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Red Oak necks.......not Red Necks!!
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 984
Hi all,
I bought a 4 ft. piece of 1 x 4 red oak. Nice and clear with straight grain, to practice making a neck. I was wondering if anyone has heard of, or used oak for a neck? I have seen some guitars made with oak back and sides.
I thought if by a miracle it turns out usable, I could maybe use it. I'm thinking it might be a bit heavy? How stable would it be in temp and humidity changes?
Any thoughts, comments, experience, etc?


Dec 02, 08 | 12:13 pm

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
My guess is it will be heavy for an acoustic.....but probably not heavier than a rock maple neck. As far oak, my first choice would be white oak. Seems Martin one time made a guitar and used an oak neck but that has been awhile and I may not recall correctly. Also, I will guess it will be difficult to shape (compared to mahogany).

Dec 02, 08 | 2:21 pm
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
Hi Adaboy
Yes, I do figure it will be a little tough to carve. I stood in the Lowe's store debating to buy the oak, or the poplar. They have real nice clear Poplar which is much lighter and much softer.
I also wondered if it would make a servicable most likely would be easier to work with. I might go back and get one of the Poplar boards. I can always use the Oak for a jig!


Dec 02, 08 | 2:29 pm

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Total Posts: 295
The one thing to remember about the neck is the stress of the strings. I would be concerned that the oak or poplar purchased at a big box store could warp under tension. When I'm building other projects using their wood, it often takes an hour just to find the straight wood to begin with. That said, I was at my local lumber yard on Saturday picking up some wood for a rosette (went with Padauk) and they had quartersawn white oak available. I didn't buy it, but was also wondering about how it would work for a neck.

So basically, this thread could be interesting. As I too would like to know what people think about using oak. Maybe I'll pick up a piece for the necks I plan to carve this winter and see how it comes out. I'll let you know if I do.


Dec 02, 08 | 2:52 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
Neck wood does need to age and dry, for sure, and probably a year or two unless it is kiln dried. I wouldn't use the poplar on anything but an electric or classical neck. It is too soft, unless you reinforce it with graphite, at least in my opinion.

Dec 02, 08 | 6:43 pm

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Total Posts: 309
I made a stacked neck with poplar and I think it is plenty strong. I do read a lot of disparaging comments about poplar as neck wood in general though.

Dec 02, 08 | 6:57 pm

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
I believe the oak/poplar at Lowes is kiln dried. I don't think strength would be an issue with the kiln dried oak or poplar they have there. Carving, weight, etc. may be an issue.

Dec 03, 08 | 9:20 am
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
I actually took the oak back this morning and bought the Poplar board. I am really just going to do a practice neck and most likely would not try to use it on a guitar. I figured why use the oak and have more difficulty carving then if I used the Poplar. the piece I bought is nice and straight, although it is not as tight a grain as some of the pieces they had.
I did a little online research last night and I didn't find much support for using oak for a neck.........I suppose that is why you don't see much if any oak necks out there!
I would still like to hear from anyone who has actually used an oak neck on an acoustic and how it worked out.


Dec 03, 08 | 11:32 am

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