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Author Topic: Wood Choices...  (Read 27101 times)

Offline Lwinn171

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Wood Choices...
« Reply #30 on: October 23, 2006, 02:23:37 PM »
Kurt and Bill,

Open two for this one...

No, I've never used koa. It's just too expensive and hard to find to justify in furniture work, and very few people (who aren't musicians) seem to want it incorporated into their furniture. The most practical way to work with Koa seems to be to move to Hawaii (sounds practical, eh?). Not much of it leaves the islands, and it's quite expensive when it does (especially the better figured stuff). I've seen some on ebay, and you can get it from places like Luthier's Merchantile, but it is pricey. I've never seen it on the cheap.

When I bought my Larivee Parlor guitar, I got it from a small acoustic dealer in Brevard NC. They had the Parlor model in several wood choices (back and sides, spruce tops on every one). Maple, mahogany, cherry, walnut, koa, and rosewood. So I got to compare tones in a fairly controlled way (same model, top etc... just different back and side wood). The koa was my 2nd favorite, nice and warm, great tone. The rosewood (which I got) only edged it out with slightly better clarrity in the bass, and a bit more projection. Just a little tighter bass response. The koa was more balanced than the mahogany, with a little better high end response, and more articulate mids. The cherry and walnut were nice, but a little dark in an acoustic (although I think it would be great in a Fly, with the natural brightness they tend to have). I think a koa Fly would be brilliant, tonally and aesthetically. I also think it would make a great speaker cabinet wood choice. As much as I love the look of koa, it would be wasted in a furniture project, in my opinion. True tonewoods should not be used to make a dining room table, when it could be used to make several guitars, or other acoustically driven designs (like speaker cabs).

Spruce and cedar are the only woods generally used for soundboards on acoustics, because nothing else works as well, and spruce is the standard. It tends to hold up better, over the years, than cedar. Most people tend to think it sounds better (although classical guitars often have cedar tops and can sound great in that application).

I don't know much about koa, in terms of its harvesting and reforestation, but it is an outstanding wood, tonally. And it would make a gorgeous Fly. It wouldn't sound muddy at all. I suspect it would sound better than anything they use for the standard Fly's (even mahogany, like mine, which I love!). I say go for it, Bill. [^]

As for the finish, Bill, I wouldn't go with an oiled, rubbed finish. A harder finish (poly, which is harder, or lacquer, harder still) can be rubbed to a satin and will give the wood the protection it needs, from humidity and dings and scratches. Oiled wood looks great, and I use it on most of my furniture, but I wouldn't want it on a guitar. You can use a coat or two of oil, thinned by half to insure deeper penetration into the wood (which would really make the grain "pop" ) and then topcoat with something harder and buff that to satin, and that would be best, methinks.[8D]


Lawrence Winn
"42.7 percent of all statistics are made-up on the spot."
2001 Fly Classic, Green
Larivee Parlour Guitar
Several inferior others
Mesa Boogie MK IV
Marshall 2-12 cab
« Last Edit: October 23, 2006, 02:32:48 PM by Lwinn171 »

Lawrence Winn
2001 Classic, 98 Deluxe
various amps, various toys

Wood Choices...

Offline kwcabs

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Wood Choices...
« Reply #31 on: October 24, 2006, 12:49:08 AM »
First off Lawrence, right on with the finish comments at the end.  Oil finishes, in my opinion are not good options for any musical instruments.  They just have such little durability.  As for the Koa, Parker's already done this.  You need to check out Michael Mozarts Koa fly, search for it on the forum he has it up here with some links to it, although I remember the pics didn't show off the figure he said it has.  If you don't know him, he is the featured artist, has been for quite a while, on the main page.  He has a band called Oppera with Martika.  I met Michael last year (I think) when they were on tour with Pat Benetar and he was really psyched about the Koa fly Parker was building for him, and we were actually talking about matching Koa speaker cabinets, but that was just before he signed with Randall, so it goes.  I was just dissappointed that I didn't get to see the Koa fly as he had to cancel his NY leg of their tour this year, I was really looking forward to checking it out.  I belive he also has a very unique "spanish" fly or nylon fly as they call it now, it is fretless and I think with an epoxy finished macassar ebony board.  Another one of my favorite woods.  Back to Koa, Lawrence I have to disagree a little bit, Koa certainly does find its way into high end furniture, but it is rare simply because of the price, it's up there.  It's not very popular but often times when customers get a look at it, they want it, the highly figured variety of course.  It's also very popular in small products like, jewelry boxes and the like.  It's a shame, it's a really pretty wood, but the music industry has ruined it for woodworkers out there, because in the luthier world woods are highly over priced and none is a better example than Koa.  This stuff should sell for about $20 a board foot for AAA-AAAA figure, and it's very hard to find it for that usually it goes for three times that.  Same goes for quilted maple, it should be about $12 and it's really hard to find for that, it takes some leg work.  You also hit the nail on the head with Koa's tone, it's really a great complex tone that little else is similar to it.  Macassar is another amazing tone wood that you don't see very often in guitars, workability is hard, very expensive, and usually too small for two pieces, and virtually never 1 piece, but oh my, what a tone.  There are quite a few others, but Koa is certainly an great tone wood.  If you haven't already seen them, you should check out Taylor's new T5 Custom which had a Koa top, an awesome guitar in it's own respect.

