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Thread: buying tonewood

  1. #1

    Default buying tonewood

    I'm trying to decide between buying a large bandsaw or a bunch of wood in the upcoming year. Right now I can only resaw up to 6" and my 11" Delta doesn't except any risers. It's fine for mandolins but I also want to build dreads. I can't even find much savings in buying billets anyway. That said, if you had say 1500 to spend, which way would you go?
    Richard Hutchings

  2. #2
    Hands of Pot Metal
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    Default Re: buying tonewood

    If you’re going into production I’d suggest buying a suitable bandsaw. If you’re building as a hobby, I’d buy premachined pieces.
    Play it like you mean it

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  3. #3

    Default Re: buying tonewood

    I'm not sure what's ahead for me. Sometime in the next 3 years I plan on retiring and I'll have a limited budget. I'm trying to prepare by stocking up on wood and making any machine purchases before then. It will still be a hobby but I plan on living a long time:-) I've even considered using 6" or less wide pieces for guitars with an extra seam like the D35s.

    I'm just sittin here dreamin instead of working so I figured I'd share my thoughts and get some opinions. For the price of a bandsaw, $1250 or so, I only see about 4 or 5 guitars, 10 mandolins or some mix of both. Dang woods expensive and I don't want to build with anything but nice looking woods with the hope that someone may buy one if they look AND sound good.
    Richard Hutchings

  4. #4

    Default Re: buying tonewood

    A quality bandsaw is an essential tool for a woodshop. Unless you're sure you'll never need the larger throat for anything other than a couple dreads I'd get the best you can afford. You'll have a lot more options and it didn't take long for me to branch out from turning & want the large capacity. My Jet runs like a tank with very minimal maintenance. It's a heck of a lot cheaper to rip down your own boards though only after sinking more money into a planer, jointer & drum sander but I tend to sprint down the rabbit hole vs fight against the current

  5. #5

    Default Re: buying tonewood

    I think you're right. I may as well resign myself to getting the saw and the wood. The planers are luxuries I can live without. I love my handplanes and the workout they give me. I generally prefer my hand tools except for ripping. Now if I was building furniture and cabinets, that would be a different story. I have no desire to go down that path. I may even sell my table-saw once I get a good bandsaw. I have a 19X38 performax sander for backs and sides of guitars. That was one of the big machines I felt I really needed but I may rethink that as well. I could probably trade that for a nice bandsaw.
    Richard Hutchings

  6. #6
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    Default Re: buying tonewood

    If you would consider a used band saw, you could get a lot of wood and a saw for $1500. I have a used delta 14" with the 6" riser that I bought local for $375. It performs everything I've asked of it and resaws a bit over 11". I build mandolins, ukuleles, and guitars.

  7. #7
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: buying tonewood

    BANDSAW!!!!!!!

    If you are patient, you will be able to find an incredible old bandsaw for under $1500 that will far exceed anything you can purchase today. Up until this year, my old bandsaw made between $10-25k a year resawing wood and selling the excess to other builders. That was not using it as a commercial operation, just buying logs and big billets for my own needs, taking out the 10% sweet spot for myself and selling off the excess. That paid for most of my other machines & the day I told my wife about it making money, she was all in! My BIG Yates saw made $350 an hour resawing expensive woods for other folks...basically, for the past 20 years all of my wood has been free.

    How tall is the ceiling in your shop? If you can handle 9 foot plus, a big 36" saw will fit. Those can often be had for far less than a 16" because the demand is high for smaller saws- as in $500-900 range.

    My personal all time favorite for guitar and mandolin building is a 16" Walker turner- oozes with are deco goodness, has a 12" resaw capacity, and can be had for approx. $800 or less on the secondhand market.

    Checkout the nerdy folks over at old woodworking machines .com - owwm.com for endless old tool help and follow irsauctions.com for endless great tools.

    Where are John Hamlett and Walt for the old bandsaw conversation?

    j.
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  9. #8

    Default Re: buying tonewood

    Funny you should mention the Walker Turner. There's on on the marketplace in my area for $450, needs work and it doesn't look like much resaw height.
    Richard Hutchings

  10. #9

    Default Re: buying tonewood

    Even though the old ones may be stronger and better made, I still would prefer one of the newer models that are a little lighter, easier to adjust and have better dust collection. The new ones run pretty clean and that's important. Lighter so I can get it into my basement shop that has no way in other than through the house. I have to assemble my machines once I get them down there.
    Richard Hutchings

  11. #10
    Registered User Walt's Avatar
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    Default Re: buying tonewood

    Quote Originally Posted by j. condino View Post
    Where are John Hamlett and Walt for the old bandsaw conversation?

    j.
    I'm here!

    Send us a pic of the local Walker Turner that's for sale and we can identify it for you. I bought a Walker Turner 16 on James's recommendation, and it's my favorite tool by far. Heck, it may be one of my favorite possessions, LOL. The 16" Walker Turners are plenty big for your resaw needs. I got mine for $400, but spent a lot of time restoring it to original condition.
    Definitely check out the OWWM forum that James mentioned.

