So what did I decide on? Walnut. Claro Walnut to be more specific. Now I can joke about my guitar when it is finished and call it my "Maple-Walnut Guitar", no you can't eat it. I will probably not be too happy if anyone tries to take a bite out of my guitar.
I went to a local lumber yard in the Berkshires called Berkshire Products which specializes is large slabs and figured wood. They also have a section for instrument wood, but most was WAY too expensive for me. It seems like if it's labeled "instrument wood" the price automatically is jacked up. Granted it was all very nice, just out of my budget. They had a section where they had "shorts" or in other words, not 10-20 feet long. The section I ended up with was a little over 40 in long - 10 in wide - just under 3/4 in thick. A little larger than I needed, but it gave me some room to get just the right pieces out of it. Also - it only cost me $35 which is WAY under what I expected to pay. Awesome!
It took a good bit of planning to figure out how I wanted to cut it up. First of all, there was a pretty side (some figure) and a not so pretty side. Unfortunately, though, the pretty side has some small "pin holes" which I had to work around. Finally, I had it all planned out (with the help of my wonderful wife) so that when the shape of the body was cut out, the pin holes would be in the waste portion of the cut. Then the next day I was off to the shop!
The two symmetrical pieces are for the body, the long skinny piece I am hopefully going to be able to make into a neck, but it might need some lamination and a scarf joint. We'll see.Then the little piece on the end can be used for some other project :).
Now to glue the two pieces together. I dunno, I was a little nervous about how it would turn out, but it had to be done so I just went for it!
I got all my clamps ready, a sheet of wax paper, got my glue out, a rag, and of course my wood. I applied the glue to both pieces. Some people say only one side is necessary, but my concerns was that there wasn't going to be enough glue. I would rather there be too much glue and do some cleanup than for the joint to be starved of glue and not be strong enough. At least that's my reasoning. I then used my finger to spread the glue out evenly on the edges so that they were completely covered. I laid the pieces down, align them how I wanted and tightened on the first clamp. Then I experienced what I only read about. That is, that glue is extremely slippery! As soon as just a little pressure was applied to the clamp the two board slid in opposite directions. No harm done - more comical than anything. I just slid them back together and applied the rest of the clamps, making sure they were good and tight. Then, another twenty-four hour wait.
As a side note, it is a REALLY good thing that I cut up the board like I did because of what I found. A large crack in the wood that was totally hidden when the piece was uncut! This is a picture of the long skinny piece that I hope to make the neck out of. Had I cut it differently, this crack would have been in the middle of my guitar! Ack! The crack goes deep, I will have to remove a good bit. I will probably then cut the remaining wood in half, purchase some maple strips, and create a laminated neck. Hopefully that part will work out. Thanks for reading and feel free to comment if you wish!