Body Woods

Ask your wood and other materials questions here. Please DO NOT post pictures and ask us to identify your wood, we have found that accurate ID is nearly impossible, and such discussions will be deleted. Thanks.
David Grier
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:21 pm
Location: Lorain, Ohio 44052

Body Woods

Post by David Grier »

Hello Forum....I am happy to say that I am :D :D :D :D "EXCITED" :D :D :D :D to get started working on my 1st project.....the only problem is that I have run into not being able to find a wood supplier to purchase Swamp Ash wood for the body of the Bass Guitar. Can someone help me out with a good supplier.

Rodger Knox
Posts: 497
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:02 pm
Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Re: Body Woods

Post by Rodger Knox »

Are you going to buy rough lumber and glue up your own body blank, or are you looking for a body blank?

Swamp Ash is not a specific species, it's a name associated with lightweight ash, which frequently grows in wet areas. You will probably not be able to find a supplier for "Swamp Ash" lumber.

Premade blanks may be advertised as Swamp Ash, check the sponsers first.
A man hears what he wants to hear, and disreguards the rest. Paul Simon

User avatar
G.S. Monroe
Posts: 105
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:50 am
Location: Lakeland, Florida
Contact:

Re: Body Woods

Post by G.S. Monroe »

I would recommend you ask these folks about what your looking for.

http://olegeneralstore.com/LumberPrices.html#f

They supply me with the recovered cypress I use in a lot of my builds.
You might even consider using cypress for your project as it has a similar appearance and is very light weight.
Image

David King
Posts: 2688
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:01 pm
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Re: Body Woods

Post by David King »

David it would help us if you updated your profile with a geographic location. I would also recommend that you consider other woods for the body of your first instrument. There is nothing magical about swamp ash in spite of all the hype you read on line.

Warren May
Posts: 246
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:00 pm

Re: Body Woods

Post by Warren May »

David, I live in Mississippi and have asked hardwood suppliers, lumber jocks and sawmill operators if they ever came across "swamp ash". That was naïve on my part and none had ever heard of it. They do have "ash", however, and I've only found 1 piece ever from local suppliers that was light weight. From what I've read, there is a large outfit in the Vicksburg area that sells it to guitar manufacturers (Peavey is also in Mississippi) so they won't sell to a retail customer.

That said, even living in what is supposed to be "Swamp Ash" heaven, I've ordered mine from the reputable online suppliers. I visit my local hardwood guys a lot and have yet to find any lightweight ash. So, I usually buy other species from them. They had some very nice Honduran Mahogany recently with some really great "cutoffs" they sell to us small hobbyists.

User avatar
Bob Gramann
Posts: 975
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:08 am
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
Contact:

Re: Body Woods

Post by Bob Gramann »

I got and email from Hibdon Hardwoods (www.hibdonhardwood.com) this afternoon advertising a swamp ash special.

Rodger Knox
Posts: 497
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:02 pm
Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Re: Body Woods

Post by Rodger Knox »

David King wrote:David it would help us if you updated your profile with a geographic location. I would also recommend that you consider other woods for the body of your first instrument. There is nothing magical about swamp ash in spite of all the hype you read on line.
Mr. King, I believe you might be mistaken!
Saying there's nothing magical about swamp ash is almost the same as saying there's nothing magical about Unicorns! :lol:
A man hears what he wants to hear, and disreguards the rest. Paul Simon

Eric Schmitt
Posts: 66
Joined: Sat May 26, 2012 10:48 pm
Location: Louisiana

Re: Body Woods

Post by Eric Schmitt »

Swamp ash, that makes me think of a funny story that happened to me a few months back. I live in Louisiana, I went to the local lumber yard and asked "Do y'all have swamp ash" mishearing me the guy replied "On really humid days we get it" LOL!

Have you asked for southern ash instead of swamp ash? I say this because another lumber store I poke around at seemed to be confused about what swamp ash was, but when I said southern ash they knew what I was talking about.

David King
Posts: 2688
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:01 pm
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Re: Body Woods

Post by David King »

"Swamp ash", if it has any technical definition at all is usually wood that weighs between 1.9 and 2.9 lb/bf or so I've been told. There are several species what might get tossed into the swamp ash pile. I'd be asking for "pumpkin ash" at the local sawmill since that's a variety that grows in swamps. In New England "brown ash" is sometimes lighter but mostly it's used for making baskets.
White ash typically weighs 3.5 lb/bdft. The lighter stuff is easy to pick out of the rack by just hefting the pieces or scratching the board edges with your thumbnail. I used to find light ash fairly regularly but that almost never happens now. Enterprising guitar makers will buy a unit of swamp ash from a broker and then cherry pick the lightest pieces for their bodies and sell the rest off on ebay. Many wood specialty stores have begun buying swamp ash for their local guitar makers. The largest broker on the west coast is across the river from me in Vancouver, Wa.

