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Walnut boards from the 60's

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Jazzish, Jun 2, 2014.


  1. Jazzish

    Jazzish

    Mar 5, 2006
    A local guy is selling off raw walnut lumber cut in the 60's. Going to take a look tomorrow. I'm not a luthier nor a wood worker but maybe there could be some straight boards with interesting grain patterns. Anything I should keep an eye out for?
     
  2. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    That is a tough question to answer. It depends on what you want to use it for?
     
  3. Jazzish

    Jazzish

    Mar 5, 2006
    Hi Tom,

    One day I would enjoy building a bass. If the wood is beautiful I would consider purchasing a large lot for resale.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2014
  4. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Good luck I really wouldn't know how to help you.
     
  5. RSBBass

    RSBBass

    Jun 11, 2011
    NYC
    Look out for splits and cracks. Check that the ends were sealed so they dried evenly.
     
  6. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I think if you buy it with the intent to resell, not being familiar with wood, you may be setting yourself up to lose money. How much is he asking per foot? How are you going to judge the quality to determine how much you can mark it up? How much of your time is it going to take to resell it all? I doubt people will be willing to pay much more than market rate for walnut that is 50 years old.

    In the 20 or so years I have been buying wood, a board foot of walnut has gone up maybe $3-4/bf from around $5 to around $8. Most places now grade stuff out more than they used to, so the wide stuff is more expensive, and there are grades above FAS. You can see regular wide black walnut range from $4 (#1 common) to $14 (clear/premium, wide) or graded out to obscene prices for specialty stock (i.e. gunstocks).

    In other words, if I were you, I'd probably not buy a lot unless I could be sure it was all FAS and it was $2/bf or less. Even then I would probably not bother considering the effort it would take to resell, even at $5/ft which would be cheaper than most lumber yards. I'd probably see if I could go and get a small amount (10-20 bf) for my own use if the price was good and select the boards that had the most character (or were straightest with least runnout if I was going to make necks).
     
  7. Jazzish

    Jazzish

    Mar 5, 2006
    Just got home from looking at the wood. It was overwhelming...hundreds of boards of various sizes stacked on industrial shelving. All of it dusty and rough cut so it was very hard to distinguish grain patterns. I brought along a rag and some water but it really didn't help much.

    Decided on a couple of boards to meet my needs/interests. Nice fella but I think he was hoping I was going to buy all of it! I couldn't even begin to think about reselling so much material...
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2014
  8. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Sounds like a good call. Walnut is a nice wood to work with and even plain pieces are quite handsome, IMO. I'm sure you'll be pleased with it. How much was he getting for it?
     
  9. Jazzish

    Jazzish

    Mar 5, 2006
    IMG_0430_zpsad99fc57.

    IMG_0431_zps9de27078.

    After planing and wetting the wood I am over the moon! Beyond my expectations. First board is 6" x 69" x 1". The section photographed will be the top for my first build:)
    Second slab is huge and will be the backing for a 60's inspired glass sculpture. It is 15" x 77" x 3/4". Both pieces for $40.
     
    maestrovert and lbridenstine like this.
  10. gbarcus

    gbarcus Commercial User

    Jul 20, 2008
    Minneapolis & St.Paul, MN
    Owner of Barcus Basses barcusbasses.com
    man...some guys get all the chicks. :)
     
  11. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Dang it. I happen to be in the market for a nice slab of plain walnut. Not claro, not figured, just plain black walnut. Cheapest I can find is around $100.....


    Sent from my asteroid using Awesome
     
  12. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    The crotch is really nice. Seems like you got a good deal.
     
  13. Jazzish

    Jazzish

    Mar 5, 2006
    How big of a piece are you looking for ctmullins? There're hundreds waiting for new homes...
     
  14. Some guys have all the luck.
    Blanks like that would make some very nice 3 and/or 5 piece necks and perhaps some fretless fingerboards for Epoxying...
     
  15. Nidan

    Nidan

    Oct 31, 2008
    Duluth , Ga
    One of my favorite woods to work with , have fun with the build .
     
  16. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Telecaster body blank size. So something like 13 x 16 x 1.75 or so.
     
  17. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Nice stuff. Does he have any 8/4 or is it all 4/4?
     
  18. Jonny5bass

    Jonny5bass Supporting Member

    May 3, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    That's pretty good looking stuff! Where is it located?
     
  19. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    Wow, that makes me so very appreciative of being an islander...my local retailer charges $2/lf for 2x8 of S4S lightly figured...
     

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