Best thing to use for practice wood?

necessaryrooster

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Hello everybody,

I'm a beginner just starting to get into building. I built a Stewmac kit where everything is pre-cut for you and had a lot of fun with it, but now I want to try making something on my own. I got a lovely batch of wood from LMI (I did have them bend the sides and profile/join/sand the top and back for me) and before I mess up this lovely piece of Honduran mahogany, I thought it would be prudent to have several practice runs making a neck out of a blank. Sorry for a very basic question, but does it matter what kind of wood I use for this, as long as the dimensions are the same as my neck blank? Same for carving the bridge. I don't want to ruin this very nice piece of ziricote. Can I just use a block of any old thing (assuming the same dimensions as my blank) to practice shaping?

Thanks for your help.
 

BradDonaldson

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I remember when I first started building many years ago, that the thought of carving the neck created a lot more angst than it should have. Practicing with scrap wood is not a bad idea, if nothing else will allow you to develop a systematic process. The only reason that the type of wood used would matter, is whether you plan to use primarily hand tools. If that is the case, the various species of African mahogany are cheap and readily available. They will feel much like same as H. mahogany to work.
Brad
 

necessaryrooster

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Thanks Brad! Yes, developing a process is part of my goal, along with figuring out how exactly I want to shape the neck/peghead. I think I know what I'm looking for in terms of feel (at least I know what I like on ukes I've played), but haven't landed on a shape I really like for the peghead. I'm planning on using power tools where I can.
 

sequoia

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I would think any piece of cheap hardwood would work... The first thing you will need (other than tools of course) is some sort of template with the rough dimensions you want to achieve. The easiest thing to do is just trace the neck outline on one of your ukes, cut out the template and use it to give you your lines on your neck blank. Then cut away the excess and start shaping. Good luck! It ain't as hard as it first seems.
 

BradDonaldson

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With power tools the kind of wood used to practice on doesn’t matter much. A contour (pin) gauge is a very handy tool for duplicating neck contours.
 

printer2

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Just go down to the lumber store and pick up a 2x4 SPF that has a section without knots and the grain is fairly straight.

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Cheap, a little different from the feel of a hardwood but you can do a number of tries real cheap. I guess you should have a fake fretboard to simulate a real one. In my case the necks are not practice but real necks.
 
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