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Aged wood

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Garvin, Jul 25, 2005.

  1. Garvin


    Jun 14, 2005
    Good morning all. I have a question to pose to those experienced luthiers here. It's regarding the aging of wood to be used to construct a solid-body bass. If one is using kiln-dried wood purchased from a lumber yard to contruct the neck, wings, and finger board, how critical is it that the wood also be air aged for years as well? Other than acclimating the wood to the relative humidity of one's work area, how much more stable will 10 year old lumber be than lumber recently purchased? I have some African mahogany that I purchased a year ago for the body wings, but the top is going to be birdseye maple I just purchased, along with a piece of purpleheart for the finger board, and the neck will be a laminate of maple (again recently purchased) and either recent sipo mahogany or walnut (air dried in a barn for 2 years). Your advice is very welcome as I have no desire to build an instrument that will warp on me. Thanks and have a great day.
  2. gfried84

    gfried84 Commercial User

    May 7, 2005
    Owner Fried Guitars Inc.
    I have been building basses with wood that I've just let acclimate for a few weeks. I've had great success with this and I am using flat sawn maple for the necks. My necks have not moved and I live in new york where the weather changes pretty frequently. I would let the wood acclimate for a few weeks. Also i store my wood with some air between it. this allows more surface area to touch the air.
  3. Cerb


    Sep 27, 2004
    I can't help you now, but I just got ahold of (for free, too) a 12' * 8" * 3/4" board of mahogany that's been sitting in an attic for the past 40 years. I'm planning on making a few bodies, and maybe a neck outta that beatiful piece :D.
  4. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Stability wise, the difference is sooo minor! If you move an old plank from a stabl indoors environment and put in the humid attic for two days, it will twist at least as much as a fresh kiln dried plank.
    However, aging has an effect on sound. It seems to get more mellow, and yet more bright, over the years. Or is it just the trade mark that makes people pay for Stradivarius...?
  5. Garvin


    Jun 14, 2005
    Thanks guys. My main concern is with the stability of relatively freshly kiln dried lumber vs. that which has been "maturing" for a number of years. I'll let time do the mellowing (I've also heard speculation that vibration from playing changes the sound of an instrument over time). As long as it stays in the same shape as when I built it, I'm a happy dude. This will be my second bass (I typically build furniture), but it will be my first attempt at building the neck and fretting it. Thank you for your valuable input.