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Thread: Redwood - Old growth or new growth for soundboards?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetalumaRescuke View Post
    I have some salvage redwood planks, 2"X16"X6' They have tight grain but is at 60. Is this too far from 90 to use for a sound board?
    Reading this conversation, I'm thinking that the 60 may have an advantage with across the grain stress.
    I will mill it when it is safe to venture and mingle.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by eclipsme View Post

    All things being equal, what differences, if any, would you expect using old-growth vs new-growth redwood for the soundboard?

    Thank you!
    I live in the heart of redwood country and I think there may be some confusion. It is unlikely that your redwood boards are "old growth" meaning they were from the original uncut trees of the 19th century. Just tightness of grain does not mean the wood is "old growth" as some of the later cuts will have tight grain. As for the difference in sound depending on being "old growth" or 2nd growth I think there is no difference. It depends on the stiffness of the wood, not the age of the tree... For what it is worth, in my hands at least, redwood tops give an indifferent sound and I quit using them a while back.

  3. #13
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    "I'm thinking that the 60 may have an advantage with across the grain stress"

    I'm inclined to agree. Definitely worth trying.

    John Colter

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beau Hannam Ukuleles View Post
    Attachment 127018

    All wood is strong(er) along the grain. I don't bother to flex test in that direction.

    Across the grain is pretty much all you should be worried about when buying wood.

    All wood will break if you flex it across the grain enough- Redwood is more brittle then spruce, much like cedar is.

    Redwood shouldn't immediately break across the grain, but it will break far quicker then other woods.
    Yes, thank you for clarifying.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ukantor View Post
    "I'm thinking that the 60 may have an advantage with across the grain stress"

    I'm inclined to agree. Definitely worth trying.

    John Colter
    Yes, worth trying, I think, but what do you think is the advantage?

  6. #16
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    The angle of the grain is not in the same plane of the across the grain stress.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by sequoia View Post
    I live in the heart of redwood country and I think there may be some confusion. It is unlikely that your redwood boards are "old growth" meaning they were from the original uncut trees of the 19th century. Just tightness of grain does not mean the wood is "old growth" as some of the later cuts will have tight grain. As for the difference in sound depending on being "old growth" or 2nd growth I think there is no difference. It depends on the stiffness of the wood, not the age of the tree... For what it is worth, in my hands at least, redwood tops give an indifferent sound and I quit using them a while back.
    After much thought, I realize that I am using the wrong terms! Sorry.

    It is not a question of old or young, the correct term, I believe would be 1st growth vs 2nd.

    1st growth will, I believe, always have a much tighter grain structure, and that is what this board is.

    So to rephrase the question, does the tighter grain of 1st growth redwood lead to a different sound, and if so, in what way?

    Thanks!

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by eclipsme View Post
    So to rephrase the question, does the tighter grain of 1st growth redwood lead to a different sound, and if so, in what way?

    Thanks!
    I would say no. It is not so much the tightness of the grain but the stiffness of the wood. I believe it has been shown with Sitka spruce that the tightness or even regularity of the grain has nothing to do with how the top will sound. Tight, even grain is more of an aesthetic point and high end, expensive guitars have tight, even grain because the buyer demands it.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by sequoia View Post
    I would say no. It is not so much the tightness of the grain but the stiffness of the wood. I believe it has been shown with Sitka spruce that the tightness or even regularity of the grain has nothing to do with how the top will sound. Tight, even grain is more of an aesthetic point and high end, expensive guitars have tight, even grain because the buyer demands it.
    Interesting. Since the growth rings alternate between a denser and a less dense ring, I would think that the tighter the grain, the more of the denser rings there are, the stiffer the board, all else being equal.

  10. #20
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    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
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