Owner of KWCABS guitar speaker cabinets.  We specialize in making simply the best speaker cabinets out there, constructed out of top-quality hardwoods, standard lines as well as custom work.  WWW.KWCABS.COM

Check out my Parker Supreme here www.kwcabs.com/parker%20page.htm

Kurt Wyberanec
Owner of KWCABS guitar speaker cabinets.  We specialize in making simply the best speaker cabinets out there, constructed out of top-quality hardwoods, standard lines as well as custom work.  WWW.KWCABS.COM

Check out my Parker Supreme here www.kwcabs.com/parker%20page.htm

Wood Choices...

Offline Lwinn171

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Wood Choices...
« Reply #32 on: October 24, 2006, 10:57:08 AM »
Kurt,

Your right that some koa ends up as furniture. I actually know a guy who worked for a cabinetmaker in Hawaii, and they used mostly koa. It's just not practical for me as there isn't a supplier near me. I have to be able to pick through a stack to be happy about the wood I'm using, and paying through the nose for something I can't see firsthand isn't a good option for what I do. It is incredible looking stuff, though. It may be that people here in the south have different tastes, and that's why no one's ever asked about koa. Cherry, walnut and mahogany are common requests. Maple is popular too. Oak and pine are out of fashion, it seems (I despise oak and pine as furniture woods, personally). With the right client, I can sometimes get them into some other options. I've used purpleheart, zebrawood, ipe`, andiroba, jatoba... all kinds of stuff. If you find a good source for koa, I might try ordering some. Let me know...

Mick,

 That's cool! I'm going to try to find some pics of the koa Fly Kurt mentioned.

Lawrence Winn
"42.7 percent of all statistics are made-up on the spot."
2001 Fly Classic, Green
Larivee Parlour Guitar
Several inferior others
Mesa Boogie MK IV
Marshall 2-12 cab

Lawrence Winn
2001 Classic, 98 Deluxe
various amps, various toys

Wood Choices...

Offline Nigel Tufnel

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Wood Choices...
« Reply #33 on: October 28, 2006, 05:10:56 PM »
Have a look at some seriously breathtaking wood, fellas! www.edromanguitars.com/wood/spalted.htm
Enjoy, but be sure you put on a bib before you click the link!
Nigel

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Offline 908ssp

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« Reply #34 on: October 28, 2006, 05:41:34 PM »
You know of course that is fungus growing in the wood?



Alex

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Wood Choices...

Offline Lwinn171

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« Reply #35 on: October 29, 2006, 12:27:15 AM »
Yeah, I've always seen spalted maple as rotting, cut into boards before the insects and fungus and rot took over completely. It's pretty, in a way, but not something I'd use. I could be totally wrong about this, it's just the impression I've always gotten from it.

Lawrence Winn
"42.7 percent of all statistics are made-up on the spot."
2001 Fly Classic, Green
Larivee Parlour Guitar
Several inferior others
Mesa Boogie MK IV
Marshall 2-12 cab

Lawrence Winn
2001 Classic, 98 Deluxe
various amps, various toys

Wood Choices...

Offline sfw

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« Reply #36 on: October 29, 2006, 10:17:44 AM »
Hey guys. I don't know if you remember the custom koa's that Parker made for Michael Mozart of Oppera www.oppera.net but there was a lot of discussion and some pics of it. They also did a Parker Poster with the koa parker custom and Martika. See http://forums.parkerguitars.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1122&whichpage=1&SearchTerms=mozart

It's a very good looking guitar. I recently picked up a Koa neck with M.Ebony fingerboard for a strat project I keep playing with. Wow really good looking and nice rounding and resonant. I would highly recommend it as a great tone wood. But alas, it is certainly expensive.

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Offline Almost_Famous

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« Reply #37 on: October 29, 2006, 11:32:19 PM »
I too would like to see some parkers made of more exotic woods - If I had enough dough, I'd beg them to make me one out of either Ziricote, Bubinga, Cocobolo (especially if it had some heartwood in it) or paduk.. I'm sure it would be bloody expensive though. I'm still saving for my dream fly classic.
 

