The “Log” build.

Brek

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This will be a slow burner of a thread. A repository for my questions and progress.
progress:
1: Source log: done.
2: Transport log: done.
3: End planed for aiding with cut location: done.
 
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Brek

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here is the end cross section. i would guess its a lot smaller diameter than what Gibson uses. suggestions on cutting? the widest part of cropped image (sapwood cropped out) is 12 inches. top to bottom as looking at image. 11 inches side to side.

CC646D0F-9BCA-4FA3-8693-0E297E67159F.jpeg
 
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ARandall

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A lot of splitting going on there to my (semi untrained) eye.......
 

Brek

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its only at the ends apparently, the guy had a few of these he has used already and the splitting only goes in a couple of inches, however, we shall shortly find out. Some have already gone from the 2mm i took off. so fingers crossed.

maya_templating.jpg

Going to use this projected end image on a cylinder object and will use a les paul body shape 3d model to boolean out different sections of the log to see how the grain looks when conforming to the curves of the guitar. I am hoping for a 10 inch wide piece to add two inch on the upper bout. it's looking to be a straight grain not wavy from this projection which i guess was obvious. In this image it is simply projected straight back, the varying thickness of the log will have to be ignored for simplicity.
 
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pshupe

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What kind of wood is that? End checking is impossible to stop but you can minimize it. That looks really good actually. Paint the ends as soon as you can. The recommended time to paint the ends is right after cutting down. The moisture in the log will exit from those ends the quickest which results in the end checking, cracking, or splitting. There are wood sealing products that work really well. The ones that work the best have wax in them but you can just use any paint you have laying around. Old latex paint works fine, just put it on thick and do a couple of coats. Then just keep it out of the weather until you mill it.

I cut down a lot of trees and have dried 1000s of b.f. of lumber. Mostly black walnut, cherry, and maple. Here is an example of how my driveway looked about 5 yrs ago.

BW_w_junior.jpg


Mill it as soon as possible as it will take a long time to try and will not dry in log form. It takes about 1 yr per inch of thickness to air dry. Good luck.

Cheers Peter.
 

Brek

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Thanks for the advice, this log is Cuban mahogany, and is at least 40 years old, in all probability quite a bit older than that. It is the last one this chap, who is a sculptor had left, a mate of his in the 80’s tipped him off that there was a sawmill that had loads of them. He bought a job lot, and paid more that he sold it to me for in the 80’s.

I might try and make a solid model of the log and import into Houdini 3D software, I can make the interior volume follow the contours of the log and use some simple scripting to pass the colour data along the axis following the contours. This would give a previsualisation of what the final piece could look like.
 

LPTDMSV

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What do hope to find that you won't know soon enough just by cutting on the quarter in the old-fashioned way?

I know I am speaking as someone who would not enjoy the computer modelling, but would enjoy using a big bandsaw!

:)
 

Brek

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Hope to find? a guide to what might be best way to cut, it may turn out to be no help, but it’s my area 3d modelling so it’s quick and easy for me to do this. if nothing else it helps me see and visualise the piece. I am relying of the sawmill guy to decide on the cut though. If you have an opinion please chip in, I am aiming for 2in thick slabs from it, I was thinking of either side of the middle at this point in an effort to get widest piece, do you think that’s possible or not? Should I be aiming to get usable slabs for jointing a body together?
 

LPTDMSV

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I'll let someone else comment as to whether 2" sawn is enough to get you to 1 3/4" planed - you might need to go a bit thicker?

Yes I would say that you will be jointing, the wood in the very centre of the tree is not the strongest and you will probably end up ditching it is my guess based on limited experience, others may disagree. The purest quarter-sawn bits will have the prettiest grain, but you will also want the nearest to perpendicular grain for the neck so factor in the dimensions for that.

You probably know this already but this diagram shows the usual sawing patterns, what it terms "rift sawing" gets you the most perpendicular grain but looks like more of a faff to set up. Normally you wouldn't do it because of the greater wastage. Second diagram shows the table bandsaw "flip" method, whereas first diagram is for a sawmill where they have hook things to hold the curved bark of the log while the blade cuts.

quarter-sawn.jpeg

QuarterSawnLogDiagram.png
 

Brek

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Yes seen lots of cutting examples, but your context has been more useful than any of them. If I quarter saw won’t be wide enough pieces to joint, think I need to think some more on this and may have to look at using plain sawn, maybe planks 4 and 5 above the center plank and same below, that looks to leave a quarter sawn type chunk for the neck Left and right of the heartwood. If I can get two jointed bodies and two necks will be very happy.
 

