maple guitar tops question


just imported 3 pairs of bookmatched maple tops and i was dissapointed as to the quality of the boards....as this is the first time i have purchased this type of product perhaps my expectations were a lttle high....the figuring seems to be nice and look pretty much as photographed prior to purchase....
the boards however are warped from end to end and from side to side....the warp is an even curl in both directions...across the board it would be about 1/16 - 3/32 and about the same or a little more from end to end....also the boards are fine sawn not dressed....
i want to machine these to 1/4" and make guitar tops from these boards..is this feasible?? or have I been sold substandard product?? am i expecting more than is normal for maple boards??
i have not published the name of the supplier and i guess if i have been ripped off i would make sure that others are forewarned... i would not know as i have no experience in buying this type of timber see pics here: obviously i am showing the worst board http://www.aargent.com.au/music/maple.htm zz
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On Mon, 15 Aug 2005 13:51:07 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@hfksdfse.com (zz) wrote:

finshed size would be 16" x 7" x1/4" thanks for any posts on the subject zz
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Absolutely.
Sure it could be better, but what you have been sold is essentially a rough-sawn board. If they are really flat that is a bonus. Some unflatness to be milled away is to be expected.

I think it could be better, but these are quite usable.
* rough cut to length/width first, this will minimize the losses due to jointing * figure out what is the front and what is the back. The back does not need to be perfect so only mill off just as much as you need to there. * It appears to me that even if you use a jointer to remove all of the warp there will still be enough material to yeild 1/4". But it will be close. I think you can make the board not completely flat, but smooth if you have to. I would immagine that 1/4" cap on an ash ~1-1/8" body for a guitar body is not going to exert a meaningful amount of stress if you just pull it flat during glue-up.
-Steve
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zz, Straight, flat figured wood is hard to come by. When you cut from a larger dimension, it's pretty common to get some cupping. Shipping also is hard on things, going from climate to climate. I bought a piece of Koa in Hawaii once and by the time I had it shipped home, it looked pretty bad. I did get it to straighten quite a bit.
If you don't want to use them right away, you can sometimes get a little of the cupping out by dampening and clamping them between a couple of solid straight timbers. I haven't done it for a while, but if I recall, you dampen the cupped side...should be info available online. Warren
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Pretty hard to see anything. The area is so cluttered It is difficult to tell where the board is.
Try again with a "clean" and neutral background and pay attention to the following details as well.
The focus is pretty fuzzy. You were too close. Back up and try again at your highest resolution and an f-stop of 8 or greater -- then the focal range might be sufficient that one can actually see the board.
You can use an f-stop of 5.6 or less if you are showing a "flat-on" view.
Thin boards will warp a lot in high humidity. 3/8" is fairly thin... so...
You may have to put them between heavy objects and flatten them for a while.
zz wrote:

I presume that you would sand the boards, and would use a sled to hold them flat.

From next post... "by the way these boards are 22 1/2" x 7 3/4" x 3/8" finshed size would be 16" x 7" x1/4" thanks for any posts on the subject zz "
Pretty thin. This warping is likely typical of a humid climate and a thin board.

-- Will R. Jewel Boxes and Wood Art http://woodwork.pmccl.com The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. George Bernard Shaw
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Here's my $0.02 CAD...
The likelyhood of any board you buy being straight and true is pretty slim, even if you pay for S4S (surfaced 4 sides). I don't know what you mean by "fine sawn, not dressed". If that means rough cut (fresh from the saw mill), I'd say those boards are pretty damn straight. You should plan on jointing and planing the boards before you use them, especially for something like making a guitar, where I'm assuming tolerances are pretty tight.
You'll also want to monitor moisture levels (again, for something like guitar making). If the boards haven't reached an equilibrium level yet, they'll continue to move, which is probably not something you want to deal with after you've cut or glued them up. Keep in mind I'm talking about fine wood-working; for most of the stuff I do, I'd probably cut them to length, swipe a plane over them to take off the worst of the bumps and dips, and glue 'em up. :)
Clint

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Yeah Maple can be that way. I wouldn't say you got ripped off unless I knew what you paid and could see the grade of the figure. If you paid a real premium price then you should expect some better milling of what you bought. Regardless, it is totally usable. Heck it used to have bark on it and was captuerd inside a big round log. It's a lot closer to being a guiter now then it was before and you just get to do the rest.
P.S. I met a really nice guy at the AWFS show from Northwest Timber http://www.nwtimber.com/ they have some really nice stock.You surely pay for what you get with these guys but they only carry figured wood and thay had some mind blowing stuff at the show.
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Even if the boards were absolutely flat, I would think maple would be a poor choice for a guitar soundboard (I am assuming you are talking acoustic guitar, since you plan to plane them to 1/4") Not that maple wouldn't work, it just won't produce the resonance of say a Sitka spruce, or other high quality fir board. Maple is so dense and rigid that it's natural vibration (amplitude) would be far less than a lighter spruce, and have much less "output" than a traditional soundboard. Maple would be, however, an excellent choice for an electric solid body, especially curly or fiddleback maple.
babygrand

