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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Neck blanks?


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/262125

shane_lxi - Posted - 05/05/2013:  11:03:28


You'd think living in the heart of the PNW timber industry I'd have access to all manner of lumber. I've been looking around for a plank to build my neck out of, and I haven't had any luck. I've found lots of very thin stock, but I was wanting to make a 1 piece neck not laminated. I will laminate if I have to, but I like the look of a neck made from one piece of wood. Is there any websites that you guys are using to find your maple/walnut/cherry/sycamore? I'm not having any luck at any of the 10 or so lumber yards around my house. Thanks guys!


Earls 5 - Posted - 05/05/2013:  11:06:57


usually a few in the classifieds here on BHO.

Dan Pennington - Posted - 05/05/2013:  11:26:25


Try these guitar wood places for neck blanks



alliedlutherie.com/neck_blanks.htm



rctonewoods.com/RCT_Store/neck...4fcqpkot5



pacificcoastwoods.net/vince_st...s_011.htm



Or if you have a Rockler store near you, they have stuff suitable for banjo necks.



I buy a lot of wood from  local lumber yard - not one of the big box stores - and it has some big hunks that could be a guitar or banjo neck.  You have to do a lot of searching for a hunk with the right grain orientation.



And I've bought some wood that I use for block rims and a few necks from a guy who advertises on Craigs List.



Or look in your neighbors yard!



Edited by - Dan Pennington on 05/05/2013 11:29:22

5stringpicker2 - Posted - 05/05/2013:  12:25:20


Check for a Hardwood dealers in you area you should have better luck there. Lumber yards usually just carry soft woods and such.



google.com/webhp?rlz=1C1CHMI_e...mp;bih=67



( I  )====='----<::)


Dan Pennington - Posted - 05/05/2013:  14:00:48


Sorry about your lumber yard, but my yard - Youngblood Lumber in Minneapolis - carries a lot of hardwoods and exotic woods, like bocote, cocobolo, bubinga, and morado.  


Mumble Peg - Posted - 05/05/2013:  14:25:46


woodfinder.com



exoticwoods.com/home.php



lmii.com


Ken LeVan - Posted - 05/05/2013:  15:05:33


You're going to wind up with wood that's going in the wrong grain orientation unless you are careful.



two suppliers who would know what's up: International Viloin:



internationalviolin.com/Search...yCode=125



Grizzly



grizzly.com/products/Curly-Map...-3A/T1055



I don't know the dimensions of their "billets", but it's worth a call - Grizzly's home site is in Bellingham WA..



I have some beautiful quarter cut cherry pieces, but I just cut them this week, so it will be two years minimum before they could be used - not helpful to you.



Ken


michaelcj - Posted - 05/05/2013:  15:49:18


Check out Edensaw in Port Townsend!


desert rose - Posted - 05/05/2013:  17:31:47


Luthiers Mercantile is a MAJOR supplyer of quality wood. CALL them and tell them the dimensions you want



 



lmii.com



 



Scott


shane_lxi - Posted - 05/05/2013:  23:31:57


quote:

Originally posted by Ken LeVan

 

You're going to wind up with wood that's going in the wrong grain orientation unless you are careful.




two suppliers who would know what's up: International Viloin:




internationalviolin.com/Search...yCode=125




Grizzly




grizzly.com/products/Curly-Map...-3A/T1055




I don't know the dimensions of their "billets", but it's worth a call - Grizzly's home site is in Bellingham WA..




I have some beautiful quarter cut cherry pieces, but I just cut them this week, so it will be two years minimum before they could be used - not helpful to you.




Ken







Is it still necessary to use quarter-sawn boards for a laminated neck? Seems that laminating flat sawn boards on their side will help with stability in a similar way that quarter-sawing does? I might just go the laminated route atleast for the first few banjos. This one piece business is getting tricky, lol. I do have a decent lumber yard up the street from my house that carries cherry, maple, walnut, mahogany and, oddly, purple heart. Unfortunately, they don't carry anything thicker than around 1.5". They can order me different thicknesses, but for some weird reason, I'd have to special order an entire raw plank from the mill if I wanted something thicker, and possibly spend close to $200 for wood I cannot inspect before purchasing.


mbanza - Posted - 05/06/2013:  07:08:09


Small hardwood mills in W. Washington:  ext.nrs.wsu.edu/forestryext/sa...ernwa.htm



Edited by - mbanza on 05/06/2013 07:08:22

steve davis - Posted - 05/06/2013:  08:59:45


Great site,Scott.Thanks.

