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David Burgess

Nice Engelmann Spruce?

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rb_quebec the link you provided was quite interesting. This page has a picture of a violin on it directly above the place where he lists his flamed maple. This is kind of implying that the violin was built using his maple. This is very strange because the violin pictured was built using only European tonewood not Canadian.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
BarryD

David,

I'm glad you did disclose this wood source. After reading this thread I called Simeon and order a few of his Pro grade tops. They came in on Saturday and They were the nicest tops I have ever bought. that includes some really nice alpine top I bought from a supplier in Switzerland.


I just got 10 "best quality" tops in from a European wood supplier, who was given the same specs that I gave Simeon, to see if it's worth a trip over there to buy in quantity.

Looks like I can use 3 out of the 10.

It still might be worth a trip, but I won't "order" from this source again.

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Hi David,

Which suppliers would you recommend for maple and spruce in Germany

?  I am planning to do a little trip to buy some wood and I

would like to have your opinion about the subject if you don't

bother.  I was already in Bubenreuth in

the Gleissner company and they are really nice and

it's always possible to find nice things.  I would like to try

a new supplier to find other types of tonewoods.  It's

possible for me to go to mittenwald.

Do you plan to try the dead canadian standing trees of the

Northern Tonewood Company ?

Hi William,

I think it's pretty hard to pretend what type of wood was used to

build this violin based on the poor quality of the pictures.

 It surely possible that he used a violin picture that he

found in internet because it seems that he has already taken some

pictures from the Eastman Strings internet site....

Ok Bye bye,

Richard

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quote:


Originally posted by:
rb_quebec

Hi David,

Which suppliers would you recommend for maple and spruce in Germany?

I'm not telling until I get my own wood situation squared away.

It's nothing personal, just that there could be 100 production shops with an enormous appetite for wood monitoring this site.

quote:


Originally posted by:
rb_quebec

Do you plan to try the dead canadian standing trees of the

Northern Tonewood Company ?


Yes, maybe sometime in the next year.

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It's easy to for me to know what kind of wood was used on that violin because that was one of my very early violins, it was the last violin that I built using European tonewood. I know for a fact that this violin wasn't built using the wood that it is being used to promote because I have never purchased wood from this guy. I don't think that I took the picture though because the background doesn't look the same as in the pictures that I took, using my recollections from years ago.

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"I have no doubt that Simeon Chamber sent you the best wood he had and that he provides a good service to his customers, but I took his claim of using trees that stood dead for more than 50 years as a joke. "

Yeah, and your credibility on the subject of tonewoods and wood in general has long gone by the wayside around here, Wolfjk...

It's absolutely stunning to witness the amount of bad information you've passed along as "fact" on these pages, and we'll just add your comments on Simeon's wood--of which you have no firsthand information whatsoever--to the long, long growing list....

For the record, I've milled wood from the area that Simeon gets his Engelmann, and it is everything that he claims that it is.

The climate is dry, the wood is preseved and fine (with the exception of the sapwood ), and many fine violins have been made from this Engelmann that Simeon has reclaimed from standing dead trees--trees that have indeed been dead for over 50 years as he states.....

His Engelmann spruce is as good as any Engelmann spruce that has been available since it was first introduced on the market in '78, bar none.....

To dismiss Simeon's life work as "a joke" is unconscionable, Wolfjk, and demands an apology....

To do so behind your mask of anonymity--especially on a forum where so many have chosen to put their names in their profile--is nothing short of cowardly, and begs the question as to whether folks should be allowed to post here anonymously in the first place....

You've accused me of unethical practices on these pages, Wolfjk, and yet I'm clueless as to who is actually making these charges....

As now, so is Simon...

Put a name to the handle, Wolfjk, so that if we ever run into one of your fiddles (if they indeed do exist) we can see who's behind all the shoot-from-the-hip bluster....

And I certainly hope your knowledge of violin making exceeds your knowledge of tonewoods...

From this vantage point, I'd be shocked if it didn't....

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David,

I recently received some Englemann spruce (not from Simeon). There is a slight wave in it. The grain is not perfectly straight. I estimate this wave is perhaps 1 mm over about 20 mm of length. Is this acceptable?

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I would also like to say that Bruce Harvey at Orca Islands has supplied me with some very nice Englemann and Sitka. Bruce is very good to work with and I plan to do more business with him. I once bought some very nice 30 year Sitka tops from Bruce that were hand split billets out of some old building pilings. They sat on my shelf for a year or so before I used one of them. When I started my graduations I got down into the wood and found a pitch pocket that began to grow the deeper I cut into the top. There was no sign of the pocket from the out side so Bruce did not know it was there before he sent them to me. Several months later in another thread on this forum in a discussion about wood suppliers I mentioned my experience but did not mention the supplier. Bruce contacted me and ask if it was a top I had got from him. I told him yes. In about a week 2 tops were delivered to my door from Bruce at no charge. I call this excellent customer service and someone who wants my business.

