Drying wood before making an electric guitar.

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Drying wood before making an electric guitar.

Postby Michael Porritt » Sun Sep 04, 2016 2:11 pm

How long do I need to let wood dry before I make an electric guitar body from it? My parents have a cherry tree that I grew up climbing and picking cherries from and I want to make an electric guitar body from it before my Mom leaves the house (Dad passed away recently and I don't know how much longer mom will be there).

I live in Utah with a very dry climate. How long after harvesting the wood from the living tree can I use it make the guitar body?

Thanks in advance for your help.
Michael Porritt
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Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2016 1:35 pm

Re: Drying wood before making an electric guitar.

Postby Dave Weir » Sun Sep 04, 2016 4:00 pm

I think the general rule is 1 year per inch thickness of the boards. For something as precise as a guitar, way more time is way better.

I prefer to personally add another 6 months to a year to wood that I buy which is supposedly already dry.
For necks I start with 1 1/2" and plane the minimum to get it true and then let it sit a month or so and if it's still true take an 1/8" off and let it sit for another month in a cabinet that keeps it around 90 degrees with some air flow. Re-true and trim every moth or so until it's down to 1".
Even with all that, some of them bend when I carve the back.

If you can take it to a guy with a Kiln, it would be faster. You might ask American Specialty Hardwood if they would dry it for you. I don't know if they offer this service, but it doesn't hurt to ask.
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Dave Weir
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Re: Drying wood before making an electric guitar.

Postby Mark Fogleman » Sun Sep 04, 2016 8:20 pm

The standard is 1 year stacked, stickered and protected from rain/snow per inch of board thickness until it reaches equilibrium. The person who saws it into boards will be a better resource for your location. Also, plan to seal the ends of the logs with Anchorseal or 2-3 layers of exterior latex house paint immediately after cutting down and then again when boards are sawn to length to reduce splitting.
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