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Where to buy neck blank timber in the UK (inexpensively)

Cigar box guy
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Hey everyone I'm new here, hope everyone is good!

I have looked around for timber to build cigar box guitar necks, and found a few places like chicken bone john and ashton music, but I have built guitars with parts from them in the past and have concluded that it's not cost effective. don't get me wrong the timber is great and has nice straight grains but it's still essentially them profiting as a middle man between myself and the timber merchant. 

I like these dimensions for my four string guitars 42 x 24 x 900 and 36 x 22 x 900mm for 3 string guitars.

Boo and Russ liked
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but it's still essentially them profiting as a middle man between myself and the timber merchant. 

Or, looked at another way, it’s the price of him taking raw planks from the timber merchant, thicknessing, planing and cutting into blank sized shapes after chucking the wood that’s not suitable (defects, etc), the waste from cutting, and the waste from thicknessing.

Then factor in your time, and the cost of the machinery to work it ...

At <£10/blank from CBJ, even if you managed to make them for half the cost, you’d have to make a lot of necks before you’d saved any real money.


Sorry, that maybe sounds a bit harsh, but I don’t think it’s really worth the hassle to try to save £2.50 on a build ....

Online guitar making courses –

Boo, Russ and Robin liked
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Hi Cigarboxguy,

Middle men always profit from being in the middle and by doing something that adds value to whatever it is that they buy and sell. In this case converting bloody great big lumps of tree into lovely little bits of wood with the grain running in the right direction and which can then be sent through the post to the likes of you and I.

As someone who has regularly bought rough sawn timber from timber yards in order to convert it into dimensioned sections I can guarantee that you will find it very difficult to save money by machining the blanks yourself unless you are A) buying a lot of timber, B) Have an industrial machine shop and C) Don't put any value on your own time.

For example, a plank of 38mm 'close to quarter cut' khaya (African Mahogany) might measure 4.5m long x 500mm wide but you can't buy just a half or a quarter of it from a timber yard. At £5650m3 a single plank could cost you about £500+VAT. Allow for up to 20% wastage and suddenly the shop prices charged by the specialists don't look too bad especially as you can buy from them one or two at a time. Making your own blanks from rough sawn timber can be a way to increase or precisely control the quality of the timber you are using but it is very unlikely to be a way to save money!

In the good old days you could go to a timber merchant and select the boards yourself but unfortunately H&S has meant that most yards don't allow this any more. Having said that, I have found Sykes Timber in the midlands to be very accommodating and willing to try to find the correct stock (albeit in pretty large lumps) and, although I haven't been there for years, I believe that North Heigham Sawmill in Norwich has a very good stock of smaller planed timber and so you may be able to find something suitable there if you are close enough to make the trip worthwhile.

A better alternative may be to try to get friendly with a few local joinery companies who buy these types of species in bulk. Traditional window manufacturers use a lot of mahogany type timbers for example. Ask if you can buy some off cuts from them or if they would be happy to let you select a single board the next time they buy in a whole pack (approx 3-4m3). For most of what they do with it they really don't care if they are using the most perfectly quarter cut plank in the universe but there will nearly always be one or two in a pack that will be almost exactly what you are after.

You might also consider making composite necks where smaller, and therefore easier to find, sections can be bonded together to make your neck blanks. You can also get away with less perfect quarter cutting as you have the ability to balance the grain angle on either side of the centre line. What I mean by this is that if you glue up a composite neck and the grain forms a reasonably symmetrical, centred V on the end of the blank then this will still make a very stable neck.

Oh, and if you do find somewhere selling very cheap, perfectly quarter cut neck blanks, just email the details to me and I promise that it will be just our secret!

Cheers and looking forward to seeing some pictures of your builds.


Robin, Boo, Russ and 1 people liked
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Hey Cigar box guy, welcome to the forum. Sorry I can’t help you with this query, these two guys have covered everything. Hope to see some photos of your work soon. 👍

Make guitars, not war 🌍✌️🎸

Russ liked