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zdalton13

"Flakey" spruce

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I'm working with a relatively light piece of bear claw spruce now and I when planning the wood it appears as what I would call "flaky" or "fuzzy". In planning one direction the shavings resemble a lacy structure and in the other direction there is a good bit of tearout and loose fibers. All other spruce I've worked with so far has planned very smooth so this seemed a little unusual to me. I like to hear what others can say about this. I've attached some photos for reference.

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While I do agree with the previous 2 posts, I found something when I last used some spruce with strong bear claw.  The "defect" that causes bear claw is a fold in the radial and tangential directions (as opposed to maple figure, which is in the longitudinal and tangential directions), and this folding makes a terrible mess of the crossgrain structure in the folds.  In a place near the F-holes, the wood actually had no structural integrity and fell out, so I had to splice in a little patch.  That might be part of the problem you are having.

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Unfortunately for the purist these types of grains don't smooth out too well without using sandpaper, and even then sometimes pits will lie below the main surface .Engleman seems to love to do this, but I have seen it in just about every softwood, fortunately its more of an exception than rule. It does increase labor time and is in general a pain in the you know what. 

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2 hours ago, jezzupe said:

Unfortunately for the purist these types of grains don't smooth out too well without using sandpaper, and even then sometimes pits will lie below the main surface .Engleman seems to love to do this, but I have seen it in just about every softwood, fortunately its more of an exception than rule. It does increase labor time and is in general a pain in the you know what. 

 That's interesting. It is my understanding that sanding the the wood should be avoided because the sand paper tears open the cells of the wood causing dark spots when varnishing.

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19 hours ago, donbarzino said:

Your problem could be runout , the wood being cut such that the long grain is not parallel

to the surface of the billet. This is why split billets are preferred.

 

It does appear to be runout. I was in touch with my tone wood supplier and this is what they had to say about it:

 

"It does look to me like some degree of runout from the photo.  Bearclaw can be a bit squirrely however.  I am very careful about runout and it is the nemesis of all tonewood producers, but spruce with a good amount of bearclaw can fool me sometimes.  My best top should not have detectable runout.  
 
If the top is not yet joined and glued together, you can take a thin shaving from the joint edge and the tear it lengthwise.  If it tears  parallel to the faces than it doesn't have runout AT the joint edge.  If the saving tears at an angle this indication of runout.  If you have already joined and glued the top, try planing a thin shaving from the face in the same direction on each side of the joint (each wedge half, if you will).  If the plane tears the wood and feels resistance one way but not the next - it has runout. Problem areas, especially in bearclaw, can also be localized.  From the photo, I appears to me your plane is sharp because of the glisten i see on the smooth cut."
 
They did offer to replace it, however, I'm not really sure how it will look under the varnish. I looked into it and it appears that the verdict is out on runout. Some makers seem to think a little is ok and other think that no amount of runout is acceptable.
 

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