Sourwood neck or fretboard?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by swg23, Oct 21, 2021.

  1. swg23

    swg23 TDPRI Member

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    Anyone ever use sourwood for fretboard or necks? Or anything else?

    I’ve been taking some logs to the mill for a future project and have a sourwood that’s been down long enough for the sapwood to disappear but the heart is sound. The local mill says it’s hard stuff- just under 1000 on the Janka scale. Anyone know if it’s worthwhile?

    Thanks
     
  2. eallen

    eallen Friend of Leo's

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    1000 is significantly softer than hard maple, ebony, rosewood in the 1700 range but is about the same as walnut which I have used with no issues. I like to let some thin CA soak into the surface in that range to increase the hardness especially for a heavy handed player, though not necessary for most.

    Love to see some pics!

    Eric
     
  3. swg23

    swg23 TDPRI Member

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    You’re saying for a fretboard to coat it with ca glue? Or if used for neck to coat screw holes?

    If it gets used for anything I’ll post pics for sure.
     
  4. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I thought sourwood was cypress
     
  5. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I guess not:oops:
     
  6. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    My wood database puts it at less than 1000, with hard maple at 1450 and EIR at 2449.

    https://www.wood-database.com/sourwood/

    It gives almost no other information about workability or anything else. Frankly, unless the tree had some significance to you I would avoid it.
     
  7. swg23

    swg23 TDPRI Member

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    I’m still doing a lot of pondering about it. Wasn’t able to find much info at all but found a source that said it was heavy green and light when seasoned. That sounded like a body was a possibility. Dropped it at the mill this morning- so I’ll make something with it whether guitar related or otherwise.
     
  8. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    The criteria I use for neck woods is that it be straight grain, ideally quarter sawn. Relatively light and dimensionally stable. Relatively easy to work (carve). Attractive to match the rest of the guitar. I usually do scarf joined heads and stacked heels, sometimes multi piece necks. My favorite neck wood is honduran mahogany, but I use maple if it fits the guitar. I would compare any alternate wood to those two.

    The criteria for fretboards is that it be dimensionally stable, hold the frets well (however I do use glue). It has to wear well and resist divots from fingernails. I don't want it to chip when I have to do a reset. I like dark woods that don't show dirt (I don't do maple fretboards). Fretboard choices are EIR and ebony depending on the guitar. I would compare any alternate wood to those two.

    Bodies don't matter - I mostly use traditional tropical tonewoods but I've done a few guitars (both acoustic and electrics) out of old douglas fir barn wood. I don't believe all the hype about the tone of woods, I choose for appearance, workability, long term stability. Weight is less important since I chamber many guitars.

    What ever you do, have the mill measure the moisture content and plan to sticker it for a while before you build out of it. Post some pictures.
     
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