Heavy Old Beam

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Johnny_B, May 19, 2019.

  1. Johnny_B

    Johnny_B TDPRI Member

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    Hello! Newbie here, first post. Found an old heavy wood beam that I cut up into 20” lengths in order to try to make a tele body. The posts are about 3.5” x 4” thick and slightly warped. I got the post from my father in law’s house, I guess he stored it away long ago and it must be very 40 years old or more. Not sure what type of wood it is, thought it looked like cedar when I cut it up, but seems way too heavy for a soft wood. Looking for advice from the forum. Is it possibly to clean these up and glue them together and make a tele plank. I might be able to use some heavy wood machinery to help make it happen. Just wondering if I’m creating more work than necessary. I just think it would be cool to use this wood.[​IMG][​IMG]


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  2. Deeve

    Deeve Friend of Leo's

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    Ain't no wood quite like OLD wood!;)
     
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  3. TeleTucson

    TeleTucson Tele-Afflicted

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    Welcome!

    This reminds me of a standard fir 4x6 post that's been treated with some variant of a copper arsenate preservative, which companies have moved away from. It looks more like it was applied, though, rather than pressure treated because it hasn't penetrated much. The concerns are probably over-hyped anyway, but you may want to take some precautions (mask, etc.) when cutting.

    Oh ... and a heads-up. The moderators may not be big on your avatar :D

    (see http://www.tdpri.com/threads/posting-rules-that-all-must-follow-please-read.616711/ )
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
  4. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    If it's just old wood that hasn't been preserved it'll work out nicely. I did this with 4 leftover 4 x 4 hunks from a workbench leg project. The key will be how much wood you need to remove to make the joints to glue it up.


    workbench leftovers.jpg
     
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  5. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Holic

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    Hard to tell from the end grain, but the color looks about right for birch. I'd pick one that doesn't have a lot of end checking and open it up if you can get access to a bandsaw. If it is birch, it's similar to alder and will machine and take a finish really nicely.
     
  6. Johnny_B

    Johnny_B TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the info. As heavy as these pieces are they did seem to cut rather easily on my saw. So if this is old style preserved copper arsenic treatment will the local wood shop want to run it through their jointer and plainer?[​IMG][​IMG]


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  7. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    You can absolutely make this wood work for a Tele build. You need to work as far away from the original "pith" of the tree as possible. So plan to plane the bottoms of the pieces, as shown in this mod of your photo, only enough to get them smooth, clear of any treatment residue, and relatively check-free.
    4 old wood.jpg
    Once the bottoms are flat and clear, I recommend you resaw off the top parts to bring it down to about 2" thick. Then plane those new "top" sides parallel to the bottom sides at just under 2" thick.
    Now take boards A and C and flip them end over end so the curve of the growth rings on each of the 4 pieces runs in the opposite direction from its neighbor.
    Then glue those up into a 2" thick big flat body blank (you will have to carefully joint the edges of course) and let it sit a week or so in your shop.
    Then plane it down to just a hair over 1.75", to allow for final sanding, and proceed per the thousands of other build threads here on TDPRI. Make a build thread of your own (this one will obviously work) and ask any questions you need after reading the other resources available here and you will have a very high probability of creating a fine and meaningful instrument!
    If you can't find anyone locally to help you with the wood milling and don't mind paying the postage, you can send the pieces to me and I will do all the above for you and send it back - no charge if you just cover the shipping. Probably best if I just do the milling and send them back ready to glue up - be a cheaper and more compact package than a glued-up blank.

    Good luck,
    Rex
     
  8. Johnny_B

    Johnny_B TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the complete game plan, Rex! I’ve marked out the posts as you recommend and gonna start plugging away with this... I have a table saw and just bought a small bandsaw that I am tuning up so I might be able to get close on my own. Shipping would be excessive but thanks for the offer. I understand what you mean about the grain configuration. Thanks again![​IMG]


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  9. PingGuo

    PingGuo Tele-Holic

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    Looks like you're on track to build a great guitar!
     
  10. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Of course, you must name the guitar Jim ...
     
  11. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    You got it Johnny. Don't get hung up on which board is which, as you may want to lay them out to work around the nail holes or other imperfections. Just get the gist of alternating the growth rings and go from there. Like, C and B might be the outermost pieces of the blank so that their nail holes are outside the narrow "waist" of the guitar body.
     
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  12. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    While the pith area is bound to have cracks running through it, I might clean up all the surfaces and then decide what you want to cut off, taking the pith into account. I personally wouldn't want a long crack in my top, and you could do a 5 pc body just as easily as a 4 piece. I'd go for alternating the end grain while making the top surface esthetically pleasing myself. There are no real rules here and it boils down to what looks good to you, and having a stable relatively flat surface. A jointer would be helpful here if you have access to one.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
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  13. philosofriend

    philosofriend Tele-Holic

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    I don't have any opinion on what the wood is, but I will say that sometimes softwood can be awfully heavy. I've got some pine and cedar pieces that are as dense as medium density mahogany.
     
  14. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Just remember that when dimensioning the lumber, internal stresses will be released and the wood will want to move (warp). So leave 1/2" extra in every dimension and keep going back to the flat-bed jointer and then the planer to keep things square and straight. And be sure to go over everything with a metal detector when using re-claimed lumber.

    Then you'll know enough to be frustrated when a non-woodworker says "Ok that's some nice pieces of wood you could make something out of it..."

    Now as for the green preservative, I'd suggest resawing with a bandsaw to get it off of there in slices, intact, without creating any sawdust (even disposing of treated sawdust is a problem let alone the hazards of being there when the dust is generated). That would also get rid of any grit that would tend to dull the jointer or planer blades.
     
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  15. Johnny_B

    Johnny_B TDPRI Member

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    I secretly think it’s cedar but don’t want to say...!


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  16. Johnny_B

    Johnny_B TDPRI Member

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    Okay that’s good advice I will do that, thanks!


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  17. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Last edited: May 20, 2019
  18. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    What's wrong with a bandsaw as one's avatar?
     
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  19. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    EDIT - double post.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
  20. bcorig

    bcorig Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    You guys are truly impressive
     
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