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notsodeepblue

Mystery bow-blank wood identification

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I wonder if anyone might have any ideas about what the wood pictured below might be (pictures show freshly-sawn and scraped, and as-received)?

For context, I bought a single spindle of this wood online two or three years ago from a wood-dealer (for purposes unrelated to violin or bow making) who described it as "panga" - I assumed the wood I was buying was panga-panga (https://www.wood-database.com/panga-panga/), but as it had a density of ~1,200kg/m^3 (which seemed a bit too high) I had second thoughts and put it on a shelf. The spindle was a uniform chocolate-brown when I received it, apart from the wax covered ends which were near-black, and as far as I can tell the colour hasn't changed since I received it.

Today, I decided to resaw it, and when I saw the colour, grain and figure of the wood thought itwas worth trying to cut a bow-blank or two. The wood seems extremely elastic (even compared to my modest-quality pernambuco blanks), and has a nice long ring to it when dropped on a workbench. Not much to go on, but is anyone able to offer any suggestions as to what wood I might have (or even if I should just save myself some grief, and give up on the idea of using it for a bow or two)?

thanks in advance,

Grain1.thumb.JPG.ccec68c9a873f90ac20da9c7c49758a2.JPG

Grain2.thumb.JPG.95a038916db78bb1183daf9b7c7aabe1.JPG

EndGrain.thumb.JPG.7e189aac12afbb1190af353ad12de3a2.JPG

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I would love to know what it is. The horizontal grain seems to Change drastically about halfway up the piece. Can you describe what that is?

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25 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

I would love to know what it is. The horizontal grain seems to Change drastically about halfway up the piece. Can you describe what that is?

It looks like Camel Thorn.

The photos are of a rough cut bow blank. What you are referring to, is the shaft meeting the back of the head.

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3 hours ago, Dwight Brown said:

Maybe this. I don’t have a good eye for this sort of thing but there is at least one very good bow maker using it. The color looks right. Sorry if my post is useless.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vachellia_erioloba

That's great - thanks. All ideas about what this might be are most welcome, as I've exhausted mine and have no clue. Do you mean Gilles Nehr? I have only seen pictures of his work, but it is deeply impressive.

19 minutes ago, Dave Slight said:

It looks like Camel Thorn.

Two votes - it really is amazing how maestronet can find answers to questions like this. Thanks very much.

For information, whatever this wood turns out to be it planes and scrapes more cleanly and easily than any other I have experience of ...but almost caught fire when I first tried to cut it with an old, dull coping saw blade (I guess from significant amounts of oil in the wood, and very fine sawdust).

thanks again,

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If you’re going to make a bow, I for one would love to watch the process. I’ve seen videos on YouTube of the process from blank to bow, and it still seems like magic

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1 hour ago, Dave Slight said:

It looks like Camel Thorn.

The photos are of a rough cut bow blank. What you are referring to, is the shaft meeting the back of the head.

I’m not sure what you mean by “the shaft meeting the back of the head” are you talking about a point  on the tree where the trunk starts to branch out?

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3 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

I’m not sure what you mean by “the shaft meeting the back of the head” are you talking about a point  on the tree where the trunk starts to branch out?

I think he's talking about the other picture- not the horizontal shot

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18 hours ago, notsodeepblue said:

That's great - thanks. All ideas about what this might be are most welcome, as I've exhausted mine and have no clue. Do you mean Gilles Nehr? I have only seen pictures of his work, but it is deeply impressive.

Two votes - it really is amazing how maestronet can find answers to questions like this. Thanks very much.

For information, whatever this wood turns out to be it planes and scrapes more cleanly and easily than any other I have experience of ...but almost caught fire when I first tried to cut it with an old, dull coping saw blade (I guess from significant amounts of oil in the wood, and very fine sawdust).

thanks again,

Yes, Gilles Nehr. I have two of his bows one of them is Giraffe Thorn. I don’t know if he has used it for a Conventional  bow. He really likes the wood and recommend it to me. This is my viola bow. Stick is Giraffe Thorn, tip and frog are titanium, adjuster is Rose gold. Folks are probably sick of seeing it but it is a great bow. It really pulls a big sound.The Wood is treated to give it a darker color. Before treatment it is a pretty light blond color.

