General Luthier Question

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General Luthier Question

Postby (edski) » Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:09 am

IS there any set amount of time that wood used for guitar or bass is left to dry before it's used? Does make any difference after some general minimum of drying time?

I understand that every piece of wood is unique, but my buddy and I were talking about this, and he seemed to think the wood for many guitars was at least a few years old, but I think that it's probably more in the range of 6-8 months...
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Re: General Luthier Question

Postby (DriftSpace) » Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:48 pm

I don't have specific answers for you, but I am sure there are a lot of variables; it's definitely possible to buy wood that has been specifically dried in a kiln, or by various other means. I think the thing to focus on is the right moisture content for the wood you will be using, as opposed to the "amount of drying time," as the latter is subject to a wide variety of variables; was it commercially dried? was is sitting around in someone's garage? from what kind of climate did it come? in what kind of climate has it been living?

Also remember: relative humidity is just that: relative, and will vary depending on temperature.

There must be a target range for moisture content in guitar-building projects, but I don't know specifically what that is.

I remember John Hall saying that RIC instruments prefer 70-degrees Fahrenheit and 35% humidity, so maybe that's a good target zone.
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Re: General Luthier Question

Postby (edski) » Sun Jan 19, 2014 2:20 pm

Nothing specific, it was just a part of a general conversation. My own currently in progress custom build is using a padouk board I got from a lumber distributor in Oregon, and they do a lot of work supplying instrument wood. My piece was not considered "instrument wood" but only because the board was 38" long - they consider body blanks to be at least 40".

So far my buddy who's building the guitar has run into no issues, so I'm guessing it was dried right.

So I'm guessing the wood could be recent or old. Like many things in life, highly variable. Thanks! :)
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Re: General Luthier Question

Postby (FabGearHead) » Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:44 pm

As a long time repairman/luthier, the reply you received about moisture content is correct.
Wood can be air-dried for years and still not be right in the end. It seems that 4-6 percent moisture content is ideal.

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