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  #1  
Old 08-10-2018, 10:32 AM
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Smile Spanish Cedar and Quartersawn info and thoughts please!

Hey guitar lovers

I have pretty much decided on Spanish Cedar back and sides, as well as linings and neck for my next John Kinnaird build.

This is going to be a REALLY BIG guitar, with double bevels and a Manzer Wedge!

So in the interest of cutting weight to the minimum while retaining fine tone I am contemplating Spanish Cedar, with a Western red cedar top. I love Cedar tops and they work well for my playing style. And John uses SC for linings and blocks etc.

I have been researching the Spanish Cedar, and found numerous nice references to Terra Tone Woods. The new owner, for the last three or four years, David has a day job, but has been very kind with information and a few pics so far.

First, has anyone had dealings with this gentleman? If so I would appreciate your thoughts. He seems like a very nice guy, and is interested in getting introduced to more Luthiers. He does not build guitars but does woodworking and bought Terra's stash when they moved back to Peru! All his wood is cites compliant and at least seven years old. Also Quartersawn, or very close. Which I understand is a good thing!

Second, if you have experience with Spanish Cedar I would love to hear about it. It seemed like a really good idea after seeing
Ryan and Steve Kinnaird's new BEAUTIFUL super lightweight 00 12c for the lovely and TALENTED Christy.

Thanks in advance for your help, gang

Paul
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Last edited by Guitars44me; 08-15-2018 at 09:13 AM.
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  #2  
Old 08-12-2018, 09:05 PM
The Bard Rocks The Bard Rocks is offline
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Default Sp Cedar

I have only read about guitars made from Spanish Cedar - but see no reason why it could not be superb. Some of it is quite beautiful, too. It will give you lighter weight, for sure. I have guitars with Sp. Cedar components and can predict you will also have an olfactory experience.
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  #3  
Old 08-13-2018, 06:48 AM
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Hi Paul,

I have dealt with David and found him to be a honest hard working guy with a focus on making the customer pleased, which I have been.

Spanish Cedar, IME, has a very mahogany-esque tone but with a bit more bass to treble balance. It doesn't have the sustain of RW or denser Mahoganies but it has enough to carry the note. Its more biased towards fundamental than lush overtone complexity. I also use it for kerfed linings, laminated neck and tail blocks as well as necks in some guitars. Its as stable as any mahogany, which is a good thing. Rest assured it will work well for your build, especially in John's hands.
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Old 08-13-2018, 01:23 PM
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One thing about Spanish cedar that I really like - the smell is to die for!
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Old 08-13-2018, 05:29 PM
JDatlen JDatlen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justonwo View Post
One thing about Spanish cedar that I really like - the smell is to die for!
Tastes terrible though!!
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Old 08-13-2018, 05:35 PM
Kerbie Kerbie is offline
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I've played a couple Spanish Cedar guitars. I remember with the first one, the shop owner said, "It's not Spanish and it's not Cedar"!

I thought it was very pleasing. Like Tim said, it bears some similarity to Mahogany and for me, that's a good thing.
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Old 08-13-2018, 05:50 PM
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Tastes terrible though!!
I shall keep that in mind. I remember growing up that my parents lined our kitchen cabinets with cedar to keep moths out of our food. For years, I could taste the cedar in the food but my parents couldn't. They thought I was nuts.

But that's a different smell than Spanish cedar. I will try not to eat it, but Laurent's brace caps do look quite delicious.
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Old 08-13-2018, 07:45 PM
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Smile Thank you all for the info!!!

Thanks Bard, Justin, JDatlen, and Kerbie!

And thank you Tim McKnight for your input and assurances, too.

I am sure JK will rock whatever wood we get.

May I ask how important folks feel Quartersawn and straight grain is in the tone and strength departments?

I have read a lot of conflicting stuff. This is the first time I have ever sought out my own wood, so I am glad Tim M has dealt with David at Terra!

David has been very helpful! Boy he has a LOT of pretty wood!!!

Thanks gang! AGF rocks

Paul
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Old 08-14-2018, 06:20 AM
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Hi Paul,

I had a couple very wavy and figured SC backs which were orphans and I looked for years to find matching sides for them. Most of the SC I have come across is straight grain so it was a difficult task to find matching sides. However, David came through for me a couple years ago. The wavy figure, in mine is QS and its adequately stiff but SC is not known for being the stiffest of woods but when thicknessed and braced properly it makes into a very fine guitar. BTW, I would always choose QS wood over flat sawn wood, given a choice.
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Old 08-14-2018, 11:40 AM
jperryrocks jperryrocks is offline
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Even larger companies like Collings have made a number of guitars with figured Spanish Cedar back and sides. I think when larger companies use it, the level of confidence goes up.

SC has been used as a neck wood for a very long time. So if there were stability issues and a high level of failure, they wound have ceased using it a long time ago. As long as it’s properly dried and cut of course.
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Old 08-14-2018, 11:43 AM
Alan Carruth Alan Carruth is offline
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Quarter sawing is less important with hardwoods than softwoods, and cedro is botanically a hardwood so far as I know. Also, quarter sawing mostly affects the cross grain stiffness of the wood, not the strength. In fact, most woods show their highest resistance to splitting when they are skew cut, with the rings at 45 degrees to the surface. The medullary rays do help some in quartered stock as opposed to flat cut, though.

