View Full Version : Cracks and Checks

little timber
12-15-2015, 12:04 PM
Wondering what your opinion is on this piece of wood- more specifically, on building with it.

This piece showed up in the mail today, I had picked it up with the intention of using it for backs and sides. I opened up the packaging and saw this:


lots of small checking following the grain. I don't know how deep it goes, I haven't re-sawn any of it but I would assume it goes pretty deep. It is a 2" thick piece and the checking is way more evident on one side than the other. I don't intend on sending it back or demanding a refund, there are plenty of things I could use it for... I am curious if any of the builders here would consider using a piece like this.

I'm wondering if I try and stabilize it with CA glue, if I fill in the cracks with CA and sawdust, if it might be useable. do you think it would continue to check after being re-sawn and stickered, let season, and then CA'ed and filled? I am not worried about it affecting tone, as I don't think that backs and sides do anyway, I'm worried about structural stability.

What do you think?

dave g
12-15-2015, 01:21 PM
Try it (the CA thing). I've had good results stabilizing minor end grain cracks with liberal application of thin CA. Just remember to wear a dust mask when sanding the stuff.

12-15-2015, 04:26 PM
You never said what type of wood it was so hard to say. Looks like grain in some sort of burl wood to me and not necessarily checked. However, burl being burl... What is it?

little timber
12-16-2015, 10:30 AM
its Lychee. Ive never worked with it before, this piece feels really dense.

12-16-2015, 04:31 PM
Sorry, I know nothing about Lychee other than I don't care for its nuts. Perhaps somebody that has worked with the stuff will help.... Looking at that the picture, yes it has checked a bit, but the question is: is it done checking or... what is that piece gonna look like in a year or 5 years or... Would give a person pause for sure, but maybe that's Lychee wood. I don't know. Good luck!

little timber
12-17-2015, 07:05 AM
the guy who I bought it from did tell me that lychee is prone to this type of checking if let to dry as large pieces. it has been air drying for over 9 years so hopefully it is stable by now... we'll see once I cut into it

12-17-2015, 07:17 AM
Give it a try. I've seen some pretty dramatic cracks filled successfully before. The back has plenty of braces to hold it together and you can add some popsicle sticks to the sides if you're worried.
I'd either fill the checks with clear CA or black epoxy. Trying to use the sawdust fill on a light colored wood doesn't usually look too good....don't hide them, enhance them!

Beau Hannam Ukuleles
12-17-2015, 12:49 PM
I presume it was cheap....sssooooooo....... use it for headstock overlays, inlays or something- i wouldn't use it for back/sides

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
12-17-2015, 04:27 PM
Uh-oh....lychee! I have some experience with lychee. I bought and subsequently gave away about 20 sets of lychee. It never stopped moving while it was stickered and I was drying it. I mean never, even after two years it would move when I restickered it. It frightened me so much I didn't even attempt to build with it. I've talked to other woodworkers that have had experience with lychee moving years down the road. Because the wood is so dense and the grain so radical I assumed it wouldn't bend but I never got that far. It can be beautiful wood, especially when it's curly, but you may want to do a little more research on the working properties before spending hours on a project.

little timber
12-18-2015, 04:05 AM
Thanks Chuck. I think I'll put it in the "non instrument" pile. Maybe take beau's advice and use it for decorative bits