Proper Drying Period for Top/Back Wood before Construction?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments

Proper Drying Period for Top/Back Wood before Construction?

Post by rtcricket » Sat Nov 11, 2006 5:31 pm


I was wondering if a period of 1 year of air drying would be sufficiently long for a freshly cut piece of tonewood (sawn to board thickness) before building.

I see many ads touting tonewoods that have been air dried for decades; but as long as the wood has the optimum moisture content of x%, does it matter how long it has been air dried? Are there any disadvantages of using "young" but dry wood for the top or back?

Thanks for any input.




Post by Derry » Mon Nov 13, 2006 6:38 pm

interesting that you have had no replies to this question,,

have always heard that the finer quality furniture builders perfer the aged wood as it is more stable and less likely to change size since it has been aged for several years at a determined humidity,,

how much would the same type and cut of wood adjust in size if aged one year, ten years and twenty years at the same RH level,,???

would imagine this preference would be the same in any wood product where final quality is expected to be high,,

Frederich Holtier

Post by Frederich Holtier » Mon Nov 13, 2006 8:06 pm

One year old could be fine, but I don't think that any serious luthier will use a such young wood. Many suppliers are kiln drying their tonewood, but even in this case would be a good idea to wait for a while before building anything from it. It is a difference between dry wood and seasoned wood. The wood will loose relativelly fast the watter content, but it will take years for the resins that are filling the wood cells to oxidize, leaving empty cells with harder walls almost like a microscopic honeycomb. In this way the wood becomes lighter and stiffer. To be safe with an air dryied wood you should wait for at least 3 years.


Post by rtcricket » Wed Nov 15, 2006 5:05 pm

Thanks for your response!


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