question about stability of flamed maple necks

Discussion in 'Wood' started by Santuzzo, Dec 7, 2015.

  1. Santuzzo

    Santuzzo Member

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    Hi,

    my EBMM JP7 just got a new neck, it's a roasted flamed maple neck.
    Now, I have read that flamed maple necks are supposed to be less stable and more prone to warping than non flamed maple necks.

    Most flamed maple necks I have seen have the flames arranged in a 90 degree angle to the length of the neck, so the flames are perpendicular to the neck.
    On my new neck the flames are slightly diagonal to the length of the neck.

    Would a neck with the flames being slightly diagonal to the neck be less stable and more prone to warping than a neck where the flames are perpendicular to the neck?

    here's some pics:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Murkar

    Murkar Well-Known Member

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    Hmm, I've never heard of this before. If you looks down the end of the headstock you should be able to tell the grain direction, as long as it's nearly flatsawn or quartersawn you should be fine.

    You can actually see medullar ray in the photo anyways, so I can wager a guess without having seen the headstock that the cut is either flatsawn - or more likely at a slight angle. That to me would be more of a concern than the flame direction.

    TBH though as long as you've never had any stability problems it shouldn't be a huge concern. I've heard that roasted maple is more stable anyways, though I have no personal experience with the stuff to back that up.
     
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  3. otterhound

    otterhound New Member

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    That is not a flat sawn neck .
    It may be slightly off quarter , but not by much .
    The presence of medullary rays where they are seen affirms the quartering of the wood .
    You only see medullary rays where the wood is quartered and where they are present combined with the visible grain indicated quartered or slightly off quartered wood .
    If you look closely , you will see the grain running in line down the spine of the neck . You will not see that in flatsawn wood .
    It is common to have the figuring not truly perpendicular to the grain .
    Figured wood , in general , is less stable than non figured wood in any species .
    I have heard some acoustic guitar luthiers and players speaking of the lack of character/dryness of tone with roasted/torrefied maple .
    It also tends to be brittle from what I have heard from others although I have no personal experience with it .
    Use the darned thing and let us know your opinion over time if you are willing .
     
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  4. Murkar

    Murkar Well-Known Member

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    Medullar ray only indicates quartersawn wood when it appears on the surface of a piece because it appears when the wood is cut perpindicular to the rings. So the rule of "seeng medullar ray means it's quartered" only applies to square boards. His is on the side of the neck rather than in the center of the carve, so there is no question. The grain is perpindicular to the side where the ray appears, so that neck is not quartersawn. Not unless that's an extremely flat carve.

    Should check your facts before you cast stones, this is becoming a pattern on the forums that I don't like to see here.
     
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  5. Duplex Dave

    Duplex Dave Active Member

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    If it ain't broke don't fix it. Are you having any issues or just concerned? I've seen way more issues with birds eye maple necks than flamed. I can see some grain lines running parallel with the shaft so it looks pretty good IMO.
     
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  6. otterhound

    otterhound New Member

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    I see no layering of grain patterns on the back or top of this neck .
    The grain appears to run on edge from top to bottom in a straight line .
    This piece of wood is between 75 degrees and 90 degrees in cut and more like 75 .
    This is not flatsawn . If it were , the layering of the grain would be evident .
    By flatsawn , I am referencing wood cut between 0 and 40 degrees .
    Between 40 and 75 is called a bastard cut where I am from . Some will call this a rift cut . Where I am from rift cutting is not a cut but a process of cutting that yields perfectly quartered wood .
    Between 75 and 90 degrees is considered to be quartered , for the most part .
    There does appear to be a bit of run out in this particular piece , but not enough to be concerned about .
     
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  7. Santuzzo

    Santuzzo Member

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    thanks guys for your input.

    I don't know anything about quatersawn vs flatsawn, etc. other than having read that quatersawn is more desireable in neck wood than flatsawn for stability reasons.
    So does the direction/angle of the flame have anything to do with the necks stability at alll?
     
  8. otterhound

    otterhound New Member

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    It really shouldn't unless the figuring were to run the length go the neck instead of across it .
    Both flatsawn and quartersawn have individual traits .
    Advantages and disadvantages .
    The true test is in how the individual piece acts and reacts to it's purpose .
     
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  9. Adam

    Adam Well-Known Member

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    Fender has used flat sawn necks since the beginning, I wouldn't worry about it too much. Your neck should be just fine. Beautiful neck too.
     