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On Mon, 15 Aug 2005 14:11:30 -0500, "babygrand"

one more question should i hand plane it or put it through a milling machine [thcknesser]?? thanks by the way for your encouraging comments zz
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zz wrote:

Most Planers (Thicknessers) will not handle it except on a sled -- too thin -- usually a 3/8 minimum. I have run my King down to 5/16 -- but... That's the "idiot's" safety margin.
Myself I would prefer a big belt or drum sander and a very gentle touch -- or very light hand planing and finishing sander (palm style) -- but to each his own.
-- Will R. Jewel Boxes and Wood Art http://woodwork.pmccl.com The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. George Bernard Shaw
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If you're not in a big hurry, you might try nesting the pieces in an alternating manner... in other words, place one board with the cup down, and then it's book matched mate on top of it with the cup up, then repeat for the other two pairs. Apply a large, fFLAT board or metal plat to the top of the stach and lots of weight (100-200 lbs.) on top of that. It won't push them flat right away, but as they come to equilibrium moisture content in your shop(say 3 to 4 weeks?), a lot of the warp or twist may come out.
If that doesn't do it, you migfht try to find someone with a very wide jointer, say a 12" wide blade. Frequently most of the warp and twist can be shaved out with a properly set up jointer. Even if you can only get one side good and flat, you can then run the pieces through a good planer with the flat side down, and level up the top surface. Good luck.
babygrand -

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babygrand wrote:

I mentioned this before -- he may be in a hurry though -- I have been -- in the _past_.
Patience is the ingredient most often missing in any project. :-)
I just went through hell trying to get a cherry table to come together. The wood twisted and bent every time I machined it. Finally I set the table and pieces aside. I will start again now -- after 6 weeks (or is it 8?). It was just too aggravating handling cherry that had not been properly dried and was not acclimatized to my shop.

-- Will R. Jewel Boxes and Wood Art http://woodwork.pmccl.com The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. George Bernard Shaw
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i'll follow on and top post: that sounds like a good suggestion below.... my workshop has a nice dry warm area ...... i am not in a hurry and havent even cut the templates for the bodies yet so i have some time before i need to glue tops on..... i have lightly cramped them cup down with a flat board and will rotate them every couple of days.....i feel as though i can't tighten the clamp too much today.....i am paranoid the top board will crack.... i dont think these boards were 10% mc as they were advertised.. they had a kind of sour smell when i opened the package...the smell is disapating now after 24 hours in a dry warm workshop
On Mon, 15 Aug 2005 18:13:27 -0500, "babygrand"

zz
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On Mon, 15 Aug 2005 22:23:19 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@hfksdfse.com (zz) wrote:

That's something I've often contemplated doing. Do you have any thoughts or plans on the chambering that you are able to share?
Tony (remove the "_" to reply by email)
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something that is hard to quantify....with less wood and that volume of air moving inside i reckon helps with tone and responsiveness.... the chambering is pretty simple and you can see eg of one that was done here a few moths ago http://www.aargent.com.au/music/sunburst_tele / its based on the way they do it at warmoth / fender / etc etc....its a pretty common way of doing it......gibson 335 was a similar design inside...fender developed the tele thinline in the early 70.'s to try and cash in on the hollowbody market.....the tele shown above has really come alive since it was "thinlinised" its currently my main guitar with a hot woody, biting tone that really cuts through the mix...it ws nice before the mod but a very icey kind of sound
zz
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ZZ, Hell of a nice job on the Tele. Sorry to hear about your son. Nice to touch something so precious that he touched, too.
And, hey, us old guys can still rock a little, too! And not just in our rockin' chairs, either! Warren
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I did a chambered Les Paul style, mahogany body with mahogany top.
Three of the instruments I'm designing right now are chambered : poplar bodies which'll get spalted maple tops. I'm planning on them being more 'stage acoustics' than anything else : 1 guitar, two basses (one fretted, the other fretless).
jtougas
listen- there's a hell of a good universe next door let's go
e.e. cummings
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All of the guitars I make are chambered black walnut. I chamber out everything I can and still retain their structural integrety. I leave about 3/8" of wood around the edges for a good area to glue to. I leave a strip down the middle the width of the bridge. I remove the wood after the bridge because no force is exerted after that point. Besides cutting down on alot of weight it adds sustain and the tone is nice. No F holes. With a good string through or tuneomatic bridge and a nut made from something besides plastic(bones good) they really sing. I've made a couple of 3 pickup guitars that weighed just a bit over 4 1/2 pounds. IMO its the only way to build one. If you do something similar I think you'll be well pleased with the results Good luck.
(zz) wrote:

That's something I've often contemplated doing. Do you have any thoughts or plans on the chambering that you are able to share?
Tony (remove the "_" to reply by email)
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Thanks to all for the tips. I really thought that chambering was a lot more complex. But I think I could do that. Anyway, I'm going to try.
Tony
On Sat, 20 Aug 2005 07:12:23 GMT, "Keith Adams"

Tony (remove the "_" to reply by email)
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Keith Adams wrote:

After you cut three pickup cavities into that, it must weaken that central strip a fair bit...? What depth do you cut the pickups to, compared to the body depth?
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