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Cheap / Free Timber Sources...?

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Just before I moved house (about 4 months ago) I decided "that's it! I'm gonna build my next neck instead of buying one!!!!" so I started a section of my site (check it) to narrate its progress (only this page works - the others were never created!).

Anyway, that piece of wood got left at the old house, and I still never found out what kind of wood it was! So I was driving around recently and saw a skip on the street with some similar wood in it - I guess it used to be roofing joists or something :D so I did some checking online and it seems that roofing joists are generally some kind of pine.... do you guys think pine is strong enough for a neck?

If not, where else can one source suitable timber at free or very-low prices? btw I'm in the UK....

If I went to a reclamation yard and perused say the maple section, what would I look for? How would I know that "this" piece is more suitable that "that" piece?

I really want to build a neck from scratch, but sadly funds are quite limited at the moment. I guess it's OK to use (ahem) "inferior" woods for body-building testing, but I guess neck tests & first-attempts, etc really need the right kind of wood from the start due to their important job in the grand scheme of things.... or am I wrong?????

btw... I got five lovely pieces of nearly-flat rosewood for fingerboards from Ebay (they used to be wooden flooring lol) for less than £10 so I've got plenty of meterial to play with at fret-cutting and inlay time!!!!!

Thanks guys... this place is great! B)


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i think you should use only hardwoods.maple,mahogany,lacewood,whatever.but i think pine is not nearly stable enough.they say that a certain percentage of necks twist and warp regardless but you are really taking your chances with other woods.one way to help prevent this from happening is by laminating the neck with the middle piece running with opposing grain.hamer does this and it works well.someting else that helps are carbon reinforcement rods.really it depends too on the thickness of the neck you are building also.a super thin wizard type neck in my opinion should be laminated and have reinforcement rods.

if you want to see what woods are commonly used run a search on custom handmade guitars and read what pops up.you can gain alot of information this way.

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weezer, have you ever tried cutting a tree down with an axe? it takes pretty much time. sure, something that doesn't have to be thicker than enough for a neck could probably be cut in an hour or two, but if we were talking bodies, it would take more than one night.

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laminating is a cool idea, i've tried it with basswood, with a 1/2 inch stripe of purple heart up the center of the neck, neck isn't done yet so i don't know it it will hold but if it does wooohooo what a light neck!!!, but something along that line.. i highly recomend purple heart, with the properties of both maple and ebony it's a great neck wood and fingerboard wood too! it's also one of the cheapest woods strong enough for necks.

When looking for maple, you want to find a nice flat peice that doesn't have very much of a bow or bend in any direction, and also try to look out for knots, as this will be a center point for bending and change of grain direction ( a pain in the ass when sanding or planing) i know this is hard if the board is really ruff cut, but most knots should be fairly visible, idealy you want a flat completely straight grained board that's about 1inch by 3inches and about 2 1/2 to 3 feet long, please, someone correct me if i'm wrong here, but that just seems to make sense to me.. any extra wood you need for the width of the head stock can be taken from a different part of the board, like where the neck is skinniest, then glued to each side.

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take heep to the last post...the wood is junk unless it is dried...you cvan kiln dry at a lumber mill, or there are two options

1. Put the wood in the oven at 180->200 degrees for about 8 hours, give or take an hour or so

if the oven isn't big enough and you want to do it the really really old fassion way

2. find a metal container that the wood can fit into. Build a fire with scrap hard wood then shovel the coals to one side. Put the metal container...with the neck in it! into the fire pit. Cover the container with the coals...make sure that the neck doesn't directly touch the container....you just don't want nasty burn marks on your wood! Cover the coals with either sawdust (better) of loose sand or dirt and leave for a day or so....the time is dependant on many factors here, use common sense.

did this help at all?

BTW pine sucks

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