E6350C7C-B437-4BB5-BEF3-6C9FFB506495_1_201_a.thumb.jpeg.b8bc59b4eb420661f2f4e3e52595e061.jpeg

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Im confused what im looking at. Are you refering to the yellow wood or the dark brown wood??  If its both thats a hell of a colour difference to darken from yellow to dark brown???  The yellow coloured wood looks like sap wood of many ironwood species. It could also be easily yellow pernambuco.

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1 hour ago, fiddlecollector said:

Im confused what im looking at...

...me too!

1 hour ago, fiddlecollector said:

Are you refering to the yellow wood or the dark brown wood??  If its both thats a hell of a colour difference to darken from yellow to dark brown???  The yellow coloured wood looks like sap wood of many ironwood species. It could also be easily yellow pernambuco.

It is indeed both, and attached a shot of a rough cut blank that I think shows this better, as well as how the colour bleeds into the surface a few mm and in places more deeply (the cut-surface is straight off the coping saw, no planing or scraping at all):

ColourChange.thumb.JPG.228cc47d61ddcdc2d629319532759fc4.JPG

The dark outer surface is the same as when I received it a couple of years ago, and doesn't seem to have changed much when kept in indirect sunlight, along with other timber. It was a 50x50mm spindle that was uniform on all 4 faces of the blank, hence when I saw the colour of the dust while resawing it I became ...confused.

I am going to be putting a small sample under uv light later this weekend to see if / how quickly this transformation occurs, but it is a pretty extraordinary difference and hence I was struggling to identify from photographs what it might be.

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I m even more confused, maybe the spindle blank was treated with some chemical to get that colour on the outside.

I also dont think its camelthorn the endgrain is wrong. I see german suppliers selling camelthorn bow blanks over the last 5 years or so and they dont look like camelthorn either. Camelthorn is a very reddish brown coloured heartwood and the camelthorn bow blanks are a rather plain yellow . The sapwood on camelthorn is pale and full of cracks and checking. So dont know what places like Espen are selling as camelthorn. I suspect a related species of acacia.

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5 minutes ago, fiddlecollector said:

I m even more confused, maybe the spindle blank was treated with some chemical to get that colour on the outside.

Thanks - that was my first instinct when I saw how substantially different the interior was to the exterior. This timber is so dense (this piece is ~1,200kg/m^3 as-received) that that I thought it might have been a cheaper / less desirable material treated to deceive, somewhere along the supply line where volume or weight was involved.

I have taped-up a section of freshly exposed wood and left it in direct sunlight to se how much and how quickly this wood tans - if there is an interesting effect, I will post a picture of the results.

thanks again,

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For comparison here some photos of a bow blank of Gombeira ,showing sapwood (yellow) and dark heartwood. The sapwood is as hard and heavy as the heartwood. the endgrain has similar random smallish pores similar to your example.

 

P1140192.JPG

P1140195.JPG

P1140200.JPG

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22 hours ago, fiddlecollector said:

I m even more confused, maybe the spindle blank was treated with some chemical to get that colour on the outside.

I also dont think its camelthorn the endgrain is wrong. I see german suppliers selling camelthorn bow blanks over the last 5 years or so and they dont look like camelthorn either. Camelthorn is a very reddish brown coloured heartwood and the camelthorn bow blanks are a rather plain yellow . The sapwood on camelthorn is pale and full of cracks and checking. So dont know what places like Espen are selling as camelthorn. I suspect a related species of acacia.

Looks like I was wrong.
It reminded me of wood I’ve seen sold as Camelthorn, but from what you say, could easily have been something else.

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1 hour ago, Dave Slight said:

Looks like I was wrong.
It reminded me of wood I’ve seen sold as Camelthorn, but from what you say, could easily have been something else.

You may not be wrong, i`m thoroughly confused by the OP`s wood . Ive never seen such a huge difference between the inside and outside before , maybe if the spindle had been sitting around for 300 years (which i doubt). Id be curious if the OP  cold put some ammonia or acid on it and see what colour change they get. Even with chemicals its a huge difference. The only thing apart from dye i can think of would be something like conc. sulphuric acid which would char the outside.

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18 hours ago, MeyerFittings said:

http://hobbithouseinc.com/personal/woodpics/acacia.htm

What a fantastic resource - thanks very much for the link.

