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Exquisitely Patterned Wood for Bowed Instruments
Why not?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (3 votes) 
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ELCBK
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November 10, 2020 - 7:58 pm
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  1. What is so special about Flame Maple for Violins? 
  2. Are there special, physical properties associated with the Flame pattern, or can Birdseye or Lacey be substituted? 
  3. Are there other exquisitely patterned woods, similar in the density/quality of Maple? 
  4. Does stabilizing a burl knock it out of the running for use in making a violin?

I've asked a few of these questions elsewhere, but haven't really started to pursue answers... until I ran across this wonderful site (new to me), today - "Slight Violins". 

"Quilted Maple Violin"  

https://slightviolins.wordpres.....38;y=0  

I think I originally saw this (or similar article) about using Quilted Maple somewhere else (a while ago), but here's much more interesting info/articles here - "Case Treasures" (also, check out the back of this violin).  

https://slightviolins.wordpres.....easures/ 

Hope to find more about other wood used on acoustic, bowed instruments.  I really love the varied properties of wood species and their unique patterns - probably kinda weird for someone with a CF Violin... maybe some day I'll make my own of beautiful wood. 

I can dream! (lol)

A unique violin with back/sides made from camphor burl ...Image Enlarger- Emily 

Here's Camphor burl!

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GregW
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November 10, 2020 - 8:11 pm
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id like to hear what a western red cedar top and indian rosewood back would sound like on a violin. 

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ELCBK
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November 10, 2020 - 9:38 pm
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tenor.gif

@GregW -

That could be an interesting/beautiful possibility!  

 

  Mangore | Bellucci Guitars - Indonesian Rosewood B&S ...

 

← This acoustic guitar has an Indonesian Rosewood burl top -but how does it sound? 

 

Love Spalted, too! Mangore | Bellucci Guitars - Highly Figured Spalted Mango ...Image Enlarger

 

And I've seen acoustic guitars made with Curly Redwood! 

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/2026/2511/articles/Redwood-Curly-7-7-17_1024x1024.jpg?v=1554497251 

So, if it's good enough for acoustic guitar, is it good enough for violin?  

How about some wonderful Marquetry, or Intarsia work - does all the glue and/or interruption of woodgrain/density used to piece the design together change, or become detrimental to sound quality? 

 

Marquetry or Intarsia work?1903 W.R. MCCORD INLAID VIOLIN - OREGON MUSIC HISTORY!! | eBayImage Enlarger

 

Tinting is one thing, but hate when people try to pass off faux/painted wood grain as real/natural!  Truly believe faux painting effects should only be used where it's not possible to use the genuine material! 

- Emily

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GregW
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November 10, 2020 - 11:06 pm
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ELCBK
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November 10, 2020 - 11:45 pm
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https://sc.mogicons.com/share/drooling-emoticon-367.jpg

 

Okay, that's it... I'm drooling.

 

Gee, if I step up the physical therapy, slight chance I could get back to woodworking. (lol)

Since I'm just dreaming at the moment, my 1st project would be a violin! 

 

                                                ...don't laugh (too hard) - I got skills. 

 

                                                                          - Emily 

@GregW -

Thank you!  That is SUPER!

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ELCBK
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November 21, 2020 - 1:59 am
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@GregW - 

Thanx, Greg - the YouTube video of, "Rosin the Bow - A Fiddler's Journey through the World of the Violin Family" in your "Fiddle me This" thread, had some great stories! 

I loved the story how the gift of a fiddle-tune painting was unexpectedly reciprocated with a valuable piece of "Bear Claw" Spruce! 

"Bear Claw" Spruce is the figured form of "Sitka" Spruce. 

 

giphy.gif

 

- Emily 

What about "Cat Claw" Spruce?

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Gordon Shumway
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November 21, 2020 - 3:24 am
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I was compiling a list of wood and tree species the other day, but when I tried snakewood, I found that there were too many options. Anyone know which wood is used (for bows?) when snakewood is referred to?

Andrew

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ELCBK
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November 21, 2020 - 6:55 pm
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@Gordon Shumway -

The only snakewood I can find referenced everywhere for making bows is Brosimum guianense = Piratinera guianensis.  It's the species from South America, also known as Letterwood or Leopardwood. 