David Grier
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:21 pm
Location: Lorain, Ohio 44052

Re: Body Woods

Post by David Grier »

I'm sorry everyone....I live in Lorain, Ohio which is about 30 minutes away from Cleveland, Ohio.

Rodger Knox
Posts: 497
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:02 pm
Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Re: Body Woods

Post by Rodger Knox »

David King wrote:"Swamp ash", if it has any technical definition at all is usually wood that weighs between 1.9 and 2.9 lb/bf or so I've been told.
That's what's magical about swamp ash, it doesn't really exist as a particular species. The only people that have ever heard of swamp ash are guitar players/builders, and the people that supply them wood.
A man hears what he wants to hear, and disreguards the rest. Paul Simon

David King
Posts: 2688
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:01 pm
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Re: Body Woods

Post by David King »

David Grier,
The Ohio woodworkers guild website has a list of hardwood suppliers.
Swamp ash lumber typically sells in the $8/bf range for whole boards retail. Figure about 4 bf for a body + that much again for shipping. Hibdon tells you what the density is for each blank they sell, that's worth a lot if you can find more of the 1.75 lb/bf wood. If a $120 blank is rich for your blood leave it to the folks who need it and try butternut or sassafras instead.

Chuck Tweedy
Posts: 1180
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:25 pm
Location: San Diego, CA

Re: Body Woods

Post by Chuck Tweedy »

Swamp ash lumber typically sells in the $8/bf range for whole boards retail. Figure about 4 bf for a body + that much again for shipping.
($8 * 4) * 2 = $64
If a $120 blank is rich for your blood
The math is not adding up for me here David. Help?!
Likes to drink Rosewood Juice

Daryl Kosinski
Posts: 121
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 11:14 am
Location: Fultonville, NY

Re: Body Woods

Post by Daryl Kosinski »

A friend of mine was a Fender salesman/part owner back on the 70's - 80's. He told me the only reason Fender used "Swamp Ash" is because they got a great deal on a lot of it. (It was cheap) At the time furniture makers didn't have much use for it. Light weight Ash didn't make very good axe handles. There was a batch that either didn't get kiln dried or not hot enough that led to a nasty powder post beetle problem. I suggest finding a small local " man with a sawmill " tell him/her about your project, chances are they will give you a plank for very little or no cost. I have 9 foot long planks that only have 2 or 3 feet that are good and the rest is crap, those are sometimes found on the "firewood" pile. For the most part "wood" people love to help out other "wood" people.

David King
Posts: 2688
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:01 pm
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Re: Body Woods

Post by David King »

Chuck Tweedy wrote:
Swamp ash lumber typically sells in the $8/bf range for whole boards retail. Figure about 4 bf for a body + that much again for shipping.
($8 * 4) * 2 = $64
If a $120 blank is rich for your blood
The math is not adding up for me here David. Help?!
Chuck a blank is 14" x 21" x 2" = 588/144= 4.08bf x $8 = $32 but then someone has to select the plank, joint the edges, chop to lengths, glue up with matched gain, surface top and back -all at $60/hour. The labor adds up fast. My local woodworking jobshop charges $100/hour and they are generally booked up 2 weeks out.

User avatar
Dan Warren
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:15 pm
Location: Thomasville, GA
Contact:

Re: Body Woods

Post by Dan Warren »

Have you been down to Keim Lumber, down in Charm? Looks like it's about 2 hours away from you, but I hear it's a pretty magical place. http://www.keimlumber.com/solidbodyblanks

David Grier
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:21 pm
Location: Lorain, Ohio 44052

Re: Body Woods

Post by David Grier »

I am actually going to place an order today....they have a Magical Place that is just calling my name....lol

David Grier
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:21 pm
Location: Lorain, Ohio 44052

Re: Body Woods

Post by David Grier »

Ok....being as though I am a "NOOB" and this is my 1st Build....if I have a body blank that is 1-7/8", and I want to round off the body......what size round-over router bit must I use to keep same dimensions but achieve what I am looking for without taking off too much wood?

User avatar
Mark Swanson
Posts: 1974
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:11 am
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan USA
Contact:

Re: Body Woods

Post by Mark Swanson »

Strats have a 1/2" roundover, and a Telecaster has a 1/4" roundover. What look do you want? The thickness of your wood shouldn't make any difference here.
  • Mark Swanson, guitarist, MIMForum Staff

David King
Posts: 2688
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:01 pm
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Re: Body Woods

Post by David King »

Full width round-overs are tricky because the second side will come in too far and leave a slight ledge where the two round-overs overlap. You can put a couple of layers of tape around the bearing to eliminate this or simply leave a 3/16" flat around the edge for the bearing to ride on. So you could use a 3/4" round-over without any issues or use a 13/16" one and add some tape to the bearing when you flip the body over to round over the second side..

Post Reply