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View Full Version : Side Thickness First Build



MichaelPfenning
01-05-2015, 03:58 PM
The plan i am working off says to make the side 50mm wide. When I search the images and other builds it looks like the sides are closer to 3 inches . What difference will it make? I also have a question about the top and back Do they have to be quarter sawn lumber. I thought with the bracing in place flat sawn would work and the bracing should keep it flat. I have a lot more questions but this will have to do for now. Heres the pictures of the Fir sound board made from reclaimed stair treads from my 100 Year old house.74684

BlackBearUkes
01-05-2015, 07:16 PM
It depends on what size uke you are building. If its a soprano or concert uke, I would suggest using a 2 1/4" top bout, 3" bout bout side taper. Taper the back from top to bottom and from side to side. You don't need a big taper, but some is good. Don't make the sides all one dimension. Quarter sawn wood is always best for strength and stability. A flat sawn piece of wood will warp like a potato chip after a time even with bracing. You can use fir for the top, but Fir has a lot of pitch in the wood so it won't be a good as spruce, redwood or cedar. Good luck with your build.


The plan i am working off says to make the side 50mm wide. When I search the images and other builds it looks like the sides are closer to 3 inches . What difference will it make? I also have a question about the top and back Do they have to be quarter sawn lumber. I thought with the bracing in place flat sawn would work and the bracing should keep it flat. I have a lot more questions but this will have to do for now. Heres the pictures of the Fir sound board made from reclaimed stair treads from my 100 Year old house.74684

greenscoe
01-05-2015, 08:19 PM
I will add that much deeper boxes are not necessarily louder: 3" at the widest point is fine for a tenor. I have never considered flat sawn wood for the above reasons. As a hobby maker I often use recycled wood for backs, sides and cross bracing. I select wood that's as close to quarter sawn as possible. I like the look of your fir and would try it.

As a new builder I would expect that the way you interpret the plan and build the instrument will have more affect on the sound you achieve than whether you have used quarter sawn wood. Keep it light would be my advice.

jcalkin
01-07-2015, 01:10 PM
Flat sawn hard wood doesn't scare me. If its going to warp it will be as its cut or as it dries. If its flat and stable when dry I would use it with few worries. I see flat sawn wood in very expensive instruments all the time, so it must not scare other luthiers, either. I also have some warped quarter sawn rosewood on hand that is probably useless. Wood is too unpredictable to make such generalities about it. A lot of unsubstantiated wood lore is handed down without a thought. If you don't test things for yourself you may never know if its correct.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-07-2015, 03:18 PM
Flat sawn hard wood doesn't scare me. If its going to warp it will be as its cut or as it dries. If its flat and stable when dry I would use it with few worries. I see flat sawn wood in very expensive instruments all the time, so it must not scare other luthiers, either. I also have some warped quarter sawn rosewood on hand that is probably useless. Wood is too unpredictable to make such generalities about it. A lot of unsubstantiated wood lore is handed down without a thought. If you don't test things for yourself you may never know if its correct.

Aren't most Brazilian rosewood guitars flat sawn?

jcalkin
01-07-2015, 04:47 PM
Aren't most Brazilian rosewood guitars flat sawn?

In the Old Days Brazilian rosewood guitar wood was quartered. Its boring to look at. Add in the yellow from the aged lacquer and the 30s Martins that are so sought after are drab specimens. Much of the flashy stuff from today goes from quartered in the center to flat/random sawn on the edges, and that's the portion that gives the spectacular figure. Same thing with much of the cocobolo that's racing up the price scales today.

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
01-07-2015, 04:51 PM
I see that 'Slab sawn' wood is called "figured" wood alot online these days

sequoia
01-07-2015, 05:45 PM
I see that 'Slab sawn' wood is called "figured" wood alot online these days

I'm not a sawyer, but I suspect that the word "slab" refers to a big old chunk of wood that goes on the wood mizer as in, "Hey Cletus, put that big old slab a wood in front of the saw and lets cut us some slab sawn wood. I don't think the word "slab" means much in the world of wood cutting, but I could be wrong. If it comes out "figured", all the better.

jcalkin
01-08-2015, 10:11 AM
I'm not a sawyer, but I suspect that the word "slab" refers to a big old chunk of wood that goes on the wood mizer as in, "Hey Cletus, put that big old slab a wood in front of the saw and lets cut us some slab sawn wood. I don't think the word "slab" means much in the world of wood cutting, but I could be wrong. If it comes out "figured", all the better.

I think you're right. Perfectly flat sawn wood is probably as hard to find as perfectly quarter sawn wood. Anything in between is slab sawn. Figure might show up anywhere, but wavy grain lines show up the most in slab sawn wood, thus "figured wood." Again, if its dry, still flat, and pretty I'll give it a go. If any of those three qualities are missing, I'll keep looking. Unless you're cranking out work at an amazing rate, its not hard to stash wood for future production. If it sits in storage for awhile, stays flat, and you're still fond of it, you might as well use it. If you keep putting it off for any reason other than its just too special to use, you might as well swap it away because you have some (perhaps unconscious) bias against it. Trust your instincts. Dry boards should be cut into sets and watched for awhile to see what they do. If you get it down to working thickness and its still cooperative, be happy. Every instrument might be a learning experience, especially the ones that come back to you. So learn. We're not saving lives here, we're making musical tools, the nicest ones we can. Lighten up. You'll live longer (or at least happier).