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Message started by Wood_Butcher on May 11th, 2008 at 5:43pm

Title: Tone Bar Material
Post by Wood_Butcher on May 11th, 2008 at 5:43pm
I am hoping someone out there who has experimented with tone bar materials can give me some advice.  Here's a picture of my completed soundboard.  
At the last minute I decided to use some Alaska yellow cedar that I had salvaged form a fishing boat built in 1957.  It is very tight grained.  My reasoning was to put some material with personal value into my first build.  After it is all said and done, I am wondering if this is any kind of monumental sound quality issue.  I see that the shop store even offers western red cedar material, but I would appreciate any feedback from anyone who knows the qualities of the yellow cedar.



Title: Re: Tone Bar Material
Post by Matt Blacka on May 11th, 2008 at 9:31pm
Hi Mark,

I have never used Yellow Cedar, but have looked up some of the mechanical properties in text that I have:

Yellow Cedar:
Dry Density (ADD): 500 kg/m3
Modulus of Elasticity: 11 GPa

Western Red Cedar:
Dry Density (ADD): 380 kg/m3
Modulus of Elasticity: 8.3 GPa

Engelmann Spruce:
Dry Density (ADD): 440 kg/m3
Modulus of Elasticity: 11 Gpa

Sorry if the units don't mean anything to you (I am Australian and these are what I am used to, just use an online converter if you need to). Anyway it is the relative values that is important. This would suggest that the Alaskan Cedar is heavier and stiffer than Western Red Cedar, and heavier than Engelmann Spruce but the same stiffness.

In terms of structural strength, if the braces are tight grained, based upon these figures I would think that the Yellow Cedar would work fine, and you should be able to work to similar bracing dimensions as would normally be used for spruce bars. In terms of sound quality, sorry but your on your own  :)

Hope this helps,


Title: Re: Tone Bar Material
Post by Matt Blacka on May 11th, 2008 at 9:32pm
By the way, that's some nice clean work you've done so far Mark. Hope it keeps going like that for you.

Title: Re: Tone Bar Material
Post by Wood_Butcher on May 12th, 2008 at 6:03am
Thanks, Matt.

You're right!  The numbers don't mean all that much to me in either standars of units.  I'm just a hands-on woodworker.  Seriously though I do see the relative comparisons.  Looks close enough for rock-n-roll.  I've put a carbon fiber rod in the neck, so hopefully that may make up for any sustain  that might be lost.  At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thanks again,


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