Best woods for damp maritime environment and large temperature changes?

Sadie-f said:
If you want an acoustic, perhaps the Martin backpacker?

Sorry. you said that earlier in the thread and I figured you were kidding. I really hate the martin backpacker. It sounds terrible. the fretboard is skinny (although better than most travel acoustic guitars).

Sadie-f said:
The main reason teak is favored over other woods in marine use, is it's surface makes for good traction, and sure, it's ok being actively wet partly because of it's high oil content.

However, I don't think that's super desirable in a guitar. For simply minimizing expansion / contraction due to humidity, it's not materially better than mahogany. Since that's a standard of guitar construction anyway, why not use it?

I agree on most all points. especially that it would make a terrible instrument neck.

It does not contract or swell much in humidity, for sure. It can last decades in the tropics without much care.
It is abrasion resistant if not with the grain. If you use it as a rub rail (smashing against piers all day) it takes a pounding gracefully. It is highly oily, so much so that you need to douse it in acetone for hours before gluing. Rarely cracks. The oils are highly irritating and this keeps rot and insects away and likely would mean uncomfortable playing of a neck. My skin is now highly allergic to teak. It is a terrible wood for guitars and is not offered by warmoth so, it is a moot point.
Last edited:
DaveT said:
For the fretboard use Richlite.
I have an aluminium neck Kramer bass that uses Richlite or something very similar. It has been fine for the last 45 years.

Someone else said this.  i have never worked with it.  will look into it. 
I now have a KLOS carbon body for this project.  You talked me out of the electric with headphones idea 

I can modify any warmoth neck to bolt onto the KLOS. So, I am most interested in warmoth wood species options.  I am glad i failed to articulate that on the first post because there were some GREAT ideas proposed here and surely will serve as archival resource for anyone googling this topic. 

I am leaning to mahogany neck.  tried and true. finished with tung oil as i always have it on the boat for a touch up.  Open to finish advice in this situation. 

Fretboard.... not sure.  something not likely to be put on a CITES appendix or the IUCN RED LIST.

i understand that humidity is a consideration, but being in alaska, wouldnt the frigid cold be most demanding obstacle?  just asking (JA)
teleme01 said:
i understand that humidity is a consideration, but being in alaska, wouldnt the frigid cold be most demanding obstacle?  just asking (JA)
Alaska... yes.  Cold and wet in SE Alaska.  But not super cold. SE is pretty temperate thanks to north pacific influence. But also storing boat in Sonora, MX.  Might spend a few summers on the hard in Sonora.  Really hot.
But i hope Rick2's feelings hold true....
rick2 said:
The sky will not fall.  I’ve taken and played a mahogany solid bodied guitar and an ovation celebrity to some of the most wet places on earth and to the driest. Never had a problem. Taken them across oceans.  My advice buy or build a solid body to your liking and see what happens.  Don’t think too hard.  You want recommendations?  Mahogany body with a clear warmoth applied finish.  Mahogany neck clear warmoth finish gloss, rosewood fretboard.  Go for it and enjoy your boat.
@ValeBliz, @TBurst Std, @Sadie-f, @Rick, @stratamania, @DaveT, and @teleme01,
(I hope I copied all the names in this thread, if not sorry)

I am sending a thank you for this discussion. It did NOT go the way I wanted. Not at all. It DID lead to a foolish fumble that turned out ideal. Thanks. I knew a carbon fiber acoustic was ideal. I am a 99% acoustic player and builder. But i had no room in the boat, no money and never found one with a wide neck unless cu$tom. I like WIDE necks and a 16" or greater fretboard radius. This led to an exhausting two year project. But it is almost done. And it is amazingly fun to play. Balanced volume across spectrum. Great setup that is highly adjustable if i hit moisture and temperature. Travels small (laptop bag). Giddy. I am Giddy. That said, having built many acoustics from scratch using extremely expensive woods i doubt any of them came close to the final cost of this project. It broke the bank, sadly. Like bad. Real bad. 'not even going to tell you how bad. But it is a joy to play.

I combined the following:
KLOS travel carbon fiber body
Portland Guitar's intonation adjustable bridge
Warmoth Superwide (Warmoth headstock) Strat neck. Mahogany with ebony fretboard. Stainless frets. 16" radius
Steinberger Tuners

Klos body fits under a airplane seat. It quickly unscrews from the neck. Pocket is a far cry from a tele or a strat but i made it fit. I added threaded metal inserts and hardwood shims. The neck will lay down to the hypotenouse of a "personal item" on a comerical airlines if I move the tuning pegs and chop of 1.3"

Portland Guitar's split bridge neck: Portland guitar used to sell these. they are GREAT. they let one adjust intonation as you change string gauges or as guitar swells with moisture. It also gives gave me wiggle room. Since Warmoth necks are not available as a tele heel (sad about that) I feared needing to make a flat bottom heel to match the heel pocket of the Klos body. This "slider" style bone bridge would give me more than a 1/4" of freedom. Trimming the neck heel would inturn need a traditional bridge to be moved away from the neck. Once epoxied down that reguiered a grinder.

Steinberger tuners: these are not normal winding tuners. They pull a string into the mechanism. So when the neck is unscrewed from the body, the strings do not unravel. If i indeed do trim the headstock of the neck to fit on a plane as a personal item i will be able to move the D and G string to the middle of the headstock because the tuning knobs are not on the side of the headstock but rather behind the headstock. See link above.

