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Walnut slab for a carved back?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by eh_train, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. eh_train

    eh_train Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2004
    Hi all,

    I am starting to collect wood for my first build which, realistically, might still be a few years away.

    There's a new supplier of "live edge" slab wood in town. I popped in for a quick visit, and they seem to have quite a bit of dark walnut in large pieces (2" thick, and large enough to make a one piece back). They told me it was kiln dried, but I'm not sure how old.

    Can those in the know advise me re:

    * Which type, or types, of dark walnut are suitable?
    * Assuming there were relatively straight grain and no voids, would the slab cut necessarily lead to problems?

    Note, if it's not sufficiently old and/or dry, the timeframe might work well if I hang onto it and air dry it for a while.

    Thanks, in advance, for any help!


    Paul (Eh_train)
  2. JoeyNaeger

    JoeyNaeger Guest Commercial User

    Jun 24, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Bass Specialist, Lisle Violin Shop
    Nick Lloyd works with walnut quite a bit. Maybe you could shoot him an email.
  3. I'll second that and also I believe Arnold has been known to fuss w. such wood....
  4. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    A one-piece back of slab-cut wood is likely to warp when you carve it into a round back. It will not be very stable over the long run either.
  5. powerbass

    powerbass Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    you could also do a bookmatch with 2 pieces instead of 1. this would allow you to pick the boards with the most straight grain. make the center seam with the straightest grain. I've worked with Claro walnut which is from the west coast, beautiful colors and figure, tough on hand tools, requires lots of sharpening for blades. I've also used black walnut from the east coast, typically less figure and color, nice to work with hand tools. Air dried black walnut has the best color-dark chocolate, kiln dried the color is less rich
  6. eh_train

    eh_train Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2004
    Thanks, all, for your input! I will get back to their shop in the near future and have a closer look...


  7. IMO the wood of eastern black walnut ranks as high as the irresistibly strong flavor of its' nut. If i should be squished in the woods with a saw,the juglans nigra would be my choice;)

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