My first dealing with Simeon Chambers has been excellent as well and I have no doubt about the quality of the wood I received. The proof is in the wood. The wood I received was primo! I don't care if it is called house logs, toothpick stock or firewood! When you hold a piece of straight grained, even colored, lightweight, dry wood in your hand that is exactly what you have. If you have never bought wood from a given supplier then you have no standing to judge the quality of their product or the claims they make. Especially when others that do have REAL experience with the wood and say that they are very happy and have used the wood to make some fine violins. I have just received an order for a violin from very well know fiddler. This is a very important order for me and I of course I want to produce the best violin I can...the wood I received from Simeon Chambers is so nice I plan on using it for this violin.

I don't normally voice my opinion here very often because the high level of expertise that is represented on this forum. I have very little to say to add to threads...but when people voice negative opinions about another craftsman or supplier without firsthand knowledge it really pisses me off.

What if someone who had never seen or played one of your violins said they had heard from someone else that they heard your violins were pieces of @#$%. That unfounded opinion of your violins influences perception of you as a craftsman and ultimately the final buying decision concerning your violins.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
violins88

David,

I recently received some Englemann spruce (not from Simeon). There is a slight wave in it. The grain is not perfectly straight. I estimate this wave is perhaps 1 mm over about 20 mm of length. Is this acceptable?

I don't know. One of the things that is so engaging about this profession is that I can continue to learn without any end in sight.

What I can say is that I've used quite a bit of wood with what the Germans call "hazelfichte", which is sort of a waviness in the grain, with good results. I think this is much more wavy than 1 mm over about 20 mm of length.

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Mr Burgess wrote: "I'm not telling until I get my own wood situation squared away.

It's nothing personal, just that there could be 100 production shops with an enormous appetite for wood monitoring this site"

Wow, competitor intelligence even in the luthier world.

So what would be the equivalent of Maclaren being found with Ferrari's owner's manual???

And the penalty would be...??

-----------------------

edit

Mea culpa - Mclaren, not Maclaren who is the chicken breeder.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
tonewoods

"I have no doubt that Simeon Chamber sent you the best wood he had and that he provides a good service to his customers, but I took his claim of using trees that stood dead for more than 50 years as a joke. "

Hi tonewood,

My honest opinion is that I don't believe that a perishable softwood that stood in the soggy ground for over fifty years is fit for violin bellies. Why should I apologise for expressing an honest opinion? It is bad enough to be savaged by sheep!
quote:


The climate is dry, the wood is preseved and fine (with the exception of the sapwood ), and many fine violins have been made from this Engelmann that Simeon has reclaimed from standing dead trees--trees that have indeed been dead for over 50 years as he states.....

The climate is dry? Then where is all the water coming from? My understanding is that the higher you go the cooler it is and higher on the mountains the precipitation increases. Simeon claims he gets the wood from 9000 - 1100ft. The Colorado Rockies are snow-covered only in the winter; most snow melts by mid-August with the exception of a few small glaciers. Where does the melted snow go from above the tree line? And where does it go from the forrest floor?

According to some maps, the Colorado Rockies provide the headwaters of the colorado river to the west, the Riogrand to the south, the South Platte river to the south east and the Arcansas river to the north east. With many of their tributaries. So the water must come from somewhere!

The question is where do the trees grow? On the dry plateau or on the cool and wet mountain side?

quote:


And I certainly hope your knowledge of violin making exceeds your knowledge of tonewoods...

Sadly No

Cheers Wolfjk

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2/3 of the state of Oregon (where I live) is considered high desert (or whatever you want to call sagebrush and high, dry woods), with an average rainfall of 17 inches or less per year--but the average rainfall for the whole state is still over 27 inches, and some of the coastal mountains get 180-200 inches per year.

We have both the Coastal range (which gets most of the rain) and the Cascade range (which is next in line)-- the Rockies are still further inland, beginning about 400 miles from the coast, in the northern states, and though they are the highest range in the country by far, their heaviest rainfall in the rainiest spot is only about 60 inches per year-- and remember that is actually total precipitation, including very heavy snowfall.

The whole state of Colorado only has an average of 17" per year total precipitation--it is in the rain shadow of two or three other mountain ranges before the coastal air can get there. The dry air combined with the cold climate preserves everything very well.

The UK, on the other hand, has very high rainfall, with your driest areas equal to our moderate zones, and about a third of the country as wet as our (Oregon's) wettest areas.

