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I'm looking online to buy wood blanks for a Les Paul style guitar. Seems ebay drove a lot of the mom and pop shops out of business, and the usual suspects under the luthier supply sites are often on the rather expensive side.

I also found some exotic wood suppliers that seem to be able to offer Honduran mahogany (for example) quite a bit cheaper, in a longer board. But here I don't have enough experience to tell if I'm buying the right thing...

Where do you buy your wood?

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I like to go to the local Woodcraft to browse for better deals(mebbe)solid blocks of wood are abundant there...

At large hardwood stores like MacBeath in Berkeley. The closer to the coast is better as imported woods are shipped in. I get as much as I can afford at the time and keep it my shop until needed. That way I know it is dry and well seasoned. Since I started luthiering in 1975, there have been quite a few species that have become unavailable in stores. I remember passing up blocks of Brazilian because they were not perfect quarter sawn. Wish I had them now. If you are buying for just one guitar I would check eBay or LMII. I happened to run into someone near Davis CA that has tons of Asian Rosewood. I sorted through several thousand board feet and picked out some gems, more than I will use but all instrument grade and one of those rare opportunities. Here is a photo of my apprentice, Molly, on or last buying trip.
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wow, that's really cool! I'll try to get in contact with MacBeath...

Hi Micha :)

Hope you find a bunch of good lumber, man.

You mentioned price. Honduran Mahogany has gone trough the roof. Good LIGHTWEIGHT alternatives are Primavera or Saplele..or even Limba (Korina).  The issue with a lot of modern Hond. Mahog. is that, because of mineral in it's growth soil, it's no longer light weight.

Oh yes, don't forget that there's a wealth of old growth H.M. out there in the form of old furniture. Check out some 'seedy' second hand shops for the best deals :) If you live near a coastline, check the boat graveyards. There's lots of good thick HM in those old carcasses.

A friend of mine had Lea Creston build him a guitar using reclaimed/re-purposed HM from a trashed hope chest my friend found in his grandmas garage. Light as a feather and it sounds & looks divine.

Good hunting, buddy & we'd sure like to see a pic or pic's of your finished project.

Have a great week :)

Digression: I've been meaning to tell you for a while now....

Your AXE blog is a superb instructional resource. It's great to see meaningful content for those of us who are decades beyond learning 'Smoke on the Water' style chestnuts.

There's some real 'meat' on your blog and your descriptions and narratives are SPOT ON.

MAJOR Kudos, man & THANKS!!!! :).

Thanks Paul! glad you like it! I'm still just getting started with the AXE blog, it's slow but it's fun! :-)

I live in LA, so I have to look around for one of those places you are talking about! Yeah I was wondering what the alternatives are to the Honduran ... things get idealized so much, haha. Do you have any resources in terms of website where I check out some Pimavera or Saplele?

Sorry, Micha, I don't.  I'd have to do a Google search like everyone else. I'm currently keeping my eye out for old furniture for a guitar I want built for me next year to celebrate 50 years of guitar playing. I'm NOT a builder, just a tech :)

Follow up on Tom's lead. That sounds like a really good tip on that supplier :)

Later on !

Other side of the continent, but might be viable sources?

I am more a repair guy than guitar builder, but have bought wood from Keim Lumber for repairs other projects. Extremely helpful and knowledgeable - in the heart of Amish country: www.keimlumber.com/exoticwoods  You can Google earth inside their store. They also stock almost every tool known to man. Large and small. Prices are good.

On eBay there is guy by the handle of "ohlar" he sells body blanks. He also supplies StewMac. Search for "Pine Guitar Body" and you'll find him. Cool guy.

  

Hello Micha,

 

The only experience I ever had with buying wood online, were some fingerboard blanks from LMII. Some of the blanks were pretty good (as for grain, stability). The Indian Rosewood was a bit warpy.. But I guess thats the gamble with buying wood online.

I only use these blanks for certain repairs (when I need a small piece of wood, or as a blank for a fingerboard replacement). Below are a few examples of some Pau Ferro I bought from LMII.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=571047306239676&set=a.5...

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=584713874873019&set=a.5...

 

For new builds I wouldn't buy wood online. I much prefer to be able to inspect and pick certain boards/pieces of wood. So my advice would be to go to a nearby lumber (or if you only need wood for 1 guitar, take the gamble and buy from LMII or Madinter wood in Spain)

It is great to go fossicking for wood from various sources.  I found good German Spruce bracewood in the packing case of my new dishwasher. 

However, most of the time we don't have the luck or the opportunity to find perfect guitar-making timber out in the real world.  It is worth paying a bit to get good stuff from a reputable vendor who knows what luthiers want and need.  If it costs you an extra $50 for a great soundboard, or $60 extra for a back and side set, what does that matter after you invest 100 hours of your time in building an instrument?  I suggest you sniff out reputations on the forums. 

I have bought great timber from Bob Cefalu (http://www.rctonewoods.com) and here in Australia from Tim Spittle (http://www.australiantonewoods.com/) - if you want to buy some unique antipodean timber. These are only two among many who are worth supporting with our patronage. 

Mark

 The whole luthier tonewood biz is IMHO a racket to get more $$ from folks by making it look like they are buying the 7th wonder of the world. When I lived in BC spruce and cedar,  big leaf maple, were available everywhere on the beach, lumberyards etc for vy reasonable. Now  the salesman are shouting /threatining that the rainforests are being destroyed.And oh yeah buy  this exotic hdwd  before it/s gone. There are 55000 different species of trees known the world over by scientists.The biggie guitar corp. are buying up  the exotics and they get them  for 1/3 of what  loofiers pay. It really pays to shop around. I get excellent hdwds from a local mill who has  a portable bandsaw mill. Check your local area  for folks using these mills.These folks will negotiate, and you can get some excellent deals on local hdwds.

I buy only from LMI, however I am only a hobby builder at present. I have never been disappointed with what they send and they deliver EXACTLY what they advertise. Happy building!

Allen

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