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Joris

What type of wood is this - good for fittings?

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My aunt recently gave me a piece of wood, because after 20 years of having it and plans to carve it laying around, she doesn't expect to ever take up wood carving... 

The wood has a density of ca. 1 kg/dm^3, and is quite hard; I can't make any visible dent in it using my fingernail. It seems like it could be used for fittings, or maybe even a fingerboard, but I would like to know what type of wood it is, and if others have had some success in using this type of wood.

I have planed two sides flat, and despite the wood being quite hard, it wasn't too difficult to plane. The shavings didn't seem to have a distinct smell. Photos can be found below:

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Edited by Joris
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It looks like it would polish up beautifully. I recently asked a question about using B’ois d’arc for fingerboards, and mention was made of the slipperiness of ebony and a couple other necessary traits in addition to mere hardness. details. I think B’ois darc would look lovely, at least as accent wood( saddle, but, tailpiece, maybe pegs) but if the issues that were mentioned would not negatively affect this wood I think a fingerboard made out of it would also look beautiful.

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5 hours ago, Jim Bress said:

Having the bark is a helpful clue. Do you know the region it came from?

Unfortunately, I don't know what region it is from, and neither does my aunt whom I got the wood from. I live in the Netherlands, but I think wood this dense typically does not grow around here.

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Norway Maple

Hard dense and heavy, can be very stiff. Not as hard as sugar maple, warps,  cups  and twists as it drys.

Heart wood is dark, lots of inclusions, never can trust that a full piece will be clean.

I have a couple of dozen cut up for backs, more neck blocks than that drying, unsure how much I will love it.

Working it with hand tools is rough, feels waxie and tough, has a rubbery component that is a bit strange.

Pegs or Fingerboard no,, Burning it might be a good option.

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13 hours ago, jezzupe said:

hickory/pecan....

Given your background in flooring, I can see why you said that, but in the words of Uhura, "Neither".  :lol: 

The wood in the OP photos lacks the characteristic grain of either wood.  Look at a hickory tool handle, and you'll see what I mean.  The density of either also falls far short of what the OP estimated, which would equate to a specific gravity of 1.0.   Given that it's in the Netherlands, I'd guess one of the dense tropical woods with similar markings available from their former colonies in what is now Indonesia, quite possibly timoho (Kleinhovia hospita).  :)

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54 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

Given your background in flooring, I can see why you said that, but in the words of Uhura, "Neither".  :lol: 

The wood in the OP photos lacks the characteristic grain of either wood.  Look at a hickory tool handle, and you'll see what I mean.  The density of either also falls far short of what the OP estimated, which would equate to a specific gravity of 1.0.   Given that it's in the Netherlands, I'd guess one of the dense tropical woods with similar markings available from their former colonies in what is now Indonesia, quite possibly timoho (Kleinhovia hospita).  :)

what? you've never heard of being horgenflorgen'd by a hickory stick? :D

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17 hours ago, uncle duke said:

Apple, pear or plum in that order or plum, apple or pear.  If this was cut right outside the house it is probably apple.  Tough to really tell from here.

Based on your suggestion, I think it might indeed be apple. There are some pieces with very similar figure on this website: http://hobbithouseinc.com/personal/woodpics/apple.htm, and the specific gravity of 0.83 (https://www.wood-database.com/apple/) also does not seem to be too far off compared to my estimate of 1.

And it also makes sense that it isn't any tropical variety, but just wood from an apple tree from someone's back yard...

So, does anyone have any (good/bad) experience using apple wood for fittings?

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4 hours ago, martin swan said:

Just looks like good old beech to me, typical stain and rot patterns in the middle ... so it must be a piece of branchwood.

The bark is something of a giveaway.

One way to know will be after he tries making a fingerboard, tailpiece etc., is to take what's left over, cut into chips, soak in a pail of water for a few hours then put on the smoker/grill outdoors and see what there is for smoke flavoring.

I realize he's in a different part of the world as compared to where I'm at but I grew up with all three apple, plum and pear trees in the neighborhood - didn't have beech though or if I do have beech here I wouldn't know how to tell if it is or not.   

