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Kerfing Question

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Total Posts: 71
OK, my kit didn't come with kerfing so I'm ordering some from StewMac (or LMI). Thoughts on the differences between basswood and mahogany? Also, what is the advantage (if any) of reverse kerfing?


Aug 27, 06 | 6:01 pm

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Total Posts: 676

I'm not sure there is any real difference between Mahogany and basswood other than color. I believe that the reversed kerfing provides more stiffness to the sides, though I'm no expert. I'm going to try them in my next build.


Aug 27, 06 | 6:53 pm
Phlytyer (Keith)

Total Topics: 37
Total Posts: 273

My $.02... I like the look of 'reverse' kerf and think that it would be a very good choice. That was a dread kit that you got, right? If so, I would definitely go with the reverse. Aside from esthetics, I do not see any great advantage of one kerf over another.

Aug 28, 06 | 5:49 am

Total Topics: 13
Total Posts: 71
Yep, it's a dread.

Aug 28, 06 | 9:32 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Brandon -- Most of the kerfing that comes in kits is not reverse, though the only reason for that might be that the tooling is already set up for it in their shops. Most of it is cedar.

Having used both "standard' kerfed lining and reversed, I personally have a feeling that the reversed kerfs, since they fill with squeezed glue on upper and lower bouts, and close up completely at the waist (providing a solid face against the rim), might be a bit more stable and strong. (Seems like it to me, anyway.)

As far as using them, the reverse kind break at the curves of the upper bout, while the regular kind break at the waist. I've found recently, though, that if I don't try to bend them until they have glue on them, the glue moistens them enough that they don't snap as the can when they are dry.

Other luthier forums go back and forth on it; nobody seems to have much objective info on one being "better" than the other.


Aug 28, 06 | 10:14 am

Total Topics: 13
Total Posts: 71
OK - a follow up question of sorts! Anyone have a cheap hook-up? Including shipping?!!

StewMac only wants $7.50 for three pieces of reversed mahogany, but it's $5.50 for shipping!!


Aug 28, 06 | 10:24 am

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 58
That means you have the excuse to order more stuff!!! :-)


Aug 31, 06 | 1:19 pm
Luthier Suppliers

Total Topics: 2
Total Posts: 68
I already made this mistake, and hope others will learn from it. I ordered some from stew mac not long ago thinking it was cheaper than LMI. But you need 8 pieces to do one guitar. I didn't realize they are only 16" long each piece, so you have a little seam in the middle somewhere, and it could show if seen from the soundhole. LMI comes as 32" piece and is actually cheaper for the reverse kerf mahogany. Which by the way, I would use. I think you will get a much better sound with stiffer sides. In my limited experience, that is what I have found. I would get the mahogany reverse kerfing from LMI. Stewmac was $20.08 for eight pieces and LMI was $19.80 for 4 pieces. I also think the shipping is cheaper at LMI. I could be wrong on this. Good luck!

Aug 31, 06 | 2:31 pm

Total Topics: 13
Total Posts: 71
Thx for the tip Tracy. I'm actually going back and forth. I only want to order once to save on s/h, so I'm trying to plan ahead. I can't decide if I want to stick with my original plan of herringbone perfing, zipper on the back, and black binding, or change it up. I'm thinking now I might do a rosewood with black think line. Then throw in a rosewood tail graft with the same black trim. Then miter the corners of that to flow together. I dunno. I'm way off topic here!!! Sorry, I hijac'd my own thread!!

Aug 31, 06 | 4:48 pm

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