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  10. Santuzzo

    Santuzzo Member

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    Thanks again! :yesway:
     
  11. CatonGuitars

    CatonGuitars Member

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    This neck is clearly quarter sawn. You can see the silking run the length of the neck just off center on the bass side of the neck. Silking only occurs on the most perfectly quarter part of a board. Take a close look at a nice acoustic top and you will see the silking throughout the top. This happens because acoustic tops are cut as close to perfectly quartered as possible. Your neck looks to be cut at about 75% quartered. I worked for Lakland basses for 10 years (was the shop manager for a few years) and we hand picked each neck blank based on grain patterns, annual rings/inch and how well it was quartered. From my experiences you cannot tell how a neck will react based on grain pattern. When they are built we look for characteristic that have shown to produce a stable neck. Ideally you want a minimum 10 annual rings per inch, The grain to be as straight down the length of the neck as possible (without waves), and quarter sawn diffidently helps with making a nice strong neck. However there are density variations and fiber run-out that can be in a board, but cannot be seen with the naked eye. Unfortunately flamed maple suffers highly from both of these. I've built plenty of very stable flamed maple neck and just a few that had to got through a season or two before settling down. IMO there is no real way to be 100% sure about a flamed neck. Your neck has nice straight grain running the length of the neck, the grain is a bit wide but not horrible, and mostly quartered (although could be better). Id say that neck will be just fine. Just make sure you keep it conditioned and keep it at a consistent heat/humidity, and be happy its not birdseye.
     
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  12. otterhound

    otterhound New Member

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    Run out is an interesting subject .
    You can have the type that looks to be apparent at the heel of the neck which is typically observed as a vertical flare in the trunk of a tree . The bell shape that you normally see at the base of the trunk .
    The other type of run out happens as a tree has twist to it . This type of run out is more difficult to detect . Most every tree has some degree of twist to it . If this twist is evident enough , billets will be cut from true wedges on a tangent that follows the twist .
    This is difficult to visualize and is usually something you see in cutting wood for acoustic guitars with special consideration given to top wood .
     
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  13. Santuzzo

    Santuzzo Member

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    Thanks for the additional info, guys! :yesway:
     
  14. CatonGuitars

    CatonGuitars Member

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    Yes runout is definitely an interesting topic but is a bit of point for this thread. I do think that it is deserving of its out thread. It does relate to this maple neck though when you think about the grain structure of the maple. If you were to split this wood you would see the fibers grew in a wave hence "curly maple". This is why flamed/curly maple tends to have stability issues. There are drastic density variations in this wood that are independent of annular growth, that make it very unpredictable, and is more of a concern than runout. In fact flamed/curly maple fibers can grow strait up the tree without the deviations we define as runout. 99% of my custom guitars are flattop acoustics. I split all of my brace stock because you simply cannot look at a piece of wood and see runout. Annular ring patterns are not a true indicator of fiber patterns. You have to split the board (rule #1 in violin making).

    As for your guitar neck Santuzzo, there doenst look to me like you have much to worry about as long as you keep an eye on heat/humidity. If this neck is stable now dont give it a reason to twist or bend. We had a meeting with Streling Ball years ago at the Lakland factory. He's a good guy and cares about his products. They have a slightly bigger operation than Lakland but have the same basic guidelines for choosing neck woods
     
  15. CatonGuitars

    CatonGuitars Member

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    Beautiful flame in that neck btw
     
  16. otterhound

    otterhound New Member

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    Lets muddy the waters a bit right now just for fun .
    Not all woods are suitable for splitting because of their interlocking grain .
    When you split them , they never split straight and where split , look like shredded wheat .
    I am currently harvesting sycamore . Splitting sycamore is a fools task .
    Point being that with some woods , the manner in which they split has nothing to do with run out and the mistaken assumption of run out being the cause should not be factored in .
    In the end , it is always helpful to know the species that you are working with .
    I agree that there is little chance that your neck will give you troubles and hope that we are all right about this .
    Enjoy .
     
