Spruce and Cedar Top Woods
At High Mountain Tonewood Company we try to keep things simple. We aspire to the motto "some thing done simple but well is far better than something complex done poorly". When it comes to the subjectivity of tonewood grades this is even more important. For this reason we have only four grades for our top woods. Although these grades are explained below it may be worth your while to contact us and discuss your needs, we can then tell you what grade your product will fall into.
High Mountain Tonewood Company
Luthier Tonewood Supplies
Grade 4A (Master Grade, our highest grade)
This is of the course the best of the best. We will never have a lot of this grade on hand. This grade is reserved to truly exceptional wood. Master grade will be cut absolutely true on the quarter (no more than 1% slope is allowed), will have no run out and will display even or pleasing colour. Grain lines will either be uniform across the top or will display a pleasing progression. Grains per inch may vary, but will never be less than 12 on the wide side and these tops will always be stiff. The entire top will be defect free.
This grade is the grade that we concentrate our efforts on. If you are looking for good consistent 'AAA' grade tops, you've come to the right place! These tops will again be nicely quartered with grain slope never in excess of 2%. Colour may be a bit less uniform but grain spacing will again be uniform or will display a pleasing progression. Grain counts will be the same as for Master Grade. Again, these tops will be considered stiff. There may be some defect on these tops but it will be well outside the pattern of the guitar.
This grade is our 'average' grade. You can still find very nice tops in this grade. These tops will not have grain slope in excess of 4%. Grain spacing may be wider than in the top two grades and may be less stiff. There may be slight imperfections, such as knot shadow on any face or a small pitch pocket on the back aspect of the top. There may be small knots outside the guitar pattern and there may also be faint compression wood showing.
Grade 1A (this is our lowest grade)
This is our lowest grade. Because of our unique forest license we do not process in bulk so we have no need to cut large volumes of poor quality logs in hopes of finding some good tops. These tops are cut for those who want inexpensive wood either because their tops will be coloured or because they want to practice or try new ideas with instrument quality wood but do not want to pay the price and destroy high value tops. These tops will be quartered with a maximum grain slope of 5%. The grain width may be wide and may display extensive compression wood (darker grain lines). It may again be less stiff than the better grades discussed above. There may be the odd pin knot within the pattern but these knots will be tight. If you paint your tops, choose this wood.
High Mountain Tonewood Company Terrace B.C.
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