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Offline baronthecat

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« Reply #38 on: October 31, 2006, 07:26:31 AM »

 I really wanted a bird's-eye Fly, but Ken said the 'eyes' would pop out during the CNC machining and would make a mess out of a beautiful piece of wood. Cocobolo would make a nice natural finish, can't tell you about the sound. Has anyone ordered a "hippie-sandwich"? One of those jigsaw/checkerboard patterns, with 8 different woods.

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2005 Parker Fly Classic, transparent cherry.
2006 Parker Fly Custom, majik blue.

 You could spend forever picking the right amp for each string.

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Offline Lwinn171

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« Reply #39 on: October 31, 2006, 11:23:07 AM »
Birdseye maple is notoriously hard to carve, and I agree the CNC process would leave a lot of tear-out. Even planers and jointers do this to birdseye, leaving a substantial sanding job. With this wood you have to get it close to shape, then sand it to final shape, and it's a long, laborious thing to do.

Lawrence Winn
"42.7 percent of all statistics are made-up on the spot."
2001 Fly Classic, Green
Larivee Parlour Guitar
Several inferior others
Mesa Boogie MK IV
Marshall 2-12 cab

Lawrence Winn
2001 Classic, 98 Deluxe
various amps, various toys

Wood Choices...

Offline kwcabs

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« Reply #40 on: October 31, 2006, 11:45:19 AM »
Hello again, I think Ken was exaggerating about the eyes popping out, Lawrence is correct that Birdseye is pretty hard, but it's no harder than most rosewoods.  That said, the eyes can cause tearout like he said and it makes things difficult.  I don't know about doing it with a CNC, but I've found a great little secret that works really well with difficult woods when planing and jointing, and that is simply to wet the board right before it goes though the machine.  This works wonders with all types of figured woods.  It softens the fibers up just a little so that they can slice rather than tear.  Of course sharp machinery is key also.  But I'm not sure this would work on a CNC because it's a much longer process and the board will dry quickly.  As for those Jigsaw guitars I just saw an Ibanez version of one the other day, the darn thing looked exactly like a puzzle, and I have to say it was very cool.

Owner of KWCABS guitar speaker cabinets.  We specialize in making simply the best speaker cabinets out there, constructed out of top-quality hardwoods, standard lines as well as custom work.  WWW.KWCABS.COM

Check out my Parker Supreme here www.kwcabs.com/parker%20page.htm

Kurt Wyberanec
Owner of KWCABS guitar speaker cabinets.  We specialize in making simply the best speaker cabinets out there, constructed out of top-quality hardwoods, standard lines as well as custom work.  WWW.KWCABS.COM

Check out my Parker Supreme here www.kwcabs.com/parker%20page.htm

Wood Choices...

Offline Lwinn171

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« Reply #41 on: October 31, 2006, 01:03:17 PM »
Kurt,
Interesting tip about wetting the board, never heard that one! I'll try that next time I use some figured wood. Even with new blades on the machines, some tear-out happens, but I'm anxious to try your tecnique. Thanks for the idea! I think the CNC machine is probably set to take out a fair amount of wood in a single pass, so it may not help in that circumstance. However, it sounds like a great idea for planing and jointing tricky boards. Does this tecnique shorten blade life? Seems like wetness might cause rust on the blades, but maybe it doesn't make any difference. Any thoughts?

Lawrence Winn
"42.7 percent of all statistics are made-up on the spot."
2001 Fly Classic, Green
Larivee Parlour Guitar
Several inferior others
Mesa Boogie MK IV
Marshall 2-12 cab
« Last Edit: October 31, 2006, 01:03:42 PM by Lwinn171 »

Lawrence Winn
2001 Classic, 98 Deluxe
various amps, various toys

Wood Choices...

Offline baronthecat

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« Reply #42 on: October 31, 2006, 03:57:14 PM »

 There used to be a company called Superior Water-Logged Lumber that recovered up old logs from back when it was pushed down the river from the logging site to the mill. I remember reading that either they or a competitor had access to wood that had fallen in prehistoric times. Bet that stuff sounds good. How much older can you get?

Parker Fly Classic
Parker Fly Custom
2005 Parker Fly Classic, transparent cherry.
2006 Parker Fly Custom, majik blue.

 You could spend forever picking the right amp for each string.

Wood Choices...

Offline Lwinn171

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« Reply #43 on: October 31, 2006, 05:04:16 PM »
I've heard and read something about this, pricy wood being dragged from the bottom of some river or something. It cost a lot, if I recall, but then again, it had to spend a long time in the kiln to dry. I bet Kurt might know more on this...