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6 hours ago, martin swan said:

Just looks like good old beech to me, typical stain and rot patterns in the middle ... so it must be a piece of branchwood.

The bark is something of a giveaway.

Sure it looks like beech by the bark. But the density is a bit too high. Also I cannot see any medullary rays that are usually pominemt on beech....  I have a small collection of fruit wood and could be apple by color (pear or plum or peach or apricot no way), but that bark is like none of common fruit trees from EU... Perhaps some home grown ornamental exotic tree.

Could be young example of acer pseudoplatanus with smooth grey bark, but these are usually not as rotten inside. And density is high.

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1 hour ago, HoGo said:

Sure it looks like beech by the bark. But the density is a bit too high. Also I cannot see any medullary rays that are usually pominemt on beech....  I have a small collection of fruit wood and could be apple by color (pear or plum or peach or apricot no way), but that bark is like none of common fruit trees from EU... Perhaps some home grown ornamental exotic tree.

Could be young example of acer pseudoplatanus with smooth grey bark, but these are usually not as rotten inside. And density is high.

Sorry this is beech - I have processed tons and tons of it.

If the density is high it's probably because it's branchwood or because the measurements are a bit off. You'll notice that it's super fast grown (very wide grain spacing) - that creates higher density. 

you're not seeing the medullary fleck because it's not presenting a quartersawn face - I think the face that's unplaned might show a bit.

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12 hours ago, Joris said:

Based on your suggestion, I think it might indeed be apple. There are some pieces with very similar figure on this website: http://hobbithouseinc.com/personal/woodpics/apple.htm, and the specific gravity of 0.83 (https://www.wood-database.com/apple/) also does not seem to be too far off compared to my estimate of 1.

And it also makes sense that it isn't any tropical variety, but just wood from an apple tree from someone's back yard...

So, does anyone have any (good/bad) experience using apple wood for fittings?

It changes dimension too much with humidity. The turned pegs will quickly go from round to oval quickly as humidity changes.

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I had an old spalted apple tree which I lopped a couple of years ago and it keeps sending out shoots from the bit left in the ground. I have cut some of it up and it looks much like the specimen in the photos, particularly the bark. However the wood colour does not have a pinkish cast, nor does apple wood generally as far as I know.

I've also got a large plum tree and the bark on that does not resemble the one in the photos. It is too rough and not grey.

As well I've got a lot of old olive trees growing nearby and I'm quite familiar with its wood. It's popular with wood turners and can be quite striking. It usually shows distinct colours of fawn, off white or cream and darker coffee colored areas with a faint pinkish hue in places.

I'll have a close look at its bark when I walk the dogs.

 

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Many different opinions here.  Maybe this relates to the question of another kind...."What kind of spruce is this?"

Quote...

"The only way to be certain of a spruce species is one of the following:

1) key the living tree and harvest it yourself

2) have a trained scientist with a high powered microscope, a library of appropriate reference samples and a lot of skill and experience, give it a serious lab analysis. And realize that there's even some question about the absolute reliability of this method—the best there is—because the reference sample libraries are not always complete and comprehensive.

Other than that you are operating on pure faith in the seller, or on pure imagination, because things are quite often not what they seem."

http://www.lutherie.net/eurospruce.html

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With respect, I think the problem is one of asking a question on a violin-making forum. It's impossible to know if the person answering has any serious ability to identify timber or not.

I would just point out that I ran a sawmill for the best part of 15 years, and felled and planked pretty much every hardwood that you might find in north Central Europe. Beech is so common here it's practically a weed, and I really don't need a microscope to recognize it.

We aren't trying to identify a species of spruce (which isn't that difficult if you've got a standing tree to look at), merely to distinguish a very common tree with known characteristics (elephantine smooth grey bark, false heartwood of a yellow/brown hue, yellow rot in the centre, very wide annular rings with pinkish grain giving way to yellow on the outside, odourless shavings etc etc etc) from various other things which don't have those characteristics. Apple has a bark made up of plaques, olive doesn't grow in Holland, Norway maple has a diamond-patterned open bark and doesn't have a pink hue, hickory (not European) has a heavy dark grain pattern, etc etc ...

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