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Rosewood that destroys edges

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D_W

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Building a guitar with a solid rosewood neck (not a fancy guitar, just a mahogany telecaster type guitar, but wanted a solid rosewood neck and the "builder price" is an upcharge of about $60 vs. who knows what if you buy a guitar someone else makes).

That said, early on in my woodworking, i ran into a piece of cocobolo that practically looked like sparkle finish when planed. It destroyed everything I put near it in about 15 swipes, so I went bonkers and bought high speed steel irons. By the time they came, I was done with it and I used other exotics.

Fast forward 12 years, I tested 6 irons a few months ago to see if the V11 claims of "twice the edge life" would measure up (long story short, they did on clean wood - I planed somewhere in the neighborhood of 40,000 feet to figure that out, and will write it up and publish it at some point). That convinced me to search out the people who XRFed v11 and find the powder medal nearest it and make some of my own irons.

Then get to last weekend and my special house made iron was getting destroyed by rosewood, so I started to question whether the V11 only holds up in the most ideal conditions. Both my metal jointer and smoother have the powder metal that V11 appears to be made of and they were splitting shavings in short order, so I took a cell phone picture of the wood. Have a look in the pores.

Holy cow. That's not dust brushed into the pores, it's silica that's *in* them. Silica is about the same hardness as hardened steel, so needless to say, when the iron hits these, they dent the edge and actually leave visible tiny nicks.

This ties in some with the sharpening thread. There are some steels that will tolerate this better than others, but none well enough to make it worth buying a different iron. The key to dealing with it is increasing the shaving thickness, setting the cap iron so that it doesn't cause tearout and having a sharpening method that isn't a hassle to deal with. The wood is gorgeous, it's a guitar neck so it'll be scraped and sanded, anyway.

https://imgur.com/gallery/M9QaPfh/comment/1734786079

It doesn't look like much until you zoom in. You can blow the silica out of the pores, but take two plane strokes and it looks the same again.
 

Ttrees

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Are you going to fill those pores David, they are massive!
I would research this method, it looks the best to my eyes, but maybe not suitable for a neck.
Quite interesting for anyone who want's the best pore fill and french polish tute I've seen.
[youtube]BbEDj12Gc60[/youtube]

I stopped researching guitars in depth, as I realised I needed to practice other more fundamental things before I dived in.
I think it looks a whole better than epoxy or other things like drywall compound or coloured filler.
I hear tung oil is liked on necks by some.
Not studied flatsawn necks at all, as it's not done in the acoustic world.
Did have a mess around on a Tele with a flatsawn maple neck before, and it felt alive.
Loads of vibration to it
I was having a look at it and was shocked by my friend who's no messer on a stringed instrument, saying he had swapped his battered Les Paul for it,
I was about to say you fool! until a gave it a strum.
 

D_W

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It's funny that you mention french polish because I've never done it before, but the body of this is quartered khaya and it's got prominent pores. I have practiced french polishing (traditional, no shortcuts) on the offcuts from the body blank, and I really like it.

The pores are prominent on this indian rosewood, too, but that's pretty standard. The width of the piece shown is somewhere around 20mm, and the pictures make the pores look bigger than they'd look in person, but brazilian and indian rosewood fresh cut have very uniformly arranged (and often prominent pores).

I had a collings CL guitar last year that had a brazilian rosewood fingerboard. The year it was made, you could get madagascar or brazilian rosewood fingerboards. I bought it used and sold it used, but had a build list from the maker (they keep them permanently for each guitar) and a guy asked me for pictures to prove the fingerboard was brazilian. I told him what the factory had told me, and that it's clearly not madagascar as that has sporadic and small pores (it has a distinctive look, too). He refused to believe that I was telling him the truth because the pores on the fingerboard were too large in his opinion. I guess because of all of the high talk about brazilian, he expected it to look like gabon ebony :roll:

This neck blank is quartered. Telecasters are usually flatsawn, but sometimes come with a quartered neck. Flatsawn is a little bit more rigid in the direction of the neck affected by the truss rod, but this one should be rigid enough. With rosewood often being wetter than stated, I had some fear that if I ordered flatsawn, it would shrink and potentially twist.

I share the sentiment about telecasters, though. They look cheap compared to a guitar with a carved top. The first one I ever bought, I wanted to find something unlikeable about it because it looked cheap, but they sound great and they're really lively feeling, and they play well. It's a genius design. Leo fender's guitars remind me of bailey planes. A rugged design that is easy to manufacture, maintain and repair..and cheap (relatively).

French polish won't make much of a difference on this guitar (Sound wise) but it solves all of the things that I don't love that much ( water based pore fillers, tons of other gadget finishes (the worst I've seen so far is using CA to fill the pores on an entire guitar...holy brain cell killer). And it's warm and classic looking on the test pieces. Since there's no build, every small undulation in the surface shows up - the guitar doesn't look like it's encased on a plastic shell - I think it looks great.
 

AndyT

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David, you might like to reconsider your image hosting. For me, that link just leads to a gallery of "humorous" pictures, with no guitar building.
 

tony_s

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"I share the sentiment about telecasters, though. They look cheap compared to a guitar with a carved top. The first one I ever bought, I wanted to find something unlikeable about it because it looked cheap, but they sound great and they're really lively feeling, and they play well"

I understand what you're saying, but at the same time the telecaster is of a shape that is just right; anything more (a carved top, for example) whilst nice, is superfluous. I hope we get to see this in its finished state.
 