  17. CatonGuitars

    CatonGuitars Member

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    Sure there are absolutely woods out there that you wouldn't want to split and IMO it has to do more with the intended use of the wood. Sycamore for example, I personally would never ever use for anything structural. Its fine for decor (Drop tops and such), nicer pieces can make great back/side sets for acoustics and I've seen some beautiful furniture built with it, but I would never make a neck with it. Nor would I even consider making a back brace with it. So ya you need to know your species and some of them don't need to be split because...well...really why would you? I mean Im not going to split my binding stock or my head plate overlay. So I agree but It really depends on the application. Also some woods that you would use in a structural application that wont split like Wenge (doesn't split too well) for instance are so stable and/or strong that whats the point anyway. In applications like making a neck with rock maple then ya absolutely spit the wood. All you have to do is cut a sliver off one edge and split that. Takes about 5 minutes and can save you a headache during building, or a returned/broken guitar from an unhappy customer.
     
  18. otterhound

    otterhound New Member

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    Quartersawn sycamore is very stable .
    Just for kicks , I'm going to build a neck with it .
    Let's put it to the test .
    Are you suggesting that acoustic sides and backs are not structural ?
    I can see how sycamore , since we are on that species , would be a bit heavy for top bracing .
    I fail to see any structural issues with it though .
    What are your thoughts on Catalpa ?
     
  19. CatonGuitars

    CatonGuitars Member

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    I didn't mean to imply that Sycamore was not stable. Just that there are applications that woods are suitable for and applications that some woods are not suitable for. For example I said I would never use Sycamore for a back Brace. Its not that Sycamore wont work but that a nice piece of Spruce, Mahogany, Cedar, etc. has so much more strength in relation to their weight and are very efficient at transfusing energy. So in that application I wouldn't even consider Sycamore for the fact that I would have a brace that is twice as heavy as a Spruce brace and has a lower energy transfer rate.

    There are so many ways to argue that Backs and side "are" and that they "are not" structural. If you have ever built an acoustic guitar you know that the sides are very weak after bending and can split easily. However once they are in the mold and have end blocks glued on, they become a bit more ridged. Toss some linings and side braces on and they become so ridged that they can be taken out of the mold and basically thrown across the room without changing shape or breaking. A builder I know made an acoustic out of paper mache from old magazine scraps. He's played the thing for...must be close to 10 years now. Irving Sloane (not that he was an awesome builder) was quoted that the best sounding guitars are the ones that are just about to fall apart. So when it comes to what is "structural" on an acoustic guitar honestly very quickly becomes design theory on the part of the builder and related to a stand point of what they believe they can or cannot get away with.

    Are sides "Structural"? Well ya in that the box just doesn't even exist without them, but without the back adding its own rigidity to the box the sides couldn't provide what is needed to hold the guitar together. So is it the sides or the back that provide the structure. Ask 10 luthiers and you may get 10 different answers. How many acoustics have giant side sound holes or wedged bodies, obscure shapes and crazy cutaways? In reality what is structural on an acoustic guitar is determined buy the builder and is a collaboration between the individual parts that make a stable functioning guitar, that properly distributes energy and holds tension.

    Sorry for the lengthy response but I am an acoustic builder and I could write a book on this topic alone.

    I encourage you to make a neck out of Sycamore. I would like to see it and I wounder how well it holds up. I had a client insist on a wenge neck on his acoustic. I wasn't happy about it but it was worth the experiment and it turned out great. A bit heavy but really nice overall.

    As for Catalpa. I have not used it. I have only seen it on very very cheep acoustics and in general custom builders have turned away from it. Although I have seen more and more electric bodies made with it and I guess it could make a nice solid body. Probably a good, light weight, alternative to Mahogany. But when its the wood of choice for cheep China imports, it kinda puts a bad taste in my mouth. Could be good wood though IDK.

    Sorry for getting off topic Santuzzo. Again...Beautiful Flamed neck that you don't have too much to worry about. Maybe we should start a new thread. This seems like a good topic too.
     
  20. otterhound

    otterhound New Member

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    I've pondered this .
    Mr Caton , I will provide you with a set of Catalpa if you agree to build with it .
    Once you build a fine guitar with it , you will send me the standard $50.00/set price .
    This is part challenge and part learning .
    The learning part is that you will have the opportunity to personally learn about this wood .
    The challenge part is to build a fine instrument with this wood as Bruce Sexauer has done .
    My point is that you can buy a cheap Chinese guitar made with Sitka and EIR and a good luthier can build a fine guitar with Catalpa .
    Bruce is one hell of a luthier and he really likes this crap wood .
    What can you do with it ?
    The tonewoods world is changing and people are waking up to the fact that BRZ , EIR and Mahogany are not required to build a fine guitar .
    Are you up to this ?
    By the way , you should have heard the all walnut guitar that he brought to Woodstock this year .
     

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