At Kimball Hardwoods we take great care of the products we sell. All Wood Products are stored in a Temperature controlled environment ranging from 55-65 Degrees F. with an average Relative Humidity Range of 27-36 % during the winter months and increased to 65-72 Degrees F. with a relative Humidity of 35-40% during the Summer Months. Raising the surrounding temperature and Relative Humidity in the summer months is deliberate to help your product mimic or prepare it for the increase in average humidity levels during this time of year for transit and new home storage conditions. This is costly but deliberate to encourage your products to remain stable. We keep all products before and after processing under pressure as most woods when re-sawed or re-surfaced undergo a transformation of releasing stored up energy and pressure that can cause even a small amount of water within the board to move potentially creating unwanted effects such as bowing, twisting, or cupping. We’ve determined that even under the best of conditions wood ultimately does what it wants even when handled with care. This is the nature of dealing with products that were once living but even after harvesting and drying still have the ability to absorb and extract water. It’s important to note that a large number of Highly figured woods are Flat or Plain Sawn Sap Wood. This cutting technique in most cases is the only way to bring out the woods true figure however this most always leaves the wood more un-stable than other cutting techniques such as Quarter Sawing or Rift Sawing.
Your Products New Home—Every piece of wood when in transit and ultimately stored in its new home will have to acclimate to its new environment. The Boards EMC or Equal Librium Content is in reference the current amount of moisture that’s in the product and the levels it has adjusted to prior to its new location. In all cases the temperature, air flow, and Relative Humidity it was stored in plays a crucial role in this number. In its new home the wood will need time to adjust/relax to its new EMC. This process is location and condition dependent and can take some time. We highly suggest keeping your product under pressure to encourage the product to remain in its current shape prior to your project start date. Book matched sets if tapped together and pressed down with equal weight and pressure is the best way for your product to adjust. Billets, boards, and blocks will need equal weight and pressure on a true flat surface. Please Note: When applying pressure on a surface that is not truly flat your product in most cases will emulate the un even surface it’s bound to causing your product to become un stable.
Kiln Dried Woods—Kiln drying wood is the process of speeding up the drying process through heating up wood in a confined space, introducing air flow, and ultimately dehumidification or drawing water out of the wood that encourages the wood to dry much faster. It’s important to note that Kiln Dried Wood is still vulnerable to water absorption and extraction after its dried so following the steps listed above is highly recommended
Air Dried Woods—This process takes much longer and is done for a number of reasons. Air Drying wood by the processor/supplier its crucial to follow correct techniques of stickering, storing, and introducing proper air flow. This process is much tougher to track and trace and can leave a woods handling questionable. The internet is full of sellers who claim to have air dried their woods properly but in fact have not. Buying your products from a Trusted Suppliers like Kimball Harwood’s where we have protocol and QC handling process ensures piece of mind to our customers is highly recommended. Air Dried Woods are similar to Kiln dried woods as they too are vulnerable to water absorption and water extraction. Please follow the sample process stated above to ensure the longevity of your product
Kimball Hardwoods Grading System
We Grade our Products by industry Standard however as things have changed industry wide and the change in rarity and demand of certain woods over the last few decades we have made our own addendums to the traditional system. Due to the Segment of the Wood Business that we are in we feel it’s more important to take steps to further clarify how we come to a particular grade. Things have changed in our industry since the Traditional system was put in place. Examples: Spalted Maple has become a wood that is now desirable. By definition this wood couldn’t ever be graded at 5A. Now it is. This wood is being sold to the Luthier Trade as it exerts many different patterns and color shades. Some are truly spectacular. All of our Grading is in reference to the wood, its figure, uniformity of that figure, and the rarity of that figure type within the Guitar Template Provided in the pictures. Outside of our templates you may see staining, heartwood relative to inner sap wood, inclusions, and other defects. Wood isn’t perfect and finding a 5A Graded product or higher is truly special. Our product starts at 3A Grade and go up from there. We do not sell below 3A to the Luthier Trade
5A “Value” Grade—In reference to a board that has figure consistent of 5A Grade but may contain defects or Staining on outer edges or within the guitar template. This grade is not misleading as we always State this grade clearly, include an explanation for the grade, and discount these items in comparison to traditional 5A Grade pricing. We offer these “Value” products for sale as each luthiers project is different and these imperfections may not matter as much depending on the project.
5A Grade—In reference to the top Grade. No defects, uniformed figure, no inclusions, and truly Rare
5A Master Grade—In reference to a 5A Graded Board that has truly rare and highly sought-after figure that isn’t always available. This represents a very small percentage of boards within the 5A Grade Category
Private Stock—Reserved for a board that we may never see again in our life time. Truly one of a kind piece that we can only explain in these terms. Think about it this way. If you build a guitar with a private stock piece of wood it will become a Show Piece or a conversational piece. Those who know nothing about our business or figured wood rarity are drawn to its beauty enough so it sparks a conversation. Great way to meet new people. That’s when you know you have a Private Stock Piece. Very few are released and are almost always stored away for safe keeping.