Okay so I have a cigar box ordered and on its way to me but I now seem to have stumbled at the next hurdle which is trying to find a timber merchant that I can buy pieces of american oak or maple from which to make a neck.  Strangely enough I have a timber supplier less than a mile from my home that will sell me the wood at a reasonable price but it is 6 inches wide, unbelievably the guy informed me that they don't have sawing equipment as they mainly sell to trade and they tend to saw their own as necessary.  Has anyone else had this kind of problem and if so how did you overcome it?  I do not have specialist electrical saws and have no inclination to buy one, for occasional hobby use it would be a waste of money.  Failing that if anyone in the Lincolnshire area knows of a supplier where I could purchase pre-sawn timber I would be grateful for a heads up.  I even thought of buying from the timber merchant and seeing if my local B&Q would cut it to size for me???

Thanks for any help guys.


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Totally agree with you John, machines are quicker but people tend to rush with them and create what is called `chatter` by feeding the wood too quick across the blades

It can by physically hard work, but if you've got the work clamped down well and the plane properly adjusted, it's very satisfying to see that curl of shavings roll off the blade. Having said that, oak is hard stuff to work with, as it has a very tough interlocking grain, and can be a real barsteward to plane - my least favourite timber to plane by hand.

Hi Midge
I am just starting my second build and had the same problem as you but I found Oak stair staircase spindles in B and Q they are just the right width about 40mm square you will have to trim it down a bit but if you are having a problem cutting it down I have a table saw in my workshop if you need help. I live in Lincoln. I see this is a really old thread but I've only just joined CB Nation.

Google Feuillusfencing

When it comes up click on "Items on EBay"

They  advertise lots of slate etc.

I contacted them last year and ordered some 1 mtr pieces the size I wanted

including thin bits for fingerboards.

For about £40 I got enough to keep me going for quite a while.

I gave up on ebay wood and all that.  My wife works for the Forestry Commission and in the grounds around her office there's scrap wood to be had, just got to keep friendly with the guy that looks after the estate.  He recently gave me a huge sign post for free that I can get four necks from.  It's a lot of work but hey it's free!

Lincolnshire is not my area i'm afraid. Here in Sunny Brighton we have the wood recycling project which have all sorts of bits come in, i have had some good mahogany from them. They only have a chopsaw on premises unfortunately. They gave me the card of a local carpenter/joiner they said was helpful but so far its been done by tenon saw and sweat. A long length of oak outside on a workmate during a heatwave took many many tea breaks to get through!

We also have North Road Timber who have an interesting offcuts section. I scored a nice iroko fretboard for a soprano uke for a pound! I havn't asked them about cutting stuff for me yet, not really sure why. They mostly sell coving, window frames, stair parts etc 

I just discovered Tree House Timber who claims to supply English wood by the plank or the lorry load! I am hoping to get some english Ash for a solid body bass. Not the same as american swamp ash but closely related, gotta be worth a try.

I considered a circular saw for cutting lengths but they do seem quite brutal, and toyed with a jigsaw and long straight cutting clamp ( Anyone done either?) I am now eyeing up a Band saw but would need to be able to dismantle and put away whenever my stepson pops back from Uni!

My planing skills have dubious mixed results but making a shooting board from Flat MDF boards ( Or decent ply?) could make getting sides straight after sawing ( And square to the other faces.) fairly straight forward. Google it or look at youtube but the boards will have to be flat and square to produce work that is also flat and square, and setting up the plane also.

Fortunately for me I have always been hands on with tools so I have a table saw and chop saws etc. if you are unused to using a table saw its a good idea to get someone experienced to show how to use them safely or you might be playing guitar with less fingers. A jig saw and a straight edge sound a good idea but in reality even though you can keep the shoe of the jig saw against a straight edge the blade usually tends to bend one way or the other and you finish up with a very uneven cut. It takes a long time to master a jig saw and like all things are not as easy as they look. A band saw can be a bit the same as the blade tends to pull across when you try and cut a straight edge especially on the handy man sized ones from a place like Machine Mart, they are great for cutting out rough shapes and then fine finish by hand. I think most joinery workshop would cut pieces and probably plane it up for you for the price of a couple of pints.

Thanks for the tips Sparky John.

No problem Andy, I need a bit of help and advice too, I am just building a fretless Canjo which Is my second build but I am not sure how high to make the strings. Is it better to have them close to the neck when using a slide or higher than normal. I made the first CBG with the strings about 5mm high at the 3rd fret. I have never played a fretless instrument before. Come to think of it I haven't played a fretted one too well either!

Hi, Midge,

Whereabouts in Lincolnshire are you?

There's a timberyard in Langworth, between Wragby & Lincoln, that supplies all manner of UK timbers in various sizes.

I had some larch from there a year or so ago quite reasonably.

It was for marker posts in a graveyard, so the bit I've got left won't be any use to you!

Worth a try, though.

But as HJ says, the neck's only got the tension from three strings to contend with, so most timbers will be fine.




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