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stabilising olivewood and kiln drying questions

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Hi everyone!

Sorry if this is the wrong section to be posting in. ~ i am a projectguitar noob. :)

I have wanted to build my own guitar since I started playing and now that I have a bit more free time and funds I have decided to start!

Hence, I have many questions.

I impulsively bought some beautiful african olivewood planks, figuring that olivewood is very hard and dense so could be used for an interesting guitar, furthermore its a local wood and i would love to play an instrument made by me from tree species that are endemic to my area (and unusual for guitars).

The planks are about 3 cm thick and show beautiful figure and patterns. However they also have some good cracks in them

I have no idea what the moisture content of these planks are. What would be the best way of testing water content and letting them dry out? Secondly the planks have some impressive cracks in them. Is there any way that I could stabilise these using something like a CA glue?20150112_215142.jpg

Thirdly. I also have some Jacaranda mimosifolia wood that i ripped into thick planks to practice on (suitable wood to play with is difficult to find here in south africa). This wood is very wet still. What is the best procedure to dry them? I have access to drying ovens used for botanical samples they are very large and you can adjust temperature as well as fan rate.


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First off: Welcome to the forum!

I cannot really help you with the wood drying questions as I have never used "green" wood except for one time. That time it was a guitar top made from a lokal timber and I just re-sawed it to just over 10mm, clamped it hard to a very stable wooden shelf with wooden sticks making air circulate over and under each board and let it sit for 6 months. The wood was decently dry when I got it (about 14% moisture content) and I got it down to 4% after those months.

Regarding you question about how to monitor moisture content; There are quite simple and cheep tools for this, often available at painters supply shops and similar but those are really only working on freshly cut surfaces. As soon as you cut a bord the surface start to loose moisture but the board will generally have a higher moisture content than the tool will show. If you are going to try to dry this wood yourself I recommend that you seal the end grain as wood loses more moisture through its end grain and if the ends are getting dryer than the rest there is risk for more cracks to develop. Use wax for this

The crack will glue nicely with a bit of low viscosity CA, no problem. Wick it into the crack until you see that the crack doesn't suck up more glue and (if possible) clamp the crack.

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It is actually preferred because it will wick all the way into the crack to areas that haven't spread apart and thicker CA will not reach. Any discoloration is typically overflow on the surface and you will be milling, planing, or sanding your way past that when you get to work the wood.


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