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.
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...
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.
...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 :-)