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Thread: Liquid Amber wood project

  1. #1
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    Default Liquid Amber wood project

    So the liquid amber tree in my back yard had to come down; it was dropping limbs onto fences and causing general mayhem in each of the four yards its branches overhung. I was sad to see it go, but it'll be replaced by a peach tree, which I am looking forward to.

    While the tree care guys were taking the trunk down, I thought hey what the heck I'll save a couple of pieces of the widest section of the trunk and see about having it milled, and then figure out how to dry it so that it warps as little as possible, and then see if I've got something that I can make a guitar out of. I love the idea of the tree living on in a guitar body.

    So, here's what I've got.



    Next up: figure out who can help me with the milling.
    I want to Rock and Roll all night... and part of every day



    Quote Originally Posted by lostinthemasses View Post
    You want some cocaine with that watermelon?

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    Otterhound will have tips on drying wood. He will be able to tell you if Liquidambar styraciflua yields a usable wood as far as instrument building goes.
    I can tell you this is one of my favorit species. I love the way the foliage turns bright red, then purple and depending on how early winter is even black before it drops. Long ago I had a neighbor that liked a neat yard, I mean spotless. Everything was pruned into some artsy shape and she swepped her yard and the street dividing both our yards daily. When autumn set in she sometimes swept twice and on occassion three times a day. Just couldn't stand to see leaves blowing around. The Liquidambar in my yard would habitualy only shed when all other trees in the neighborhood had dropped their leaves. When she thought her job was done. Aaaaawww...
    Why didn't I sweep those leaves? I would have if she'd have let me. Nah, that's not true. I'm just not a very good neighbor. LOL.
    va' sa' du? va' hete' du?
    Quote Originally Posted by chilton View Post
    Unfortunately I've got all the guitars I need at the moment.
    www.makeyoursongcount.com

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    Blue Church2 (02-16-2013)

  4. #3
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    Man, Olav, you're not kidding -- those leaves were awesome. Yellow to red to purple... I'm gonna miss that tree. I suspect that the neighbors whose yards were under the canopy won't miss all the leaves dropping in their back yards, but they'll probably slightly revise their opinions of me when the incoming peach tree starts bearing fruit on their sides of their fences.

    Otterhound, what say you? Are the Liquidambar trunk sections I've got worth having milled and then drying?
    I want to Rock and Roll all night... and part of every day



    Quote Originally Posted by lostinthemasses View Post
    You want some cocaine with that watermelon?

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    Why not? I'm not familiar with this wood, especially not as a tonewood, but unlike popular belief, almost anything can be used as wood for a guitar I think. Might not be the best for a neck or something, but a normal electric body should be fine I guess

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    First , seal that end grain NOW !
    You need to decide what type of cut you want . Quartered , etc. I cannot discern dimensions from the pics , but it looks like an irregular growth . Is there a single heart or dual ?
    Regardless , seal that end grain NOW or sooner !
    Just looked . Sweet gum .
    Although I have never tried to , I understand that this wood can be very finicky when drying . Do some research because I understand that it has a real propensity to warp and twist until dry and stable . Once dry , it is stable . It may need to be kilned or given special attention if air dried .
    I may be wrong on this , but it is worth looking into .
    Last edited by otterhound; 02-16-2013 at 06:39 PM. Reason: additional info

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    Thanks Otter -- Roger that. Will seal the end grain now or sooner, and get the sections under the carport to keep out of the rain.

    Is there any special kind of paint I should use to seal the ends, or will any typical latex house paint work?

    Single heart. There is an irregularity in one side of the trunk but it doesn't extend all the way down the section.

    Given that the wood can be finicky when drying, would I be better off leaving the sections whole for a year or more before having them cut?

    Thank you sir -- I understand that this might not be the best material for a guitar body, but I'm damn well gonna give it a go.
    I want to Rock and Roll all night... and part of every day



    Quote Originally Posted by lostinthemasses View Post
    You want some cocaine with that watermelon?

  9. #7
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    Use a good latex and don't be afraid to waste some in order to get a good seal .
    The sooner that you can mill the wood , the better . If you can , de-bark it also .
    Once milled , stacked , stickered and weighted is when you relax .
    You want to try to keep air moving through it until it is below about 25% moisture content . This is when mold begins to lose it's ability to take hold .
    If you see mold starting , wipe it down with naptha .
    You are in a warm climate , so you will need to keep an eye on things for at least 2-3 weeks even with fans running 24/7 .
    I realize that it sounds like a PITA , but it is better than having to undo an entire stack of wood and wipe it down like I had to do a few year ago because the humidity just wouldn't quit and I took the fans down after 3 weeks .
    It is worth it in the end .
    It may be a bit heavy , but there is no reason to think that it will be bad wood , particularly for an electric .

  10. #8
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    So, none of the yards that advertise themselves as "mills" around me do any rough lumber milling. I'm going to have to find a guy with a chainsaw mill to come cut my boards... time to hit up craigslist.

    Meantime, I've got the ends of the trunk sections painted.



    Hoping this keeps things drying a little more evenly until I can find someone to slice 'em up...
    I want to Rock and Roll all night... and part of every day



    Quote Originally Posted by lostinthemasses View Post
    You want some cocaine with that watermelon?

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