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  13. #11
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: buying tonewood

    I saw the one on marketplace. That is a 14" Walker Turner. They are a completely different saw and much smaller than the 16" although they were both designed by the same person and look similar. For what it is worth, I was able to disassemble my 16", fit it all in the backseat of a Subaru, and then transport it to my downstairs shop when I first purchased it.

    Don't believe all the kool-aid that the new Chinese built saws advertise.....

  14. #12

    Default Re: buying tonewood

    Thanks J, I've been looking at the sites you posted and completely rethinking this, at least for the saw. I still don't know where to get nice billets of rosewood and flamed maple.
    Richard Hutchings

  15. #13
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: buying tonewood

    Most of the old timers who get to the point of selling their equipment also have a huge stash of old wood sitting right next to it. One of the things I like about the hunt for old tools is that often times I'll go vist someone for a single machine, but I know they have plenty of other goodies unadvertised.

    A coupe of years back I went to visit a patternmaker's shop who was retiring specifically looking at an old State spindle sander. The sander and tools were WAAAAYYYYYYYY overpriced, but while I was there we talked a bit about wood. There was a big beam of mahogany on the floor; I asked about selling it and a price. He put up a big stink about fair prices and not wanting to get ripped off and he knew what it was worth and how he wanted what he paid for it, not a penny less. I said ok, how much? $300 firm; don't insult me. I told him OK and we had a deal, but could he cut it in half and get the forklift to load it in my truck? I didn't buy asingle tool from him, but on that day, I bought a perfectly clear, pattern grade, 30+ year old Honduras mahogany beam- 20 foot long, 25 inches wide, and 5 inches thick, for $300 - the price of two neck blanks from the online luthier supply places!!!!!!!!!!! I cut up a small part of it into neck blanks to sell on ebay & recover my costs and have been using it for all my guitar work since- that was six years ago. That big cocobolo log pictured above- that was on craigslist. I filled up my pickup truck with a bunch of those that day and having a nice saw allowed me to make enough $ to buy a new truck (but I bought more wood instead and still have the old Toyota!).

    Feel free to call the shop if you wanna' nerd it up a bit about old tools...

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  17. #14

    Default Re: buying tonewood

    I did find an online dealer for cool wood. This looks great but very expensive.
    Richard Hutchings

  18. #15

    Default Re: buying tonewood

    I just saw a piece of cocobolo I could get 5 guitar sets out of with the right saw. Thanks again for giving me these great ideas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm going to be building instrument for free! Well not including hardware, but then I can afford better stuff.
    Richard Hutchings

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  20. #16

    Default Re: buying tonewood

    I bought a fairly new Delta 14” at a tag sale for $75, and about a year later, the riser for $5. It’s a pretty light unit, man portable. Has most of the features, but not the best thing for resaw at only 1/2 hp. I junked my huge metal saws from the shop as there is virtually no market here in CT. Honestly, machines are often cheap or free. Wood is also something often found resting in the garage rafters at an estate sale. The key is to remember to look up!
    Sometimes I come across one of those huge antique furniture or boat saws with great casting work, but can’t justify having one as decoration. It’s bad enough that I collected that 1880s thickness planer with the gas engine 1950s upgrade. And that bargain Emmert patternmaker’s vise. And....

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  22. #17
    Registered User Walt's Avatar
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    Default Re: buying tonewood

    If you're contemplating one of the Walker Turner 16 bandsaws, one just came up for sale in New Jersey. NFI. Bid price right now is only $300 on eBay. It looks like it's in original condition. A corner of the cast iron base has broken off, but that's not a structural problem and could be fixed with bondo and paint. That's going to make a nice bandsaw for someone.

    Edit: I said above that that missing corner on the base is not a structural problem. There are four bolts that connect the saw to the base, and it looks like it's missing the bolt at that broken corner, which suggests that the place where the bolt attaches is broken off. Still shouldn't be a problem with the other three in place--just wanted to note that.

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  24. #18
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: buying tonewood

    That is the saw I have. I paid twice that for a non running one missing the motor and parts; worth every penny. I've probably made at least $50,000 using that machine over the last decade. Fantastic machine. I changed the motor out to a 1 1/2 hp Baldor and it resaws 10"+ rosewood great. Just the rear beltcover sells for the asking price of that saw on the used parts market. A complete base can be had for approx. $300 and you should be able to find a single section for around $75 over at OWWM. I think that is the same saw Walt has too...

  25. #19
    Registered User Walt's Avatar
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    Default Re: buying tonewood

    Quote Originally Posted by j. condino View Post
    I think that is the same saw Walt has too...
    Yes, I have the same one. Mine is from 1939, I think, because it has the old square badge. It came with a non-original 3 phase motor that I'm controlling with a VFD. That eBay listing doesn't mention the motor, so that would be worth asking about. Any way you cut it, that's a heck of deal if it goes anywhere near that price.

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  27. #20

    Default Re: buying tonewood

    If you're looking for a more modern saw that's easy to set up, Laguna makes one within your budget range. Asian manufacture, not Italian but still their engineering. I wish they would have been available when I bought my Rikon.

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