LPTDMSV

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No expert here, but the 2nd & 3rd images are backwards, no? 1/4 sawn will always have the end grain running perpendicular to the face whereas rift sawn will have the grain at an angle. :dunno:
It's a terminology problem (!) the woodworker says "oh that's quarter-sawn because I see perpendicular grain", but the sawmill person says "it's quarter-sawn because I cut the log into quarters before I sliced it up some more" ... they're both right but in different ways :)
 

LPTDMSV

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It's a terminology problem (!) the woodworker says "oh that's quarter-sawn because I see perpendicular grain", but the sawmill person says "it's quarter-sawn because I cut the log into quarters before I sliced it up some more" ... they're both right but in different ways :)
So yeah "rift-sawing" produces more of what a woodworker would call quarter-sawn than "quarter-sawing" does!
 

pshupe

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Thanks for the advice, this log is Cuban mahogany
Are you sure this is Cuban Mahogany? I am skeptical that someone exported a log of that size. Mature Cuban Mahogany trees are 36" - 60" in diameter. Especially 40 yrs ago, they would probably be leaving anything smaller than 24" in diameter on the forest floor. This just not seem a likely possibility. Clearly you have to flat saw it if you want to get anything close to a 2 or 3 piece body blank from it. Sorry to be so negative here but it something just does not add up.

Cheers Peter.

EDIT - just did a little googling. So Cuban Mahogany was cut into almost non-existence about 100yrs ago and has been scarce ever since. I'm not sure whether that makes it more possibly that someone exported this small log or not? Very interesting. It is the same species as Honduran, Genuine Mahogany but more rare. Did you pay a lot of $$$ for it? If not, why would someone sell it? If yes, it's best use would not be a guitar body, but smaller items that would demand more $$ for a final product made from this wood.
 
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Brek

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it was less than buying two 2 piece body blanks in U.K. I had considered the size of it before I bought as I am aware of the kind of sizes than were felled. And also the date of when they stopped exports, I can only take it on trust that the seller is genuine In what he says, I would acknowledge that it maybe simply a piece of south american mahogany under that wide umbrella that is ‘Honduran’ mahogany. It’s funny it’s kind of hard to imagine a dishonest sculptor. He is retiring as the reason formsale. Looking at the end grain the tells are all there to rule out african. It’s a fun project, as it will be used for my second build I am not expecting anything other than the learning experience.
 
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LPTDMSV

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I was wondering if it might be branch wood rather than a trunk, due to the diameter? Unusual to find that in lumber yards but something a sculptor might have wanted? In some ways it doesn't matter now what tree or part of the tree it's from, the thing is you've got it, and you're going to have to slice it up to find out what's usable!

I think Peter is likely right that you are going to end up with a 3-piece body, or maybe if things work out a good 2-piece. Nothing at all wrong with that if the wood had good grain or resonance. There will probably be more waste than you would hope for due to curvature, sapwood splitting from heartwood, etc. There's always less left of the tree than you hope for!

I'm guessing on the sizing and orientation of course, but at a guess you could aim for something like this (2 neck blanks and 2 body thicknesses? Plus you can get lots of thinner sections for headstock ears, etc.

Slicing.jpg
 

Brek

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It’s 36cm across at its widest, some of that is sapwood, so no use, so they area you have highlighted for possible body use is 30cm or 12 inches. I think another inch will be lost either side as that as it’s a transition area and may not be good.
 

pshupe

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When I am looking at logs to mill I estimate 2" off each side as a minimum and 3 - 4" off each end. Generally you would cut out the pith as well, which would be another 1" out of the center. How long is this log? How are you going to cut it?

You have definitely peaked my interest. I hope you get some nice useable lumber from this.

Cheers Peter.
 

LPTDMSV

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Yes seen lots of cutting examples, but your context has been more useful than any of them. If I quarter saw won’t be wide enough pieces to joint, think I need to think some more on this and may have to look at using plain sawn, maybe planks 4 and 5 above the center plank and same below, that looks to leave a quarter sawn type chunk for the neck Left and right of the heartwood. If I can get two jointed bodies and two necks will be very happy.
These diagrams are a bit hypothetical in that they depict either very big trees, or very thin planks ;)
 

Brek

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Log is 99cm long, there is a sawmill 15 miles from me, they are prepared to cut it for me, will do 3 cuts for ten English pounds. I was going to avoid the center as that looks a no go even to my untrained eyes. I will hold off on cutting a few more days to see what people suggest. I have done rough calcs of density of wood from its dimensions and weight. its consistent with the species. I think I posted them on the buy thread.
 


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