Anyone in the us doing dendro tests on American wood


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Probably not. You have to remember the dendrochronology is based of the growth of tree rings, and that growth is based on climate. I think that virtually all of the wood in Europe probably comes from an area less than 300 miles in diameter. That's about the size of New York State. Wood (spruce) in the US could probable come from anywhere from the mountains of the Carolinas to Maine, and then there's always the vast range of wood from the Rockies and other western mountains. There can be a lot of climate variation over those areas.

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On 11/2/2020 at 4:50 AM, Craig Cowing said:

I have a cello that I think is American made ca. 18O0 and would like to get a dendro test done. 

Dendrochronology started in the States back in the early 1900's with the dating of ancient Indian and Incan ruins. Douglass was also an astronomer!! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._E._Douglass

A number of north american master chronologies are available on the internet through the International Tree Ring Databank ITRDB run by the U.S. government  https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/paleoclimatology-data/datasets/tree-ring

In addition look on Prof. Henri D. Grissino-Mayer's website for more information. https://www.ltrr.arizona.edu/~grissino/treering.htm

Grissino Mayer can probably point you in the right direction or surely Peter Ratcliff who contributes to MaestroNet.

 

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Certainly people are doing dendrochronology research on American wood.  Archeologists use the resulting information to date Indian sites.   The real question is if the research can be of any use in dating American-made instruments.  Unless you know where your wood was grown, I doubt that it can, because, as Doug notes, different areas require different reference chronologies.

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7 hours ago, Brad Dorsey said:

Certainly people are doing dendrochronology research on American wood.  Archeologists use the resulting information to date Indian sites.   The real question is if the research can be of any use in dating American-made instruments.  Unless you know where your wood was grown, I doubt that it can, because, as Doug notes, different areas require different reference chronologies.

If you run through all the American chronologies and you get a significant date on your wood. It could suggest where it was cut. The dating of indian dwellings was in the first part of the last century and since then master chronologies for spruce and other similarly growing conifers have been compiled for areas all over the US and Canada. https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo-search/?dataTypeId=18

Obviously a lot of wood was imported from Europe so you may end up with a European date but in circa 1800 it may well be local wood. Personally I don't know of anyone who is compiling measurements for  instruments made in north or south america. It would be great if someone could measure all the instruments in David Bromberg's collection. That would be a good start.

Prof. Henri D. Grissino-Mayer was one of the scientists involved in the definitive dating of the 'Messiah'.

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On 11/3/2020 at 8:40 PM, Brad Dorsey said:

Certainly people are doing dendrochronology research on American wood.  Archeologists use the resulting information to date Indian sites.   The real question is if the research can be of any use in dating American-made instruments.  Unless you know where your wood was grown, I doubt that it can, because, as Doug notes, different areas require different reference chronologies.

The back is definitely American Sycamore. The table could be either spruce or pine. The cello comes from the Moravian area outside Philadelphia so I would expect that it is made from wood from that region.

 

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1 hour ago, David Burgess said:

How have you determined that?

It’s possible it is European or American beech also but is comparable to images of quarter sawn American sycamore which has distinctive figuring. I am also planning to take it to the hardwood dealer I go to to have them identify it.

the thing that makes me think it’s American is the presence of a label from a Philadelphia music store that dates from the period 1829-37. I know others know more about this than I do but it seems unlikely anyone was importing cellos from. Europe at that time. They were too large and there were already luthiers making them in Eastern Pennsylvania.

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19 hours ago, Craig Cowing said:

...but it seems unlikely anyone was importing cellos from Europe at that time. They were too large and there were already luthiers making them in Eastern Pennsylvania.

Many American makers have used imported wood, as do I. As far as shipping is concerned, the wood takes up much less space than a completed cello, and is not nearly as fragile.

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29 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

Many American makers have used imported wood, as do I. As far as shipping is concerned, the wood takes up much less space than a completed cello, and is not nearly as fragile.

Sure, that happened all the time, in the past as now, just as 18th century American furniture makers used mahogany for some of their high end pieces because that's what the customer wanted. And, in your case, you use imported wood because you feel it is the best and it's what your customers want. Since this is identified as American Sycamore that takes imported wood out of the equation.

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On 11/5/2020 at 9:57 PM, Craig Cowing said:

the thing that makes me think it’s American is the presence of a label from a Philadelphia music store that dates from the period 1829-37. I know others know more about this than I do but it seems unlikely anyone was importing cellos from. Europe at that time. They were too large and there were already luthiers making them in Eastern Pennsylvania.

Celli from that time period made in the states are exceedingly rare, most were imported.  I would start by just seeking out some general expertise... maybe even posting pictures here.  If warranted, there are a few people in and around Philadelphia, and else where in PA whom are well acquainted with instruments made by people associated with the Moravian church. 

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14 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Maybe, maybe not. What are the credentials of this wood dealer? Are all wood dealers equally qualified?

I would imagine that not all wood dealers are not qualified. In this case, this is a highly professional company. They do high end interior work for clients around the Northeast. They are extremely qualified to make a call. They know their wood.

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9 hours ago, Jerry Lynn said:

Celli from that time period made in the states are exceedingly rare, most were imported.  I would start by just seeking out some general expertise... maybe even posting pictures here.  If warranted, there are a few people in and around Philadelphia, and else where in PA whom are well acquainted with instruments made by people associated with the Moravian church.

I'm going to post pics soon. My problem is money. I know that appraisals are expensive, and right now, with COVID rising again, income is tenuous. I have been able to compare the body shape with pics of some Moravian instruments in Pennsylvania collections and there is a lot of similarity.

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56 minutes ago, Craig Cowing said:

I'm going to post pics soon. My problem is money. I know that appraisals are expensive, and right now, with COVID rising again, income is tenuous. I have been able to compare the body shape with pics of some Moravian instruments in Pennsylvania collections and there is a lot of similarity.

Instruments in the Moravian archive in Bethlehem and elsewhere look very much like their European counterparts...

Where are you located?

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48 minutes ago, Jerry Lynn said:

Instruments in the Moravian archive in Bethlehem and elsewhere look very much like their European counterparts...

Where are you located?

Sure. The luthiers learned their trade at home and came here so they made instruments that looked like Bohemian/Saxon instruments. The difference, if it exists at all, would be in the materials used. This cello looks Bohemian but is made with American wood. 
 

I'm in CT and BC I would take a couple of days off, pack the cello up and drive a few hours to that part of PA and do the tour. Obviously that ain’t going to happen any time soon unfortunately. 
 

pics later today when I can devote some time to it. 

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15 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

If someone walked into my shop with that, I would speculate that it came from somewhere like Ischl or Goisern

Bohemian?  I honestly don’t know.  I don’t have to have it an American instrument. If it was made in Bohemia and brought over in the 1830’s which I can document, that’s good too. To be honest I’m more interested in its  age. How old do you think it is? More pics soon. I’m wondering about the lack of purfling in particular. Is that a marker at all?

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24 minutes ago, Craig Cowing said:

Bohemian?  I honestly don’t know.  I don’t have to have it an American instrument. If it was made in Bohemia and brought over in the 1830’s which I can document, that’s good too. To be honest I’m more interested in its  age. How old do you think it is? More pics soon. I’m wondering about the lack of purfling in particular. Is that a marker at all?

Ischl and Goisern are in the Salzkammergut, between Salzburg and Linz in Austria. Not Bohemia. The use of beech would also be consistent with cheaper work from there, as is the lack of purfling. If so, I would guess the age as early 19th C.

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