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Dwight Brown

Alternate Wood Species

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On 2/15/2020 at 9:37 PM, Don Noon said:

I suppose I could post this on my bench, or the thread about block planes (as it is my first real use of my new Veritas plane), but this seems like the most appropriate spot.

Preparing a torrefied cherry bass bar to put into my ancient (9 years old) #4 violin.  Reason:  the top is very light, and I want to get a heavy bass bar without getting too bulky or stiff.  Maybe also the high tangential strength of cherry will help prevent the slight depression that usually happens around the bridge foot... but in this case, the bar is going to be set with the radial grain vertical, and that's even stronger.

Check out the rays!

1867275297_200215cherrybassbar.jpg.79bdb6375509ab2a3628e24171213c68.jpg

 

So, what's your impression of the plane?

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6 hours ago, Bill Yacey said:

So, what's your impression of the plane?

Excellent, with just a couple of minor complaints: 1) the black paint is peeled off of the back edge 2) the PMV-11 blade needed a lot of re-sharpening work.  The design and quality otherwise is great, and it works.

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I'm surprised that the blade wasn't sharp. Lee Valley is usually pretty good about having their plane blades razor sharp out of the box.

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I like the Veritas method of adjusting the lateral setting of the blade, which Lie-Nielsen doesn't have.  Otherwise I would have bought the L-N adjustable mouth block plane.  The 102 is smaller and doesn't have square shoulders, so it's a different tool... I have one of those too, and it's great for planing neck heels.

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Dear maestronetters,

does anyone have any experience with paulownia wood? I have been searching the forum but found nothing regarding using the wood for the back plate, only for blocks. 

From what I've found out it seems that it has somewhat similar properties as poplar. Am I right, or did I misunderstand? I was thinking about using paulownia for small viola back. 

Thanks

Dominik

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My current bench job is a consort-size viola da gamba using poplar ribs and back along with Englemann Spruce top. I have great hopes for this one!

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49 minutes ago, Dominik Tomasek said:

Dear maestronetters,

does anyone have any experience with paulownia wood? I have been searching the forum but found nothing regarding using the wood for the back plate, only for blocks. 

From what I've found out it seems that it has somewhat similar properties as poplar. Am I right, or did I misunderstand? I was thinking about using paulownia for small viola back. 

Thanks

Dominik

I use Paulownia wood (~0.26g/cc) for all my violin and viola top and back plates, the blocks and linings to reduce weight.

I've also tried it for reducing the weight of the neck but It's not stiff enough. This was improved by using a carbon fiber internal tube in the neck.  It's too soft for fingerboards but epoxy bar top finish eliminated this problem. 

My instruments have never won any VSA tone awards but the judges always remember playing them.

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I wrote a graduate school paper thirty-five years ago on the properties of different woods used in the Far East. As I recall, Paulownia has good carving and weight properties and medium strength properties. The sample was a half dozen eighteenth and nineteen century instruments. It mars somewhat easily.

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It has properties similar to Meranti {Philippine mahogany} , it's good for guitars, never made a fiddle from it, mostly because it's kinda bland looking, but I;m quite sure you could make a good instrument from it, you just have to build it and find out.

There are very few violins/fiddles made from species outside of Maple/Spruce, they exist, but % wise they are very rare. I think as time goes by we'll see more altspec violins as people see/hear others having some success with them.

again one of the main reasons I make altspec instruments is because I know that for many different reasons lots of younger people are drawn to "different" looking instruments and that alternate visual aspects are often times a "Trick" that can be used to generate interest in bowed instruments.

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38 minutes ago, jezzupe said:

It has properties similar to Meranti {Philippine mahogany} , it's good for guitars, never made a fiddle from it, mostly because it's kinda bland looking, but I;m quite sure you could make a good instrument from it, you just have to build it and find out.

There are very few violins/fiddles made from species outside of Maple/Spruce, they exist, but % wise they are very rare. I think as time goes by we'll see more altspec violins as people see/hear others having some success with them.

again one of the main reasons I make altspec instruments is because I know that for many different reasons lots of younger people are drawn to "different" looking instruments and that alternate visual aspects are often times a "Trick" that can be used to generate interest in bowed instruments.

I am very well aware that violins made from alternative wood species are rare and personally I've abandoned experimenting with different woods when building violins. But for violas it is a different story. I have been quite succesfully using beech for the back of my small violas. Personally I do not prefer the sound of quater cut maple back viola. I lean towards poplar, willow etc. That's why I was thinking about using Paulownia. 

There is nothing left to do but to try I guess.

Dominik

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The late Graham Caldersmith was a champion of Australian timbers.  His work has been mentioned a few times on the Pegbox. I don't think his passing late last year was noted here, so I provide this link to an obituary for those interested:

https://www.smh.com.au/national/luthier-was-in-tune-with-australian-woods-20191011-p52zt4.html

Regards,

Tim

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