Selecting wood for the first instrument


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I have a question on selecting wood for the first instrument. I guess my question is how cheap I can go while still hoping that the instrument will be useful should I be able to complete it? International Luthiers' Supply have violin kits ranging from roughly $90 to $230. At other places they start from around $250 and go higher... Any advice from those who have already been there?

Thanks

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Most probably you will make many mistakes in your first instrument, so don't bother about the wood, just get suitable wood, not expensive wood, and try to focus in developing your eyes, tool sharpening, how to handle the tools, etc. I posted a scroll carving tutorial (and a corner shaping tutorial too) here sometime ago, it may be usefull to you.

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I have a question on selecting wood for the first instrument. I guess my question is how cheap I can go while still hoping that the instrument will be useful should I be able to complete it? International Luthiers' Supply have violin kits ranging from roughly $90 to $230. At other places they start from around $250 and go higher... Any advice from those who have already been there?

Thanks

You should check the recent thread regarding International Luthiers' Supply, you may want to look esle where for wood.

Useful instrument for cheap? You don't need highly flamed maple but it looks nice. Go with plain maple. You also don't necessarily need to buy wood from a violin supplier. My latest violin has wood in it that cost me around $40 or so. I went to an annual woodworking convention show around here and scored a 'guitar billet' for about $60 that I resawed, and a seemingly useless block of maple I got two violin necks out of for a whopping $10. I traded some nice mahogany to a guitar maker in New York for the Kermodie Spruce top, and the ribs are surplus from earlier back and side sets. Try a local specialty woods store if you have one.

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You also don't necessarily need to buy wood from a violin supplier. My latest violin has wood in it that cost me around $40 or so. I went to an annual woodworking convention show around here and scored a 'guitar billet' for about $60 that I resawed, and a seemingly useless block of maple I got two violin necks out of for a whopping $10. I traded some nice mahogany to a guitar maker in New York for the Kermodie Spruce top, and the ribs are surplus from earlier back and side sets. Try a local specialty woods store if you have one.

I thought about it. There are 2 problems: 1. my band saw is not big enough for resawing, 2. there is no way to know if the wood at a local store was properly stored/dried... Although perhaps I should still check them out...

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eBay has Simeon Chambers Tonewood Store which has "practice" tops for $9.50, backs for under $20, used to have ribs, neck blocks for $12, etc. I don't like to recommend non-forum sponsers but this supplier is quick to ship and has a large variety of wood and his prices make the first time project less expensive.

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I think davets suggestion to go to Simeon is a good one. It's a one stop shop, with different price points, and , unlike foraging the lumber yards, he knows what you need. And already has it. And it's already cut.

He's also a nice and generous guy to deal with.

Thanks guys. I think that's where I will go!

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