Dan Drabek - Posted - 05/06/2013:  09:55:55


quote:

Originally posted by shane_lxi

 
quote:





Is it still necessary to use quarter-sawn boards for a laminated neck? Seems that laminating flat sawn boards on their side will help with stability in a similar way that quarter-sawing does? I might just go the laminated route atleast for the first few banjos. This one piece business is getting tricky, lol.not inspect before purchasing.







Vertical grain is always preferable to flat sawn on a banjo neck. Far less susceptible to bowing.



Not quite sure what you mean by 'laminated neck'. But if you mean a built-up neck with a grafted-on headstock and built-up heel, it is a perfectly valid way to build. It's the way all fine classical guitars are made, and many banjo makers also use the method.  It's just as strong--if not stronger than a one-piece neck. It's less wasteful of good wood. And it's easier to find a quality piece of wood in a 4/4 thickness than it is in thicker stock. If you go to your local lumberyards that carry hardwoods and shuffle through their stacks, there is a very good chance you'll find a very nicely quartered piece of KD maple that may even have some good curly figure in it for a bargain price. A 1 x 4 x 36" board will give you enough for a neck, peghead graft and stacked heel. If put together correctly, the joints will be nearly un-noticeable. And you won't have to glue ears on the peghead. I've made all my banjos that way, and have never had a problem with either strength or appearance. A one-piece neck, is of course, the traditional way.  And is probably more practical if you prefer really fat necks. 



DD


dickinnorwich - Posted - 05/06/2013:  10:51:41


Shane:



Sorry for the delay in responding. I had neglected to bookmark this site (dumb) and had to go back to the source to retrieve it.



This winter, I participated in banjo building project with Mike Edenholm. Mike found this wood source which I really liked because you could actually see the piece of wood you were ordering on line. As I recall, Mike (in WA) and I (in CT) hemmed and hawed over selecting just the right piece of wood for his neck and sure enough, the exact piece we had selected  from the website was delivered to my front door. In fact, immediately after we ordered it, the photo of the piece was dropped from the website.   



Bell Forrest Products



200E Hematite Drive

1-877-770-9663

bellforestproducts.com



 


jomando - Posted - 05/06/2013:  10:52:29


These folks are very good too: hibdonhardwood.com/index.htm I'd call and ask for what you need, nice folks, they'll be happy to help if they can.

Ken LeVan - Posted - 05/06/2013:  11:08:00


quote:

Originally posted by shane_lxi

 
quote:


Originally posted by Ken LeVan

 


You're going to wind up with wood that's going in the wrong grain orientation unless you are careful.




two suppliers who would know what's up: International Viloin:




internationalviolin.com/Search...yCode=125




Grizzly




grizzly.com/products/Curly-Map...-3A/T1055




I don't know the dimensions of their "billets", but it's worth a call - Grizzly's home site is in Bellingham WA..




I have some beautiful quarter cut cherry pieces, but I just cut them this week, so it will be two years minimum before they could be used - not helpful to you.




Ken








Is it still necessary to use quarter-sawn boards for a laminated neck? Seems that laminating flat sawn boards on their side will help with stability in a similar way that quarter-sawing does? I might just go the laminated route atleast for the first few banjos. This one piece business is getting tricky, lol. I do have a decent lumber yard up the street from my house that carries cherry, maple, walnut, mahogany and, oddly, purple heart. Unfortunately, they don't carry anything thicker than around 1.5". They can order me different thicknesses, but for some weird reason, I'd have to special order an entire raw plank from the mill if I wanted something thicker, and possibly spend close to $200 for wood I cannot inspect before purchasing.







If you make opposite and matching halves from a flat-sawn board, and glue them together, it makes a quarter-sawn blank.



I recently posted a bunch of pictures and diagrams of this on another thread.



Ken


Ken LeVan - Posted - 05/06/2013:  11:20:47


Shane, relative to your question,



Here's what I was talking about from a (still current)  thread about the instability of curly maple - it shows ho laminating a flat cut board brings it into the quarter-cut grain orientation and stabilizes it:



 



"When you get a board from a supplier, they have run it across their jointer and planed it down. You don't know how much twist it had before they squared it up.  If you make a single piece neck from a piece of wood from a spiral tree, it can cause problems.



Here's a picture of some of my curly maple boards. These have been outside under a roof for more than 30 years, so they have (hopefully) done whatever movement they will ever do, but you can see that some of them have twisted a bit. If they are under stress, they will twist again when I cut them, they can pinch the table saw:



\\\\\



I would go for the straightest board in the rough cut form, and make a single piece neck from a board that had the grain lines running up-and-down.



