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antero

pearwood

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Hi everyone,

 

Use of pearwood pops up every now and then in forums, both in older instruments and the ones currently in making, but how common has the use of pearwood been over centuries? Is it characterising any particular region, time periood or school?

Was it just the pear neck, or entire instrument body (perhaps except the deck) ?

 

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Yes, it was used in Italy, and still is. . The neck may be made of maple or pear wood, some contemporary makers I know use pear wood (legno di per) for the neck too.

 

"Is it characterising any particular region, time periood or school?". I don't think so, it is a question of personal choice and may be linked to tone or economic questions, since it is cheaper than maple.

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I've never carved it but I have planed, worked it with a chisel and sawn it. It's nice pleasant stuff to work, at least the straight grained, well behaved pear that I've had. Very close grain.

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Pear and plum were used for Baroque pegs and some tailpieces although it seems that, although they were more readily available to rural instrument makers, they wore out more quickly than the harder woods that replaced them. I have one plum wood peg from the 17th Century that Bill Monical sent me. There aren't many of them around to look at.

 

This is a copy of a Voboam guitar from 1686 with a Swiss pear back.

post-3813-0-54040500-1462896003_thumb.jpg

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I have one plum wood peg from the 17th Century that Bill Monical sent me. There aren't many of them around to look at.

 

Would you have some pictures of that peg to share with us, that would be nice.

 

Thanks

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Thank you!

 

I would now show you a scroll that could be old pearwood, but nothing works in terms of adding photos or links to the text, so far.

Adding-photos-directly feature is not probably activated, as I am so new, but using add url button stalls the Maestronet window completely...

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Here its is, it is believed to be pearwood, but not clear what time. 

19 century? 18 century?

Please feel free to comment, both dating and design.

 

 

post-79630-0-15274600-1464263894_thumb.jpg

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I've always wondered:  Is pearwood the wood of the trees that pears (the fruit) grow on?

 

(I don't think it's as stupid a question as it might seem to be at first, because, for example, I know that bass don't grow on basswood trees.)

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That is an interesting question!

 

Today they sell African pearwood and I am not sure how related it is with the actual fruittree; but times back, where I believe this attached scroll comes, I think it actually was the fruit bearing tree that was handy, yet hard and stabile for carving.

 

African pearwood is said to be 25% denser and 16% heavier that red oak, yet 10% softer.

 

I am not a luthier, planning to use the pearwood; I was rather hoping that someone could enlighten me (us) regarding history and tradition of pearwood use in violin making.

My interest originates from the scroll (and entire instrument) that I posted earlier.

 

 

 

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I've always wondered:  Is pearwood the wood of the trees that pears (the fruit) grow on?

 

(I don't think it's as stupid a question as it might seem to be at first, because, for example, I know that bass don't grow on basswood trees.)

I think bass wood would work fine for bass scrolls. It is a good wood for carving and inexpensive.

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Two small violas in pear sides and backs on the bench-- a 15.75" Bros Amati to practice some gold leafing on, and a 15 5/8" Brescian. Ive played a few pear violas I really liked, and a lovely board popped up at the local hardwood supplier. One thing-- and I'm not sure if it's a symptom of having been kiln-dried (which I'm not sure of either), but I had to replace two ribs after gluing was all said and done. Having used a maple-appropriate amount of water on them, when they dried, they shrunk against the form and cracked. New ribs got slightly moistened instead, and are hanging tough.

IMG_7786.jpg

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Nathan, I remember Pahler having some lovely figured pear for cello heads. I carved a Testore scroll out of some. 

Basswood, on another note, can vary as much as anything-- poplar and basswood are similar in their interspecies varying characteristics. I had some basswood as stiff and crisp as good red willow a few years ago, and just used the last of it on Brescian viola scrolls. I've played with basswood that was little better than balsa, too. Maple bushings and a few coats of glue before varnish. They will wear hard, yeah. I probably wouldn't use it for cello heads either! Cellos and basses take a beating that violas never endure.

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I've always wondered:  Is pearwood the wood of the trees that pears (the fruit) grow on?

 

(I don't think it's as stupid a question as it might seem to be at first, because, for example, I know that bass don't grow on basswood trees.)

 

Pearwood is from the fruit tree. Pyrus communis or pyrus nivalis. A lot seems to come as steamed pear, which turns it a little more darker Brown/Pink. At least I think it does from the few examples that I have. 

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Still is used for recorders. I have some quarter sawn pear veneer which has very straight pin stripe grain, no knots, very clean wood. I think it's around 2 ft long x 6" width, so it certainly can be had in pieces large enough for a violin or a cello head. I would have no problem obtaining it in the UK.

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So the question is, do stewed pears come from a steamed pear wood tree? I mean it's only logical... 

 

Here's a sensational 1789 Martin Leopold Widhalm scroll made of pear (http://hebberts.com/15038)

My belief is that Stainer's lions heads (and those of Albani) are also always of pear. 

 

English viol makers were certainly using Pear wood as early as the 1570s... I've attached a tasty teaser of a Henry Jaye of 1624 as an example... It's worth noting that in scroll carving generally, too much flame competes with the sculptural beauty of the scroll itself. This is more acute in facial carving, which is probably why early makers got into the habit of using fruitwood instead. 

 

Lastly is a Maggini from pretty early on - before 1600 - one of the few genuine heads - also pear! (http://hebberts.com/14069)

 

post-52750-0-52693500-1464483641_thumb.jpg post-52750-0-99051300-1464483961_thumb.jpg post-52750-0-72757300-1464484475_thumb.jpg

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