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Bear claws marks


robertdo
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When I completed the top of my current violin I was a little bit annoyed by few nasty marks, like scars. Luckily the largest one was to be hidden by the fingerboard. But today, reading the topic on bosnian maple I realised these marks are probably bear claws marks.

Edit. I reduced the size. I should be ok now. Yes the marks look the same but at least in the picture you posted the marks form a nice regular pattern

post-29661-018683200 1288120056_thumb.jpg

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When I completed the top of my current violin I was a little bit annoyed by few nasty marks, like scars. Luckily the largest one was to be hidden by the fingerboard. But today, reading the topic on bosnian maple I realised these marks are probably bear claws marks.

Hi Robertdo,

Could you post a reduced size photograph? It takes ages to download.

That's what it is. Here's some on an old Italian fiddle.

Bruce

post-29446-094031000 1288119366_thumb.jpg

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When I completed the top of my current violin I was a little bit annoyed by few nasty marks, like scars. Luckily the largest one was to be hidden by the fingerboard. But today, reading the topic on bosnian maple I realised these marks are probably bear claws marks.

Edit. I reduced the size. I should be ok now. Yes the marks look the same but at least in the picture you posted the marks form a nice regular pattern

Hi Robertdo,

Your example is not quite as as charming as Bruce's but it could have the same origin. Sometimes called hazel fichte, it is not usually considered a defect but more a cosmetic beauty spot on an otherwise uninteresting piece of spruce. I doubt that any bear ever used your piece as a scratching post.

Glenn

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Hi Robertdo,

Your example is not quite as as charming as Bruce's but it could have the same origin. Sometimes called hazel fichte, it is not usually considered a defect but more a cosmetic beauty spot on an otherwise uninteresting piece of spruce. I doubt that any bear ever used your piece as a scratching post.

Glenn

Das Haselfichte is the German name, whereas the Italians call it "maschiatura" or "indentatura". This is the most common type of spruce used in violinmaking in Europe (Picea abies). It is similar to the marks you see on Sitka spruce in North America.

It can be a problem when you are trying to shape your arching but it is beautiful under the varnish; if there's not too much of it. You see it on many of the old makers instruments.

Bruce

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Das Haselfichte is the German name, whereas the Italians call it "maschiatura" or "indentatura". This is the most common type of spruce used in violinmaking in Europe (Picea abies). It is similar to the marks you see on Sitka spruce in North America.

It can be a problem when you are trying to shape your arching but it is beautiful under the varnish; if there's not too much of it. You see it on many of the old makers instruments.

Bruce

Bear claw under varnish.

Joe

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Das Haselfichte is the German name, whereas the Italians call it "maschiatura" or "indentatura". This is the most common type of spruce used in violinmaking in Europe (Picea abies). It is similar to the marks you see on Sitka spruce in North America.

It can be a problem when you are trying to shape your arching but it is beautiful under the varnish; if there's not too much of it. You see it on many of the old makers instruments.

Bruce

Bear claw under varnish.

Joe

post-6284-053429300 1288124818_thumb.jpg

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Hi Robertdo,

Your example is not quite as as charming as Bruce's but it could have the same origin. Sometimes called hazel fichte, it is not usually considered a defect but more a cosmetic beauty spot on an otherwise uninteresting piece of spruce. I doubt that any bear ever used your piece as a scratching post.

Glenn

I'll check just in case a grizzly is hiding in my kichen... and I will tell him no to do that again :)

I would say these marks could be transposon induced, a very funny phenomenon in genetic.

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I'll check just in case a grizzly is hiding in my kichen... and I will tell him no to do that again :)

I would say these marks could be transposon induced, a very funny phenomenon in genetic.

Hi Robertdo,

Unfortunately grizzlys don't live in Eropean forrests, so the marks on your violinare more likely to be caused by a knot near the marks. There is a bit of tension/compression wood showing.

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Yes robertdo, it is bear claw figure (maschiatura in Italian), found in many old Italian violins, considered by many to be the best type of wood for tops.

The figure makes working with the scraper more difficult, and this type of wood may be irregular in terms of porosity when varnished, in my experience.

I love it too, here the top of one of my violas:

1936949272_24f87d07eb_z.jpg

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The marks may vary, they may appear with oval shapes too.

Sometimes you see lots of bear claw figure while carving the spruce but, eventually, when the shaping of the top is finished, you can't see none!!! Sometimes you can see it just in the inside of the table.

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The marks may vary, they may appear with oval shapes too.

Sometimes you see lots of bear claw figure while carving the spruce but, eventually, when the shaping of the top is finished, you can't see none!!! Sometimes you can see it just in the inside of the table.

Hi Manfio,

Here's an oval one on a Stradivari cello.

Bruce

post-29446-014096500 1288155970_thumb.jpg

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Do you think it is caused by an insect?

Hi Michael,

I don't think it is caused by insects but it is not always there in Picea abies. I think it is characteristic to Sitka as well.

I'll be talking to someone today who would know, but it can be seen in the cambium layer under the bark. Here is what the wood looks like just under the bark.

Bruce

post-29446-023228500 1288156430_thumb.jpg

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There isn't enough resolution in the original post photo to really be sure (I missed the first oversize photo before the resolution was reduced)... but something looks un-bearish to my eye. Bear claw is a ripple in the grain, as can be easily seen in all of the other examples. I can't see any ripple in the first photo, even with messing around with contrast and color. It just looks like a dark track of some sort. I suppose it could be a very odd, very tight ripple. Higher resolution photo?? (cropped to only the area of interest)

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There isn't enough resolution in the original post photo to really be sure... but something looks un-bearish to my eye. Bear claw is a ripple in the grain, as can be easily seen in all of the other examples. I can't see any ripple in the first photo, even with messing around with contrast and color. It just looks like a dark track of some sort. I suppose it could be a very odd, very tight ripple. Higher resolution photo??

I will try to post a better picture if I can download it, when I get back home. It's not dark, simply it changes colour with the lightning angle, a little bit like the flame of maple. I first thought I was carving H. Potter's wand because of the shape of the mark.... :)

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