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On 3/27/2018 at 2:36 PM, jacobsaunders said:

Strad was evidently too skint to afford birds-eye maple. I can remember seeing one though (called „the Mahler“  I think) that had a great big knot in the back.

It's not the 1672 Gustav Mahler, but another instrument from the beginning of Strad careers, the Tullaye (1699). I have a poster of it in front of my workbench

The back is slab cut with tree knot. Wood for violin making was allready very expensive and he had surely  not much monney at this time...

Edited by NMG
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15 minutes ago, nathan slobodkin said:


Quite common in big leaf maple. If Bruce Harvey on Orcas Island, WA is still in business he could probably find you some.

Thanks Nathan! He's just across the state from me. I'll give him a call - thinking quilted bigleaf might be nice for some violas I have coming up.

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I have one of those Chinese quilted birdseye violins. Quite interesting. There must have been a knot that split out in the back as there is a circular patch in the top right corner. You can't see it from far away because of the complexity of the figure. 



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8 minutes ago, JacksonMaberry said:

Citation needed

Took some time to try and find something authoritative. Doesn't seem like there's much out there, although I did find mention of it occurring rarely in red and big leaf maple (both North American species). The one mention of European maple with birdseye figure that I was able to find was from a European wood supplier's website (Espen), which describes the European variants as having "few similar features" and differing "in color, quality and density from the real bird’s eye maple of North America."

I'll keep digging - it's interesting stuff. Growing up, my grandfather (a fine furniture builder) had a substantial hoard of the stuff, which is where I learned that it came from sugar maple.

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1 hour ago, Craig Cowing said:

I'm willing to be wrong but I believe birdseye maple is a New World thing.



1 hour ago, JacksonMaberry said:

Citation needed

It would be more accurate to say that birdseye figure in maples are most prevalent in new world maples such as sugar maple (Acer saccharum).  However, it is not exclusive to new world maples.  Here is a citation I happen to have on hand.  As far as birds eye figure, it can be found in many tree species not just maples.  


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53 minutes ago, JacksonMaberry said:

Thanks, folks. Nice pedal steel!

It really wants some restoration, but it's pretty cool. It was made around the same time that he made what most people consider the first modern electric guitar (the Merle Travis), and I think some of the wood is from the same tree.

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