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Birch Vs. Maple


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I was at the lumber yard picking up some birch for a display I'm building for my business today. The price for birch was about the same as the price for hard maple. Maybe just a little more. ($6.40 vs. $6.20 a board ft.)

To me they look like similar types of wood and a little bit of research confirms a lot of similarities. I was wondering why you never really see birch used in guitar builds.

Can anyone tell me why? Is it just considered a second rate wood? I havent worked with it yet but it seems it would make nice neck wood.

I would love to hear opinions from some of the more experienced builders.

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Birch has been used as a neck wood since the early 1900's, but always second to maple fo a couple of reasons. Maple trees are much larger than birch, grow more up and down, where as birch are known to twist and wander in different directions, making it more difficult to get straight grain abd quantity of maple, also [some]maple is slightly lighter than Birch where weight is concerned. While birch will figure, the trees are rarely heavy enough to create the amount of grain compression during growth to create the impactful figuring of Maple. Hope this helps

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There are many different species of birch, Yellow in North America(Paper Birch) average 38 specific gravity, equal with red maple, more than silver maple 33,soft maple 36 and big leaf 34, less than sugar 40 and black maple 44. just to provide the correct numbers and agree with the poster above that there are Maples that are heavier.

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