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Roger Hill

Wood problem

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Starting the back plate for my next violin and encountered this discolored area along the upper bout. Wasn't apparent until I band sawed the curve. The dark area seems as hard as the rest, just discolored. What do guys recommend as the preferred course of action? One option is just to ignore it and have a violin with a quirk. Another is to toss it and start over with a new plate. Wood is a very nice soft maple from Mario Landry. Also, the wormhole is about 1" deep, .050" in diameter and may impact the flute area.

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I would first draw a line indicating edge thickness. It looks as if only a very small portion of the spalted wood will actually show. At that point you can decide that it either adds character to the instrument or that you can't live with it. If you can't live with it then you can decide to either throw it away or repair it.

I see a small hole, is that from a wood boring insect? If it is, it tips the equation and I would toss it.

Oded

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If I were you I would work a bit more to see how it really will look when shaped.

I would not bleach it. When I tried it the surrounding area got bleached and ligher too, highlighting the discoloration.

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If I were you I would work a bit more to see how it really will look when shaped.

I would not bleach it. When I tried it the surrounding area got bleached and ligher too, highlighting the discoloration.

My OPINION...

Yes it does look like most of that is getting cut off.

The remainder, if it doesn't somehow spread all over the place - well, I love things like that.

I've worked maple before where a branch or knots suddenly showed up, and I usually don't mind it. If you're careful to work the wood so that it doesn't somehow interrupt the flow of the plate, by all means, finish the plate, or at least get much further into the roughing stage before you decide that you don't like it.

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That isn't spalted maple, it's called "ambrosia" maple after the beetle that caused the hole and the discoloration. The beetle is long, long gone and therefore not an issue. However, you will probably need to fill the hole some way because it looks from here that part of it will remain, depending in part on your arching. I would go ahead with it and see what happens. It'll be good experience anyway.

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Well, the back plates I bought were worth £50 each. That would make firewood very expensive... :)

Even if the edge has the discoloration, see if the bottom of the edge channel will take it away. Take the saved scrap and inlay a piece which will have the join under the purfling. If your are lucky, it will be easy to make it virtually invisible. (Never throw out scrap)

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If you want things to look right, then add some wings to the upper bout.

I would save the scrap piece of wood with the dark spot, and try spot application of bleach, just too see how far it will go.

I am sure that this has happened to everyone a few times as well.

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Looks to me like the rotten area might get trimmed off at the edges, but might go thru the arching as it rises toward the middle. Can't tell without carving a bit more off, tho. The blank looks fairly thick; I'd try to slice off a chunk close by, and splice it in to try to match the grain as best as possible, if the bad stuff goes too far in.

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