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Making a Laminate Neck - How much Thin Lam Warp Is Acceptable?

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Hi all,

I have finally stepped the game up and started building my own necks out of raw wood (used to be scared of doing that and did not have the tools to do so) and I also finally managed to source some wood locally in Dubai where we do not have any "tone wood" suppliers and you are on your own.

I am building a prototype of a guitar I designed a while ago and it will have a 5-piece African Mahogany neck with 2x 5mm thick Okoume laminates. The guitar is a 7 stringer and I am planning to bandsaw the angle out of the laminated blank and not scarf joint anything.

I had previously trued and planed the boards to dead straight and they remained pretty much true after sitting for about a week or 10 days (minor 1mm warping or so over the span on 1500mm which sounds okay to me). When I cut the Okoume laminates -whose board was dead straight before cutting- one of two pieces bowed for quite a bit. Now I understand that as you cut the wood the internal tensions tend to get "released" and wood acts up again in a way. But how much warping is acceptable for a thin laminate? It is okay to force it to shape while clamping for gluing? The width of the neck goes from 48mm to 68mm so the 5mm okoume strips are not exactly going to constitute the majority of the neck wood and the mahogany is more or less stable so far which is good.

One more question: Has anyone used Okoume before? I like the grain and it is EXTREMELY light compared to mahogany. The piece I have seems to have a maple-ish resonance when knocked on but the grain looks similar to mahogany. The warping clearly indicates that this isn't a wood that is hard enough for a neck (neither do the hardness scale numbers) but I assume it would be okay as thin lams and for body wings right?

This is going to be just a prototype and def not going to be sold so I am experimenting a lot with it. Will be installing CF rods and a standard stewmac U channel rod in it as well.

Your thoughts are MUCH appreciated.



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For thin laminates, you have nothing to worry about with warpage, especially if the wood is not particularly stiff. And a softer wood for wings is not going to be a problem either, other than it will be easier to dent and ding. Basswood is used for bodies in many commercial bodies and that is extremely soft stuff.


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