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Where do you buy your wood supplies?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by thadood, Nov 7, 2003.


  1. thadood

    thadood

    Jun 16, 2003
    Memphis, TN
    I did a quick search on here, as well as google, and couldn't find any place that carries what I'm looking for. I want to make a neck-through Wenge neck and wings, with a Zebrawood top.. I was able to find the Zebrawood, but couldn't find Wenge anywhere.
     
  2. Skorzen

    Skorzen

    Mar 15, 2002
    Springfield MA
    Locally if possible it will save you a great deal of money compared to buying wood that is sold for luthery.
     
  3. Yep, here in Georgia the zebrawood crop yield is up as well as the wenge supplies. Seems the early rains in south Georgia didn't only help the peanut farmers. I bet it's similiar up in Massachusetts. :rolleyes:

    JP has the best suggestion but I also get a lot of my one off woods from ebay. I know that I can't see the pieces beforehand but every one of the purchases I've made has been stellar in quality. I've bought beautiful quarter-sawn mahogany, loopy grained walnut, curly ash veneer, basswood for carving, and the prettiest curly red maple for a top. What I like most is that I can buy small quantities of just about any species for my even smaller building schedule.
     
  4. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I'm guessing this was said tongue-in-cheek. Maybe not. Either way, I think I probably shop at the same place as Skorzen, in Massachusetts, and they have quartersawn wenge and zebrawood, your choice, for under $10/bf. I think zebra is about $7/bf. There's at least 3 or 4 other places in Massachusetts, more in New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Vermont, that stock those woods.

    I've been very disappointed on EBay all times except one. I'd much rather drive an hour or two and get to hand pick my lumber. Maybe some people don't have that luxury. If I can't find it myself, I fire off an email to Larry at Gallery.
     
  5. Things may very well be that way up north. I even understand that some of the Home Depots up there carry maple as a stock item. Great for you but down here, there are precious few wood suppliers. For instance, Atlanta Wood Supply has a fairly decent selection of exotics but their miniumum (6 linear feet) makes a small builder like me cringe at the $100+ prices. If I plan to build 5 or 6 at a time then that would be OK but I don't do that yet.

    And FBB, sarcasm was what the :rolleyes: means
     
  6. thadood

    thadood

    Jun 16, 2003
    Memphis, TN
    No kidding, living here in Mississippi sucks; plenty of BBQ spots, and that's about it. I guess I'll have to look through the phone book for places that carry the woods I'm looking for.
    This will be my first bass, I'm doing it as a project since I'm extremely bored, don't work, and manage to get my way through college without working =)
     
  7. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
  8. thadood

    thadood

    Jun 16, 2003
    Memphis, TN
    Score, thanks FBB! I found a spot that's up in Memphis (pretty much a hop skip and jump from me) that sells exactly what I'm looking for! Time to start raising the funds =)
     
  9. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Probably you should call the place before you get too far. Sometimes these places don't update their web pages too much.
     
  10. Got my latest ebay score today!! 9½" x 57½" x 1¼" clear, quartersawn walnut - $16 plus 10 shipping/handling.
     
  11. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    Go look at the Ken Smith web site. He sells wood. I don't know about his prices, but I know he's got a lot of wood.
     
  12. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Right now I am preparing to re-do 1/3 of my basement floor where most of my wood is stored. I have been moving wood for weeks. If someone is buying "volume" on furniture grade quilted maple, Imbuia, 6/4 tiger maple AA , or plain 4/4-8/4 black walnut, then deals can be made.
    As far as the good stuff goes that I use daily , which is aged for years n years , The prices are market or better 'IF' it's for sale !!

    Note: This is not an advertisement, it's an answer !!
     
  13. hoytbasses

    hoytbasses

    Mar 30, 2003
    Cape Cod
    I build stringed instruments.......
    Like my man Matt, I prefer to look at my wood prior to buying it. more importantly tap on it. I bring a low-angle block plane or cabinet scraper to the yard with me to look at rough sawn boards to get an idea og the grain: expose a little bit of clear wood (they usually don't mind TOO much) to see if you like the grain.

    here's my rant regarding SWAMP ash!: BAH!!!!!! the boutique wood merchants are selling this wood for rediculous prices and IMHO I find northern (or white) ash (you know, baseball bat wood) to be superior in tone. White ash can be more heavy than swamp ash, but I have a means for keeping the weight down on my basses and, if you pick through the pile, light planks can be found. Additionally, most places that sell hardwoods will have some ash around.

    another trap to be careful of is the whole quarter-sawn issue: true: quarter sawn wood will be more stable BUT in the case of maple for neck woods, you can use slab-cut wood as long as it's stable and dry....one again, pick through the pile a bit. you can even find some nice pieces at Home Depot or other home goods stores IF you pick thorugh carefully. Go look at any 50 maple necked electric guitars: very few will have vertical grain and while you're getting the hang of building things, why waste money you don't have?

    quarter-sawn wood for the faces of a bass isn't an issue: there isn't much in the way of structural issues going on in a 3/8" thick piece of wood., though issues of the integrity of the figure may ome into play.

    finally I'm with Matt on the issue of E-bay wood. I've had great luck buying claro walnut from an internet wood merchant (B&D hardwoods) but my few figured maple purchases weren't that special as compared to the picture.

    remember this: a great looking piece of walmut of figured maple may seem like a bargain at 20 bucks: but if you add the shipping costs and then calculate the per-board-feet price, you might be astonished that you're paying 15 bucks a board foot for so-so wood.

    save your doe, make a road trip and buy up a few basses worth of wood at a local merchant. just make sure you let it acclimate in your shop environment a while before building with it.

    Karl Hoyt
    Luthier to the regular guy
     
  14. Thanx Mr. Hoyt for chipping in! Like many, I've enjoyed seeing your work.

    To be clear, I certainly don't suggest that there is any substitution for being able to see your wood first hand before buying. I very well understand what you can learn about the wood under tight scrutiny. And, I wouldn't ever presume that ebay is suitable for purchasing larger quantities of premium wood as you gentlemen would for your businesses.

    But...for the hobbyist and occasional builder, ebay can be a good source (and one of several) for small quantities of decent quality, sometimes exotic, no waste, dimensioned and planed wood. If the sporadic buyer plans his needs carefully with an eye towards specific lengths and widths, then he can occasionally save a little on shipping. All I really want to get across is that it IS possible for a good deal from ebay and it should be considered as just another tool in the shed.
     
  15. hoytbasses

    hoytbasses

    Mar 30, 2003
    Cape Cod
    I build stringed instruments.......
    YOu make a couple of excellent points, Mr Ham, but PLEASE; my father is Mr. Hoyt... you folks call me Karl!

    ONe of the things I forget about is that the hobbyist/small time builder (and in all truth I probably fit that description more than 'production' builder) may not have the necessary access to power tools for re-sawing and the like, you you're going to have to pay someone to do that. The first thing I did when starting out was to find a kindly cabinet shop who would do the planing, re-sawing or whatever for reasonable doe. E-Bay woods do offer some interesting woods already book-matched and at the right dimensions

    my first dozen or so instruments were made using only a router, a jig-saw, hand planes (the up-side of this is that I'm really good now at planing figured woods) and hand tools. I would build stuff for folks and then buy power tools with the doe. I STILL don't own a decent table saw, but did trade a guitar for a jointer and trade a bass for a band saw.....

    in point of fact, I have a small addiction for e-bay woods! bargains can be had: I do my searching in the 'going going gone' mode and jump on interesting stuff. BD hardwoods have supplied me with some really nice stuff for reasonable money.

    have a a great week and have fun making that sawdust! Go Patriots!

    Karl