What a perfect quarter cut in softwoods gives you is the highest possible cross grain stiffness for that particular piece of wood, and the most resistance to cupping across the grain. Although high cross grain stiffness is generally assumed to be desirable in a top, there is some reason to think it's not all that important much of the time. IMO it matters more in a guitar with a wide top, like a Jumbo, if it matters at all. At any rate, a quick review of some of my test numbers comparing cross-grain and long-grain stiffness suggests that the hardwoods with the lowest cross stiffness start out about where the high cross stiffness softwoods leave off. I've got softwood samples that are 65 times as stiff along as across the grain, and most tops run between 10:1 and 20:1. Hardwoods seem to run 5:1 to 7:1, and I've got a couple of samples of quartered oak, with those really strong medullary rays, at closer to 2:1. I don't recall testing any cedro for cross stiffness, so I can't help you directly. At any rate, you'd need to test a sample from that board, as it varies a lot.
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Old 08-15-2018, 09:04 AM
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Smile More thanks!!!

Thanks JP and Alan C! I am learning a LOT here. Better now than after the build!

Here is what Tom McKnight emailed, as well:

"Hi Paul,

Itís good to hear from you. Wavy QS wood is fine as long as you are certain itís QS. Flat and riftsawn wood exchanges moisture from BOTH of its flat faces where QS wood only exchanges moisture from its end grain (IF) there isnít any run out. The bindings seal the end grain which helps the wood to remain stable. That is why itís difficult for a novice to select their own wood because they usually donít have enough experience to intelligently choose the correct cuts of wood or to recognize run out, even it hard woods. For that very reason we shy away from using customer supplied wood and we do not honor a warranty on guitars built with their supplied wood. Iíve seen it turn south and discouraging so many times itís not worth it. Many new builders get caught in this trap too due to their lack of experience and they learn valaubale lessons the hard way.

Thank you and may God bless your day"

I had NO IDEA ! Live and learn. Another big reason to love the AGF and especially our wonderful Luthier sponsors!!!

Yay team.

Cheers

Paul
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FOUR John Kinnaird Customs 😃
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Only 4 more 90s Taylors
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Old 08-15-2018, 09:36 AM
Alan Carruth Alan Carruth is offline
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I'm going to register a mild disagreement with Tim, who wrote:
" Flat and riftsawn wood exchanges moisture from BOTH of its flat faces where QS wood only exchanges moisture from its end grain (IF) there isnít any run out. "

Moisture loss from wood depends a lot on the species: for the most part it is highest through the end grain, but some woods can gain and lose moisture rapidly from the side grain as well. So far as I know, side grain is side grain: there's no difference in the rate of moisture loss that I've ever seen or heard of through the radial (quartered) or tangential (flat) surfaces in general. Again, there can always be differences by species.

Figured wood does tend to expose more end grain than straight grained wood, of course, and thus may lose moisture more quickly. Given the thin sections we work with, even in bracing, the large surface areas, and the fact that only the outside surfaces of the guitar are finished, in practice I can't imagine it makes any real difference.

Straight grained wood tends to be more stable, all else equal, than figured wood, simply because the fibers are aligned. Wood shrinks differently depending on the grain orientation: least along the grain, much more radially, and most tangentially. These differences cause a piece of wood to change shape as the moisture content changes. The biggest problems come in when the annual ring lines are curved as seen on the end grain, which causes cupping that can be extreme. Curly wood, which is simply a periodic variation in run out, tends to move over time in ways that accentuate the ripple.

Finishes slow moisture exchange, but don't stop it. I know of only a few guitar makers who actually finish the inside of the box: it leads to problems down the road when repairs are needed. At any rate, given the large surface and thin sections, as I have said, it's best to assume things will move. All the 'standard' designs have been worked out to take this into account to at least some extent, so if you don't get too carried away with the wood things will work. I'm always leery of bird's eye maple, since I've never seen an old one that didn't have lots of nasty cracks. I've also got a burl figured back that I've been trying to work up the courage to use for a decade or more.
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Old 08-15-2018, 06:53 PM
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Alan,
Thanks for your input. I agree with you that tangential movement has the greatest dimensional movement but I submit that moisture still exchanges the most through its wider flat faces and not through the narrower sides.

Imagine that the log or tree trunk is made up of millions of tiny cellular tubes running vertically from the roots to the leaves. That is the natural path of water flow in the tree regardless of how the wood is cut. I submit that in flat and rift sawn wood, there are more of the tubes sheared and exposed on the wider faces which exposes more surface area for moisture exchange with the atmosphere. The sides of the wood has a smaller amount of these tubes exposed to exchange moisture.

I also agree that wood will exchange moisture the most efficiently through its end grain as that is the natural path of water flow through the woods cellular structure. However, if the end grain is sealed, by the bindings, then the only path of exchange is through both exposed faces. I still submit that flat and rift cuts will exchange more moisture through these faces than would a quartersawn piece of identical size.

What are your thoughts?
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Last edited by Tim McKnight; 08-15-2018 at 07:26 PM.
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  #15  
Old 08-15-2018, 09:42 PM
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Smile Wow!

Holy smokes! You guys are making my brain hurt!!! Haha

Tim, what you are saying about the natural movement of the water and sap certainly makes sense.

Alan, thank you for your well thought out input! And all your experience too!

Meanwhile John (who is on vacation) says "get well quartered SC and all will be well." Apparently it is quite stable. Thank goodness!!!

Thank You ALL very much for your info and help. Glad I have let my builders use their own woods in the past.

Cheers

Paul
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2016 Taylor 552ce 12 fret 12 string W/OHSC
2000 Pre-NT Taylor K-14c W/OHSC
Acoustic Image Coda III Amp

FOUR John Kinnaird Customs 😃
R.T 2c 12 fret custom
Only 4 more 90s Taylors
'16 552 12 fret 12 string
64 Martin 0-16 NY
Too many more...
"OLD ENOUGH TO KNOW BETTER, TOO YOUNG TO CARE!"
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