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tobinsuke
09-11-2012, 11:55 AM
I've carved some neck blanks out of a 3x3 piece of maple. When I say neck blank, I mean they are at a point where a fretboard could be affixed, holes drilled for tuners, etc. and shaping still needs to be done - all edges are square.

How long should I wait before completing it? I've read anywhere from two weeks to two months as a minimum. Any thoughts? Words of wisdom? Thanks.

UkeforJC
09-11-2012, 12:32 PM
I am not sure what you meant actually.

Did you just buy some wood? or you have had the wood for a while and started carving?
Sounds like that you have already started.
If you have started carving, i don't see why you need to wait to complete at this point.

Sorry, maybe you can clarify your question a little bit.

Chris_H
09-11-2012, 12:38 PM
What is the history of the board? If it was cut from a tree yesterday, then maybe several years, if it is consistent grain, and very dry, acclimated, then much less. After doing any major milling to a board, it is a good idea to give as much time as possible prior to finish milling, to allow for any internal tensions, or for any moisture inconsistencies to work out. If you have a very flat surface like a precision granite plate, you can check the fretboard plane, then check it again in a couple weeks, a month, 6 weeks. If you see movement you know you need to wait longer, or find a different board. Watch until you feel comfortable.

Also, what species of Maple? Maple isn't known to be the most stable wood, but not the most unstable either... The denser, harder woods need more time than softer, less dense woods, though there are probably exceptions.

tobinsuke
09-11-2012, 01:17 PM
It's "rock maple"' which is still pretty generic given that there are so many species of maple. I don't actually know the history of the board - just walked into Woodcraft and bought a nicest grained, truest piece of maple they had (for banjo ukulele necks). I did take a piece of scrap and burn it, then burnt a similar piece of some maple that I know to have been air dried for at least 18 months for comparison. I believe the woodcraft piece to be better "seasoned".

But when I was roughing out the blank on the bandsaw, it did spring closed against the blade at an unexpected point, which may point to internal tensions in the piece. I like the idea of waiting and watching for movement. Well, not so much the waiting part, but what are you gonna do. I do have an accurate surface plate. Was mainly looking for a time frame, but probably shouldn't have expected that it be so simple.

Pondoro
09-11-2012, 01:24 PM
I cut a blank for a gunstock from walnut that had aged almost 50 years. (My friend had cut it personally, with his father). I spent an evening carving it. The next day a crack had opened. You never know...

tobinsuke
09-11-2012, 01:35 PM
I cut a blank for a gunstock from walnut that had aged almost 50 years. (My friend had cut it personally, with his father). I spent an evening carving it. The next day a crack had opened. You never know...

That's a bummer about your gunstock. Yeah, wood is tricky.

Chris_H
09-11-2012, 03:09 PM
When you see tension in wood, like when a kerf closes or opens after a saw blade, often, the wood can sit, you think it is safe, then you remove a little from one face, the wood moves immediately again. I am probably not the one to ask, but If I saw tension like that in a potential neck blank, it would probably go into the firewood pile pretty quick, unless I fely like salvaging some chopsticks out of the remainder, or a door stop, or something else useful. It sucks to see nice wood go to waste, but a neck that moves may waste a lot more wood and effort.

Is the grain of your neck blank clear, perfect, and QS? If it is , it probably has case hardening issues from being kiln dried, or, who knows... Wood can be predicatable, but there is also a 'voodoo' element.... If that board wants to teach you a lesson, listen carefully....

tobinsuke
09-12-2012, 02:55 AM
" If that board wants to teach you a lesson, listen carefully.... "

Point taken. How am I to really understand what can go wrong unless I move ahead, try for perfection, and note whatever happens along the way. That being said, I plan to let these blanks sit for a while and keep an eye on them. When I feel fairly confident in their stability I will proceed with them and see what happens. Sounds good, as my goal here is to learn along the way - if everything goes perfectly that's great, and if not (almost certainly not) then I can consider the effort and material to be the price of a tiny bit of wisdom or experience.

Thanks to all for your caveats and advice.

dofthesea
09-12-2012, 06:41 AM
I have found that removing equal amounts from each side of a board can minimize the movement.