Trevanion

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I’ve got some Iroko with quite heavy calcium deposits in it somewhere, absolute nightmare on planer knives.
 

thetyreman

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perhaps a scraper plane would be the only solution here, like a no80 or flat scraper plane like a 112, just an idea if nothing else works. I managed to plane some rosewood with just a bog standard O1 steel iron with no problems, but no two pieces of wood are the same.
 

D_W

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thetyreman":t1t487kv said:
perhaps a scraper plane would be the only solution here, like a no80 or flat scraper plane like a 112, just an idea if nothing else works. I managed to plane some rosewood with just a bog standard O1 steel iron with no problems, but no two pieces of wood are the same.
scraping and sanding are probably necessary with it (quartered rosewood is pretty hard to get dead perfect off of a plane, anyway, and so is khaya for that matter) for finishing, but I've learned over the years that it's far easier just to suck it up, set the cap iron so you can take a heavier cut without bad tearout and power through it with the planes (that's considering that I'm not using power tools to size it, so resaw and hand plane the blank). If taking it right off of a thickness planer, then a scraper would probably be faster (aside from the fact that it wears the burr off of a scraper pretty quickly, too).

As you're aware (since you've planed it), rosewood planes really nicely. Just a slightly harder version of other wood, but it's really smooth and it has a nice aroma (all of it does, indian, bois de rose, cocobolo, etc), so when an edge dulls quickly, it's the same sensation as just using a junk plane iron (you can get a couple of hundred feet of planing in before being forced to resharpen with a shaving that splits into 8 pieces). It actually raises a wire edge on a hand plane blade if you push it too long, and when I go to scraping the plane damage lines off of it, it wears the burr off of a card scraper quickly. The result once it's pore filled will be worth the effort, though (and that effort isn't that great on a guitar neck. I sharpened the jointer and smoother twice each in sizing the billet and getting it flat and to final size.
 

D_W

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tony_s":1x9a9cgj said:
"I share the sentiment about telecasters, though. They look cheap compared to a guitar with a carved top. The first one I ever bought, I wanted to find something unlikeable about it because it looked cheap, but they sound great and they're really lively feeling, and they play well"

I understand what you're saying, but at the same time the telecaster is of a shape that is just right; anything more (a carved top, for example) whilst nice, is superfluous. I hope we get to see this in its finished state.
I agree with that. It was just the bias I had at the time, the perception of quality of a carved top (which has always been machine carved on the solid body guitars, and probably all or nearly all of Gibson's work) and a set neck. A telecaster ages better and has fewer strange issues, and the design is plain, but the curves are nice - I think I recall that fender hired designers to trial looks so that they didn't just end up with an awkward looking guitar.

Ted McCarty's discussion about making a les paul set neck and carved top, aside from the timbre that they liked best with a separate top over mahogany (Vs. all mahogany or all maple), pretty much was along those lines - creating a perception of greater quality over fender guitars. All of the different types make fine guitars - I haven't made any carved top types yet, but will do so once I'm tired of making fender type guitars.

I'll share pictures when I'm done. It's my fourth guitar (there's a fifth in the pictures below), so it'll look good unless I manage to break something while finishing it (always a possibility). If that happens, I'll just make another.

https://imgur.com/gallery/l4kQAPr

I've used more power tools with guitars, though, than I have in a while anywhere else (the roughing of the neck pocket with a router, cleaned up by hand for final fit. I found a used OSS for the outsides of the guitar to size to the line and square it up, and a router bit to cut the binding channel. Those last two operations just don't come out that cleanly if you do the work entirely by hand.

The control cavity and the pickups in these guitars are drilled/gouged/chiseled out, though. I don't have a template to rout them, and it's nice to work nice wood by hand. This is an exercise in making something mostly by hand that was designed to be made by machines. Sort of backwards for a hand tool woodworker.

I don't like the skunk stripe on strats, so the fingerboard and neck are separate parts, and the truss rod cavity is mortised and routed by hand. The "not correct for the guitar" two way truss rods are nice to have. I posted my first telecaster on a tele forum last year or early this year (can't remember when that was) and they were highly offended by the modern truss rod, but they didn't find it strange that their complaints were embedded in a forum that also had a lot of "what can I do about this neck that has a back bow" type questions. There's not much telecaster or stratocaster correct about these guitars other than the general proportions.
 

D_W

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AndyT":3m33h36w said:
David, you might like to reconsider your image hosting. For me, that link just leads to a gallery of "humorous" pictures, with no guitar building.
Must be something wrong with redirection in the link for some. I use the site because it's free, but I think it's a meme site because every time I upload anything related to tools, I get a whole bunch of thumbs down right away :D
 

AndyT

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I tried again in a different browser but got even more hilarious gifs and nags to install the imgur app.
 

Tony Zaffuto

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David,

Knowing a bit, actually more than a bit about powder metal, the component composition is the smaller part of the equation(also pretty easily determined). In my opinion, the processing is key. Processing is also patentable. Because V11 is patented, I will not circulate any thoughts on how it is done. I also do not believe the woodworking market is large enough to offer significant rewards for another blade steel.

If you truly desire your own blade steel, you might want to start studying various existing tool steels, composing a cafeteria list of desired properties, and then have a conversation with a heat treating source on how to achieve those results.

T.Z.
 

D_W

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AS far as I can tell, V11's not patented, but it's another steel that actually came off of patent. I believe the money LV spent was in testing and selection, and not in development. It's possible that they could've made minimal changes to the alloy that's already available, but the blades that I've made from said alloy are pretty much the same as V11.

I was interested in what it was more from the perspective of being able to make my own irons from it. I'll tell you what it is, but not on the open forum, even that a sleuth can find it pretty easily.
 
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