You can look all this stuff up on the web (as I did) if you are interested--or go visit Colorado.

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"My honest opinion is that I don't believe that a perishable

softwood that stood in the soggy ground for over fifty years is fit

for violin bellies. Why should I apologise for expressing an honest

opinion?" -  Wolfjk

================================================================================

======

I agree that expressing an opinion that is honest should not be a

crime.

So far your opinion does not seem to me to be "holding

water" .... of course this is just my opinion.  

I base this on the fact that I have not heard anyone here on

Maestronet 'chime in' with a complaint about the wood or the

service.  In fact, in this case it has been the exact

opposite.  Perhaps what you are 'imagining' is not what is

actually happening here.  

I would hazard a guess that 50 Years at 11,000 feet, is like 5

years at Sea Level, when it comes to decaying matters.  When

it comes to drying matters I would hazard a guess that 50 years at

11,000 feet is better than 50 years at Sea Level. 

I would suggest that perhaps you may be mistaken with your opinion.

 Since your opinion is affecting someone who is not

'imagined', then perhaps it is not prudent to hold to it, since it

has real consequences.

I value everyone's contribution here if they are trying to help

people, and not hurt them.  I believe that this is the case

here as well, with everyone involved.

I found this PDF file to most helpful with this subject.

"http://www.woodweb.com/Resources/wood_eng_handbook/Ch04.pdf">http://www.woodweb.com/Resources/wood_eng_handbook/Ch04.pdf

Section 4-33 "Properties of Timbers from Dead Trees"

"Tests on wood from trees that had stood as long as 15 years after

being killed by fire demonstrated that this wood was as sound and

strong as wood from live trees."

I am sure that this is good news to those still harvesting wood

from the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.

"The important consideration is not whether the trees from which

wood products are cut are alive or dead, but whether the products

themselves are free from decay or other degrading factors that

would render them unsuitable for use."

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I have lived in Wisconsin, South Carolina, Texas, Florida,

Mississippi and New York. I am familiar with soggy rotten timber,

petrified timber, dry rotted timber, as well as dead/dry/well

preserved timber. It doesn't take much imagination to picture a

cold desert forest existing almost anywhere in the world.I thought

that this thread was supposed be about how awesome David is for

divulging a wood source?I like to make my violins out of petrified

cork purchased off of eBay.

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I've just about had my fill of this from someone who doesn't know the place they are talking about you finally said something that is true, we do get a lot of snow here. Yes this snow melts but melting snow is VERY cold so things are going to decay VERY slowly while this snow is melting. Once the snow is through melting and things warm up the ground is very dry. The ground is very dry most of the time because there is no real soil there. These trees are growing in rocks and gravel which doesn't hold water well at all so things stay dry and well preserved.

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I went down to Chambers' shop on Saturday to purchase some wood for my next few violins and violas and yes the wood looks very nice. I have never completed a violin with his or anyone's else's Englemann spruce so I can't comment on whether I like it for violins or not. While I was there I saw a cross section from one of these old, dead standing trees that he had cut down. It's obvious that the tree had been exposed to weathering for quite a while on the outside of the trunk but inside the wood is nice looking. He gave me a cross section as I was about to leave, I will use it for blocks. Since I spend most of my time at a university and many of the physics labs have microscopes, I'm thinking about looking at pieces of this wood under under high magnification to see how well preserved they really are. Not that anything I find will change whether I use the wood in a violin or viola. I will carve a top from the wood and if I think it will sound good then I will use it, if I don't like the properties of the completed top I will discard it and go back to my old Sitka spruce source.

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After reading this thread I ordered some Simeon Chambers wood.It

arrived yesterday.

The wood is everything Simeon claims it to be and he was a a

delight to deal with. I was very happy

I have not (knowingly) used Engleman before. My normal modus

operandi is to source wood from where I suspect Strad sourced his.

The main reason I was attracted to Simeon's wood is that I am

attracted to a theory circulating that wood in Strad's time was

killed a while before felling to ease the effort of transporting

the lumber from the forest. The theory for sound is that the

leaves/needles of a dying tree draw more from the tree than

seasoning alone can do. This happened to Simeon's wood

naturally

Simeon's wood that I received looks and behaves as well or better

than the best stock I have waiting to be used...And it has a great

advantage..it is ready to use!...Also it is stable and beautifully/

generously cut.

I had a great temptation to stay quiet about this for selfish wood

source reasons.....But this product has been subjected to public

doubt and I feel I had to give my experience. Simeon Chambers was a

pleasure to deal with and my feeling is that he works very hard

with great insight, diligence and energy  to deliver a great

product....

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