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Oak, Beech And Meranti


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Hi, i'm new here so sorry for any mistake i may make.

A few days ago i was reading a site about building guitars were the (supposed?) luthier says that when he started making guitars he didn't have the money to buy the "usual" guitar building woods so he started making them out of Oak, Beech and Meranti.

What I would like to know is if anyone here had used theese woods for more than finishing (like tops and such), how the sound like, can't find anything with google... :D

Another thing less important is, what is Meranti??? I can't find any translation to Portuguese, nor references to it.

P.S. - sorry if the post is on the wrong place.

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A lot of people use Oak (makes one hell of a neck) but it can be heavy. Neal Moser has used oak and it looked awesome. A lot of people use Beach as well. I've used it myself a couple of times. It's got a lot of the same properties as maple but doesn't machine as easily.

Meranti is likely a common term for myrtle which is also a relation to beach (so says my wood bible) but other than that I don't know much about it.

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A lot of people use Oak (makes one hell of a neck) but it can be heavy. Neal Moser has used oak and it looked awesome. A lot of people use Beach as well. I've used it myself a couple of times. It's got a lot of the same properties as maple but doesn't machine as easily.

Meranti is likely a common term for myrtle which is also a relation to beach (so says my wood bible) but other than that I don't know much about it.

Thanks :D

So when you say it's hard to machine your saying that I need to go slowly, take my time, router at low speed or is it "you can start thinking about new router bits" ?

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...the 'price' argument seems daft to me, frankly; Oak is simply not that cheap and Alder and Basswood are cheap and plentiful.

Meranti is NOT a term for Myrtle, and certainly isn't related to Beech. It's what the rest of the world calls Luan or Phillipine Mahogany (Shorea spp.). It's not related (even on a family level) to Mahogany, which the african varieties are, it splinters easily, doesn't work as well as the African varieties, and costs only a little less.

Router at low speed is a surefire way to start burning wood and causing unnecessary chipout. Appropriate speed (Full speed), sharp bits and the right feed rate (fast enough not to burn) are the keys there.

Edited by Mattia
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Router at low speed is a surefire way to start burning wood and causing unnecessary chipout. Appropriate speed (Full speed), sharp bits and the right feed rate (fast enough not to burn) are the keys there.

+1, but also make many shallow cuts, instead of one deep one. Not only is it safer this way, but it will keep the bit cooler, which will prolong it's life.

Oak and beech are quite heavy, so chambering is a good idea to keep the weight down.

In my experience, they tend to produce a real sharp biting tone. Tons of sustain, though.

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...the 'price' argument seems daft to me, frankly; Oak is simply not that cheap and Alder and Basswood are cheap and plentiful.

Meranti is NOT a term for Myrtle, and certainly isn't related to Beech. It's what the rest of the world calls Luan or Phillipine Mahogany (Shorea spp.). It's not related (even on a family level) to Mahogany, which the african varieties are, it splinters easily, doesn't work as well as the African varieties, and costs only a little less.

Router at low speed is a surefire way to start burning wood and causing unnecessary chipout. Appropriate speed (Full speed), sharp bits and the right feed rate (fast enough not to burn) are the keys there.

Yah like I said, I wasn’t sure about the 3rd wood. I’ve never used it and my wood bible only alluded to it and they seemed to class it wrong. Common names can be really tricky to determine the botanical name.

When I worked with Beach it tended to tear more than maple did. Shallow cuts work better than slower speeds. I have a bit of ambrosia beach I’ve been waiting to use for the right occasion but so far nothing has come up.

I agree about the oak. A piece thick enough to build a guitar or a neck from is expensive and very heavy. It can make a beautiful guitar but it wouldn’t be my first choice for wood.

This is an Oak Neck made by Neal Moser!

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Edited by zyonsdream
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In my end of the world it is much easier to find good dried oak than to find a decent sized piece of maple, ash or alder. Oak is available more or less all over the place due to its use in furniture making. A bit bigger industry/hobby than guitar building…So my two oak necks wasn't only a price issue. But here, up north the oak IS cheaper. And if you get a good piece of Oak it isn’t that heavy

But talking about heavy: beech. That is one heavy wood. I did a heavily chambered bass body from beech and it was still way heavy.

Shallow cuts, high speed and sharp bits go for both beech and oak. Both of them are prune to chip. And for oak there is a really big difference in how hard the winter growth and the summer growth is. When doing nice curves, like a gut out in a Strat body you need to use a hard sanding block that doesn’t let the sand paper dig into the softer summer growth. It will show up in an uneven curve. So stay away from the cork block for those parts.

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