fryovanni Posted March 9, 2008 Report Share Posted March 9, 2008 I decided to cut a piece of wood to illustrate the benifit of using split wood vs dimensioned lumber for soundboards. This is a subject that comes up, often when people are looking at some of the cheap offerings on Ebay. I have been told by some dealers on Ebay that they do use dimenioned lumber as their source, so it is not an assumption on my part. You should ask them if they could simply sell you raw split bolts instead of cut tops, and they should be willing(it is less work on their part). If they purchase pre-cut soundboards in bulk from one of the mega dealers, they will probably be happy to let you know that(the large dealers, do know what they are doing, so that would not be a problem). The problem with dimensioned lumber is that it is cut without consideration to runnout, or twists and knots in wood (unless of course they are considered a visable flaw, by softwood grading standards). This is a billet I cut (it is from my "scrap" pile). It appears to be clean, bright Sitka with high ring counts. Nicely quartered Visually this would probably be graded reasonably high. The problem that is harder to detect in cut lumber. (note; there would be a change in the reflectiveness if the wood due to runnout, but you would not be able to judge how extream the runnout is very easily). Most cheap soundboards will not be surfaced, so detecting this would be unlikely. I left a bit of evidense to show where the piece was cut, I could surface all evidence off the billet. So the big difference with split wood, cut by someone who is cutting for soundboards specifically, is that they would do as I did and split away wood on the bolt until they reached clean split surfaces (this piece would hit the scrap pile). Milled lumber will not be treated in this manner, it will be cut for optimal yeild and try to achieve "clear" lumber. The problem with extream runnout is that it drastically reduces the strength of a soundboard (one could relate this weakness to runnout issues in necks near the nut area on angled headstocks, although a soundboard is usually less than 1/8" thick, and the issue can REALLY become appearant). I hope the pictures make it easier to visualize why these things are important, and why even a well meaning person selling cheap soundboards may not ever be aware(they couldn't tell the difference) of a severe problem. This type of defect would not be uncommon in sawn lumber, as they are cutting for max clear length and they are bound to pass by limbs or knots (trying to cut clear wood, but certainly close to the knot to capture as much visually clear stock as possible). Peace,Rich Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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