Quartersawn Bodies??

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by newbold, Jan 15, 2014.


  1. newbold

    newbold

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    With the difference a quartersawn piece of wood can make for a neck, are there many builders that are doing the same with bodies?

    I would presume that a quartersawn body blank would be able to be thinner - or allow a bass to be more chambered than a flatsawn blank.

    Please excuse my ignorance as I've yet to build a bass.
     
  2. lbridenstine

    lbridenstine

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    I think the thickness of the body is more determined by the thickness you need for stuff inside of the control cavity (pots, switches, jack, etc). I think you can do plenty of chambering with flatsawn bodies too. As far as I know (from what I've read) pretty much the only difference for the cut of a body wood is the price and the figure.
     
  3. pfox14

    pfox14

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    Quarter-sawn bodies are not necessary because of its mass. A neck is narrow and has a lot of tension on it so quarter-sawn makes a difference. Fender & Gibson have done just fine not using quartered body blanks for decades.
     
  4. Jefff

    Jefff Supporting Member

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    It would also take a fairly large chunk of quarter sawn wood to make a 2 piece body.
     
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  6. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

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    What exactly is the difference that quartersawn wood makes for a neck vs flaw sawn?
     
  7. Dave Higham

    Dave Higham

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    Here we go again. :rollno:
     
  8. jeffbonny

    jeffbonny _____________ Gold Supporting Member

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    Quarter Sawing
     
  9. MPU

    MPU

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    I guess we all know the difference between fs and qs wood. What difference it makes on a neck is another story.
     
  10. jeffbonny

    jeffbonny _____________ Gold Supporting Member

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    Look at the grain of the wood in the pictures and think about how the strings pull on a neck. If the answer doesn't come to you fairly quickly being told probably wouldn't have made much difference.
     
  11. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

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    I know the difference between Q-sawn and flat sawn lumber. I also know that the grain direction means very little as far as how stable a bass neck is.
     
  12. Smilodon

    Smilodon Supporting Member

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    Here, have some popcorn. Let's watch the chaos unfold. :smug:
     
  13. pfox14

    pfox14

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    If you took even a small piece of spruce or even pine that was quartered and tried to break it parallel to the grain, it would bend a lot before it broke. Try breaking it perpendicular to grain and it snaps like a toothpick. That's just the physical properties of wood.
     
  14. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

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    That is a totally different scenario than a guitar or bass neck. The strings anchored at the end of the neck pull along the surface of the neck. Its a leverage thing.

    My personal experience building necks out of both flat and quarter sawn tells me that quarter sawn wood can be more prone to twisting than flat sawn wood which is a much bigger problem than a little forward bow. I'm not saying it is a worse material than flat sawn, I am saying that neither is better than the other and that any board can either be stable or unstable.

    I will say that flat sawn wood tends to be a bit more consistent in my experience, but I have gotten good q-sawn boards as well.
     
  15. jeffbonny

    jeffbonny _____________ Gold Supporting Member

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    Ok I'm officially confused now. If you "know" this why in the world would you ask, "What exactly is the difference that quartersawn wood makes for a neck vs flaw sawn?"

    I'd think you're kinda right if you're saying that grain direction makes little difference in a neck with a truss rod or graphite rods or laminates. But on its own it's pretty much beyond debate that quarter sawn wood is more stable and stronger than flat sawn. That said I've played a flat sawn neck hard for 30 years with no issues of any sort so it's not like I need much convincing that it doesn't matter a whole lot. But is seems obvious that some very experienced builders when given the choice will go with what was stronger and more stable even if the difference in end results are minimal.
     
  16. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

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    I am a some what experienced builder and prefer flat sawn. Like I said, experience has taught me that q-sawn lumber is slightly more prone to twist than flat when used on a neck. I also think it is better looking when carved but that is just my opinion.
     
  17. MPU

    MPU

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    And you have made how many necks? So far after twenty or something like that necks I'm not sure what answer should I get. I see more variance between each neck blank than grain orientation.
    You must have seen Linc Luthier necks and read about sandwich structures? I see flatsawn neck blank as some kind of sandwich structure.
     
  18. Huge

    Huge Hell is full of musical amateurs. Like me. Supporting Member

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  19. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member

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  20. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro

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    You're ignoring the second-to-last paragraph, which describes the distinction between stability and stiffness, and the reasons why one might choose quartersawn over flat in spite of the conclusion that it makes little difference in terms of stiffness.
     
  21. Major Softie

    Major Softie

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    Quartersawn wood is MUCH more stable in its resistance to "cupping." In fact, it simply will not cup. That actually makes it better (in theory) for a body than plainsawn wood, as wider flat boards are where cupping becomes more of an issue. It is also more resistant to twist than much plainsawn wood, but that can vary from board to board and depends on where branches were and the resulting "wild wood" that surrounds them, etc..

    In a neck with trussrods, etc., it probably matters little to strength. Its resistance to twist does make it theoretically superior for a neck, but properly dried and seasoned wood very seldom twists in a neck anyway.

    Some woods (oak, in particular) have a very beautiful appearance when quartersawn. In some other woods quartersawn boards aren't that interesting in appearance.
     

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