56 minutes ago, fiddlecollector said:

Ive never seen such a huge difference between the inside and outside before , maybe if the spindle had been sitting around for 300 years (which i doubt). Id be curious if the OP  cold put some ammonia or acid on it and see what colour change they get. Even with chemicals its a huge difference. The only thing apart from dye i can think of would be something like conc. sulphuric acid which would char the outside.

I can't imagine that the spindle I bought could possibly have been that old, but it was in an online wood-dealers "specials" category so perhaps not something they knew too much of the history of either. I have no ammonia or acid to hand, but will do my best to track some down - I will put a drop of whatever I find on a freshly-sawn and scraped face, documenting the before and after whenever I am able to find some (might take a while, but I will make a point of doing this whenever I am able).

For the interested, I attach a picture ~24 hours on from cutting (sorry for the slightly washed out colours on the right hand side of the image). The top blank is the colour as-received (i.e. outer surface colour of the original spindle), the middle is with me chasing direct sunlight for a day (6-8 hours total drect sunlight, the rest either indirectsunlight or darkness), and the bottom section has been sitting in a darkened corner of a dark room for the same amount of time:

24Hours.thumb.JPG.acaceb5688c16fde848e24cf39082575.JPG

I will keep these two pieces where they currently are for a couple of weeks at least, and update the colours if and when they change significantly. 

thanks all,

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On 7/10/2020 at 5:36 PM, notsodeepblue said:

I wonder if anyone might have any ideas about what the wood pictured below might be (pictures show freshly-sawn and scraped, and as-received)?

For context, I bought a single spindle of this wood online two or three years ago from a wood-dealer (for purposes unrelated to violin or bow making) who described it as "panga" - I assumed the wood I was buying was panga-panga (https://www.wood-database.com/panga-panga/), but as it had a density of ~1,200kg/m^3 (which seemed a bit too high) I had second thoughts and put it on a shelf. The spindle was a uniform chocolate-brown when I received it, apart from the wax covered ends which were near-black, and as far as I can tell the colour hasn't changed since I received it.

Today, I decided to resaw it, and when I saw the colour, grain and figure of the wood thought itwas worth trying to cut a bow-blank or two. The wood seems extremely elastic (even compared to my modest-quality pernambuco blanks), and has a nice long ring to it when dropped on a workbench. Not much to go on, but is anyone able to offer any suggestions as to what wood I might have (or even if I should just save myself some grief, and give up on the idea of using it for a bow or two)?

thanks in advance,

Grain1.thumb.JPG.ccec68c9a873f90ac20da9c7c49758a2.JPG

Grain2.thumb.JPG.95a038916db78bb1183daf9b7c7aabe1.JPG

EndGrain.thumb.JPG.7e189aac12afbb1190af353ad12de3a2.JPG

Pau Rosa?

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On 7/12/2020 at 2:41 PM, Mampara said:

Looks like Mpingo

Thanks. The listed density definitely seems to be in the right ballpark. Does Mpingo undergo the type of rapid colour change this wood seems to be capable of?

1 hour ago, sospiri said:

Pau Rosa?

That's something I've only ever associated with pretty looking veneer, and so didn't really consider it. I will go and browse some images - thanks. 

As a follow-up, after 72 hours sitting on a south-facing windowsill - exposed to occasional, watery English sunshine - my mystery wood is now looking like a rugby jersey:

72Hours.thumb.JPG.f7739d1cf173925fb88be14d867cd317.JPG

I haven't been able to get hold of anything potent to test it with yet, but did confirm that potassium permanganate had absolutely no effect on a freshly scraped section.

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49 minutes ago, notsodeepblue said:

That's something I've only ever associated with pretty looking veneer, and so didn't really consider it. I will go and browse some images - thanks. 

As a follow-up, after 72 hours sitting on a south-facing windowsill - exposed to occasional, watery English sunshine - my mystery wood is now looking like a rugby jersey:

I haven't been able to get hold of anything potent to test it with yet, but did confirm that potassium permanganate had absolutely no effect on a freshly scraped section.

It looks very nice. You won’t need any stain or fuming. That’s good, I hate both. 
 

and I recommend these coping saw blades

https://www.faithfulltools.com/p/FAICSB/Coping-Saw-Blades

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