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I have a local seller flogging 3.2m solid utile pews...

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CMax

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Now, I've never worked with it. My googling has led me to a mix of reports. Many say it's great to work with and considered a high-class hardwood replacement for mahogany. Some say it's difficult to work. Considering the yard is asking £199 for each pew (with discounts on volume), that's a lot of wood for not a huge amount of money. The pews themselves have some wide 300mm+ boards within them, so lots of usable timber.

Other than all the sin that has soaked into them, is there any reason not to use these as a source of cheap, milled hardwood?
 

profchris

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My wife's granny would have told you that the sin will polish out if you use enough elbow grease :D

If it's any help, ukulele makers value it as a kind of mahogany, more like true mahogany than sapele.

The grain direction is probably wrong for my needs (slab rather than quarter sawn) otherwise one of these would set me up for a hundred or so instruments.
 

CMax

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That is useful to know, thanks. I'll be making electric guitars and had one eye on potentially using this as a mahogany replacement, but you make a good point about the direction of cut. I suppose eventually, one would get lucky with slab cuts and find the quartersawn section, but too much of a gamble I suppose to do that. I also have cabinets and furniture to make so the long slab lengths would be useful -- as long as it doesn't turn out to be a pig to use as I'm 98% hand tool only.
 

profchris

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For guitar necks you can laminate two pieces with grain like this \\\\\\///////. That makes an even more stable neck than a single piece (and Fender necks are flat sawn anyway, at least in maple). And you can add a skunk stripe if you like.

For solid bodies I wouldn't worry about grain orientation for stability, as utile is very stable. It's only acoustics where the higher cross-grain expansion with humidity is a problem.
 

thetyreman

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I haven't worked with it but it's supposed to be nicer to work with than sapele, I don't like the sound of sapele compared to genuine mahogany, it's too bright, real mahogany has a mellowness to it and amazing midrange, that's been my experience as a guitar player.
 

John15

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I've made a few pieces of furniture in Utile and found it works well with almost no problems with grain - perhaps I have been lucky.

John
 

CMax

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Thanks for all the info, chaps. In the end, I decided to pass. Too much of a risk for now.
 

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