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Alternate Wood Species


Dwight Brown
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My mentor was a great experimenter. I recall violins he constructed of cherry, walnut, holly, ebony, rosewood, purple heart, bubinga, zebra wood, lace wood, cocobolo, lace wood, various maples, russian olive, ash, oak, beech, birch, mahogany, to name a few.

 

Some had a characteristic sound, but I think one of his failings is that he would quickly dismiss some woods as a dead end before he learned the wood and adjusted his graduations accordingly. Once one ventures away from the tried and true maple, you're in uncharted territory.

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What can I say, wood gives me wood :lol: , a certain lust for the dust, a engraining of the grain, a certain moral fiber in the fiber, Always the subject of bad "punnery"  many times I find myself offenbach'd into a corner when defending it's moral fiber and virtues. :D

Morel fiber?  Never will it be said that I was caught rene away from a word play opportunity.

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I ususally make one alternative wood violin each year.   I have used pear, birch, and ash and this year I am making one from cherry.  I also have some aspen but it seems a bit too light for a back.

 

Here are some pictures of the cherry ... in progress

Ah, that makes me more likely to use this nice piece of cherry for a violin.

post-53723-0-45933400-1423260775_thumb.jpg

 

  It is big enough for a viola (11 x 19 x 3/4" thick)  but the sapwood would show.  Not much though.  Am I correct that the right way to do a slab is bark side down?  I have used American Sycamore, and Flamed birch, and both worked fine.  I could probably do more with them now.  

 

post-53723-0-51238500-1423260828_thumb.jpg

 

post-53723-0-93960200-1423260874_thumb.jpg

 

Ken

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Hi all
 
There are some kind of willow here in Argentina but I guess the used on instruments is different.
I would like to know the latin taxonomically name of willow you use.
¿Salix? 
¿Salix what more?
 
Thanks
Tango

 

If I were in Argentina, I would be very tempted to try some cebil.  No, not for putting up my nose, for an instrument back.  It is cross linked, lovely, and has a sweet ratio between modulus and density. 

 

Then again some might think I was on cebil proposing cebil.  The stuff is tough, cross linked and harder than all but 9 other woods.   With a nice wave in the wood it is sure pretty though.

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Ah, that makes me more likely to use this nice piece of cherry for a violin.

attachicon.gifIMG_6476.JPG

 

  It is big enough for a viola (11 x 19 x 3/4" thick)  but the sapwood would show.  Not much though.  Am I correct that the right way to do a slab is bark side down?  I have used American Sycamore, and Flamed birch, and both worked fine.  I could probably do more with them now.  

 

attachicon.gifIMG_6479.JPG

 

attachicon.gifIMG_6480.JPG

 

Ken

Nice! First though I had was, if wide enough, you could cut off the sapwood with a little of the heartwood still on there, so that the transition from light colored wood of spruce and cherry sapwood to the darker red of cherry heartwood would happen on the rib. Could be interesting, esp since cherry heartwood darkens so much over time. Or it could look horrible? :P

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If I were in Argentina, I would be very tempted to try some cebil.  No, not for putting up my nose, for an instrument back.  It is cross linked, lovely, and has a sweet ratio between modulus and density. 

 

Then again some might think I was on cebil proposing cebil.  The stuff is tough, cross linked and harder than all but 9 other woods.   With a nice wave in the wood it is sure pretty though.

 

Hi Uncle Bob

 

Thanks for your post but I can´t translate "cebil".

 

Regards

Tango

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Hi Uncle Bob

 

Thanks for your post but I can´t translate "cebil".

 

Regards

Tango

Well... I googled "cebil".

Here is known as "curupay". I know that wood only by name.

I asked for a certain willow used for block because I need  some.

I would like to buy some of it here but I guess the more used willow used on instruments is different.

Tango

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Curupay, the 10th hardest wood known, has rather nice numbers for speed of sound.  Elastic Modulus: 2,617,000 lbf/in2 (18.04 GPa), Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .86, 1.03, Janka Hardness: 3,630 lbf (16,150 N).  The pieces I have worked have had great tone to them, I have not made an instrument yet.  A nice board will ring like a chime.  By board I mean 8" x 1.2" x 8'.

 

The wood I have not seen yet but I am very interested in, is Katalox or Mexican Ebony, Swartzia spp. (S. cubensis). It is the 9th hardest wood.  The data I have read may not be reliable as it puts Katalox in a region of sound speed well above spruce despite being heavy enough to sink in water.  The data is however backed up by descriptions of the wood.  Elastic Modulus: 3,557,000 lbf/in2 (24.53 GPa),  Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .94, 1.15, Janka Hardness: 3,660 lbf (16,260 N).   I have no data on it's acoustical conversion efficiency, dampening or internal friction, but It is considered resonant and a very good wood for a guitar bridge or fingerboard so I would suspect it is a wood well worth experimenting with.

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Tango,

Since everybody seems to be ignoring your question, I will suggest that just about any variety of willow should be suitable for blocks. I presently use Salix nigra but have also used weeping willow, which seemed about as good.

 

Thanks Captain

I will seek here in Buenos Aires these type of salix

Tango

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Tango,

Since everybody seems to be ignoring your question, I will suggest that just about any variety of willow should be suitable for blocks. I presently use Salix nigra but have also used weeping willow, which seemed about as good.

I have used both of these extensively and while both can make good backs for the lower pitched instruments I would not use weeping willow for end blocks as It is so soft that necks and end buttons (pins) might not hold well. I do use the black willow (Salix nigra) for blocks on all my instruments.

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Ed Maday is a maker in New York who uses many different types of wood. He makes violins, violas, cellos, basses, the whole gamba family, violas d'amore, vielles, baroque bows, and cases. Take a look at his photo gallery page. I recently had one of his basses in my shop which was made of spruce and catalpa wood. It looked and sounded great.

 

http://www.edmaday.com

 

Barry

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