If you make a lamination, you should cut the pieces in such a way that the stresses in the wood oppose each other symmetrically in such a way as to balance out any directional movement:





In other words "book match" it.  There are two ways to do this:





You want the quarter figure to "come out" , so you glue it up in a certain way:





That gives you a nice shot at the quarter figure:





Here's a picture that illustrates the importance of grain orientation in curly maple. You can see here that how the grain is oriented is going to have an impact on the way it looks:





 



Curly maple is a "problem child" for sure, but you should think in this way regardless of what kind of wood you are using".



A laminated neck is more stable than a single-piece neck.



Ken


Pine Cone - Posted - 05/06/2013:  21:00:13


If you are willing to go on a short road trip try Edensaw in Port Townsend.  edensaw.com/MainSite/Store1/Co...Main.aspx



They have suitable hardwoods, domestic or exotic.  Nice folks too!   Stock on hand varies from week to week, but they have a huge amount of wood, especially if you don't need surfaced boards.  I think there current setup has about  an acre of warehouse space full of wood.  If you can't find what you want be sure to ask.  Very knowledgeable staff and a huge amount of wood to look through.



 


Helix - Posted - 05/07/2013:  02:55:44


A one piece neck is just that and whatever happens to it, you have to live with it.

Grafting headstocks and builtup heels are the province of manufacturers rotating scrap to see what fits.

For striped necks, you get more necks for your money.


I flip and rotate my pieces to give the characteristic tree in the heel, if I use a beam, then the other neck has the v in the heel.

Doing this give a SOLID heel and peghead, no grafting or build up blocks with a seam to split, the necks play and are adjustable.


So, to get back to your topic, I feel a laminated neck is more worthy of your efforts. First Quality makes stacks of one piece, kiln-dried.

I don't need a lecture today, I'm building.

steve davis - Posted - 05/07/2013:  03:31:18


My curly maple one piece neck(1986 Stewmac Vintage kit) has had 3 fret jobs,2 bindings and was my main banjo for 13 years.
That neck is just as true and unchanged as when I finished it in '86.

I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one piece curly maple neck blank from Stewmac.

Helix - Posted - 05/07/2013:  13:24:17


One piece necks make a whole lot of music , Stewmacs are a spec away from a Helix, no problem.

I sympathize with the posters lack of used tenement building bannisters, C.F. Martin bought 'em all up.

MOUNTAIN GOAT - Posted - 05/07/2013:  13:58:54


Steve How often do you have to adjust the truss rod?

steve davis - Posted - 05/07/2013:  14:06:33


Hardly ever.The last time I adjusted it was in the 90s right after the last fret job.



Edited by - steve davis on 05/07/2013 14:07:31

sweetums - Posted - 05/08/2013:  07:37:02


I'll chime in and say that you can make do with what you can find if you get creative, and if you're willing to go to the trouble of laying up a two or three-piece blank. Get a nice, straight, clear slab of that 1.5" maple and work on your jointing! Also, if you're trying to find a quartered piece big enough to fit a profile pattern on, remember that you can stack the heel and use a scarf joint for the headstock. It's not the "province of manufacturers rotating scrap to see what fits", it's a way skilled makers can make use of fine pieces of wood that otherwise would be too small. With well-tuned planes, and by matching the grain and flame, one can make a very clean, and often near-invisible joint.



I'm building my first banjo neck (I work in a shop making mandos and fiddles) out of a 3/4", deeply-flamed, slab-cut maple board that was in the basement of our house when we bought it 7 years ago. It was pretty cupped, but hadn't really moved in 7 years. I cut out three neck-shaped pieces without flattening the board, flattened each piece and joined them to juuuuuuust eek out enough width and approximate a quartered neck.


medenholm - Posted - 05/10/2013:  14:36:18


Well if you want a fine variety of exotics as well as oak, maple of different varieties in thicker stock take a day trip to Everett. About half way down Broadway on the West side is Martin Lumber.



I just bought a piece of Sapelle 36" x 3" x7". The board was 8' long and they cut it no problem. It was perfectly strait in all directions. The great thing about Martin is you pick your own. They will help you bu they will also let you go through it. Give them a call first before you go. If they have it and say it's good, it is. They really have a great variety and fair pricing. 425-259-3134. It's worth the drive. I think that Bell Forest Products did me extremely good too. For not seeing the board, it was the nicest piece of birds eye maple I've ever seen and made a beautiful banjo neck thanks to Dick Guggenheim. Good luck.


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