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  #1  
Old 06-18-2024, 02:56 AM
random works random works is offline
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Default live oak

I see huge live oak trees every day. Some of the lower limbs are massive and run horizontal to the ground for great distances. The wood is heavy to begin with and it's amazing that it's strong to hold itself up.

Has anyone used it to make a back plate and or sides for an acoustic?


Janka Hardness: 2,680 lbf
This is a very dense wood
Has a strength index higher than shagbark hickory and osage orange
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Old 06-18-2024, 03:19 AM
ProfChris ProfChris is offline
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I'd be cautious. The wood in horizontal branches is compressed on the underside and in tension on the top, to take the weight. So the growth pattern across the branch is very different. Once the wood is cut into boards it tends to move around a lot as the tension is released, and unstable wood is not great for guitar bodies for obvious reasons.
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Old 06-18-2024, 05:35 AM
Fathand Fathand is offline
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I've seen postings of several oak guitars, unsure if any were made from branch wood.

Red oak or white oak? I heard white oak is not very stable.
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Old 06-18-2024, 05:58 AM
Skarsaune Skarsaune is offline
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Live oak is a different species than red or white oak.

I've seen guitars from red and white, but not live oak.

You don't want branch wood if you can avoid it.
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Old 06-18-2024, 10:02 AM
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Bruce Sexauer Bruce Sexauer is offline
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Here in California there are at least 6 species of native oak, and they vary widely in their qualities. I built a chair once from alleged “Live Oak” that failed catastrophically and unexpectedly. The wood was punky feeling under the sharp tools and not a joy to sand either. Very pretty with yellow and dark brown coloring, though. The oak guitars that impress some people are made with “white oak”, which is one of the species said to grow here . . . But since that is a layman’s label, it is hard for me to say just what it really is. Google probably knows.
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  #6  
Old 06-18-2024, 04:56 PM
Fathand Fathand is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skarsaune View Post
Live oak is a different species than red or white oak.

I've seen guitars from red and white, but not live oak.

You don't want branch wood if you can avoid it.
Hah, I thought live oak was the opposite of dead oak. I looked it up.
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Old 06-18-2024, 06:30 PM
nuhobby nuhobby is offline
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Speaking of California, I have a small couple of pen-turning wood blanks, advertised as live-oak, which were taken from a California tree "visible in a Little House on the Prairie" episode.

I view live oak, and holm oak, as super hard variants that just kill cutting tools. I think I read a whole article once about 19th century harvesting of live-oak for shipbuilding, and it's a wonder they ever did it.

As mentioned above, white oak (which looks brown) can make a fine guitar. I just made a guitar with red oak (which looks white) and I love it.
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Old 06-18-2024, 11:03 PM
tadol tadol is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fathand View Post
I've seen postings of several oak guitars, unsure if any were made from branch wood.

Red oak or white oak? I heard white oak is not very stable.
White Oak is usually considered better than red oak - white oak is used for thresholds and fence posts due to its hardness and closed pore structure, so water doesn’t soak through it very easily - red oak has good coloration, but rots more easily outdoors. But it depends more on how it’s cut and dried as to how appropriate it is for instrument making -
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Old 06-19-2024, 12:16 AM
Haussmann Haussmann is offline
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https://fraulini.blogspot.com/2014/0...tic-woods.html
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  #10  
Old 06-19-2024, 05:50 AM
Skarsaune Skarsaune is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuhobby View Post
As mentioned above, white oak (which looks brown) can make a fine guitar. I just made a guitar with red oak (which looks white) and I love it.
I built a dread out of red oak myself 4 years ago, still play it a lot. Took it to the local jam Monday, as a matter of fact.
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Old 06-20-2024, 07:27 AM
pcf pcf is offline
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I have been told by tree guys down here that Live Oaks have spiraled or interweaving grain which helps them survive the high winds of tropical storms/hurricanes. That may be a good thing for back/sides and it may not. It is illegal to independently cut down one bigger than 10” in diameter here.
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  #12  
Old 06-20-2024, 08:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcf View Post
I have been told by tree guys down here that Live Oaks have spiraled or interweaving grain which helps them survive the high winds of tropical storms/hurricanes. That may be a good thing for back/sides and it may not. It is illegal to independently cut down one bigger than 10” in diameter here.
But how do they get to 10" then?
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Old 06-24-2024, 03:38 AM
misterg misterg is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuhobby View Post
.. I think I read a whole article once about 19th century harvesting of live-oak for shipbuilding, and it's a wonder they ever did it.
A few still do it - It's incredibly strong and resistant to rot, and the broad curving nature of the limbs lends itself to cutting the frames for wooden ships.

Lovely little film about using it for the Tally-Ho! project here. (It doesn't look promising for guitars though!)



In case that doesn't work, try this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pH37...=SampsonBoatCo

Last edited by misterg; 06-24-2024 at 03:44 AM.
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  #14  
Old 06-24-2024, 05:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Sexauer View Post
Here in California there are at least 6 species of native oak, and they vary widely in their qualities. I built a chair once from alleged “Live Oak” that failed catastrophically and unexpectedly. The wood was punky feeling under the sharp tools and not a joy to sand either. Very pretty with yellow and dark brown coloring, though. The oak guitars that impress some people are made with “white oak”, which is one of the species said to grow here . . . But since that is a layman’s label, it is hard for me to say just what it really is. Google probably knows.
Lots of the "good" white oaks here in South Carolina... Quercus alba...

https://www.wood-database.com/white-oak/

Lots of Live Oak here towards the coast. They're gnarly, here's a giant
famous one...



-Mike
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