Grand Fir wood?

ghostchord

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I got this old Grand Fir tree in my back yard that needs to come down because it's dying. Is it worthwhile trying to harvest its wood for guitars or anything else? The arborist didn't seem to think its worth for much more than fire wood... but I thought I'd ask here... I'd have to rent a chain saw or something along those lines to attempt to process it. It's huge...
 

Freeman Keller

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Cutting milling and drying your own tone wood is a giant hassle. If it has to come down most trimmers will buck it up into fireplace sized rounds, you might have them do some that you set aside to be guitar wood.

Fir is kind of poopoo'd as a tone wood but last summer I built a little classical guitar from some fir floor boards from the local high school and it is a killer little guitar.
 

PhredE

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I have only dealt with it as firewood. For comparison.. My experience is that it is less dense than, say, Doug Fir and does not have as straight grain as well (based on the specimens I have processed). I have no knowledge about how it might work for building guitars.
 

drewg

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Cutting milling and drying your own tone wood is a giant hassle. If it has to come down most trimmers will buck it up into fireplace sized rounds, you might have them do some that you set aside to be guitar wood.

Fir is kind of poopoo'd as a tone wood but last summer I built a little classical guitar from some fir floor boards from the local high school and it is a killer little guitar.
The fir they use for flooring around where you and I live is mostly douglas fir which, to my understanding, isn't a true fir. I don't know anything about grand fir, but you're not the first person who I've heard say fir (douglas fir) makes good tone wood– a luthier I know likes it too.
 

CapnCrunch

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Grand fir is a true fir. They are very popular as Christmas trees when they are small. Douglas fir is not a true fir. I think the Grand Fir would have to be old growth or very old second growth to be of value for instruments. That said, there is no reason not to keep some that you can turn into billets. Google how to deal with so that it doesn't check and crack.

I have read that some big name acoustic builders look at Douglas Fir like Adirondack Spruce on steroids. Doug fir is heavier than Spruce but extremely stiff. I've built a couple solid body guitars out of it in addition to necks. It's finicky to work with because it tears out very easily. It is also a little tricky to finish as most soft woods are.
 

drewg

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I got this old Grand Fir tree in my back yard that needs to come down because it's dying. Is it worthwhile trying to harvest its wood for guitars or anything else? The arborist didn't seem to think its worth for much more than fire wood... but I thought I'd ask here... I'd have to rent a chain saw or something along those lines to attempt to process it. It's huge...
What's the diameter? You might be able to hire somone with a mobile sawmill. I don't know what it's properties are for tonewood, but if nothing else – if it's big enough – you might get some nice beams or lumber out of it. Or firewood as you say, if you burn it!.
 

Peegoo

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If it's tight-grained with narrow growth rings, it may be really nice too build with.

Save a few chunks. Seal both ends with melted wax or cheap bathtub caulk (smear it on like cake icing), and store it off the ground and protected from rain. Pros seal cut ends with a product called Anchor Seal, which work great, but it's more expensive.
 

CapnCrunch

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If it's tight-grained with narrow growth rings, it may be really nice too build with.

Save a few chunks. Seal both ends with melted wax or cheap bathtub caulk (smear it on like cake icing), and store it off the ground and protected from rain. Pros seal cut ends with a product called Anchor Seal, which work great, but it's more expensive.

You can also use plain old latex paint if you have some extra in the garage.
 

drewg

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If it's tight-grained with narrow growth rings, it may be really nice too build with.

Save a few chunks. Seal both ends with melted wax or cheap bathtub caulk (smear it on like cake icing), and store it off the ground and protected from rain. Pros seal cut ends with a product called Anchor Seal, which work great, but it's more expensive.
Peegoo– When I click on your "Between the raindrops" link it puts you in Oregon. I can confirm Oregon is between the raindrops, but is that where you really live?

A lot of Pacific Northwesterners in this "Great Fir" thread: BC, Washington, Oregon, ha ha
 
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Obsessed

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I have about five acres of grand fir at every age group. Other than young ones for Xmas trees, this wood is pretty much junk ... even for firewood. It's primary market is wood framing for camper trailers and RVs for it's very light weight. They suck up a lot of water, grow fast and die easily. Very wide grain, very soft. I even burn the 60 year old ones in slash burn piles and I have two wood burning stoves in the house. They call them, "piss fir" up here for a variety of reasons. Just move on.
 