Warmoth Neck: THANK YOU WARMOTH FOR MAKING SUPERWIDE NECKS!!!!! And wow is it great. I have acoustic strings on it. Used both .011 and .013s for the setup. It is so smooth and fun to play. It is as roomy as a classical but as smooth and fast as an electric. LOVE this thing. They say these necks will need fret work on the website. Bullpoop. It was perfect, even with stainless frets.

A special thanks to the folks at Portland Guitar who agreed to sell me a discontinued product and to Klos who was willing to not assemble the guitar they sold me. THANKS!! Both GREAT products!!!

Lovin this thing. I will likely never leave it on the boat because it fits in a laptop bag and can fly home for nothing. But if I do, it will be safe.

[EDIT: this would have been easier if the superwide came as a tele heel. Also if the superwide had paddle head or hombre as a headstock]
Last edited:
Man ... I need pics! Sounds awesome. Plus how about a pic of the boat?
Last edited:
OK will do. But the guitar is not quite done. Plays great. Still have some final touches i want to add. I need to learn how to take better indoor photos of guitars, I will post some.

bow seat.jpg
The boat is not able to be photographed right now, but here is one of her the day i got her many years ago. She sat in the desert sun for over a decade. So she looks ratty here. Now all that teak is perfect. Bronze is polished. everything reseated. full interior, motor, fueltank, tender, head, radio, rigging. All redone. She is small. But the goal is to store her in remote locations biting off long trips in 2 month bites single handed. So, small is GOOD. ~11,000 lbs.
Last edited:

Screws off easy with a screw driver. Klos sent black screws, but they were too short for my inserts in the Warmoth neck. Black would look better but black things get lost. I will leave them shiny. Shim is made of a hunk of maple I cut from a block that became a Native American courting flute. I made it for a friend/teacher long ago. So that adds memories even if it doesn't match my colors.
Last edited:
This is me clamping the bridge to the body. I used West System epoxy to glue the bridge. RISKY because you can not steam it off. But, the whole point is moisture resistant. I spent many evenings slowly chiseling the Klos factory finish down to the carbon fiber in the shape of that bridge but not a micron more. It worked great.
Last edited:
If i have to shorten the headstock i might move the D and G tuners to the locations of nuts in this photo. Eager to hear alternative ideas from anyone reading this. Sadly, the headstock is already too small. I like to play fingerstyle acoustic music with lots of multihand hammerons and I use many Kyser capos cut to odd lengths. I always have them staged on the headstock. I can barely fit a tuner on this little headstock. So, i would hate to cut more away. but Frontier Airlines now flogs people with canes in addition to a $49999.99 fee if your personal item does not fit in the box.

This was while i was doing the nut file work... so you see strings that broke and were wound to old strings. Not an artifact of the tuners, just repeated restringing.
Last edited:
The action is high in this photo. I had not started adjusting nut, truss, or bridge yet. I was messing with the angle of the neck to the body. Note that gap under the fretboard. If this was a tele that gap would not be so pronounced. Sadly, no superwide Warmoth necks can be tele heel. I hope Warmoth changes that someday. The action now is perfect. Really low. If issues happen with water or temperature I can change the neck angle and adjust the truss rod easy. Also I can put "ovalish" shims under the removable bridge unit that Portland Guitars uses.
Last edited:
20231216_095049.jpgThis is the only full shot on my phone. I had not glued the bridge on at this point. I will keep looking.
Last edited:
@Cadmus thanks for the update. Quite a labour of love.

Since Warmoth necks are not available as a tele heel (sad about that)

Many are, though not the Superwide. I am not sure if it is possible via an off menu order, though I suspect possibly not.

If you put an @ symbol in front of a username the forum software will let the user know they have been mentioned in a post.
When I was deployed I had one of these:


It’s a solid piece of maple with a poly finish, a piezo pickup, and a detachable leg rest. It made it through temp swings from 116°F+ in the day down to freezing temps and getting thrown a lot. No sailing, but it’s a poly finish so I imagine it’ll do fine. Sounded just fine through a Vox Amplug, but I like the Donner Plexi headphone amp on Amazon more.

Maybe you’d have to get creative with sealing/rustproofing the metal components?
@Cadmus thanks for the update. Quite a labour of love.

Many are, though not the Superwide. I am not sure if it is possible via an off menu order, though I suspect possibly not.

If you put an @ symbol in front of a username the forum software will let the user know they have been mentioned in a post.

so: @ValeBliz, @TBurst Std , @Sadie-f, @Rick, @stratamania, @DaveT, and @teleme01,
Will do.

I feel square heels are better. Even if making a strat.

I was told there was no jig with a tele heel for superwides. It might also have been no jig for a tele heel with tilt backs of any sort. I wanted: No tuner holes. Tele heel. Paddlehead (unshaped) Head. Easy for me to say less work should be easier for them, but I do not know thier tooling and work flow. I will shut up.

I was pretty frustrated with the "on menu" inconsistency and limitations of options across models. But most frustrated with the "by email" flip-flopping of what options can be done as special request. It added months to the process. That said I am not complaining. nor would anyone. Because I dare not bite the hand that feeds me. It is a unique product of exceptional quality. I would rather have confusion but the potential for more options. No biggy. The superwide and ultrawide (if that still is an option) specs are RARE and are desperately needed in the guitar industry. It would be like a shoe industry making only size 10.5 sized shoes and smaller. Glad Warmoth is filling this niche and it will be a growing niche as the boomers get arthritis.

If I can get this neck (both superwide and normal widths) with a larger headstock (more room for Capos and a tuner) and if this travel guitar can hold it's shape with 0.013s or 0.014s , I will buy many necks in the years to come for both acoustic and electric projects.
Last edited: