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Stradivari's Secret


Roger Hargrave

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Where do you guys live for goodness sakes? I don't need to hunt for food and it hardly ever gets colder than minus 3 or 4 celsius or hotter than 25.

Northern Canada? On Saturday night it dropped down to -36C here. I wouldn't have to hunt for food if the major grocery store chains would stock fresh moose meat.

 

Edit: On a hot summer day, it's not unusual to have highs up to +32C.  Roger, it seems your geographic location experiences much less extremes.

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Exactly what property of the wood do you imagine is changed by borax, and to what degree?  Or does borax produce fabulous sound magically without changing any of the wood properties?

I don't know Don. As I have said, I'm no scientist, but I imagine the borax would have to work in conjunction with the wood aging process. To a small degree, I believe a violin made with the borax treatment will sound better in a few months than one that is not treated. As far as the property of the wood change and the degree, that is up to science to experiment with. I could be wrong, but I strongly suspect that there are several well known makers today that use this method.

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Northern Canada? On Saturday night it dropped down to -36C here.

Heh...I think we were colder here in S'toon... :ph34r: (my smiley is wearing a balaclava...)...

 

Mind you...I was in Heidelberg in February 2 years ago...and I was so cold it wasn't funny...I had to buy extra clothes...and it was only -5 C...

 

Same thing happened in England last May...all that rain and damp...*brrr*...hadn't packed enough warm clothes.

 

This year I'll be prepared...I'll just take my down parka and my Sorrels... ^_^

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Heh heh, we live in the Northern Colonies, where men can still be men. :)  (and where some women are men too :lol: )

 

It was minus 26 C here the other morning. ack2.gif

Is that like Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon?

where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.

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oooh baby...it may be cold outside....

But the water in the tree, both bound and free water, does not freeze until the tree dies.

Joe

I would question the truth of this. The core temperature of the tree will be below freezing in -30C weather. Unless the water in the tree is rich in alcohol or has some other special properties, it should freeze like any other water below 0C. The R value of the wood isn't high enough to insulate against freezing at these temperatures.

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I would question the truth of this. The core temperature of the tree will be below freezing in -30C weather. Unless the water in the tree is rich in alcohol or has some other special properties, it should freeze like any other water below 0C. The R value of the wood isn't high enough to insulate against freezing at these temperatures.

Bill,

The internal pressure keeps the water from freezing. 

Joe

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I would question the truth of this. The core temperature of the tree will be below freezing in -30C weather. Unless the water in the tree is rich in alcohol or has some other special properties, it should freeze like any other water below 0C. The R value of the wood isn't high enough to insulate against freezing at these temperatures.

It maybe freezing above ground, but the tree starts cooling from the smallest branches. As the branches and cells contract the sap sinks towards the roots and in midwinter only the minimum of sap left in the upper parts of the tree. Some tropical trees, like mahogony go through this process daily.

Other trees especially some conifers have antifreeze in the sap. Trees learned to adapt and survive in different climates.

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It maybe freezing above ground, but the tree starts cooling from the smallest branches. As the branches and cells contract the sap sinks towards the roots and in midwinter only the minimum of sap left in the upper parts of the tree.

That's an interesting theory, and it's consistent with lore and folk tails, but the sap will probably contract more than the wood. And I haven't run across any good (?) studies yet which support the notion of sap and nutrients going to the roots in winter. Most of them suggest that sap and nutrients stay pretty much where they are.

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Have you taken a look at how much pressure is required to suppress the freezing point, even one degree?

I'm thinkin' 100 psi to several thousand psi internal tree pressure has never been measured, and isn't viable.

David,

The water in the dead structure can freeze if the winter is cold and long enough. I think it takes extensive time under minus 40 F. The living cells have a three stage process which keeps the free water from freezing.  One of these processes [an increase in  viscosity]creates an increase in pressure within the cell structure that keeps the bound water from freezing in the cell walls.  This is the explanation given to me by the Forest Products Research Lab.

Here is a brief outline of the concepts: http://northernwoodlands.org/outside_story/article/trees-survive-winter-cold

Joe

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Bill,

The internal pressure keeps the water from freezing. 

Joe

 

 

oooh baby...it may be cold outside....

But the water in the tree, both bound and free water, does not freeze until the tree dies.

Joe

 

 

David,

The water in the dead structure can freeze if the winter is cold and long enough. I think it takes extensive time under minus 40 F. The living cells have a three stage process which keeps the free water from freezing.  One of these processes [an increase in  viscosity]creates an increase in pressure within the cell structure that keeps the bound water from freezing in the cell walls.  This is the explanation given to me by the Forest Products Research Lab.

Here is a brief outline of the concepts: http://northernwoodlands.org/outside_story/article/trees-survive-winter-cold

Joe

So are you claiming that the water in the tree freezes, or doesn't, or what?

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So are you claiming that the water in the tree freezes, or doesn't, or what?

David,

The water in the dead part of the tree can but generally does not freeze.....only under extreme winter conditions.

The water in the living cells does not freeze.

When the tree dies all the water will freeze.

This is not a claim, our tax dollars paid for the research.

Joe

http://northernwoodlands.org/outside_story/article/trees-survive-winter-cold

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David,

The water in the dead part of the tree can but generally does not freeze.....only under extreme winter conditions.

The water in the living cells does not freeze.

When the tree dies all the water will freeze.

This is not a claim, our tax dollars paid for the research.

Joe

http://northernwoodlands.org/outside_story/article/trees-survive-winter-cold

Already read that site. It's pretty easy to punch holes in their claims, since they make assertions about how the sap doesn't freeze, and at the same time explain how the tree copes with the sap freezing.

Good golly, I hope we can do a little bit better than that.

 

Sugar dissolved in water can suppress the freezing temperature, but the colder the solution gets, the closer it gets to the saturation point, where the sugar falls out of the solution. The cutoff point, as far as I have read, is around -14 C.

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Already read that site. It's pretty easy to punch holes in their claims, since they make assertions about how the sap doesn't freeze, and at the same time explain how the tree copes with the sap freezing.

Good golly, I hope we can do a little bit better than that.

Well that's the best they are giving us.

Joe

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Ring barking is more generally known in forestry as girdlinghttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girdling  Googling on "girdling" will produce a large number of publications on it, but here are some you might want http://dspace.hil.unb.ca:8080/bitstream/handle/1882/246/MQ54653.pdf?sequence=1. http://web.utk.edu/~mtaylo29/files/stem%20girdling.pdf

 

 

Thank you, I should have emailed my arborist friend first and done my research before I wrote a semi provocative post. However since it continues to come up as a point of interest for some of the more  seasoned violin makers, ( ha ha ) perhaps it is worth taking time to read up on. 

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That's an interesting theory, and it's consistent with lore and folk tails, but the sap will probably contract more than the wood. And I haven't run across any good (?) studies yet which support the notion of sap and nutrients going to the roots in winter. Most of them suggest that sap and nutrients stay pretty much where they are.

Most of them suggest that sap and nutrients stay pretty much where they are

The more fool they are!! Does not the mercury go up and down with temperature change? Perhaps they would know better if they had to chop down some trees for firewood in winter!! Have they not heard of the Laws of thermodynamics?

And I haven't run across any good (?) studies yet which support the notion of sap and nutrients going to the roots in winter
But I bet you heard of sap going to the top from the root!! There would not be any nuts otherwise..
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The more fool they are!!

Perhaps you're right, and the people who have taken actual measurements of these things are all fools.

 

"Does not the mercury go up and down with temperature change?"

 

Sure. Invert the thermometer, and the mercury will go in the opposite direction. Which way is the thermometer facing in a tree?

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