Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

ponderosa pine as tonewood


weller williams
 Share

Recommended Posts

Yes, I’ve seen a couple of guys use it (for guitars).

Depends on the diameter of useable wood and the density. Cris Martin told a story about felling a tree in their family yard and they found that the fertility and light of a residential situation caused the wood to be so flexible as to render it unuseable. 

Just some thoughts. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I can offer counterpoint to that, the best guitar I ever made was a test that I made with a reject top that was so flexible cross-wise that I could roll it up into a four-inch tube. Martin historically used some really "bad" wood in their D-18 model, and it's one of their most popular models. So common legend isn't always truth. . . . 

If I had the potential of a lot of Ponderosa tops for free, I might give it a try before rejecting it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wood varies a lot.  Other than the species, things like ring spacing, evenness, color variations, twist, knots, and other aesthetic variables will make the difference between wood you would want to use on an instrument or wood for the walls (or fireplace).  That's in addition to the wide variations in properties of the wood that matter for acoustics.  Most random trees that you just happen to run across I don't think would be very desirable for instruments.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Rue said:

...but then again, it may also turn out to be THE ponderosa pine of sound!!! ^_^

In the lore of Martin Guitars, there is a BRW log that shows up in many very fine sounding guitars. Guitars that have this wood in them are referred to as having been made from, "The Log". Those D-18s had very homely looking red spruce that sounds awesome. I've got one, and a little 0-18 from '46 that has a patently ugly piece of wood in the top, but sounds awesome.

Sorta like that Cremonese log with the stripe that show up in many fine instruments. 

I agree with d'amore: panel your rec room with it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Michael Darnton said:

If I had the potential of a lot of Ponderosa tops for free, I might give it a try before rejecting it.

Oh absolutely!

and if it's in tree form you just have to decide if your time is worth it. 

2 hours ago, Michael Darnton said:

If I can offer counterpoint to that, the best guitar I ever made was a test that I made with a reject top that was so flexible cross-wise that I could roll it up into a four-inch tube. 

Interesting! That would create a very active cross-dipole mode. Cool!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you are going to try this check out info on how to cut and store wood properly and then buck it a bit long seal the ends with commercial log sealer, split the rounds into quarters only and process one quarter all the way to finished blanks. in a few years if the stuff is any good you can process the rest but if it isn't you wont have wasted too much time. 

Of course if it turns out badly you'll regret not paneling the den.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 minutes ago, Wee B. Bridges said:

Erdesz was quite a character, and Curtin wrote a fine description and tribute.

But I don't have any reason to believe that Erdesz used Douglas fir. Visited him once or twice, and didn't find any indications that it was other than European spruce, Engelmann, or Sitka.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, weller williams said:

Thanks for all the helpful info.

I'll save a few logs, and then see what it's like after a few years. Now it's very dense and resinous.

WW

As said if you store the wood as logs they will certainly check in unpredictable ways. At least split them into quarters and seal the ends.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The shape of the violin (size, length to width proportion, arch heights etc.) evolved in consideration of the woods available (spruce and maple) of certain properties (speed of sound in length and cross directions, density, damping etc) .  I believe it is highly unlikely that other woods  with different properties would work equally as well or better with the same geometry. It would most likely turn out worse.  Simple material substitution usually doesn't work well.

But different wood such as Ponderosa pine might work out quite well for a geometry found suitable for it.  It will take a lot trial and error experiments and/or analytical effort.

On the other hand, violas made from different woods but of equal weights have the same BTU heating value.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the problem with Pine in general is trying to find two splits or a billet that is structurally together enough to use,pine is notorious for knots,splits,checks and is prone to cracking.

If you can somehow get usable material  that is "clean" then it should be fine, the problem is it sure is a lot of work to cut it up and dry it to find out

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
On 1/4/2020 at 6:24 PM, weller williams said:

A large ponderosa pine fell nearby our house. Is the wood of any value for instruments?

WW

That is a broad question.

Someone posted here that good tonewood is where you get it. My sawyer and luthier friends and I have harvested many residential trees of various species for tonewood to use and sell.  We are in Ontario, Canada.  The wisest answer is "definitely maybe".

The next questions to ask are:

1. What instruments and what kinds of music (Western Classical, Folk, Bluegrass etc.)

2. Who might build and who might play the instruments (traditionalist or innovator)

3. How will the wood be dried and seasoned (iffy in Los Angeles)

4. What could you gain or lose by trying (experience, knowledge, time, money, body parts)

5. Is the tree of sentimental value to you or someone you know? If so, harvest some of the wood for bigger instruments (viola, guitar, cello) AND keep some larger boards for furniture and save cutoffs for turning, in case the wood isn't musical.

I hope this helps.

Yours truly,

Randy O'Malley

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/5/2020 at 3:24 PM, Wee B. Bridges said:

 

 

Otto Erdesz used douglas fir...

 

https://josephcurtinstudios.com/otto-erdesz-remembered/

It was probably seldom, or experimental. Douglas fir is great for lots of things but woodcarving ain't one of 'em.

Toronto and Niagara Falls had plenty of luthiers and specialty wood merchants to supply choice spruce. Even if Mr. Erdesz was flat broke he could get usable pieces of Picea glauca and Picea rubens for free from construction sites and factories.

CAUTION !  When you work with Douglas fir be VERY careful of splinters. They fester - even from freshly planed seasoned boards. I delayed removing a smallish splinter from the heel of my hand and came close to having my thumb amputated due to spreading infection. The doctor had to inject a narrow -spectrum antibiotic into my hand every day for a week to save my thumb and maybe my whole hand.  And I was in excellent health at the time.

Thanks for reading.

Yours truly,

Randy O'Malley

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/6/2020 at 2:26 AM, David Burgess said:

Erdesz was quite a character, and Curtin wrote a fine description and tribute.

But I don't have any reason to believe that Erdesz used Douglas fir. Visited him once or twice, and didn't find any indications that it was other than European spruce, Engelmann, or Sitka.

I'm pretty sure my Erdesz is made from Canadian Douglas fir--so I was told by his ex-wife who also plays a similar instrument--and helped me get mine :-)   I readily admit I cannot tell the difference myself--so I will definitely change my mind if I get expert advice

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...