Cedar Siding for a Top?

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Randolph Rhett
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Re: Cedar Siding for a Top?

Post by Randolph Rhett »

To be clear, I read all of Alan's post with great interest. I may not have a quote of his in my signature box like other fans, but I have applied a lot that I've learned from him and quote him to students at Palomar often. I hope my gentle ribbing is seen in that context.

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Eric Knapp
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Re: Cedar Siding for a Top?

Post by Eric Knapp »

Randolph Rhett wrote:To be clear, I read all of Alan's post with great interest. I may not have a quote of his in my signature box like other fans, but I have applied a lot that I've learned from him and quote him to students at Palomar often. I hope my gentle ribbing is seen in that context.
It was seen that way by me! I like to see friendly banter among old friends and acquaintances. This is a rich community and I'm enjoying learning from all of you. :ugeek:

-Eric

Alan Carruth
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Re: Cedar Siding for a Top?

Post by Alan Carruth »

Randolph:
No offence taken; you just triggered my auto-response mode.....;) None given, I hope.

In the end, good wood is where you find it, and I've found plenty in odder places. The trick is figuring out how good (or not) it is. There are lots of ways to do that, and using as many as you can is probably better than any by itself.

Randy Roberts
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Re: Cedar Siding for a Top?

Post by Randy Roberts »

This thread brought back fond memories.
The first "all my own" guitar was a copy of an 1840 Martin I saw pictured in some book that would later in Martin's history be about a size 1. I blew up the 2" X 2" picture at kinko's, figured out some bracing, and went looking for wood.
Back in those days the lumberyard let you wander around in the yard looking for whatever you wanted, and I headed to the siding shed as I had decided I wanted a cedar top. The siding was on a second story overlooking the center of a shed about 150 feet long.
I proceeded to spend the next 6 hours ( I was new and in love with this d#*n hobby) hanging every piece of cedar siding they had that was on quarter over the edge of the balcony tapping and listening, just kinda lost in the process. The employees were constantly walking back and forth giving me the strangest looks. I was still at it through two of their work breaks as they sat at the end of the shed pointing and laughing at the head case up in the siding section.
After 6 hours I had it down to two boards, made my pick, took it down to the floor and asked one of the staff for 4 feet off one end of a 12 foot piece of siding. After all the speculation they had been making as to what the hell I was doing, he said he just had to ask "what are you going to do with it?" I figured by then it would be more fun to leave them wondering what on earth was wrong with me and just said I needed to patch a hole.
Ended up one of the two best sounding guitars I've made so far. Nuthin wrong with siding....
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Alan Carruth
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Re: Cedar Siding for a Top?

Post by Alan Carruth »

Ah, the weirdness....

There is a chain of stores that is legendary in the Boston area, the 'Building #19' family. They sell insurance salvage, over runs, close out stock, and so forth. You never know what you're going to find there, and can often get 'good stuff cheap' as their ads say. We used to go to the nearest one every week or two, just for a cup of 'free and worth it' coffee and a look around.

One time we went in and found that they had gotten the stock of a defunct company that made redwood planters. They had pallet loads of billets that were about two feet long, nine inches wide and 5/8" thick. My wife helped me sort through them for at least a couple of hours. First we picked out all the best quartered ones. Then we tapped them all to find the ones that had the nicest 'ring'. In the end we carted a several dozen of them up to the counter and plunked down fifty cents apiece for them. I worked on those tops for a long time. Some of them did crack on the shelf, but a lot of them were really excellent wood, and made some great guitars.

Good wood is where you find it...

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Bryan Bear
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Re: Cedar Siding for a Top?

Post by Bryan Bear »

Just to add to the 'tonewood is where you find it' theme. . . The two guitars I am working on now have scavenged tops. The O size was a 2 1/2 foot chunk of WRC 2x8 in the scrap bin at the local hardware store. It happened to be tight grain and perfectly quartered and a guitar pattern fit between the knots. The parlor was a pine board in the cull section of the Home Depo. The pith ran through the board but off set to one side leaving barely enough width of usable wood for a size 1. The whole thing was a twisted wreck but this little area was okay. For $1.00 I took the risk tossed 90% of the board. Resawed the top thick and baked it. It is currently an un-bound box, and at each step I expected to have to trash it. We'll see what happens.

Both of these guitars have back and sides (walnut and cherry) from the urban log recyclers too. And. to bring it full circle, hanging on the wall behind them is the plan you are builders my from :)
IMG_0821.JPG
PMoMC

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

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Eric Knapp
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Re: Cedar Siding for a Top?

Post by Eric Knapp »

Bryan Bear wrote:Just to add to the 'tonewood is where you find it' theme. . . The two guitars I am working on now have scavenged tops. The O size was a 2 1/2 foot chunk of WRC 2x8 in the scrap bin at the local hardware store. It happened to be tight grain and perfectly quartered and a guitar pattern fit between the knots. The parlor was a pine board in the cull section of the Home Depo. The pith ran through the board but off set to one side leaving barely enough width of usable wood for a size 1. The whole thing was a twisted wreck but this little area was okay. For $1.00 I took the risk tossed 90% of the board. Resawed the top thick and baked it. It is currently an un-bound box, and at each step I expected to have to trash it. We'll see what happens.

Both of these guitars have back and sides (walnut and cherry) from the urban log recyclers too. And. to bring it full circle, hanging on the wall behind them is the plan you are builders my from :)
IMG_0821.JPG
Those look awesome! I'm looking forward to being able to say things like, "The two guitars I am working on now." I have no idea what I'm going to do with said guitars but I'll figure that out later.

-Eric

Matthew Lau
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Re: Cedar Siding for a Top?

Post by Matthew Lau »

It'll work fine, and you'll have a great story for your instrument.

Clay Schaeffer
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Re: Cedar Siding for a Top?

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

For those who want decent soundboard wood, but don't have the time or ability to ferret it out, you might consider the lowest offerings of the tonewood cutters. Since tops are graded on cosmetics as much as structural quality minor flaws can put a top in the bargain bin. Looking at a couple of the better known suppliers I see lutz tops listed for $9 and Sitka for $8 a piece. I still check the lumberyard for WRC, but for spruce not so much.

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Jim McConkey
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Re: Cedar Siding for a Top?

Post by Jim McConkey »

Just a shameless reminder there are a couple nice tops in the MIMF 20th Anniversary Auction right now. The cheapest is only going for $5 at the moment. Bid while its hot! This auction ends June 4th, but there will probably be another after it.
MIMForum Staff - Way North of Baltimore

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