Orange is the new brown

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.
Post Reply
Jim Hepler
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:15 pm

Orange is the new brown

Post by Jim Hepler »

I finished my second flat top about a month ago. It is a 12 fret slot head sort of based on a 000. Spruce top, Walnut back and sides with a cherry wedge. I'm quite fond of it, but the reason I thought it might be interesting to some of you is that the fingerboard and bridge are cooked osage orange. Here's a photo, with a piece of the raw osage I cut the fingerboard from beside for contrast.
Attachments
raw and cooked.JPG
raw and cooked.JPG (40.12 KiB) Viewed 12293 times

Jim Hepler
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:15 pm

Re: Orange is the new brown

Post by Jim Hepler »

Incidentally, the position markers are holly. Here's the recipe: Wrap the board in aluminum foil (shiny side in) and cook in an ordinary oven at 350 F until you like the colour. This could take several hours. You don't actually need the foil. I think that it slows the overall process, but drives the colour deeper into the wood. That is when you shape parts, the wood will be a little lighter underneath, and this is a bit more pronounced if you don't use the foil.

There is a little tung oil on it, which did darken it a little. Here is the bridge.
Attachments
12 fret bridge.JPG
12 fret bridge.JPG (27.66 KiB) Viewed 12292 times

Jim Hepler
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:15 pm

Re: Orange is the new brown

Post by Jim Hepler »

A couple more pictures. The back - nothing cooked back here.
Attachments
12 fret back.JPG
12 fret back.JPG (31.94 KiB) Viewed 12292 times

Jim Hepler
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:15 pm

Re: Orange is the new brown

Post by Jim Hepler »

Full frontal
Attachments
12 fret front.JPG
12 fret front.JPG (32.77 KiB) Viewed 12292 times

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

Re: Orange is the new brown

Post by Mark Swanson »

Hey, that's pretty cool Jim! Good idea. Thanks for sharing.
  • Mark Swanson, guitarist, MIMForum Staff

Jim Hepler
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:15 pm

Re: Orange is the new brown

Post by Jim Hepler »

You are most welcome, Mark. I've gotten lots out of this forum, so I'm glad to have a chance to have something to show. My baking experiments have been pretty limited so far, but it also darkens maple and cherry. Makes the house smell like maple syrup too. For those looking for alternatives to rosewood and ebony, it may open up options for hard heavy woods that are too light coloured to look traditional. Persimmon comes to mind, but I don't have any. Cooking maybe makes the wood a bit chippier, but, it doesn't char at that temperature.
-jim

User avatar
Bryan Bear
Posts: 1260
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:05 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

Re: Orange is the new brown

Post by Bryan Bear »

Great looking guitar! I'm glad you posted this. I am very interested. I have lots of fretboards and bridges worth of osage orange here and in fact I was just prepping an osage fretboard and bridge blank for a walnut and WRC O size. You say the wood underneath will be a bit lighter once you start to shape it, If you go deep enough do you lose the color all together? I'm trying to figure out how much preshaping to do. . . My guess is that cooking the wood (driving the moisture content to near zero and letting it acclimate again will distort the blank to some degree so you can't just cook a shaped bridge. Am I right?

You have me intrigued! Can you post cooked and uncooked comparisons of other woods you have tried?
PMoMC

Take care of your feet and your feet will take care of you.

Jason Rodgers
Posts: 1554
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:05 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Orange is the new brown

Post by Jason Rodgers »

Huh. Really, just cooking it darkens the color that much? Might have to try that, as I'm hooked on Osage.

Good looking guitar, too, by the way!
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.

Jim Hepler
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:15 pm

Re: Orange is the new brown

Post by Jim Hepler »

Bryan Bear wrote:You say the wood underneath will be a bit lighter once you start to shape it, If you go deep enough do you lose the color all together? I'm trying to figure out how much preshaping to do. . . My guess is that cooking the wood (driving the moisture content to near zero and letting it acclimate again will distort the blank to some degree so you can't just cook a shaped bridge. Am I right?
Bryan,

I carved my bridge blank after I cooked it, and the wings were lighter, but not all the way back to yellow/orange. I also had to take some off the top of the whole thing, so the whole thing was looking a little lighter than i wanted it, so I just cooked it a bit more. The second time it didn't take as long to darken. I didn't notice any change in shape at that point. My intuition tells me that having already cooked it once may have been helpful in that respect, but I don't have any hard evidence to back that up.

