The Canadian Guitar Forum banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
724 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Getting close to building time... got the design 90% sorted out, I know the hardware I am going to use, binding, colour etc...

I was going to get a glue-in neck off eBay. Heard some good things about those eBay China mahogany necks. They need work, but $100CAD + free ship... not bad. But I would really like to try making the guitar myself as much as possible.

Decided to make a neck. I looked at maple, but came across this handy website for wood strength. Looking at the information listed,

Maple - 755 kg/cu.m
White Ash - 670 kg/cu.m
Mahogany (Honduras) - 545 kg/cu.m
Mahogany (African) - 495-850 kg/cu.m

Not as strong as Maple... but stronger than most Mahogany... which is used a lot for necks. So if stronger than Mahogany, and used for making baseball bats, maybe it's good for necks?

I never see Ash listed for necks, though suspect most common Ash is Swamp Ash and much weaker.

The body will be White Ash, and thinking of making the neck out of ash as well to match. Would that work? Or would it still be better to veneer the neck with a 1/2" thick strip of Maple?

List sadly omits Black Walnut (which I think is 610 kg/cu.m) which I also have and would make a nice veneer in terms of colour contrast. But not as strong as either Ash nor Maple.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
17,381 Posts
Is white ash similar in weight to swamp ash?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
724 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
No idea... that link I had lists Black Ash which I think is the same as Swamp Ash. I don't have any so can't say I really researched it.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
17,381 Posts
IIRC Swamp Ash is just a marketing term applied to white ash grown potentially near a swamp. It's just ash with a chance it is light.
Isnt the swamp bit why its lighter?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
619 Posts
There are different types of Ash just like there are different types of maple. Ash is a great wood for bodies because of the coarse grain pattern. In my area, Southern Ontario, most of the Ash is white ash and is very heavy. The first guitar I made was from white ash and heavily chambered. The neck was white ash as well. Ideally one piece necks should be quartersawn for strength. Something to keep in mind with ash and any wood with such strong grain patterns is the issue with differing densities in the different grain. You have to be very careful when sanding to not gouge out the softer areas. I would recommend the use of a flat sanding block where you can.

Cheers Peter.

PS - when talking about hardness between the woods mentioned it's not so much about strength but weight and usually body weight. There are a lot of Mahogany necks out there that are flat sawn that stand up just fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
724 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I emailed the guy I bought the wood from today to see if any quarter-sawn pieces. What I have now is a big live edge slababout 2.25" thick and 4' tall. Pushing about 18" wide if I recall. Not near it right now to measure.

I know for sure that I'll use a piece planed down to 1.75" for a strat build.

Other chunk, hoping after planed stays around the 2" thick mark. I plan to use it for this build... a Springer Halfbreed, with the Trisonic pickups. Which, totally shocked me but, they already built one! even has the toggle switches instead of the slide switches like I wanted to do. What are the odds?

I plan to stain the top dark red mahogany... maybe the back and neck, may just leave natural. Tung oil open pore finish. Not copying the bridge though. Decided to get a Deusenberg les Trem II. Knobs and switches will move around. Mostly I just want that body shape. I like Brian may's sound... I am not a big fan of the guitar's look.

https://www.destroyallguitars.com/images/galleries/Springer-HalfBreed/Springer-Halfbreed-22.jpg

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/c2/32/86/c23286aeba5d6c8be4bd0755cb042d54.jpg
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
382 Posts
I would just use maple. I read what you write about matching.

To answer the specific question, yes, white ash will work. It’s just not usually done.

Maple looks great, is readily available, cheap, easy to work with, one of the easiest woods to finish (ie: no grain fill).

But hey, if you want a white ash neck then have at it.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,648 Posts
the big difference between White Ash or Northern Ash and Swamp Ash, is the weight. Swamp Ash is one of the lighter woods, usually lighter than Alder but a bit heavier than Basswood. But It does vary.
Most necks are made from woods that don't require grain filling. Most players don't like the feel of a super coated, shiny neck, and that's what you'd end up with using ash of any kind. It's just not a smooth wood.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
724 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Maple looks great, is readily available, cheap, easy to work with, one of the easiest woods to finish (ie: no grain fill).
That's what made me wonder if Ash was good or not... not used often, but if it because it's bad? or because maple is cheaper/easier to use. I almost feel obligated to make it now, just to see. :D

The grain on mine isn't too heavy, compared to some Ash. But... I do plan to Tung Oil the guitar and leave open pored... so not sure how bad that grain would be for hand-feel on the neck.

Maple is at least similar in colour to the Ash. I was looking at eBay necks, from China... hard to find a glue-in neck, and harder to find one thats not mahogany... which would really not match the colour at all.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
619 Posts
="Most necks are made from woods that don't require grain filling"
So says Fender. Gibson has used mahogany necks forever and they need grain filling. Grain filling doesn't have much to do with it as there is still finish and maple has to be finished. Even maple fret boards are finished.

Right now I would say Ash would be cheaper than maple. It may not be that way in 10 or 20 years as the ash borer is killing a lot of Ash trees. Maple would be better in my opinion as it does not need grain filling and the grain has less difference in hardness. Be careful with maple though. There is a big difference between hard and soft maple. I would do a neck with hard maple or just laminate anything.

Cheers PEter.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top