grading wood .

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
Joe de V
Posts: 1853
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2007 12:34 am
Location: Northern California USA

Re: grading wood .

Post by Joe de V » Tue Mar 22, 2016 3:16 pm

I am not an expert nor even close to being one but regarding guitar woods my knowledge is limited to Guitar Technicians that were involved wth woods in their prior occupation ( craftmen cabinet makers and wood sales to the furniture industry) .
Asking question to the two that I know well this is the simplest answer that I received from both of them.
"Grading of Wood is a skill or Art that depends entirely on Who is doing the "Grading". Subjectivity is involved based in prior experience with the wood. As far of guitar wood the selection of wood is also subject for the particular preference of the luthier.
Not all luthiers are alike in their judgment as the prefered wood for their guitars. Their business is to sell their product and what the guitarist demand is the most likely factor that will guide their ultimate choice".

Marcus Dominelli
Posts: 2791
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 4:52 pm
Location: Victoria, B.C. Canada

Re: grading wood .

Post by Marcus Dominelli » Wed Mar 23, 2016 12:14 am

Joe de V wrote:"Grading of Wood is a skill or Art that depends entirely on Who is doing the "Grading"
I think there's a lot of truth to this. I've known quite a few wood graders over the years, and although they were consistent, they had their own approach. One guy was always attempting to upgrade my wood, so that he could charge me more :!: :!:
...while others were being more objective.

One thing for sure is that as the quality and availability of wood declines, the bell curve which they use to grade it conveniently follows, until what is now considered "master grade" is what was AAA ten years ago. Master grade typically has even grain, perfect quarter, consistent color and stiffness, and some special aesthetics going on, like totally even coverage of ribbony medulary rays...
I got to see some master grade German spruce from the 1960's once, some wood a friend has, and I've never seen master grade like this....ever.
I did not know wood could be so good, and I've had some amazing wood in my hands.

You see this with Brazilian rosewood on e - b a y. People trying to pass complete garbage off as high grade Brazilian. Some of it is rosewood, but it's not even dalbergia nigra, but something else. Very rarely will there even be a quarter sawn set on there, yet many of these vendors claim it is master grade, or "special stock." But that's e - b a y. Most large scale tone wood dealers have a far more objective way of grading, still, it is slowly sliding south.

Joe Holden

Re: grading wood .

Post by Joe Holden » Thu Mar 24, 2016 10:34 pm

That's great gjo . I'll remember that one . It reminds me of my kid . She always use to say she didn't like something for dinner before she tried it and ever since I call her the master chef as she knows what food tastes like just by looking at it .

Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:51 am

Re: grading wood .

Post by cattanarts » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:36 pm

Here in Madrid i have learned to grade wood like this: For Backs and Sides- 2ª quarter sawn but wide grain or nearly quarter sawn, 1ª quarter sawn, tight grain and well sounding, Especial(Master Grade): Exceptionally tight grain with a lot of espejuelo(obvioulsy quartersawn) and exceptionally good sounding, really straight grain, one of those ''one in ten thousand'', even more if it is extremely beautiful too, for Tops(ALWAYS quartersawn and straight grain): 2ª regular grain, not wider than 1mm in most of the top, very marked grain, 1ª 1mm or less grain spacing in all the top or at least the width of the upper bout, Especial: very marked espejuelo, exceptionally tight grain and full sounding, maybe considering one with some bearclaw, but not really necessary.
Some exceptions: With Brazilian Rosewood, even if it is important the quarter sawn, if it sounds good, it is considered as a valid cut. If a top has a little bit wider grain but very marked and good sound, it is also valid for using.

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