Poplar for Blocks?


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I am almost out of the willow that I've been using for replacement blocks in old instruments. I have some poplar that I'm thinking of using. Does anyone here have an opinion about the suitability of poplar for blocks?

Stick with willow or spruce, unless you have a specific example of different wood being used.

Battenkill tonewoods usually has plenty of willow for blocks. I ordered some a few years ago and still have plenty. Good stuff.

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The end grain is less thirsty than spruce. When I size it I usually wipe almost all of the glue back off because it doesn't penetrate. I sometimes forget to size blocks and have never had the glue fail.

To Brad's question, I assume you mean American yellow poplar (tulip tree) rather than a true poplar. If historical accuracy is not an issue I don't see why not.

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Willow in the right species/ form is a wood that does not split easily and for that reason is used as a bat in the sport of cricket.....folk who have attempted to harvest it for fire logs will know that all too well,,,,Poplar comes in many species and hybrids some split and some dont...It can be a bit similar with willow but with generally more split resistence.willow's reluctance to split would have been a factor at a time when nails were being driven into top blocks....

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...To Brad's question, I assume you mean American yellow poplar (tulip tree) rather than a true poplar. If historical accuracy is not an issue I don't see why not.

I probably should have been more specific. The wood I have is not tulip poplar; it's from the tree that is also called quaking aspen.

I'm not too concerned about historical accuracy on the types of instruments I usually work on.

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For what it is worth in a pinch once when I was waiting on some willow to come in I have made 2 violins with poplar blocks with no problems but I normally go after dense willow Makes for nice rib structures and easy quick knife strokes - not a bunch of splitting and tearing out and run out you find with spruce. When I was doing repairs I loved opening top plates that had willow linings.. I dono I guess everything always looked and seemed cleaner. I simply love dense willow.

I have heard some ideas that denser blocks dont sink projection as bad over time. I have not lived to be 4,266 years yet to try this out scientifically in different methods with different wood with repeatable results but I did stop using spruce some time ago for blocks.

Personally... WILLOW IS KING... love the stuff... . but there is some poplar floating about in a fiddle in europe and one in new york.

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Since i play cricket and know a bit about bats...i finally can contribute to something.

try buying a cheap cricket bat from india, theyre made of willow

I'm not sure if its the same willow....the blocks that came with my white viola has grains about 1mm apart. If this is the willow everyone is using for blocks, then you wont find it on a cricket bat. The grains on a cricket bat can range from 5-18 on the face which is about 15cm long. The closest grains i have seen were about 5mm apart, which is much further than the grains on my blocks. The cheap bats from india are made from kashmire willow whereas the better bats ($200+) are made from english willow which is grown in england. Kashmire heavier and harder which is why it is non prefered. English willow is softer and has more 'rebound' so it bounces off better for hitting the ball further.

Cricket bats are compressd with a high pressure roller to make them stronger....not what I need for violins.

The face of the bat is usually only compressed about 5mm down, so you could still use all the rest of the bat. This is done so that the impact of the ball does not create surface cracks and the bat remains crack free.

Hope i havn't veered too much off topic and wasted you time.

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