Lawrence Winn
"42.7 percent of all statistics are made-up on the spot."
2001 Fly Classic, Green
Larivee Parlour Guitar
Several inferior others
Mesa Boogie MK IV
Marshall 2-12 cab

Lawrence Winn
2001 Classic, 98 Deluxe
various amps, various toys

Wood Choices...

Offline kwcabs

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« Reply #44 on: November 01, 2006, 12:20:38 PM »
Hey guys, first off, Wilmington, I totally believe the experience with birdseye, and now that I think about it, I would bet that it's the same reason why Parker hasn't used some more exotics.  Woods like Poplar are a breeze to work with with, you can cut them just about any way you like, but woods that have really twisted grain or interlocked grain can cause headaches with machinery, all of these things can be worked with when there is a lot of hand work too, but when using the CNC type machines there's a much larger chance of tearout and ruining boards.  Hmmmm, in light of thinking about that this may make the request for exotic flys a little harder or at least with fewer choices. I suppose that's also why we've seen so little figured maple come out of Parker, because I'm sure it's that much harder to work with too.  And yes, you're absolutely correct there would be virtually no way to wet boards on that machine.  I remember seeing it in action when I was there, and it worked fairly quickly for what it was doing, but a guitar would need to be constantly misted and that would probably be havoc causing for the machines.  We have to get someone in there to start carving and cutting them by hand the way the first few were no doubt made :)  And Lawrence, in my experience wetting the boards on the planer does not harm the blades or machine, in fact it probably extends the life of the blades because they're cutting through slightly softer material.  The water drys quite quickly.  I use a plaining sled instead of working on both the jointer and planer to flatten boards, and so I do all my shimming, and when I'm about to push the board through I'll give it a quick wipe with a wet rag, when it comes out it's completely dry except any areas that weren't hit by the blade, so it's also a good indicator of what's going on.  One note to make would be I wouldn't suggest using the wet method on a planer that has iron rollers cause any wetness will make them rust.  On a jointer wetting the board is a little more tricky because the wetness does cause a little more friction and makes it a little harder to push.  Plus, my jointer has alluminium tables where getting them wet is not a problem, but most have cast iron which will rust fairly quickly, so take care there too.  Fact is though, that I won't use the water until the last couple of passes through the planer, because it can tear out all it wants (as long as it's not deep) and when it comes time to take that last 3/64 off I'll wet it for two or 3 passes and the tearout disappears.  Give it a shot on some scrap to get the hang of it first.
    As for the "water" lumber, alot of it is referred to as lake salvaged, swamp salvaged what have you.  Believe it or not there are 2 main groups that are using this lumber.  Music companies use it highly, in a form.  The term swamp ash is not by mistake, these Ash trees grow in swamps and the part of the tree that they use for guitars is the part that lives underwater.  To my knowledge Ash is the only species the music instrument industry uses for this, and to my understanding, living underwater changes the properties of the wood in such a way that tone benefits.  I couldn't tell you the science behind it though.  On the other hand, the other industry that uses this is furniture and a tiny bit of home building.  There are quite a few sources.  A large source of lake salvaged lumber comes from man made lakes where homes and the like were flooded and never taken away, they'll go down break them up and cart away the lumber.  Obviously this is a fair amount of work considering what has to be done, and it's a large reason this type of lumber costs a decent amount combined with the fact that it's a "specialty" item.  They'll do the same for trees that have been flooded over but are still alive in swamps and rivers as well.  There is also a large market for "salvaged" lumber that is nothing more than things like old homes and barns being torn down and the wood being carefully removed instead of destroyed.  As you can imagine these types of lumber are very old looking, weathered if you will, and do have a certain look.  This look is predominantly popular with western design furniture and homes.  If the log cabin is big in the northeast the salvaged wood ranch home is popular in say Colorado or barn flooring in Santa Fe.  Another group that this obviously appeals to is the environmentally sensitive who would obviously rather use a board that's already been cut and used than knock down another tree.  Anyway, sorry to make that long winded, yes again :)


Owner of KWCABS guitar speaker cabinets.  We specialize in making simply the best speaker cabinets out there, constructed out of top-quality hardwoods, standard lines as well as custom work.  WWW.KWCABS.COM

Check out my Parker Supreme here www.kwcabs.com/parker%20page.htm

Kurt Wyberanec
Owner of KWCABS guitar speaker cabinets.  We specialize in making simply the best speaker cabinets out there, constructed out of top-quality hardwoods, standard lines as well as custom work.  WWW.KWCABS.COM

Check out my Parker Supreme here www.kwcabs.com/parker%20page.htm