I radiussed the fingerboard after cooking too, but didn't notice any lightening at the edges of that at all.

I did a few quick tests a while ago on some small pieces of maple, cherry, and osage, but those pieces are long gone, so sorry - no pictures. I'd like to experiment with more wood types, different temperatures, and cutting blocks open to see how far the colour goes, but it's already too hot in the house, so that'll have to wait til winter. Weights and measurements might be useful too.

Thanks Bryan and Jason for the kind words about the guitar. I'm pleased with how it turned out. Cooking wood is new for me too, so please let us know how it works for you if you try it.

-jim

Nate Scott
Posts: 74
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:25 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Orange is the new brown

Post by Nate Scott »

Very cool - I'd like to try this. Any issues with checks or cracks from rapid dehumidification?

Jim Hepler
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:15 pm

Re: Orange is the new brown

Post by Jim Hepler »

Nate,

I had no problems with checks or cracks. I can't guarantee that will always be the case of course. Wrapping in foil could be helpful in this respect - just a guess. My wood was dried (probably kiln) from a lumber yard and had been in my garage for a year or more.

Incidentally I found an off cut from the fingerboard - about 1 1/2" long and the colour is pretty uniform all the way through - so no lighter parts in the interior. To my mind, having a uniform colour throughout, and not obscuring the grain are probably the only real advantages of this over simply staining the wood.

David Boehnker
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:18 pm

Re: Orange is the new brown

Post by David Boehnker »

I made a guitar with osage fingerboard and bridge (uncooked). They were bright yellow at completion but over the first year or two turned a beautiful cinnamon brown, close to what you show for your cooked bridge. I took a little off the bridge at two year period and it was lighter underneath, but darkened back up quickly. The lacquered osage back and sides turned a more honey gold color. Both are very attractictive colors and haven't changed over the last 10 years or so.

Matthew Lau
Posts: 513
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:03 am

Re: Orange is the new brown

Post by Matthew Lau »

Where'd you get the osage orange?

I have a hard time sourcing the stuff.

Steve Senseney
Posts: 673
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:45 pm

Re: Orange is the new brown

Post by Steve Senseney »

I bought some from
CHAPMAN SAWMILL & LOGGING
17402 KENTUCKY RD
NEOSHO, MO 64850-1937
(417) 451-0072

This was several years ago.

Jim Hepler
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:15 pm

Re: Orange is the new brown

Post by Jim Hepler »

David,
I have also made guitars with regular osage. Here is a picture of an electric I made 4 years ago with a plain osage fingerboard that has aged to a medium orange brown, alongside the acoustic with the cooked stuff. Both were cut from the same board. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with using the raw one - in fact I like it, but the darker one looks more traditional to my eye. In certain light I still get a hint of orange off it, which I don't see in the photo.

Matt, I bought the osage at a local Canadian lumber retailer called Windsor Plywood. Not all stores have it all the time, and I don't imagine if they typically ship to U.S. customers.
-jim

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

Re: Orange is the new brown

Post by Mark Swanson »

Jim, I don't think your photo made it!
  • Mark Swanson, guitarist, MIMForum Staff

Jim Hepler
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:15 pm

Re: Orange is the new brown

Post by Jim Hepler »

Ooops. Thanks Mark.
Attachments
raw & cooked, compare & contrast.JPG
raw & cooked, compare & contrast.JPG (36.45 KiB) Viewed 11772 times

Steve Senseney
Posts: 673
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:45 pm

Re: Orange is the new brown

Post by Steve Senseney »

I do like the color of your baked Osage.

Leonardo Silva
Posts: 124
Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:04 pm

Re: Orange is the new brown

Post by Leonardo Silva »

I do really like the idea, I've seen some pretty beautifull cooked maple necks, they said were baked in a 0 oxygen enviroment at a high temperature (so it will burn but without combustion as there is no oxygen).

I want to send a fretboard to the oven right now xd, it looks way better than jus staining it.

(as I suspect, we are quickening the oxidation level of the wood with heat, that's might be the change in color)

Post Reply