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Thread: Bleached Mahogany

  1. #1
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    Bleached Mahogany

    Well I found this decent sized coffee table a lady is selling for only $40. The only thing I want it for is to chop the top off of it to make a guitar's body out of it. I'm planning to make an electric guitar from it (probably not going to happen for a lllooonng time, but keeping my eyes open for the right wood). Now this table I'm guessing from the pic is about 2x5 feet, very light in color for me to guess mahogany though, and APPEARS to be about 1 1/2" thick so I'm thinkin "$40!? I'm on it!" I emailed her and asked her if the top was solid mahogany and how thick, or if it was just a curtain/dropped edge that wrapped all around. Her reply...

    "Hi - The top is 1-1/4" thick. It looks like solid mahogany to me, but
    I am not a wood expert. The underside of the table is stamped
    "bleached mahogany".

    Thanks.

    Diane"

    ...clearly she looked under the table so I'm not sure as to why she doesn't know if it's a solid top or not but,

    I guess my first question would be, does $40 sound WAY too cheap for such a table if that top is in fact solid, or did I just find a deal? Also, I am looking for Mahogany because I have read that it is a tonewood that gives more of a rich, blues sound to an electric guitar. I believe that many Les Pauls are made from Mahogany, and that is kind of the stlye and sound to a guitar that I want to resemble. Anyone have ANY idea that the fact this wood has been bleached do you think it would destroy it's whole "tonewood" factor it has going on? Thanks much in advance everyone!

  2. #2
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    Westley, I doubt the bleach would affect the density of the wood, and that's what makes it good tonewood. You're right, a lot of Les Pauls have a mahogany body, but they usually also have a maple face. (I was a guitar mechanic years ago.)

    I'm not sure if the 1 1/4" would be thick enough, but it sounds like the table would have enough wood to double it up and make it thicker than you need. If it is indeed solid, $40 doesn't sound bad, at least compared to mahogany body blanks like these. I'd look at it real closely before buying it, though. We've got some solid-looking furniture in our house that is mahogany veneer over some other solid core wood. Your average housewife might not be able to tell the difference. If it's the retro table in Kenosha, I kinda suspect it's veneer. Still might be worth checking out, just in case it's not.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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  3. #3
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    I just ran into a "solid mahogany" sewing cabinet that was some of the finest poplar under veneer. The sawzall made it fit in the garbage can. If the piece is edged with solid stock I would guess it is a veneer.

  4. #4
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    Wesley,

    You might be able to establish necessary thickness and wood type by researching these:

    http://www.grizzly.com/catalog/2008/Main/414

    Thanks,

    Bill

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    Westley, I doubt the bleach would affect the density of the wood, and that's what makes it good tonewood. You're right, a lot of Les Pauls have a mahogany body, but they usually also have a maple face. (I was a guitar mechanic years ago.)

    I'm not sure if the 1 1/4" would be thick enough, but it sounds like the table would have enough wood to double it up and make it thicker than you need. If it is indeed solid, $40 doesn't sound bad, at least compared to mahogany body blanks like these. I'd look at it real closely before buying it, though. We've got some solid-looking furniture in our house that is mahogany veneer over some other solid core wood. Your average housewife might not be able to tell the difference. If it's the retro table in Kenosha, I kinda suspect it's veneer. Still might be worth checking out, just in case it's not.
    Yeah you're right, 1 1/4" is probably a tad thin. I could possibly double it up like you say. Otherwise I was thinking of doing a colored binding all the way around the body like the picture shows... so with that being said, if I were to also give it a maple face like you say they have, maybe I could total up to about 1 1/2" or so. But that's all to be worried about at a later time. That must have been a fun job being a guitar mechanic! Do they have any Guitar Center stores out by you? That place sure is huge with tons of variety, and not only in guitars.

    You are correct it IS the retro table in Kenosha! Lol how the heck did you figure that out? I just wish I had a final answer on it being solid or a veneer. The more I look at that picture I get this gut feeling it's veneer. I'm right on the border of going to check it out, but Kenosha is about an hour drive for me. Hhhmmm what to do what to do. Maybe I'll drive out this weekend.

