't get out in one of the boards, but I've managed to position them so that all but one will be cut out in the waste, and the one that remains will be safe in the lower horn where none of the tools will come into contact with it.
  14. mojoatomic

    mojoatomic Tele-Holic

    Dec 28, 2011
    Horn Lake, MS
  15. Elias Graves

    Elias Graves Friend of Leo's

    Apr 27, 2010
    Very nice. Hit me up I you need to use a planer. I have a 12".
  16. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 30, 2011
    Good find. We have a HF in OKC, so I may end up getting one. I do plan to do another one of these.

  17. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 30, 2011
    Last pics for the day.

    This piece was 11 1/2" wide, but as you can see, it curled on the edges. So I ripped it down to 7" wide to get rid of the curls.



    I don't have a riving knife or splitter on the ts, so the thought was to get close to my line with the band saw and then use a guide with the router the clean up the edge.


    Bad idea. The wood is so weathered that it splintered pretty badly. Luckily I didn't do any real damage. I resorted to my hand plane and my plate glass/sandpaper rig to finish the edge. Here's a teaser (yes, I know the grain is facing the opposite way on each half :rolleyes: :D).

  18. nosmo

    nosmo Friend of Leo's

    Jan 31, 2012
    Lake Jackson, TX
    This should be fun to watch. Giving one to your church is a very nice thing to do.
  19. Rich Rice

    Rich Rice Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 15, 2005
    Chicago 'Burbs
    Looks great so far! Just can't beat that old wood. ;)
  20. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 30, 2011
    Thanks, Rich. I thought you might like this one :D. BTW, I'll be using your wood-aging solution on this. I saw that in your piano wood build and thought it was great.
  21. adirondak5

    adirondak5 Poster Extraordinaire

    Oct 24, 2009
    Long Island NY
    Cool looking wood Roger , it'll make one cool looking guitar :)
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