According to this database, Bloodwood (Brosimum rubescens) and Jicarillo (Brosimum spp.) are closely related to Snakewood - maybe worth looking into since Snakewood is so expensive. 

https://www.wood-database.com/.....akewood/ 

Snakewood (bookmatched)

 

- Emily

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Gordon Shumway
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November 22, 2020 - 5:02 am
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Wiki isn't too bad for some things, but its snakewood entry lists at least three different families. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snakewood

Andrew

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ELCBK
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November 22, 2020 - 7:48 pm
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@Gordon Shumway -

Yes, I guessed that was your source of reference, but I just couldn't find any bow maker's site/exotic wood site where any of those other species were ever mentioned/used specifically in making bows or musical instruments. 

I think you'll also find most of those other species have characteristics that make it pretty obvious why they aren't used for this purpose.

 

- Emily

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Gordon Shumway
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ELCB said
I think you'll also find most of those other species have characteristics that make it pretty obvious why they aren't used for this purpose.

Yeah, if I'd read the whole wiki article methodically, but I was initially put off by the seeming confusion. Also, snakewood was merely an unimportant afterthought anyway - my real purpose was to double-check what someone had said about various acacias and maples.

Andrew

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GregW
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I found an answer sorta kinda about cedar as a violin tonewood on one of my recent podcast adventures..  If I remember correctly, trying to be careful to not misquote, but the problem with cedar is it chips easily..especially on edges.  the link below is to one of the guys that was interviewed on rosin the bow ( im a broken record lately sorry..)  and fretboard journal.  very informative talks about the tonewood biz and such if youre into that sorta thing.

http://www.radiofreeolga.com/t.....klist.html

 

here is a link to the fretboard journal interview.  starts around 6:00mins in.  geared more to mandolin.  he is also interviewed on rosin the bow and the links to that are already on the forum somewhere.

https://www.fretboardjournal.c.....tonewoods/

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ELCBK
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December 10, 2020 - 12:20 pm
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@GregW -

Thanx! 

"Orcas Island Tonewoods".

I started listening, but will have to finish up later. 

One thing though, I didn't get any indication of problems using Western Red Cedar from the Jon Mangum video?  Don't know (yet) if your podcast covers differences between species or not. 

giphy.gif

 

- Emily 

...this is what happens when forced to stay inside with covid lockdowns.

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GregW
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my impression from interview was..its not that it wont work..its just harder to work with.  speaking of cedar.  i have no idea.   all ive ever done is change strings and attempt to play the darn things..:)

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Irv
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@ELCBK and others.  Let’s attack your original question in a different manner.  I think that having a top plate of spruce with dense seasonal growth lines likely has acoustic importance.  Figuring in the maple ribs and back likely has nil acoustic benefits.

Assuming that figured maple wood for back plate costs $400 more than structurally sound but plain maple (the small amount of wood required for the ribs makes their cost almost entirely labor), would the instrument sound better if the $400 was spent on labor  rather than wood?  I would wager that the plain back version would be superior.

Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.         —Frank Zappa

The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed. —William Gibson

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ELCBK
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April 10, 2021 - 1:18 am
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@Irv -

But, most people already get figured Maple (Flamed) on the back, ribs and maybe neck, so maybe not a huge step up to something fabulous?  

Is your price comparison from a luthier and his stock?

Helps if you're a scrounger like me, to keep an eye out for great deal on fresh or dried wood - never know when someone's wife (or husband 😁) says it's time to get rid of some stuff...  

If I was younger, I'd even be willing to wait for it to dry & take that to the fiddle maker! (lol) 

Stringy found a great video on YouTube - CNC carving a violin out of Olive wood - it looked great, but there was no one to really give a demo on the resulting sound. 

https://fiddlerman.com/forum/f.....#p114851 

I agree with you about the top plate. 

Definitely interested in what properties of the wood make the most desirable one - I've been suspecting it comes down to the individual tree/growing conditions maybe more than the species. 

 

giphy.gif

 

Really appreciate your view on this. 

- Emily

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