Hi folks,

I am looking to step up my game a bit and have started integrating a separate fretboard into my last three builds. It has helped immensely to straighten the neck and it also improves the action at the same time. Win-Win!!

But... finding appropriate woods is not all that easy, even in Toronto. Or maybe I am not looking in the right places. So I thought I'd ask.

So far I have been using 0.25" x 1.5" oak boards from Home Depot; these definitely work but the grain is a bit loose and I would like to explore other options if possible.

I have a tablesaw and a belt sander but I'd rather work with finished woods if possible so as to keep the build time reasonable. I am hoping to build up some inventory over the winter and take a bunch of these to some festivals over the summer, I think they'd be popular, and I have fun building them as well.

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Not sure where u are but Card's lumber in Kingston has every exotIc wood you could want and they will plane it down to 1/4 with a nice smooth finish. I used some Mexican ebony for my bass fretboard and it is really nice.

I've used oak for a fingerboard and am about to try poplar. My rational was, it is a hardwood, not as hard as maple, but I don't plan of smacking the CBG around.  From Lowes oddly enough both times. Sourcing oak or maple for the body is a chore. Scoured Lowes and Home Depot for an acceptable piece - only one piece of oak qualified. About to try undressed wood suppliers in the Toronto area after I've used up my current supply - I would really like to try maple for the body. 

heck , ..   folks   have   used  pine as a fretboard ..   i  do  too . (fretless) .

and MANY  folks  use  poplar as a  neck   itself , fully  fretted  ,, or with an added  f board .

or as   a fretboard  itself. 


anyone telling you    that poplar is   crap,   or that it  willl warp,  .. either has a  bad piece  or is trying to justify their overpriced   oak  / maple   guitar selling  price .


i've actually heard  more  horrror  stories about  oak  warping .




My oak 1x2 necks with frets (but no fretboard) warp like crazy. Since I started putting fretboards on them the action is a LOT nicer.

Lee Valley also carries exotic woods, Padouk, Purpleheart, Zebrawood...

I have a Lee Valley warehouse within 1Km of my home. They do carry a selection of exotic woods but not in convenient sizes, and OMG the prices.

I do buy a lot of hardware there though: miter saw, fret saw, coping saw, brass screws, sanding belts... They certainly sell a lot of really nice gear at not-too-unreasonable prices...

Another data point from this discussion: I've totally exhausted the local Home Depot and Lowes of any reasonably straight hardwood 1x2's in their inventory.

Luckily, I picked up an old church pew from a local 100+ YO church near my brother's house. I am pretty sure it will contribute some nice necks once I get it milled down to size.

yum yum


Yeh. I go into lowes from time just to check and if I see something pick it up. The turn over is slow though. I'm even looking at larger boards to saw down and plane.

...and this tale comes with a nice ending. I took the Bezdez rosewood to work with me and gave it to my boss to run through his planer, since I don't have one. (in his spare time he is a cabinetmaker, so his shop is quite well equipped.) In discussion, it came out that he has a pretty good sized scrap wood pile, and the next day he brought me enough 0.25" x 1.5"  wood to make at least a dozen fretboards. He brought me some Birdseye Maple, Cherry, Padauk and lacewood. Now I am all set!



Geeeez - Nice boss!!!! I'm my own boss and I'm no help to me at all    :-)


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