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Hi! I'm a relatively new violin maker, working on number 12. I am planing the top center joint, and the shavings have a reasonably strong pine scent. Can spruce smell of pine, or did my supplier send me an odd-ball? I've received 8 other wood sets from this company, a reputable independent tonewood supplier in the NW. It is sold as Sitka Spruce, but this top does seem a little different, a bit wider grain, and a small sap-pocket defect, but straight and has a fine ring. It is white/yellowish, as compared to the prior tops that were a bit browner than the European Spruce I've received from International Violin in the past. I will attach a photo... (sorry it's not scratch'n sniff)

Spruce or pine photo.jpg

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12 hours ago, spruce or pine said:

Hi! I'm a relatively new violin maker, working on number 12. I am planing the top center joint, and the shavings have a reasonably strong pine scent. Can spruce smell of pine, or did my supplier send me an odd-ball? I've received 8 other wood sets from this company, a reputable independent tonewood supplier in the NW. It is sold as Sitka Spruce, but this top does seem a little different, a bit wider grain, and a small sap-pocket defect, but straight and has a fine ring. It is white/yellowish, as compared to the prior tops that were a bit browner than the European Spruce I've received from International Violin in the past. I will attach a photo... (sorry it's not scratch'n sniff)

 

Spruce is a Pine. It belong to the Pinaceae family.

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10 minutes ago, sospiri said:

Genus Picea, Family Pinaceae.

Yes, and pines are from the genus Pinus. Not the same. Spruce and pine are similar in many ways being from the same Family, but also very different from each other as Family is not that closely related. However, in older texts such as the Hill's books they often will refer to the spruce tops as pine, but they are not.

Cheers,

Jim

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3 minutes ago, Jim Bress said:

Yes, and pines are from the genus Pinus. Not the same. Spruce and pine are similar in many ways being from the same Family, but also very different from each other as Family is not that closely related. However, in older texts such as the Hill's books they often will refer to the spruce tops as pine, but they are not.

Cheers,

Jim

Taxonomy makes my head spin.

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Awesome answers, everyone! I am not sure how long these boards have been seasoned, and I've only had them a few weeks. It makes sense they may need a little more time. I'll date them and put them back up on the rack, at least until they stop smelling so nice...

I've been reading The Pegbox for the last 8 months, and feel like I've gotten to know you all from years of posts. Here's my intro...

My name is Craig Danner, and I live in Hood River, Oregon. I studied violin making in Maryland with Willis Gault in 1984, then changed gears when I figured out how hard it would be to earn a living as a luthier. I've been a Physician Assistant for 35 years now, but the pandemic convinced me to close my solo practice and go back to violin making. I'm "apprenticing" myself virtually with the amazing Davide Sora videos and a commitment to making 26 alphabetically named violins (first was "the Abomination" and I'm just finishing "Jakarta"). I wake up every morning anxious to get to the workshop. I hope to make this another career and spend the next 35 years making violins.

Cheers!

Craig

Nine Violins.jpg

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3 hours ago, sospiri said:

If Scots Pine could be used for the belly, I could supply all you need. 

Obviously it is unsuitable but I don't know the technical reasons why.

It's not so much that alternative materials are necessarily unsuitable, but they are contrary to tradition.

If you want to make a violin with a Scots Pine, Titebond, metal strings, and a Teak back, then make it.

Perhaps you will deem it the best violin you've seen?

But it won't be traditional.  Maybe you don't want traditional. I do. But maybe you don't.

So skip the Italian Spruce and Balkan Maple.  Leave the hide glue on the shelf.

The guitar world doesn't seem to miss the older traditions.  

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11 hours ago, sospiri said:

If Scots Pine could be used for the belly, I could supply all you need. 

Obviously it is unsuitable but I don't know the technical reasons why.

Show a winter grain line per square inch example so that you can get an opinion.  My first thought is that it may be a weak wood or not strong enough. 

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22 hours ago, sospiri said:

If Scots Pine could be used for the belly, I could supply all you need. 

Obviously it is unsuitable but I don't know the technical reasons why.

Why did Howard Hughes make the Spruce Goose out of spruce?  It's actually a very special material.  It's tough and strong for its weight, and it's highly elastic.  It returns a high portion of energy spent mechanically flexing it.

Whatever the technical details, multiple cultures independently have indarrived at preferring spruce as the primary sound radiating wood for many traditional instruments. Cedar and a few other woods are distantly in thw running, but far behind spruce.

Such traditonal cultural preferences reflect generations, or even millenia, of collective learning.

But you know better.  Use the random salvage wood.  Since it landed in your lap by accident, it must be great.

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28 minutes ago, David Beard said:

Why did Howard Hughes make the Spruce Goose out of spruce?  It's actually a very special material.  It's tough and strong for its weight, and it's highly elastic.  It returns a high portion of energy spent mechanically flexing it.

Whatever the technical details, multiple cultures independently have indarrived at preferring spruce as the primary sound radiating wood for many traditional instruments. Cedar and a few other woods are distantly in thw running, but far behind spruce.

Such traditonal cultural preferences reflect generations, or even millenia, of collective learning.

But you know better.  Use the random salvage wood.  Since it landed in your lap by accident, it must be great.

Huh? 

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The Spruce Goose has been said to be mainly built out of Birch, probably why it only got 70 feet off the ground. Or rather water.  Just to muddy the waters.

 

I was wondering about the height of the plates, pretty sure I have some reasonable wood, spruce or pine, that I picked up at Home Depot. Seems a 3/4" board will do nicely.

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