lpr5184

Ernest Martel's Bench

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As I continue to downsize I thought I would like a place to store some of my recent work. Since I don't save photos or keep extensive notes this will be a good place for me to store some of my building info for future reference. 

 

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The big E is in the building.  

Cool.  All the links in one spot.  A great idea to archive it here.  Always stunning work.

Ken

 

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Great wood, consistent figure when quartersawn (so usually quartersawn), and readily available. Very interested in how you feel about it when you play it. 

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On 12/12/2019 at 4:43 PM, Ernest Martel said:

It's an interesting wood, the figure is constantly changing as you carve and scrape.

The quartersawn board before carving looked like a good bookmatch but during carving the figure changed quite a bit with the tighter rays ending up on the treble side. The grain structure of sycamore is interesting to watch as you carve into it. The flat top guitars I've seen have perfect bookmatched backwood. I've never seen an archtop sycamore guitar but I have seen sycamore fiddles built by Frank Daniels and all his sycamore backs have irregular figure patterns as well.

Bending the ribs was a breeze. I didn't measure the density but it's hard like red maple, perhaps because it's well aged. I have one more set I can measure the density.

I also have two neck blocks from the same tree I'm considering to use...Fun stuff.

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I like using American Sycamore.  I noticed that sometimes the grain switches directions when you change from cross flecks to lines.  It seems very resonate.

The flecks can be quite hard, and difficult to really smooth up.  Scrapers might leave it bumpy.  

I have a piece I use for linings because it bends well.  I snap off spruce.

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On 12/13/2019 at 11:26 AM, Ken_N said:

The flecks can be quite hard, and difficult to really smooth up.  Scrapers might leave it bumpy.  

True, even if the scrapers are razor sharp the raised grain can be bumpy.  

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10 hours ago, Ernest Martel said:

Currently before inside hollowing.... 

Back arch 16.0 - Edges 4.0 - Scoop depth 3.0

If the edges are 4.0 and the scoop depth is 3.0, doesn't that mean a minimum thickness of 1.0 under the scoop,  or am I misunderstanding something?  Presumably the scoop depth is 1.0 and the minimum thickness is 3.0.

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On 12/15/2019 at 9:05 PM, Don Noon said:

If the edges are 4.0 and the scoop depth is 3.0, doesn't that mean a minimum thickness of 1.0 under the scoop,  or am I misunderstanding something?  Presumably the scoop depth is 1.0 and the minimum thickness is 3.0.

Yes, thickness under scoop is what I meant, Thanks Don.

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Well, to my eye in the pics the scoop depth looks like a lot more than 1.0mm, or the camera/lighting is distorting it.  I'd be interested if you put a straightedge across the scoop and measured the depth in this region, if it is really 1.0mm!  

Nice work, and great wood!  Keep up the good work.

 

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20 hours ago, violinsRus said:

Well, to my eye in the pics the scoop depth looks like a lot more than 1.0mm, or the camera/lighting is distorting it.  I'd be interested if you put a straightedge across the scoop and measured the depth in this region, if it is really 1.0mm!  

Nice work, and great wood!  Keep up the good work.

I agree with you, it does look deeper in this photo but it is only 1mm deep. However the scoop is wide which gives it a little more flow I think. The high point of the edge is 4.0 and the plate thickness at the bottom of the scoop is 3.0. I find measuring with a caliper to be pretty accurate.

I'm glad you're not  opposed  to using an alternative back wood on a violin. I think the wood is pretty cool and should look nice under varnish. Thanks.

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One piece top which I was told is "German Spruce"  purchased from Merrill Franz. He had 5 of these hiding on a shelf out of sight in the main warehouse. I purcahsed all 5.  This one has a density of .45

 

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I noticed while carving this top that the late grain lines are especially hard while the summer growth feels pretty normal, not too soft and not too hard. I'm questioning whether to use this spruce or make another top. Any thoughts about this hard winter growth and if there would be any downside to using it?

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Thoughts and measurements I have some... but not experience.  From what I have seen, a large percentage of winter growth tends to be dense and have a low-ish speed of sound... which might or might not mean anything as far as the sound goes.  I haven't actually used any of it for an instrument, since (for the moment) I tend to use high speed of sound in medium-to-low density wood.

Did you check the speed of sound before you started?

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To be honest Don, I don't know the method of how to check for sos.  So, at least you are familiar with this type of wood. It is noticeably different from anything I've come across so far. I can send you a billet if you would like to investigate the properties. What is the reason for such hard late grain?  Is there any weather or growing properties that would contribute to very hard winter grain?

I don't know how old the wood is or how long it was sitting in Merrill's shop. I bought it after his death and his relatives didn't know anything about it, only that they called it German spruce. I'm guessing that the hard grain would increase the density but do you think this would contribute any negative effects structurally?

Do you find the winter grain lines harder after torrefication compared to non torrefied wood?

 

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