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What's the thinnest that Wenge or Maple could be planed down to?

I've sourced some nice pieces but 5 or 6mm is a bit too thick for a scratch plate – can it go any thinner and still be workable or rigid enough?

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1 hour ago, Aidan63 said:

both wood types are available as veneers so 0.6mm is certainly possible

I think the issue is whether it would rigid enough for a scratch plate if it's covering cavities ?

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Posted (edited)

If you're thinking of a scratchplate, I'd suggest a veneer on a thin sheet would be the way to go. You could use MDF, ply or even a normal scratchplate, but if it we "solid" wood it wouldn't be solid for long before it splits and needs replacing.

To answer your original question, of you have a sheet of wood and you want it made thin in this way I'd find someone with a thicknesser machine that will do the whole width all in one go. Doing it with a hand plane would almost certainly end badly.

Edited by Grangur
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Posted (edited)
56 minutes ago, Grangur said:

To answer your original question, of you have a sheet of wood and you want it made thin in this way I'd find someone with a thicknesser machine that will do the whole width all in one go. Doing it with a hand plane would almost certainly end badly.

^  This. 

And it needs to be a sander-thicknesser, not a planer-thicknesser which is far too harsh for getting down to the 2-3mm you are probably aiming for.

Both woods would be rigid enough and, with wenge and some maples, I don't think splitting is maybe such a big issue...but it might.  And warping can be an issue.  But if you have someone with a planer-thicknesser, then it is worth a try.  If not, then @Grangur 's suggestion of veneering isn't a bad one.   

 

Edited by Andyjr1515
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Actually, thinking about it, I'm pretty sure that both timbers are available (though generally hard to find) as 'constructional veneers'    And constructional veneers are 2.5mm thick...

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11 minutes ago, Andyjr1515 said:

^  This. 

And it needs to be a sander-thicknesser, not a planer-thicknesser which is far too harsh for getting down to the 2-3mm you are probably aiming for.

Both woods would be rigid enough and, with wenge and some maples, I don't think splitting is maybe such a big issue...but it might.  And warping can be an issue.  But if you have someone with a planer-thicknesser, then it is worth a try.  If not, then @Grangur 's suggestion of veneering isn't a bad one.   

 

Come to think of it, if the wood was "solid", I doubt warping wouldn't be an issue - that's to say it's a certainty!!

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Just now, Grangur said:

Come to think of it, if the wood was "solid", I doubt warping wouldn't be an issue - that's to say it's a certainty!!

Yes, indeed. :D

I suppose the difference is that if it is just a bow, along the grain, then the multiple fixing screws will generally cope with holding it flat.  But a 'wibbly-wobbly-warp' would look wibbly-wobbly however many screws were trying to hold it down ;)  

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Thanks for all your replies – very helpful – this is what I'm aiming for… (Alpher)

I've been pondering this for ages – I may have posted something similar previously 😎

Screenshot 2020-11-30 at 11.07.04.png

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1 hour ago, Fishman said:

Thanks for all your replies – very helpful – this is what I'm aiming for… (Alpher)

I've been pondering this for ages – I may have posted something similar previously 😎

Screenshot 2020-11-30 at 11.07.04.png

Well, to be honest, that plate must be pretty much 5mm+ to start with.  In which case, you might be able to use the pieces as they are.  Or, at that thickness, yes, you could maybe run a plane over to level any lumps and bumps.

At this thickness, if it isn't already warped, then I don't think it's likely to warp much more... 

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6 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Yes, indeed. :D

I suppose the difference is that if it is just a bow, along the grain, then the multiple fixing screws will generally cope with holding it flat.  But a 'wibbly-wobbly-warp' would look wibbly-wobbly however many screws were trying to hold it down ;)  

The problem there is when you do use those screws, the stresses applied by the screws may well cause a split down the grain, unless we're looking at a chunk of wood of a fair thickness: such as that on the one by @Fishman

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I think the handy solution if you intend on smoothly clear-coating the pickguard and polishing it to a mirror shine is to sandwidch a wood veneer of your choice beneath a clear plastic pickguard. It won't look exactly the same as a fully wooden guard but will look fairly close, and won't have the issues of screws splitting thinner wood if it gets tightened a little over enthusiastically.

If you want a textured grain effect it will mean using wood just under a light finish, so it will probably wear fairly quickly if it's hit with a pick or fingernails or most things that would leave marks on that kind of finish on a body or neck. You might also want to look at using double sided tape or maybe a light adhesive to attach the pickguard as an alternative to screws, especially if you want it to be a very thin guard. Look at how the acoustics are generally held in place. If you go with a thicker wood (3mm or more I'd guess) you could go with mini-magnets in the top but they'd mean drilling larger than normal pilot holes. Look at those nifty screwless control cavity covers I'd suggest.

https://www.talkbass.com/threads/screwless-removable-pickguard-solution.1184607/ a user a few years back on this thread suggested silicone as a finish safe adhesive. I've heard bad things about silicone and nitro, so please proceed with caution if you use an adhesive on finish!

 

 

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