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Old 12-05-2017, 07:43 AM
LouieAtienza LouieAtienza is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2013
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Originally Posted by Truckjohn View Post
I love oak as a tone wood... It can make fantastic guitars.. I have built one oak guitar and am currently building another.

That said - I do not really recommend it for a first guitar - especially if you doing everything with hand tools...

For a first build - I would recommend Mahogany, cherry, birch, walnut, or soft maple. All these work beautifully with hand tools and finishing is fairly straight forward.

Oak is very porous... And the pores are cavernous and sometimes bottomless. This makes some significant challenges finishing...

Color wise... Natural finish oak is very light. It's a sandy tan color - sometimes with a slight greenish hue. It's much lighter than people expect it to be.... To me - it looks better under a darker stain. This adds complexity to an early build - which you may rather just simply finish natural.

Oak also doesn't have a particularly uniform texture for working by hand. It has very porous rings and very hard grain lines. This can cause trouble when trying to hand-plane plates to thickness....

Finishing aside, I think oak to be one of the easiest woods to plane when quartered. As to the porosity, I think it can actually look cool in an Arts & Crafts way, if high mirror gloss is not a requirement. Kent Chasson made an Arts & Crafts inspired build which looked really awesome with a natural finish. Also white oak is somewhat less porous than red.
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