I have bought some 1x2x3/4 from Menards Lumber. Usually buy oak and popular like 3 and 4 foot at a time. The boards are always pre wrapped in shrink wrap. To shorten this story they all seem to have a slight warp to them.

My question: are these ruined or can they be used for necks? 

Another question: Does the wood have to be 100% perfectly straight or is there a little leadway.

I'm from Kansas and wonder where I should be buying that hardwood from.

Thanks, Bill

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Don't know much about the big box stores in the States William, but here,[Australia] , they tend to store a lot of their wood poorly, making it easy to deform, buying shrink wrapped is not ideal, as you can't sight individual pieces properly, i assume they charged for "dressed all round", if so, you are entitled to straight material, especially in the small lengths needed for a guitar neck. With a bit of skill and a good eye you can plane the top pretty close, and finish with sanding on a flat surface. You can also , if the curve is very minor, build it into the neck as relief for the mid neck frets, but that is pretty difficult to control, and harder to correct if you get it wrong. I'd suggest looking for a supplier who carries straight, dry wood, and probably pay a little extra, but if that's not doable, 15-20 minutes with a planer/ rasp, then sanding should get you pretty right

I bought some maple for necks at Menards in KC. The shrink wrap kinda put me off too. Couldn't get a good look down the sides or at the end grain. Bought it anyway. Mine ended up as ukulele necks, so it was easy to compensate. 

When I've had oak that ended up with a slight bend, I've cut the neck to consider the final string tension. Usually pulls it back in line, or at least close. I also glue a fretboard on the neck, so there's an opportunity to glue and clamp dead flat which helps some too.

Ultimately, I usually buy neck oak/poplar/maple at Home Depot (hit and miss) or Lowes (have to sort through the pile). 

Without knowing how bad the bend is, I'd guess you could salvage it.

Hi William. I usually get Red Oak from Lowe's, sometimes Poplar from same place in the finished/craft wood section. The wood here will usually be drier than the other lumber.
I always pick through what they have to get the straight ones. I also try to get the quarter sawn ones over the flat sawn pieces, but sometimes you don't get a lot of choices.
If there's a small warp, I can use it turned down so that the string pressure pulls the board straight. If it's warped a lot or to the side, find another piece. I also like to add a non-adjustable trussrod to my necks for extra stability.
You can make a non-adjustable trussrod out of square tube, round bar or flat bar made of steel or aluminum. I've even seen people use shelf wall brackets. The trussrod needs to be strong, but not add too much weight. A 3 string CBG probably doesn't need one. I would recommend trussrod for 4 string gits or Bass gits and especially for necks made of softer woods.

Shrink-wrap stick lumber? Do they also shrink wrap individual screws and nails????? lol

some pieces that warp/twist can be salvaged with a planer or a jointer, or use a bandsaw to resaw them into strips of 1/4" to 1/8" and then glue up a lamination of strips for a neck, alternating growth ring direction and warp directions and using some dead-straight cauls to hold it straight and flat while drying.

YES! For your sanitary protection. : ) 

My question would be, is the wood so soft that it would dent if it wasn't protected? 

would it be possible to rip it down the middle. Flip one over top to bottom. ( warp in opposite direction ). Glue and clamp to something that will hold both pieces straight. 

How much leeway you have will depend on your intentions. If you're building a pure slider, then you can deal with imperfections easier than if you are planning on a fretted build.

I agree with the others, a slight bend placed downward should be ok, or with high action for a slide it won't matter either way.

As to the wood source, I once hit paydirt with a local furniture maker.  He was selling cut off pieces but I also ended up with a bunch of nice pieces from his trash bins.  Could try local cabinet makers to, or watch Craigslist in the free and materials sections.  A discarded old table top makes a lot of necks!

William, I usually sort thru the 1 x 2 (actual 3/4" x 1 1/2") red oak and poplar stock at Lowes or Home Depot here in OKC.  There's a good bit of sorting to ensure the straightest pieces.  Be sure to look for twisting (warping) as it's much more difficult to compensate for.  Some small degree of bowing isn't too bad, especially if you plan to add a separate fretboard.  A really flat workbench or table helps to keep the neck and fretboard flat while gluing and clamping them together.  Use lots of clamps and take care in clamping them down to help hold the whole mess flat to the work surface.  In the end, any slight remaining bow should curve 'down' so that the string tensions will help pull it straight.  Shouldn't be a big issue for a 3-string CBG.   Also, the 6' and longer pieces tend to be more prone to bending/bowing/warping as they are rather carelessly stacked up on their ends.  The 4 foot pieces are more likely stored flat, but you still have to check them carefully.   Hope this helps!

Hey thanks Rev. Blue jeans for your information. It will help get me started. Are you from KC? That's where I'm from.

Actually, I'm from North of OKC, not KC!  

Also, from Wikipedia - definitions of board 'distortion':

With this as a guideline, some small amount of 'bow' can be accommodated.  The other flaws are much more of a problem, and you should skip over them.  I check for 'twist' by taking a couple of pencils with me, placing them near either end, and sighting down the length.  Twist shows up when the pencils no longer appear to be parallel.

Hey the cupped ones could be great since the back side is already curved. If you have a table saw or joiner, you could cut the top side flat and glue on a fretboard and be done. LOL

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