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Wood Selections


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I have decided on my project for this year, an Acoustic! i felt like a challenge and so i bought Kinkeads book and decided it would be great fun to build my own acoustic. It will be based on the plans in the back of Kinkeads book.

So, being an acoustic newbie, I need someone to give me a hand with wood selection, mostly i need to know what sounds good and what works with which top etc...

Here are my choices from ALS

Back and Sides:

Australian Black Acacia Sets

Indian Rosewood Acoustic Sets

New Guinea Rosewood (Narra) Sets

Queenland Walnut Acoustic Sets

Queensland Maple Acoustic Sets

African Mahogany Acoustic Sets

Sound Board:

European Spruce Tops

Sitka Spruce Tops

Western Red Cedar Tops

Australian Bunya Pine Tops

Australian Kauri Pine Tops

Some of this woods are cheap, some are not.

I personally like the look of the Queensland Walnut and the Indian Rosewood, nice and strain grain, minimal or no flame and it's fairly cheap (which is good, seeing as it's my first acoustic)

The rest of timber i will be using:

-African Mahogany or Queensland Maple neck.

-Indian Rosewood fretboard and bridge

I hope to purchase my timber in the next few weeks, so i can get started on something (my weekends are getting boring with nothing to do :D)

RGMAN.

Edited by RGman
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I'm currently building my first acoustic (almost done) so take this with a grain of salt.

My guitar is Indian rosewood back/sides, sitka spruce top, and mahogany neck. From doing my research I found that rosewood is one of the easiest woods to bend and sounds great, and sitka has great strength and sounds great. So far my guitar is turning out good considering I'm a noobie.

But wait until some of the more experienced acoustic builders chime in (fryovanni, mattia, myka etc etc)

One thing I do know is you made a good choice with the rosewood bridge. One thing everyone brought to my attention when I was planning my build was how much heavier an ebony bridge is vs a rosewood bridge.

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I think you would do well with any of the back and side woods you mentioned. My recommendation would be to go with the one that looks best to you. As for the soundboard wood. You have have some woods that tend to be stiffer and some a little less(Sitka is generally stiffer than say Western Red Cedar). You will need to adjust how thick the soundboard is and your bracing to suit whichever you use. I am not familiar with Kinkeads book. Does it give you some general rules of thumb for thicknessing and bracing differnt types of wood? If the information is pretty non specific, then I may lean tward a Sitka(probably the most commonly use top wood). Most all woods will make a good sounding guitar. You will learn to refine your methods to make improvements over time(this is more like icing on the cake, maybe 20 small changes make a slightly notable change). If you use the basic recipe from your book and build well. You will be very happy with the overall sound.

Peace,Rich

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I think you would do well with any of the back and side woods you mentioned. My recommendation would be to go with the one that looks best to you. As for the soundboard wood. You have have some woods that tend to be stiffer and some a little less(Sitka is generally stiffer than say Western Red Cedar). You will need to adjust how thick the soundboard is and your bracing to suit whichever you use. I am not familiar with Kinkeads book. Does it give you some general rules of thumb for thicknessing and bracing differnt types of wood? If the information is pretty non specific, then I may lean tward a Sitka(probably the most commonly use top wood). Most all woods will make a good sounding guitar. You will learn to refine your methods to make improvements over time(this is more like icing on the cake, maybe 20 small changes make a slightly notable change). If you use the basic recipe from your book and build well. You will be very happy with the overall sound.

Peace,Rich

Yeah Kinkeads book has a bit about thicknessing tops, backs and sides and has thickness recommendations for different woods.

I think i may go with a Sikta top and QLD walnut or Indian Rosewood back and sides.

:D

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Also, after skip reading Kinkeads book, i cannot remember it saying anything about radius dishes etc...

But i assume you would need a radius sanding dish for the backs of the braces, and a bar press contraption for glueing the braces and forming the arched shape of the soundboard and back?

Just working out what i need to buy/make.

RGman

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Also, after skip reading Kinkeads book, i cannot remember it saying anything about radius dishes etc...

But i assume you would need a radius sanding dish for the backs of the braces, and a bar press contraption for glueing the braces and forming the arched shape of the soundboard and back?

Just working out what i need to buy/make.

RGman

Radiused dishes are a huge help and will make your building process more consistent. Same is true of using side bending form and matching mold. A binding jig is a really good idea, a good rosette cutting jig is a big help(however you go about it w/ dremel style tool or butterfly cutter), a little tool to help you mark your back shape used in conjunction with a radiused dish(elevated over the rim-rim held in your mold), tenion cutting jig is very hand. There are a few other jigs also depending on how you build. I would assume Kinkeads book has a few shown. You can also look around on the web or other boards(such as the OLF).

Keep those tools sharp,

Rich

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Radius dishes would help, they are about $150 for 2 US though. then sandpaper, you could just use a roll of 4" sticky stuff. YOu may get by with just one radious dish also, maybe a 25, for both tops and bottoms, I dont know... You can make one if your handy with a router. I would recomend just having the woods thicknessed at a cabinet maker for 25.00 also, but who knows, maybe your real good with a handplane. I thicknessed to Kinkeads specs,a nd had to resand them again at the cabinet maker, after about 1 hour of scraping/sanding, which I felt would ruin the eveness of the job in the first place, and I wasnt even close. I went for 1.10 on the top (stiff Carpathian), 1.0 back, 0.96 for the sides, and have a little room to work.

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You should use the correct radius dishes for both top and back. It is not a good idea to use just the top radius(I am going to assume you will be using differnt radius for top and back as it is most common practice to do that). You can make your own dishes with a router this is not difficut(although a little messy). I make my own and it works fine. When I make my dishes I use my brace radius jig to match the router sled forms. This ensures a match. This same concept is true with my molds and side bender forms. The use of the same jigs/forms to create complimentary jigs retains continuity and accuracy.

As far as thicknessing. Use of a thickness sander makes the job easier(planers are not really a good method as they do not do well with wood this thin). You need to be sure that if you have the wood thicknessed at a shop that their equipment is accurate enough to handle this work(acoustic tolerances are very tight). As far as final thickness of all your parts. It will depend on the wood itself. I sand my tops, backs and sides until they feel correct. Generally Spruce tops will be finished between .090"(very stiff) and .110"(milder stiffness). Backs vary quite a bit depending on species .095"(mahoganies and less stiff woods) to .075"(stiffer ebonies and such). Sides will vary in a similar fashion, but are generally thinner than backs. Also if you bend a cutoway section you may go a bit thinner yet to aid in bending. Sides generally range between .085"(easy to bend less stiff woods) to .070" (stiffer more difficult to bend woods). A cutaway side may be about .05" thinner to allow for the sharper bend.

Peace,Rich

P.S. If you do not have a thickness sander. You may be able to get in touch with other guys in your area that build. They may be able to help you out. It is a great idea to contact and meet up with other local builders as it will really help you figure out some of these things.

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Thanks for the info Rich :D

I will be using different radius' for the top and backs, i may even try and make my own dishes, no harm in trying i guess.

I have a thickness sander that i borrowed from a friend for this build, though i think i can get but my backs and sides thicknessed to 2.5mm and sikta thicknessed to 3mm.

The first things i will be doing will be making all of my moulds, jigs, templates, side bender, bar press, radius dishes etc, which of course will help with the current and future acoustics.

Thanks for the help!

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