Guitar body out of 4x4 lumber

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by jscud, Sep 15, 2020.

  1. jscud

    jscud TDPRI Member

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    Have any of you built a guitar body from 4x4 lumber? Since the actual dimensions for the wood would be 3.5 inches thick, it seems like it would be pretty straightforward to rip it down the middle and end up with something a bit shy of the standard ~1.75" thickness for a tele body.

    I'm tempted to try it. Is this a terrible idea?

    The first and only guitar body that I've put together was made from 3 layers of poplar that I bought from the hardware store. Since I was going to be working with multiple layers anyway, it seemed only natural to make a semi-hollow. I like the simplicity though of a single slab.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
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  2. drmmrr55

    drmmrr55 Tele-Holic

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    I believe Les Paul's "log" was built with a 4 x 4. The outsides were a hollowbody guitar ripped down the middle, and attached to the 4 x 4, on either side, and were removable. The neck was obviously attached to the 4 x 4, and as such, it could be played just as a 4 x 4 with a neck on it. Not sure what type of wood it was however.
     
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  3. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Heck yeah it's doable, and no--it's not a terrible idea at all.

    The only caution is to examine the end grain of the lumber you buy and select it based on grain orientation. Look closely at both ends of the lumber; you want straight grain as parallel to the milled edges as you can find. Look through the stack and be picky, because it matters.

    Click on this image to embiggen it.

    [​IMG]

    If you buy lumber with end grain that's curved or from the center of the tree, the guitar body may lose its flatness over time.
     
  4. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I made a body out of 4 x 4 leftovers from workbench legs. I ripped them down the middle, jointed and glued them, and then planed the blank. The blank was then carved.

    The grain was pretty nice looking for spf lumber. It was pretty dry as they were sitting for a few years. Moisture in dimensional lumber is a concern when it is new. You'd want to check out the endgrain and avoid the pith of the tree. That's the exact center of the rings and it develops cracks.

    The image was ruined and is now non existent, but you get the idea
     
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  5. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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    Sure you could. And it might sound great. But why? It would be cheap, which is good, but if you are going to the trouble of building a guitar why not pay the relatively little extra to get a nice piece of wood to work with?
     
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  6. jscud

    jscud TDPRI Member

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    Ah good to know thank you. I wouldn't have thought of this.
     
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  7. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

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    Done it several times. The control cavity is barely deep enough for a CRL standard Tele switch and you have to be real careful because it will be very close to coming through the back. It only ends up being about 1.4” thick if you don’t add a top.
     
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  8. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

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  9. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I had this problem with a Reverend guitar: it used a cheepo import plastic switch that went south, and the body was too thin for a CRL or Grigsby switch. There was plenty of room for a Switchcraft three-way shorty of the same type used in Les Pauls, etc. I did have to replace the control plate with a plain one and drill my own holes for the two pots and the switch.
     
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  10. jscud

    jscud TDPRI Member

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    For those, were you starting from a 2x4 (since those are actually 1.5")? I'd expect if starting with a 4x4 the body could be made about .25" thicker than from a 2x4.
     
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  11. LuckyJinx

    LuckyJinx Tele-Meister

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    You would lose the saw kerf if you want to cut it down the middle and get two bodies out of it, so it depends on how good your cut is and how much you'll have to plane away after you cut to get it flat (If you aren't trying to get two bodies from it, just make it as thick as you'd like, you'll just have more or less waste).

    You could also try to start with sawn instead of PAR if you can get it, you might be able to lose a bit less to planing if you're working on shorter lengths.
     
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