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Neck; One-piece VS Laminate....


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Howdy,

I'm going to build a maple neck, but I'm unsure about what I am going to do. I wonder whether to get a one-piece or make a laminated neck. My main concerns are stability and price. I would like to make a flamed or birdseye one, but I don't really care to spend the money on something no one will see (for my first guitar, anyway). A one-piece would be cheaper, I believe, even a quarter sawn piece. How much more stable would a laminate neck be, if at all?

Any ideas?

Thanks a lot,

CMA

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multi lam is always stronger; i dont care what anyone says!

and you dont lose any beuty laminating, and it 'technically' could be cheaper;

when i put together a multi lam 5+ i use 1/4" unfigured hard maple (3$ bf)in between other laminates and the stripes look way better to me than some figure; especially when it comes to dead spots in the flame and curls; even lil veneers seperating the maple looks so fancy, figure is the last thing your gonna miss;

and that will be one stable neck; but ya, still put in a rod

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I do like the way laminated necks look. I originally was going to laminate some wenge in there with it, or something, but I don't want to anymore. Just plain jane maple. My real concern is what gives the best stability for the price.

Thanks for the help,

CMA

I don't believe that lam vs 1 piece is cheaper. Its still the same amount of wood. Lam does involve more work upfront and you need glue.

I do believe that lam is stronger and in my opinion, looks better, especically with contrasting woods.

:D

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I may be wrong, but I don't see how it is the same amount of wood. The end product has the same amount, but you start out with different amounts of wood, right? For a one piece, you use just one board. For lam's, you need to get multiple boards, glue them, and then cut out the shape.

Maybe I should restate my question. Will I notice considerable difference in stability between a one-piece (qtr. sawn) neck and a lam. neck?

Sorry for the trouble.

CMA

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first off, yes, multi lam is going to be stronger

its the same amount of 'board feet'

(this isnt how i do it but most ppl do so i'll put it this way)

if your starting your neck with a perfect square (rectangle) you have a 3x3x?......

(also if its one piece its gonna have to be perfectly flat sawn so you can turn it on its side for perfect quarterd grain)

if you bought o plank of said wood 4/4 with just as much as you needed ,it would be the same amount of wood (also keep in mind that any special sized wood blocks are taken as 'special' and would probably cost more because theyre specific to certain ppl)

also if you cut out your own and laminated them, you can replicate the quarter sawn effect by countering the grain patterns; i.e. have the outside pieces grain both moving away or into the center strip, which helps

prevent twisting;

and to save even more money$ the way i do it is to cut out the laminates as a side profile of the neck (heel and headstock angled and stickin out further) proir to gluing; ppl dont embrace this because its not a perfect square, but a few clever jigs and its much worth the less wasted wood;

i get at least an extra neck piece from each board; which may not seem like alot, but they come in handy when you want a center strip from a different family

good night

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I like laminated necks, but the only advantage in terms of stability would be if your wood was not well quarter sawn or well flat sawn(This is only due to the fact that radial and tangential shrinkage is not equal). That advantage could theoretically rip your joints apart if internal stress became too high(which is possible, but should not be the case if your wood is properly dried when you glue it up). ** I in fairness should point out that even though I like(and prefer to use) laminates. The reports I have read by the senior experts say there is no advantage(however they don't say it is bad either).

When they talk about cost. Quarter sawn wood is generally more expensive and more difficult to find. Also if you are making a neck thru instrument thicker pieces can also be tricky to find(especially quartersawn exotics).

In terms of strength. Flat or Quartersawn are going to be very close to equal.

Look for straight grain wood, free of defects(knots and such), try to find well quarter sawn or well flat sawn, and well dried wood. These are the things you should look for. If you plan to turn flatsawn on edge to get a quartersawn orientation(as it relates tothe fretboards surface), that is perfectly fine.

Techinacally well quartersawn, straight grained, clear, seasoned wood is the most dimensionally stable, and may yeild a slight strength advantage. (This is why it is the traditionally prefered choice, but by no means absolutely essential)

Peace,Rich

P.S. You can find Quartersawn non-figured hard maple for $6 bd. ft. at most local dealers. That means a neck blank say 4" x 36" x 4/4 (1bd.ft)would run about $6. Why you would buy $4 bd. ft. plain sawn if you only save a couple bucks.

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Thanks for the help guys!

Very informative post, fryovanni. So, from what I can gather, as long as the wood is good quality and properly cut, either way is acceptable? I am looking for local dealers, but I don't think I can find any that sell kiln-dried wood. There is a local kiln that dries wood, however. In any case, how am I to tell if wood is "dry enough"?

Thanks,

CMA

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Honestly, I don't see how cutting up a neck blank, then gluing it back together, with or without 'flipping' a centerpiece, would make it any stronger; I laminate (when I laminate) for stability and looks, and above all because it's a lot cheaper/easier to find suitable bits of thinner flatsawn stock. Strength comes from the pieces chosen, the species chosen, not the act of gluing per se, methinks.

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I can confirm the increase in strength by laminating. Solid wood seems strong, but there is a natural elasticity that we don't think about. Think of a branch bending in a strong wind. Laminating strenghtens the wood mainly by mixing up the wood grain direction. The glue area also can add a little rigidity, but I don't know how much.

Think of it another way. If I glue together 4 layers of 1/16th" veneer, the result is much stronger than if I were to re-saw a solid board to 1/4", even if I glue all the layers with the grain going in the same direction. If you question it, try it. I work with material like this for a living. It's building guitars that I'm a novice at.

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