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Texas Mesquite Strat Project Build Profile

Stratocaster body wood alternative

Waaay back in a 2007 post, I asked the guitar blogosphere for a mesquite Strat, and yesterday Frank from Texas (of course!) contacts me about his mesquite build-- currently in progress. I've actually seen more photos, but I'm holding out on y'all til Frank's totally finished. Watch for it in future Friday Strat features.

The top photo is the original slab from which the body blank was cut. Yeah, I know mesquite is supposed to be some scrawny little brush type thing, but they got some big ass mesquite down there in Texas too!

Here's the scoop from Frank himself:

"I live in the sticks just outside of Boerne, Texas in the Texas Hill Country...

A good friend of mine knew I was searching for the wood and referred me to Nave’s Sawmill & Woodworks in Kingsville, Texas. Their website is (http://www.mesquitetree.net/).

Wendy at Nave’s explained to me that mesquite is one of the most stable woods in the world. All wood moves while drying and presents a problem that most wood movement is uneven. What little that mesquite does move, it does evenly (radially & tangentally) thus making it stable. The general rule of thumb to use for air dried wood was 1 year for every inch of thickness (any species). Kiln drying would have presented the advantage of speeding up this process, but I didn't have access to one.

The mesquite plank that I used was taken from a rather large mesquite one month prior to the beginning of this project. The mesquite wood was green and though it was very hard wood to cut, it was downright brutal doing it when the wood was completely dry. I averaged cutting one or two Stratocaster bodies from mesquite before the blade would snap on the band saw.

The plank was thirty days old when I started the project so it was quite green. I've had the body shelved for a year to dry and am just now beginning to get it ready to apply lacquer. Unfortunately, I still do not know what the tone sounds like. From a tone perspective, it didn't seem productive playing it through a green body full of moisture. So I put it up to dry and am just getting around to begin the remaining finish work. I'm thinking of putting clear nitrocellulose lacquer on the body and should have everything complete in February of this year.

Loving both Rock and Blues, I chose to use the Lonestar Stratocaster wiring diagram. Texas specials single coils in the neck and middle position and a Seymour Duncan Antiquity in the bridge position (I changed the cover to gold). The bridge is a Fender Stratocaster Deluxe Gold tremolo. A Fender LSR nut is installed on the Warmoth birdseye maple neck. The tuners are gold planet waves locking tuners and are self trimming.

The look of the body has changed from the pictures and now the belly cut and forearm cut are beveled in. The body is much smoother today than it appears in the older attached photo. I'll send more pictures and some sound files when it is complete if you like.

Thanks for the interest!"

Thank YOU Frank! And Stay tuned folks!

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