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Alaska Specialty Woods Grading

Tonewood Nomenclature, Grading and Sizes.

Nomenclature

This is a BRIEF description of "grade on aesthetics" only. Other criteria are also considered. Any wood that meets the criteria for instrument grade is of the highest quality in the overall spectrum of lumber grading. That high quality is divided into the following grade classifications.

Texture is the character of the growth, the ring count. Can be Fine, Coarse, graduating from fine to coarse or somewhat uneven across the board.

Medularies is the cross grain silk that is apparent when a board is cut nearly perfect VG

Stiffness refers to cross grain stiffness

Grading

This is brief grade for Guitars and all smaller instruments, also larger instruments up to cello size.
Sometimes grade between 1 and the next is virtually indistinguishable to the untrained eye.

Master Grade

"Master Grade" has very fine even texture, moderate to strong medularies, very even color. One of those "one in a-thousand" tops

AAA Grade Sitka Spruce

AAA Grade also has very even texture and color, but there is just something that makes it not one of those "one-in a-thousand" tops.

AAA Grade Sitka Spruce
AAA Grade Sitka Spruce
AAA Grade Yellow Cedar Tone Wood
AAA Grade Yellow Cedar Tone Wood
AAA Grade Western Red Cedar
AAA Grade Western Red Cedar

AA grade is a NICE Grade that can have even texture but some subtle color or even color with uneven texture. It is the grade used for most moderate priced [$800-$1000] instruments of manufacturers.

AA Grade Sitka Spruce
AA Grade Sitka Spruce
AA Grade Yellow Cedar
AA Grade Yellow Cedar
EarthToneSoundboard2

A grade still makes a nice instrument with character. Manufacturers use this grade on their models that average $300-$700. It just has an appearance that won,t allow it into the next grade.

A Grade Sitka Spruce
A Grade Sitka Spruce
A Grade Yellow Cedar
A Grade Yellow Cedar
A Grade Western Red Cedar
A Grade Western Red Cedar

#1 grade is used in the smaller instrument to generalize a- AA/AAA- grades
#2 grade is used in the smaller instrument to generalize a- A-/AA- grades

Double Bass fronts have somewhat different grade criteria in that the texture is considerably coarser over-all, sometimes to ¼" growth ring.

Figured Spruce

 Figured Spruce is divided into 3 categories:

Bear Claw, sometimes called Hazelfichte, is broken into 2 sub-categories of LF [light figure] and FF [full figure], named so by the amount of figure across the board.
As the name implies, it looks as if a bear had dragged it`s claws across the grain, pulling it in that spot. The way it`s cut will alter that effect somewhat. The curl is not the the real strong curl found in Maples, but is more subtle. It is still a beautiful effect of depth.

2-A LF Sitka Spruce
2-A LF Sitka Spruce
3-A LF Sitka Spruce
3-A LF Sitka Spruce
2-A FF Sitka Spruce
2-A FF Sitka Spruce
2-A FF Sitka Spruce
2-A FF Sitka Spruce
1-A Bear Claw Sitka Spruce
1-A Bear Claw Sitka Spruce
Curl: A wave in the grain very similar to curly maple, but more subtle.
Curl: A wave in the grain very similar to curly maple, but more subtle.

Sizes

Carved Top Instruments

3-A one piece violin tonewood
3-A one piece violin tonewood

Violin 1 piece min. size 15" X 9.25" X ¼" thick at center 2 pc wedge set- each pc-15" X 5" X ¼" joining edge X ¼" outside edge

3-A Mandolin Wedge
3-A Mandolin Wedge

Mandolin 1 pc- min size 17" X 11" X  7/8" thick at the center 2 pc wedge set- each pc.17" X 5.75" X 1" joining edge  Most mandolin tops are cut 18"-20" long x 6+" wide.

2-A FF Sitka Spruce
2-A FF Sitka Spruce

Arch-top guitar Plank cut 2 pc. Book-set, min. pc. size 23" X 9" X 1 1/8" thick
Wedge Cut, 2 pc. Bookset, min pc size 23" X 9" X 1 1/8" X  3/8" at the out side edge. Most arch-top guitar are cut 1 ¼" thick x 10" wide.

3-A Bear Claw Cello
3-A Bear Claw Cello

Cello wedges  2 pc. Book-set, min.pc size 34" X 10" x 1 ¼" thick x 3/8" outside edge

Double bass

Violin 1 piece min. size 15" X 9.25" X ¼" thick at center 2 pc wedge set- each pc-15" X 5" X ¼" joining edge X ¼" outside edge

Flat top instruments

Jumbo/Acoustic Bass Guitar - 2 pc set, min. pc size 23.5" x 9.5" x 3/16".

Dreadnaught Guitar - 2 pc Book-set, min. pc size- 22.25" x 8.25" x 3/16"

Classical Guitar - 2 pc. Book-set, min. pc size 20" long x 7.5" x 3/16"

Flat top mandolin - 2 pc. Bookset, min. pc size 17" x 5 1/2'" x 3/16"

Ukulele Tonewood 2 pc set - min pc size- 13"x 5"x 4.mm

Mountain Dulcimer/Flamenco Guitar Sides - 2 pc set-min. pc size, 34"X 4.25" X 3/16" *will cut larger by request*

Harp Guitar - 2pc bookset. Min. pc size 46" X 9" X 3/16"

*most all the flat top stock is surfaced to 5mm thick

Other Tonewood Products

Native Flute Stock
Small-min. size, 2"x2"x 23"
Large- min size, 2.5"x 2.5"x 35"

Native Flute Stock
Small-min. size, 2"x2"x 23"
Large- min size, 2.5"x 2.5"x 35"

Bracewood
Sold by the board foot not by the piece.
For comparison, other vendors sell by the piece and when the volume is calculated, that volume is about .2bdft[2/10ths bdft] 1 bdft = 144 cu. Inches.
The bracewood is random size pieces. These are from the correction wedges and end trims from guitar blocks.

Ordering notes

From the ONLINE STORE you will see most of what we cut and or stock. If something is not listed, we can most likely cut it for you.

If you are rebuilding an instrument that is peculiar in size, like a bouzouki, or if you are building an over-size mandolin (and the regular top is too small and the archtop guitar is too big) contact us. I may have stock that is just right or just slightly oversize, such as a small body archtop. We are a violin tonewood suppliers and much more.