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Ernest Martel

Shell Figured Maple...

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Stumbled across some figured maple  that looks like something between quilt and birdseye. I couldn't  find any information on this type of figure. The seller calls it shell maple.

What species of European maple does this type of figure come from?

391390387_ShellMaple1.thumb.jpg.874960bde670550905d5a87f62672d40.jpg971547613_ShellMaple2.thumb.jpg.d98907e59df204eb0678217e6205d42b.jpg

 

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I've seen maple like this used by Tom Ellis on his mandolins. He called it "bubble" maple or something like that. I believe it was US sugar maple. I've seen similar tree locally (european - acer pseudoplatanus) with burl/bubbless all around the trunk from bottom right up to branches (visible right through the bark). Will have to see it again if it grew a bit bigger... last time it was barely large enough for slab cut violin/viola backs.

 

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2 hours ago, HoGo said:

I've seen maple like this used by Tom Ellis on his mandolins. He called it "bubble" maple or something like that. I believe it was US sugar maple. I've seen similar tree locally (european - acer pseudoplatanus) with burl/bubbless all around the trunk from bottom right up to branches (visible right through the bark). Will have to see it again if it grew a bit bigger... last time it was barely large enough for slab cut violin/viola backs.

 

Interesting...hopefully the species is not Acer saccharum. It is being shipped from Croatia.

Thanks!

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I use planes. All wood seems hard to me if I try to hog it with gouges, so I don't have any; except fingernail gouges (chisels?) for scroll work and finishing.  I didn't notice the Birdseye was hard until finishing; and then ANY kind of figured wood can be a pain to finish, with the grain going every direction.

I find that if the wood doesn't have a waxy feel when cutting, it cuts nice.  Each piece seems different.  I have another piece from the same board for a viola.  I just measured and weighed it. It is .66 sg.  Not terribly heavy. 

That wood is very cool.

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I have the Guadagnini poster, but it looks fat to me.  But I saw a picture of one in the Bishop Stirngs flyer a while ago that looks....leaner?  It was on their cover. More of it on page 15.

https://bishopstrings.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/BishopsBrochure2015Small.pdf

The Sgarbi is an interesting beast too.  I just noticed the treble side chin rest.

Boy, I'm really dumb.  I looked at the cover of the pamphlet and thought, "That's not the Guad viola. It's the same color and has the same strings.  The shape is kind of similar.  Corners are more pinched. C is not as deep.  And  that f hole?"  Yeah, it's a Vuillaume del Gesu.  I didn't even notice the different color tailpiece.  The tan one kind of disappears like it isn't there.

Edited by Ken_N
I'm not that observant

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I don't know for sure, but I believe it's the same maple commonly found in Bosnia and the surrounding areas.

It is frequently used, and will make a good instrument. I think that it is a type of light figure quilt showing on slab cut pieces. Often called shell maple, or sometimes referred to as blister figure.

Strong quilted figure is not found too often in Europe species it would seem.

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16 hours ago, lpr5184 said:

What species of European maple does this type of figure come from?

Shell Maple is a slab cut Bosnian maple, somewhere between quilted and Birdseye. Guitars are frequently made of shell maple.

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1 hour ago, Michael Szyper said:

Shell Maple is a slab cut Bosnian maple, somewhere between quilted and Birdseye. Guitars are frequently made of shell maple.

Is it associated only with a certain species of maple?

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49 minutes ago, lpr5184 said:

I didn’t realize that Bosnian maple was a species...

According to Wikipedia Bosnian maple is Acer platanoides also known as Norway maple...Thanks Michael!

I know only Bosnian maple (as you correctly knew it is a species) with shell growth, but IMHO potentially every species capable of Birdseye growth could show shell growth. 

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Just throwing this out there as a general question: What would you do differently in terms of arching and graduations with a piece of wood like this? Anything? Ipr, do you have a plan of attack for it? Just curious if people change their methods based only on the figure of the wood.

 

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We have some of this in maple flooring.  It only has the big blisters.  Overall, the wood is low quality—maybe silver maple.

Conversely, the oak flooring is top notch with good grain contrast.  Both woods were laid over the original yellow pine.

I couldn’t get any depth/contrast in the photo, you have to follow the grain.

 

7C5D4EBB-80EA-4D77-A47F-5362175E51E7.jpeg

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On ‎11‎/‎2‎/‎2018 at 1:04 PM, Michael Szyper said:

I know only Bosnian maple (as you correctly knew it is a species) with shell growth, but IMHO potentially every species capable of Birdseye growth could show shell growth. 

I have seen something very similar in slab cut big leaf maple. It was definitely not quilted and not birdseye.

Here is typical quilted big leaf maple.

Quilt.thumb.jpg.0e3859262fc5e5f63fc37c49f304a689.jpg

 

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21 hours ago, arglebargle said:

Just throwing this out there as a general question: What would you do differently in terms of arching and graduations with a piece of wood like this? Anything? Ipr, do you have a plan of attack for it? Just curious if people change their methods based only on the figure of the wood.

 

I don't have a plan for it yet. Depending on the density I may leave it a little thicker.

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