    Dale thanks for the tip, and Bill thanks for the link! Thanks again everyone.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 1969_Gibson_Les_Paul_Custom_889410.jpg  

  6. #6
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    Wow, I had that exact guitar, until it was stolen from me in the early 1980s. Mine was a 1967 Les Paul Custom (Black Beauty, Fretless Wonder, etc.), black with yellowed binding just like the one in your picture. (I lost a 1977 ES-335 that same night. Stopped for coffee on the way home after a gig, and came out half an hour later to see my van had been broken into.) Replaced them both with this...one of the original prototypes for the BC Rich Mockingbird, made by Bernard Rico himself back when BC Rich was a small shop:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	BC Rich 1 - 600.jpg 
Views:	11 
Size:	71.1 KB 
ID:	21128

    Guitar Center? Never heard of 'em. Just kidding...the original one is in Hollywood, about 45 minutes from my place. There are others that are closer to me. I don't go there much...I've already got too much gear that I seldom use. I end up buying stuff online from them every once in a while, though. (www.musiciansfriend.com)

    Seeing as how you're interested in guitar building, you should check out Stewart-MacDonald (www.stewmac.com) if you haven't already. Get on their newsletter mailing list, too. They've got some good stuff.

    Getting back to the original topic, I think you'd be better off saving the gas money on that table. Even if it is solid, it would be somewhat of a compromise thickness-wise, and if you're going to all the trouble of making a guitar with binding and all, it doesn't make sense to cut too many corners. You'll find a good deal on some better wood down the road. Oh yeah, the Craigslist ad was like the second hit when I Googled "bleached mahogany". Ain't the Intarweb cool?
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    Wow, I had that exact guitar, until it was stolen from me in the early 1980s. Mine was a 1967 Les Paul Custom (Black Beauty, Fretless Wonder, etc.), black with yellowed binding just like the one in your picture. (I lost a 1977 ES-335 that same night. Stopped for coffee on the way home after a gig, and came out half an hour later to see my van had been broken into.) Replaced them both with this...one of the original prototypes for the BC Rich Mockingbird, made by Bernard Rico himself back when BC Rich was a small shop:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	BC Rich 1 - 600.jpg 
Views:	11 
Size:	71.1 KB 
ID:	21128

    Guitar Center? Never heard of 'em. Just kidding...the original one is in Hollywood, about 45 minutes from my place. There are others that are closer to me. I don't go there much...I've already got too much gear that I seldom use. I end up buying stuff online from them every once in a while, though. (www.musiciansfriend.com)

    Seeing as how you're interested in guitar building, you should check out Stewart-MacDonald (www.stewmac.com) if you haven't already. Get on their newsletter mailing list, too. They've got some good stuff.

    Getting back to the original topic, I think you'd be better off saving the gas money on that table. Even if it is solid, it would be somewhat of a compromise thickness-wise, and if you're going to all the trouble of making a guitar with binding and all, it doesn't make sense to cut too many corners. You'll find a good deal on some better wood down the road. Oh yeah, the Craigslist ad was like the second hit when I Googled "bleached mahogany". Ain't the Intarweb cool?
    Wow that is one nice looking Mockingbird!! Sure sounds like it has a lot of value behind it also. How long have you been playing the guitar? I actually haven't been playing long at all, only know a few things, I know the piano better and jam out on that most of the time But I've always been interested in getting the guitar down and making my own. Sorry to hear about the Les Paul and the ES, and just over a cup of coffee. Yes that is pretty much what I want the guitar to look like. Except I'm probably going to do the binding a bit more of a white/cream color instead of so yellow. But I've always been attracted to the Les Pauls. Les Paul himself was actually from Waukesha, WI which is where I live Woo Hoo! There's a pretty busy road named after him here.

    Nope I haven't been to that site yet, thanks for the link! When the time comes to making this thing I will probably go there for several things.

    Lol yep the internet is pretty cool I'm glad you took a look at that table. I think you've talked me out of it. You're right I don't think I should fiddle around with something that will "just get me by." Something nicer WILL probably come up. I bought 2 of the best-reviewed books on how to make it and I want to take my time and make sure everything is to the best of my abilities. Now if only I stumbled upon some antique mahogany table in some attic somewhere...

    Thanks everyone!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Westley Rosenbaum View Post
    Wow that is one nice looking Mockingbird!! Sure sounds like it has a lot of value behind it also. How long have you been playing the guitar? ...
    Yeah, it's a pretty special axe. It plays and sounds great. Has a few dings and spots where the finish is worn through, but it was used 6 nights a week just like a carpenter uses his tools. I never babied it and it has the scars to prove it. I've been a guitar player most of my life. I started at about 8 years old, and started playing in public about a year later, so I'd say it's been about 42 years. (Dang, I'm old.)

    Sounds like you've got a good handle on how to approach building your guitar. I've only made a lap steel guitar and a Strat-style body for a neck I had. Someday I'd like to try building one more from the ground up. I think I'd like to start with a good acoustic guitar kit. I've already got more electrics than I know what to do with. Some of the Grizzly quilted maple solidbody kits do look tempting, though.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

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