Blues Twanger

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It's considered framing wood and pulpwood (aka will become paper) because as others have said it's pretty soft for other types of woodworking.

Think of the framing 2x4s you see at a lumberyard or builders supply store.

You could possibly sell the log for enough to buy my a good body blank?
 

ghostchord

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It's considered framing wood and pulpwood (aka will become paper) because as others have said it's pretty soft for other types of woodworking.

Think of the framing 2x4s you see at a lumberyard or builders supply store.

You could possibly sell the log for enough to buy my a good body blank?

I'd have to pay someone to haul the log away ;) .. But I can try chopping it up and selling it as firewood. I can afford to buy wood, that's not the problem, I just thought it'd be cool to use my own tree. The diameter is about 26" or so, it's about 5-6 stories tall.
 

Mojotron

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I had a 110' Redwood growing next to my house and had to have it removed - breaks foundations, bulkheads... not the place for a baby redwood - although it's kind of a novelty up here in the pacific northwest. I have some experience milling my own wood (mostly 20' black locust trees) and this was amazingly beautiful wood up to about 20'. But, the base was about 15' in diameter (redwoods have a conical trunk) and it was too big for any mobile milling machine... I advertised free fire wood on craigslist and the massive tree was completely gone in a weekend. They came and got it so fast that I felt I had to run out there and save at least a cord for myself - it was a free-wood-frenzy out there.

I've made a lot of Tele/Les Paul types of guitars out of "soft-wood" and I really just use Douglas-fir (chambered quite a bit for weight relief) and Western Red Cedar (because it's about the most resonant wood out there) as well as all of the standard hardwoods; but I let all that redwood go - after a lot of consideration - because a whole tree is just too much and the effort/cost of milling any of it would end up being 10 times the cost of ordering the best wood from the most expensive dealer.

My advice it to just leave it as it lies on the ground and put it on craigslist as "you cut, you haul firewood' and it will likely be gone pretty quick - just make sure you are watching who shows up as there are some wakos out there.

Here it is coming down....
 

old wrench

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The stuff in your picture has some pretty nice color and graining - I can't see where it wouldn't make a nice guitar body :).

I like using wood that I have some sort of personal connection with for my projects.

It sounds like the tree has to go anyhow, so it would be nice to cherry-pick some nice pieces for your own use ;).


I've got a nice dry guitar-sized piece of Noble Fir that's just waiting for the right build :).

.
 

peterg

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I can’t see why grand fir couldn’t be used to make guitars. Looks like wood to me.

It amazes me that barely milled (“live edge”) lumber is more expensive than milled lumber.
 

Mojotron

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I use fir wood all the time for making guitars. After researching a lot of different woods, I came to the conclusion that Alder is an amazing wood for guitars - BUT softwoods - like fir/pine/d-fir/WRC - are equally great and while not the same as a hardwood. When working and finishing they are totally different kinds of wood, but all of my favorite guitars I've made from softwoods.

I use all of the normal woods for guitars too, but all the unique guitars that I love the most have all been softwood guitars.

The most interesting result I've had with softwoods is from WRC (Western Red Cedar) - which is more of an arborvitae on serious steroids: It's weight is absolutely perfect for a tele body with a maple neck and it's so soft it gets to a very well-warn look after a solid year of playing. On d-fir (Douglas-Fir) which is neither a fir or a pine - yet more pine than fir..., I end up doing some heavy chambering on those guitars to lighten them up the weight of the body. These 2 woods have made the best sounding guitars regardless of the pickups I put in them.
 

Zepfan

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Every type of wood has it's own tonal contributions.

I have a Strat type of body made of Aspen that has awesome tone with a Maple neck and A5 PAF HB's. One wood being a little dark and the other on the bright side, they even each other out.

I've used Malaysian Oak, American Red Oak, Poplar, Red Cedar, Aspen, Pine, Maple and Philippine Mahogany. They all offer different tonal attributes IMO and they all have different strengths to keep in mind for construction purposes.
 




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