Torrefeid wood, how to tell

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by Ape Factory, Feb 5, 2016.

  1. Ape Factory

    Ape Factory SS.org Regular

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    Curious if there's a non-invasive test I can perform on a guitar body to ensure it's torrefied wood. Specifically mahogany. I ordered a torrefied mahogany guitar body and it looks suspiciously like, well, regular mahogany. I've dealt with torrefied maple before and the difference is easy to see. My contact checked to make sure it had indeed been "roasted" and he said it had.

    The wood feels like raw mahogany really, it does't have that harder slick feeling of maple. Was really hoping to do a chemical-free guitar but by the looks of things, I'll need to coat it with something. I'm leaning towards matte/satin nitro at this point given my preference for such guitars.
     
  2. KnightroExpress

    KnightroExpress Guitar Nerd Vendor

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    I dunno, bud... I'd imagine you'd at least see a slight color change. Does it smell roasty?
     
  3. sehnomatic

    sehnomatic SS.org Regular

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    Do you have mahogany on hand? Sand them a tiny bit both and compare the odors!
     
  4. Ape Factory

    Ape Factory SS.org Regular

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    That's just it, the mahogany looks raw, doesn't look roasted at all. I specified a "dark" roast on the flame maple top and it's not. I have a neck from the same manufacturer, medium roast, which is darker. Maple tends to get that gray tinge to it where mahogany probably wouldn't. But the feel..it's quite different. I've just never had any roasted mahogany before so I can't comment with authority. Hence looking for experience from others. I have photos.

    I spent quite a bit of money on the body. Love the top, weight and everything else but I was hoping I wouldn't have to use any chemical coatings on the body at all due to the torrefication process.
     
  5. Ape Factory

    Ape Factory SS.org Regular

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    Here's the back of the guitar.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Ape Factory

    Ape Factory SS.org Regular

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  7. elq

    elq (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

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    This is a Suhr with a roasted hog body -

    [​IMG]

    it doesn't look particularly darker than non-roasted mahogany to me :2c:
     
  8. Ape Factory

    Ape Factory SS.org Regular

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    Hard to tell with the Suhr in comparison as it has a finish. Maybe I'm just batsh*t crazy (or paranoid). The body and flame top is quite amazing so it's a keeper. I guess I can chalk this up to personal expectations not mating with reality :)
     
  9. mwcarl

    mwcarl SS.org Regular

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    What do you mean by not needing 'chemical coatings' with roasted wood?
     
  10. Ape Factory

    Ape Factory SS.org Regular

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    Typically, places that offer a terrified (roasted) wood option for necks, like Warmth, do not require a finish. Others do and I have a Musikraft neck that's "roasted" flame maple but they DO require a finish for any sort of warranty issues. Makes me think there are definitely different methods for roasting and some may not be as optimal as others given the finish requirement. I don't have enough first hand experience to validate that however.

    So with a roasted maple neck, again depending on who you get it from, there's no nitro or poly coating. Like playing on one of the many woods such as wedge or rosewood which don't require any finish. All finishes are chemical compositions whether they have petroleum byproducts or others (nitrocellulose). Unfortunately, in my younger years, I was exposed to a lot of chemicals on a regular basis so I try to avoid them when I can. Hard to do with guitars however. Might seem minor but when your body reaches its tolerance limit, there's nothing you can do to go back. I have past friends and co-workers who can't even be in the same room with some chemicals.

    I was hoping the mahogany would be similar to the roasted maple in that it wouldn't need protecting from moisture like maple and would have a smooth, hard natural finish due to the torrefation process. But seeing/feeling it in person, I'm sure it won't work long term. I also thought it'd be quite a bit darker as you supposedly can specify the level of torrefaction which changes the color (usually darker). I was told not all woods react the same. I questioned whether the mahogany was submitted to the torrefaction process due to the color and texture of the back of the body. I requested and paid for both the top flame maple and the mahogany body to be roasted.

    The maple top, honestly, is far lighter than a roasted maple neck I have from the same manufacturer despite me requesting a "dark" roast.

    I'm happy with the body (so far) otherwise. In the future, I probably wouldn't order anything roasted from this manufacturer and save the coin. I know Warmoth is starting to experiment with roasted body woods but I don't think it's an option you can actually order yet. Plus, they would not have done many of the custom requests this shop did. The top surely would not have been as nice and I couldn't have gotten Honduran Mahogany and a final weight at or below my specs.
     
  11. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    Regardless of the body being roasted, there is still no barrier to moisture and other contaminants. Mahogany is a fairly open grained wood too, so I would think it would pick up dirt, grime, moisture, etc fairly easily which would be hard to remove. Same deal with maple though I would imagine to a lesser extent.

    I'm not really sure what you're talking about regarding 'chemicals' but have you considered an oil or wax finish?


    Edit-nitrocellulose is also some pretty nasty stuff if it gets into your body (especially if inhaled during spraying). dunno if that fits your definition of 'chemical' though.
     
  12. Ape Factory

    Ape Factory SS.org Regular

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    Nitro most definitely fits the bill and variations of nitrocellulose is what I had a lot of exposure to in the past. I'm actually thinking a matte poly might be the way to go. My Strandberg is poly and I love the feel/durability of that finish.
     
  13. AxeHappy

    AxeHappy SS.org Regular

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    You do realise that the wood itself is a chemical composition? ALL MATTER is a chemical composition.
     
  14. Ape Factory

    Ape Factory SS.org Regular

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    You're kidding, right? You want to argue semantics and waste my time? Roll around in a vat of wood chips and the roll around in a vat of nitrocellulose. Let me know the outcome. Don't be a troll.
     
  15. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    According to OSHA:

     
  16. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    To be fair, that's over a fairly long exposure time, and pretty much all dusts will have a similar effect, including cancer as buildup on the alveoli of the lungs tends to cause some pretty nasty conditions.

    The effects of nitrocellulose lacquer are far more acute. With a NFPA 704 rating of 2 on health and 3 each on flammability and reactivity, I'd personally rather take my chances with wood chips as the dusting is typically minimal.

    If homeboy doesn't want to use a lacquer, let him. :shrug:
     
  17. Ape Factory

    Ape Factory SS.org Regular

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    Thanks Max. Now back on topic...
     
  18. JuliusJahn

    JuliusJahn Luthier

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    Weigh the blank. If it's not lighter then mahogany, it's not torrefied. Hopefully they didnt confuse torrefied with roasted/kiln dried/stuck in the oven for an hour.
     
  19. Ape Factory

    Ape Factory SS.org Regular

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    So I contacted a builder who works with a lot of roasted bodies, including mahogany, and he confirmed it indeed was roasted. Looked just like his blanks in color and texture.
     
  20. neotronic

    neotronic SS.org Regular

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    I'm quite late to the party...

    I always thought that the dark coloring of roasted maple comes from the sugar that is in the wood. Mahogany doesn't have any, so that could be the reason (?).
     

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