Torrefied Spruce Soundboards

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Chris Lounsbury
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Torrefied Spruce Soundboards

Post by Chris Lounsbury »

I have a client keen to have such a soundboard on his L-00 styled instrument so I am looking at availability. Normally I personally select all my soundboards from a couple of good local suppliers but to get torrefied wood I will have to turn to the InterWebs. So far I have found only two sources.

StewMac is selling torrefied Sitka tops which one must buy sight unseen but then again, not at a super high price.

Old World Tonewood Company in West Virgina is selling torrefied Red Spruce tops. The price is much higher, presumably due to the relative scarcity of suitable Red Spruce. On the other hand, one can at least see the individual sets and judge them cosmetically.

Who here has used torrefied wood from either of these sellers (or others)? Can you comment on the quality of the wood you received wrt grain orientation, runout, density, stiffness along or across grain, or any other qualities you'd like to mention, either qualitative or quantitative?

Thanks in advance,
Chris

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Bob Gramann
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Re: Torrefied Spruce Soundboards

Post by Bob Gramann »

I bought one of the StewMac soundboards. I haven't used it yet. It looked fine--not great, but no flaws.

Markus Schmid
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Re: Torrefied Spruce Soundboards

Post by Markus Schmid »

Some wood torrefaction companies like for example Thermowood of Minnesota will treat your own wood. I have no idea about minimal quantities, maybe you just had to wait for the next batch where your top or couple of tops could go with.

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Bob Gramann
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Re: Torrefied Spruce Soundboards

Post by Bob Gramann »

Here's the one I bought from StewMac. It's actually a bit better than I remembered. As you can see from the silk, it's very well quartered. It's .125" thick. With my eyes, the only difference between this and a master top is the irregular grain width. I have no qualms about using it. It doesn't cost all that much. Buy one and play with it.
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Craig Bumgarner
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Re: Torrefied Spruce Soundboards

Post by Craig Bumgarner »

I have built one with Stewmac's torrefied sitka and am currently bracing up another. Stiffness to weight ratio is outstanding and the first guitar was super loud, bright and articulate. For those of you who use Trevor Gore's target top thickness test, the predicated mass of these are coming out nearly 25% less than any top I've ever used. The second one is especially light in spite of a target of 0.2mm thicker than the previous one. I have two more tops on hand for future use.

These four tops are all usable, but each has some sap inclusions, minor defects and the occasional wild grain. It seems a bit of a stretch to call them AAA. Some of the defects can only be avoided by putting them to the inside and I worry about sanding into one of these defects once I have the guitar well along, but so far so good.

The tops have a wide range of ring lines per inch from top to top, one top in particular is has really wide grain but all are well quartered and run out seems reasonable.

The wood is very brittle. I dropped one top half while thickness sanding, hit the floor on the corner and split a piece off from one end to the other (!!!!!). Still usable, but quite a surprise. The top I am working now split a little on the edge when I picked it up, again surprising, but it just goes with the territory I guess, learn to work it.

Once built it seems okay, great even, have had no trouble and certainly other top woods have various idiosyncrasies too.

I like the color when finished and the fact that it looks like old wood without having to tint it.

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