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First Build under way!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by mrz2u, May 28, 2012.

  1. mrz2u


    May 10, 2012
    …got the neck lumber on Friday.

    Hard Maple, Bloodwood and Wenge.

    I didn’t own a planer so I was going to borrow a friends for the build but I happened into a 13 in one on craigslist for $75 and bingo, Jeds a millionare! I milled down the bloodwood and wenge today, didn’t have time to do the maple. Depending on how much milling the maple takes I may take the other two down a little as more, not sure yet. Going to lay them up M/B/W/B/M and I am fairly sure I will do the wings with blood wood as well...playing that by ear right now.

    First Question...

    I bought a large enough piece of Wenge to have plenty left over after the neck which I plan to use for the fingerboard. I was sanding on it to see how it smoothes down and after getting it down to 220 the pores are still prominent. Is this stuff like oak in that you never get those pores out? Anyone ever make a fingerboard with it?
  2. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Its a very pronounced grained wood, you can get it flat and smooth by sanding with a block, but it will always be porous. Its not really a problem though, unless you are planning a hard finish like lacquer and you need to fill the grain, but wenge really doesn't need to be finished at all.
  3. mrz2u


    May 10, 2012
    noticed your build...definitely see that grain. What grit did you take yours down to?

    I was thinking of wenge for the wings on mine but leaning more towards bloodwood. The plus on the wenge is I can get it in 8/4..so single pieces. Bloodwood will be two 4/4 laminated with perhaps a thin strip of maple in between. Not sure how I am going to do that yet. I think I prefer the closed grain for the body more than I dislike the idea of laminated body wings...plus this bloodwood stock these guys have locally is beautiful!
  4. jworrellbass

    jworrellbass Commercial User

    May 17, 2009
    Colorado Springs CO
    Owner, builder: jworrellbass
    The pores on wenge will need to be filled if you don't want to see them. I just rub wood glue into them and then sand with 150 grit. It fills them nicely. Then just proceed with your higher grit sanding.
  5. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I took it down to 400 grit with a block. Then 600 grit after the first coat of oil dried. 0000 Steel wool after the remaining coats. It looks and feels amazing actually. Its one of my favorite woods to work with. Just make sure you use sharp router bits. I bought a new round over just to be safe. I had no tear out.

    Just a warning about bloodwood. After a while, that vivid red color will start to turn brown. Its a closed grain wood without a whole lot of figure, so you may be disappointed with the way it looks about a year after completion. A hard finish will slow it down some, but after a while it will start to change color.
  6. Interesting, that bit about bloodwood dulling.

    Good to know.
  7. mrz2u


    May 10, 2012
    yeah, some say it browns, some say it gets a darker red, some say it depends on how much sunlight it gets and so on and so forth...I have a friend with a really pretty desk that has bloodwood accents and they look the same as the fresh lumber I have now...its at leas 10 years old and just oil finished.

    I actually hear that Pawduk browns worse and there is also the staining nature of its sanding dust which is not supposed to be as bad with Bloodwood.

    Worst comes to worse I could hit it with a red stain later in life...or if is fades to brown then so be it...not sure it would look all that bad.

    ...if it all grows old and brown I can always build another :)

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