View Full Version : HOME DEPOT CEDAR

Feb-16-2004, 8:57pm
I've not built a mandolin yet, but I just finished carving a cedar top from scratch, it didnt come out good enough to use.take note: I carved a mandolin to top using a mortist chisel and 120 grit sandpaper. (cut thru the meat of my thumb with the mortist chisel actually.) but I was wondering if any body has used the cedar from home depot as soundboard? well that my question.

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Feb-16-2004, 10:30pm
I actually looked at a bunch of it one day. None of it is quartersawn, unless you might happen upon the straggler piece. I'd be pretty leary to use it when carved for top thicknesses--I think it would split. Most of it has knots in it too, which you don't want. Too bad.

I'm not sure its even the type of cedar we would want to begin with. Really, for what a piece costs, I think you are better off dealing with someone who deals in instrument wood as their specialty. There are some reputable folks out there. Why save a few bucks for wood that will crack and split after you've worked long and hard graduating it to perfection. Its no easy task. We want wood that is our friend, not our enemy.

Feb-17-2004, 12:58am
I dunno about Home Depot, but I've found some very nice looking cedar, fir, and (especially) redwood in nicer #lumberyards. You gotta find the ones finish carpenters use, not the guys framing.

Anyway, it looked quartersawn to me, but I'm no Spruce - maybe it wasn't.. Vertical grain, not (much) runout, in any case. I'm curious as to it's suitability as tonewood as well.. The redwood sometimes has amazing ray flecking, tight grain, straight, no knots. The fir looks nice too, but can be sappy.. I bought a redwood board just for the heck of it, resawed it, and sanded it to rough flattop thickness. It rings like a bell when you hit it.. Is that a good thing?

Feb-17-2004, 2:10pm
I see no reason why you can't find and use a piece of lumber from Home Depot or other lumber stores...

Just look for the same things that you would if you were tonewood shopping....
Straight grain, dead-on quartersawn, no knots, etc.

I've seen Engelmann spruce that was totally usable in the "pine" section before, and Doug Fir with tonewood specs is pretty common...

For the most part, you'll have to do a "slip-match", matching two end-to-end pieces of a 1x6, but sometimes 2" stuff is lurking that will do a legit bookmatch nicely...

Try to find a materials recycling place in your town though--that's where the real treasure will be had.
I've found birdseye maple milled in 1888, a gob of 100-year-old one-piece Doug Fir mando tops dead on quarter for a couple bucks each, and recently some redwood beams with paperback-book graining milled in 1910...

You really don't need some high-falutin' tonewood schmonewood dealer to "anoint" your mando wood...
In most parts of this continent (and Europe too) it's lying around right in front of your eyes... # http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif

Feb-17-2004, 3:31pm
Didn't Givens buy his wood at the local mill/supplier?

Feb-17-2004, 4:29pm
I thought I saw some spruce in the pine section as well. I couldn't really tell if it was pine or spruce though. Hey Spruce, is there a defining characteristic that sets the Spruce and pine apart? Just curious as my buddy works at the Depot and I could get some cheap.

Feb-17-2004, 5:15pm
"Didn't Givens buy his wood at the local mill/supplier? "

Sure looks like he did... http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

"Hey Spruce, is there a defining characteristic that sets the Spruce and pine apart?"

The smell....
Get ahold of some Engelmann and memorize that smell...
It's very distinctive...

Pine is usually lighter in weight, too.
It too, has a distinctive odor...

The main problem with buying lumber for instruments is the presence of run-out in lumber. #The odds are very slim that you're gonna get a piece from a straight-splitting tree, and then very slim that if it was a straight-splitter that it was milled exactly on split...

One only needs to look at the wood used in the first hundred years or so of commercial instrument making to see the problem. #There were no "tonewood" cutters until the late '70s or so, so most of the wood was cut from lumber, and the finished product is the proof in the pudding. #Run-out was common in these instruments until the 80's or so, when hand-split wood really began showing up en masse in Martins and Gibsons...

Here's a pic I stole from someone here at the Cafe (hope that's OK!), but it really shows what I'm talking about. #The harliquin effect is caused by run-out, and in this case it's prety extreme.
The guitar will still sound fine and will hold up structurally, but when you buy "tonewood" these days, you are theoretically buying wood that is straight splitting and should produce a top whose joint is nearly impossible to detect....

RI Jim
Feb-17-2004, 8:29pm
This doesn't really follow the topic, but the top of this guitar is made from a piece of old staging plank a contractor used at our company around 10 years ago. I offered to buy it on the spot, but after explaining what i had in mind, it was free. BEARCLAW . I've built one flat-top with a H. D. Red Cedar top, but it's only 3 years old and it was just to see how it would work. Dirt cheap for like a 10 foot board with dead straight grain.
You never know where you'll find good wood .

Feb-17-2004, 9:51pm
Nice design Jim (I'm a guitar/mando builder too,) The oval soundhole is a nice touch.