Source for Roasted Maple Neck Blanks?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Modulator, Dec 23, 2010.

  1. I have a local luthier about to put a bass together for me and I'm really hoping to have a roasted maple neck and fretboard. He's having a difficult time finding roasted maple through his normal sources. Any idea where he might go?
  2. devo_stevo


    Aug 2, 2006
    Northern Utah
    Builder: Brumbaugh Guitarworks
    I thought that was a part of the finishing process and not the wood itself.
  3. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett
    Yeah, you'll have a hard time finding "roasted" or "Vulcanized" lumber itself, this is a process done by the builder (Sadowsky, Anderson, Suhr and Ernie Ball, for example), Once the wood is kiln dried, it's submitted to the roasting process, which is basically done in an oven, @ 350f - 430f ...... Until the wood takes on that caramel color. It has to be a pretty stable piece of wood to start with though, or else it's no good.

    But no, it's not done on a nearly completed neck (finishing process), although you can "torch" it at that point, to get a similar effect.
  4. Rodent


    Dec 20, 2004
    Upper Left Corner (Seattle)
    Player/Builder/Founder: Regenerate Guitar Works
    I don't know of any luthier 'roasting' their own lumber in-house. I do know of several lumber suppliers who offer this wood treatment ... here's one to get you going


    all the best,

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  6. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett
    You never know, I may need to try this, I know of a big oven I can use..... ;)

    Might try an oversized piece, then trim it after........might want to attach it to an I beam too.

    ....or perahaps a nice top, if it works well ;)
  7. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2003
    Boston Mass
    Endorsments listed in profile
    The folks at EBMM said this is about $400 retail up charge for this feature.
  8. I realize it's a process and not a kind of wood, he doesn't have access to the proper kiln and figured there was someplace you could buy it commercially. I'll have him check with Sharp's.

    He's offering me a deal because I'm a pretty high profile player in my area and he's looking to put together a showcase bass. I'm pretty sure there won't be a $400 upcharge.
  9. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    That's an interesting idea, "roasting" the wood.

    Do those builders that use it for necks use CF reinforcement? I know that when bamboo composite is "roasted" for color change, it loses strength.
  10. That process makes the wood brittle..some more than others. Don't forget wood case hardens at 212F :( More of a fad than beneficial building advancement.
  11. Grant Bass

    Grant Bass

    Oct 14, 2010
    if you wanna deal with us Canadians, exotic woods in Burlington ON has mass supply, they ship anywhere i beleive. hard and soft varieties. no upcharge. hard soft curly and birdseye
  12. TonyP-

    TonyP- Excuse me but you have your I-IV-V in my II-V-I Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2003
    Boston Mass
    Endorsments listed in profile
    Thats cool...I'm just saying what I heard from those guys over at Ernie Ball. Post pics when you have it. :bassist:
  13. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett
    Interesting point.
  14. NKUSigEp


    Jun 6, 2006
    Bright, IN
    Bass necks roasting on an open fire...
  15. From the Sadowsky site:

    Sadowsky Guitars has always taken pride in the quality and stability of our neck wood. We are now pleased to offer "roasted maple" necks for an unprecedented level of stability. Lumber for maple necks and fingerboards is placed in a special oven after normal kiln dying. The wood is roasted at temperatures ranging from 180º to 220º Celsius. The result of this treatment is wood that is significantly more resistant to absorbing or releasing moisture. With this increased stability, the "roasted maple" process enables us to offer figured maple neck blanks for the first time in our three decades of instrument making. We have always advocated that figured neck stock was too unstable to use. However, any piece of wood than has a stability problem will warp during the roasting process and be discarded. It would also be a recommended option for players who reside in areas of extreme humidity (low or high), or who travel a lot through variable climates, as well as players who desire a figured maple neck for aesthetic reasons.

    NOTE: The roasting process is performed on lumber. It cannot be applied retroactively to finished necks. Any revisions to existing instruments already on order will delay build time by approximately five months.

    We have some pretty intense climate changes here in Northern Michigan, which is part of the reason I'm considering it. Plus I think it looks cool. Roger isn't generally prone to marketing hype, but who knows for sure?
  16. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    Wow. I'd have to disagree, but I guess different people will define marketing hype differently...
  17. Well, I've met him briefly a couple of times and he seems to be a straight shooter in regards to his thoughts on bass construction. He has his opinions like everybody else; I admittedly don't know him well but I've never thought of him to be the kind of person to outright lie about something to make a sale.

    Whether his instruments are worth the price or somewhat hyped for what you get is a matter of opinion. I don't recall ever reading anyone questioning his abilities/knowledge as a builder or the playablility of his basses.

    I do graphic design for a living and have all kinds of sweet tools at my disposal through work. I just finished pen plotting out the first draft of the outline of my bass. My builder and I will be getting together the first of next week to do some consulting and hopefully start ordering some wood. Once we get started I'll be starting a progress thread here on TB.
  18. There is a local lumber store around my home town that has some curly roasted maple, I could pick some up for you if you want and ship it to ya.
  19. I appreciate the offer. I think my builder is already in the process of working something out. Thanks!
  20. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    I would agree Beej, knowing about Roger back to the Philly days, definately a creative thinker, and a world class repairman and set-up guy.

    Larry, thanks for the info, a new piece of knowledge is always helpful.
  21. Keith Guitars

    Keith Guitars Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2004
    Woodstock, NY
    Builder: Martin Keith Guitars, Veillette Guitars
    Without getting into the qualitative assessment (which I won't),
    you can get roasted/caramelized maple, along with butternut, ash, and some other species, from Northwind Tonewoods:

    There are different approaches to doing this, but as I understand it most of them involve using vacuum kilns to prevent the wood from igniting, and then heating it beyond its normal ignition temperature. Some people reinject some moisture into the kiln at some point during this process, allegedly to offset the brittleness factor.
    So, it's more complicated than simply superdrying in a hot kiln/stove.

    I handled a few pieces of this about a month ago at a guitar show. It seems like decent material, perhaps moderately lighter than standard kiln-dried stuff. *Apparently* it's more stable re: moisture content vs. relative humidity than regular kiln-dried wood - I have no empirical data to back this up.

    It would be interesting to do some A/B tests, but it would mean getting some maple from the same plank and "roasting" half of it, which probably won't be easy.