Guitar Making Tip No. 90

Guitar making tip number 90 is about finding wood in the hardwood store. You can find great looking pieces of well quartered wood in the store. You just have to spend the time looking for it. Here is why, and the reward for your time.

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You Can Find Quarter Sawn Wood in a Hardwood Store

guitar making tip number 90 woodworking store wood shoppingMost hardwood stores sell flat sawn wood, and some quartered. In most of the bins you are going to find a lot of flat sawn wood. This is because the mill saws the entire log like that, and then only a small number of pieces end up quartered by default.

It does take a long time to search through the bins to find these gems, but they are in there and they are worth the time.

In most cases, a nicely quartered piece of wood will be separated from the stack at the mill and put with other quartered wood. The process for cutting wood like that is different from flat sawing, and a bit more wasteful. For that reason, as well as for the difference in looks, they charge more for the wood.

When you dig through the bins yourself, you find pieces that should be worth more, but they are the same price as the flat sawn stock. This is great for you, because you get the stability and the beauty of quartered wood, at the same price as flat sawn wood. Here is how you do it…

Look at the Ends of the Boards

When you are looking for quarter sawn wood, look at the ends of the boards in the bin. You are looking to see the grain lines going from face to face. This should be up and down when you are looking at the end of the bin. Try both sides of the wood pile, since the ends can be coated and hard to view.

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If you can’t see the ends of the boards, the job gets a bit more difficult. However, the savings is worth it, and you get to spend more time in the wood store, which is fun too. Start looking at the faces of the boards, and look for pieces where the grain lines go end to end. This is how you can spot quartered wood.

Flat sawn wood will have grainn lines that make rings or circles on the faces of the wood. This is visually different than quartered wood. As you are digging through a bin, when you find a quartered piece it will jump out at you. It will almost look like a different species of wood in some cases.

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Ask the Wood Store Staff for Help

I’ve been in some wood stores where the staff is awful, and it’s an inconvenience for them to even ring you up for your purchases. I’ve also been to some that are willing to help you and answer all your questions. Depending on the type of service that the shop offers, they may be able to point you at some quartered wood in the pile.

If you are new to picking out wood, the staff should be able to do it much easier than you can. Having been working with wood for a long time, I can spot the style of cut from across a room, and instantly tell what I am getting. People that work in wood stores are even better than that. Enlisting a little help can make a big difference.

Let them help you, and they can quickly show you what you are looking for. At some point you are going to need to tap the pieces and do some guitar maker magic to decide on what board you want. At that point you can let the staff know you are all set, and they will leave you be while you make them wonder why you are listening to the boards make noise.

One More Thing

Please make it a point to stack up the wood after you are done going through the bin. I have seen people destroy a wood bin and walk right out without putting any of it back. Yes, the store has a staff. However, they are not expecting their customers to destroy their displays and walk away.

Put away your pieces when you are done. It will make a big difference for someone, and it will only take you a small amount of time. This can also do something else for you that you may not have thought of…It may lead to some good karma.

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I was stadcking a bin in a Woodworking store where the staff would give you the evil eye right near the end to make sure you were putting things away.  They saw me putting away the wood that I went through, and one of the employees came over to help me do it. He was shocked that I was actually cleaning up after myself. I’m an adult, so that’s what I do.

The employee ended up showing me some high end Rosewood that I ended up buying on a really good deal and making several great bridges from. All I did was pick up my own mess.

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