1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Newbie question - laminated neck vs wood

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Dweezilmeister, Apr 21, 2015.

  1. I'm so impressed by the workmanship of the people in this forum that I'm looking forward to build by instruments on day. For now I am reading on woodworking and watching all your builds...I am a little awestruck...

    Questions about laminated neck:

    How should I choose the wood pieces for a strong laminated neck?
    Should they have different grain orientation (guessing perpendicular)?
    Does the way the lumber was cut is significant (quartersawn seems to provide strong grain orientation)?

    Any readings that would instruct me on the subject?

    Thanks for all your help and I hope to have something to show you one day.
  2. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    1) you can research the stiffness of species online. You are looking for Modulus of Elasticity (MOE) or "stiffness". Most of us are familiar with hard maple, so use the MOE of hard maple as a baseline for judging how stiff an unfamiliar wood will be. my own personal approach is to find a balance between stiff laminates (which tend to be heavy) and moderately stiff laminates (which lighten the load up a bit).

    2) some people will say yes, you want the growth rings to "oppose" each other in a laminated neck. the idea is that if one piece moves in a predictable way, the other piece should counteract it if it moves in a similarly predictable way. i tend to think that this is more important when building something like a panel, but even there you will find disagreement. i think you will find people who think it's very important in building a good bass neck but i take it with a grain of salt.

    3) conventional wisdom is that quartersawn lumber is stronger in the dimension that matters although (a) this isn't really so much true in tropical lumber, where the "growing season" is 365 days, and (b) there is some recent evidence (can't remember who) that quartersawn and flatsawn lumber have roughly equivalent bending strength in the dimension that matters.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
    Deep Cat likes this.
  3. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I'm a noob, so I may be wrong on this, but here's how I built my neck blank:
    It's two pieces of flatsawn rock maple cut from the same board, with the grain oriented perpendicular to the fingerboard, so it's acting like quartersawn. I mirrored the grain angling outwards, I couldn't think if it mattered angling in or out, as long as the grain directions are opposite, theoretically canceling like movement. The wood was well kiln dried stock, and I was really careful to get a strong glue joint. So far, so good, the neck blank is still dead straight with respect to centerline, though it has developed about 1/32" backbow over 48". (and yes, that is my blood on there, funny how I never feel cuts when I'm hot on woodworking, don't even know I'm cut till I see it on the wood)
  4. IWieldTheSpade


    Mar 15, 2010
    I was under the impression that quartersawn was preferable not so much due to strength, but more because it has greater stability and less tendency to warp than something like flatsawn, which is definitely a desirable feature for a neck
  5. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I think the majority of opinions concerning flatsawn versus quartersawn that I have seen claim that QS is "stronger". It may be the case (and I think I agree) that the movement one experiences with quartersawn lumber (as a neck or fingerboard wood) is more benign than that of flatsawn, on average. The conventional wisdom is that growth rings will move to flatten themselves out (cup away from the heart side), and so if that's going to happen, then movement will be minimal on quartersawn wood. These things can vary from log to log and ultimately the wood's gonna do whatever it feels like doing which is not always according to convention.
  6. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Is there any logic to orienting grain lines "in" or "out " as I did? I think I just picked the two cleanest faces to glue and called it good, but I'm waiting for somebody to tell me I did it all wrong.
  7. sissy kathy

    sissy kathy Back to Bass-ics Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Arbutus, MD
    Ok, you did it all wrong. :D
  8. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    What you did makes sense and is done widely as well. By orienting two boards with mirror grain, or "balanced" grain orientation (in the case of multiple laminate necks) will help balance any tension in the boards as they settle over time and in theory this will make for a more stable neck. I say in theory, because there are also plenty of flatsawn or non-mirrored orientation necks out there that work just fine...
  9. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Yeah, what Beej said. You can visualize the types of movement that this will mitigate and it's not all of them or maybe even the most common, which is what I tried to indicate in my reply to the OP. If you can do it, then fine, it may help. If not, it's not the end of the world, and the best things you can do are to make sure the wood is dry and is staying flat after milling before laying up the blank.
  10. jetgraphics


    Dec 12, 2007
    Proof positive. neck veneer.JPG

    Teisco made laminated necks that looked like plywood. . . SUPER stable.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.