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Thread: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

  1. #26
    Registered User bernabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    I know Spruce has seen this as I just grabbed the link from a post he made on another site: 5:55 and forward. The whole thing's pretty good. http://www.fretboardjournal.com/vide...-rim-tonewoods

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  3. #27
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    The guy in the video, Steve McMinn, put together a slide show and presented it at the 1989 ASIA symposium. That was where I was first introduced to the methods and procedures of harvesting wood for instrument use. In those days, he salvaged blown down and dead fall logs in the forest, hired college students to backpack tools in, cut logs to lengths and split them right there in the woods, then backpacked the billets out. He then sawed the split billets into guitar tops, by hand, with a jig in a bandsaw, dried them by stickering them in a room with a Sears and Roebuck dehumidifier, and sold the tops to guitar makers. In those days, a very nice cedar guitar top was about $8 and a nice sitka spruce top was $10 or $12. Even so, it looks like the economics worked out OK to expand the business!

    (It was later that same year, 1989, that I went with Ted Davis on his first major red spruce harvesting expedition in West Virginia, that was important in starting the resurgence of red spruce as a top material for instruments. At that time, sitka was ubiquitous, european was premium, red was not being used, and engelmann was just starting to make an appearance on the market. How times change, and how they make us feel old!)

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  5. #28
    NY Naturalist BradKlein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    Update from the OP: Well, it took me 6 months to get out to the tree about an hour's drive from my apartment in Brooklyn, and get a portion of the Norway Maple cut and split. I just made do with what was around at my friend's house, which meant splitting with an 8lb sledge hammer (9lb was a little too heavy) and wedges. Kids, learn from my mistakes, or better yet, make your own.

    The tree sat for a couple of months with the bark on, and you can see pretty clearly an inch or so of spalted and discolored wood on the outside edge. I started with 15-16" diameter, and as the experts predicted, the pith was off center in places, so I have some quarters that should be wide enough for two piece mandolin backs. There's certainly some staining, but I can live with that if the wood's sound.

    The splitting certainly wastes a fair amount of wood, but I just wasn't comfortable ripping with a chain saw, and didn't feel confident enough in the quality to justify getting it to a mill. But just the fact that I was able to split these large piece counts as a success. I was even able to halve some longer portions, 30" X 12" diameter - for necks and sides. Now it's stacked on an old pallet, and end sealed with some random house paint, and we'll see how it goes. The figure looks nice and tight, and fairly uniform.

    Thanks for all the advice and encouragement, folks.

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  6. #29
    NY Naturalist BradKlein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    Another question for those in the know - and forgive me if it's unanswerable or otherwise dumb. How can I evaluate the usefulness of the wood that I've squirreled away?

    I imagine that a first step is to see if I can get it to dry reasonably well without end checks, rot, or insect damage. And I expect that I'll have some ideas of how that's going by the end of the Summer.

    Beyond that, is there a way to evaluate potential beyond building an instrument and seeing how it comes out? For example, I suppose that I could 'kiln dry' a small amount, or even bring a billet inside this Fall and let it dry more quickly in a heated environment. Then I could at least evaluate it for hardness, relative to other maples that I've worked, and weight/volume. Even if I brought or sent a sample to an experienced luthier, could they evaluate it?

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  7. #30
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    If it's not rotten or something else making it useless, it is just nice flamed maple wood. The span between soft and hard maples is so wide that I bet it will fit in there with all the other maples. Ižd guess it will be in the upper half of range of density and hardness. I'd seal the ends with something else than paint as it can get sucked into maple wood end-grain very deep. (I once used brown paint and I had brown dots more than 2" from the end of the billet). Wax is better choice.
    Adrian

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  9. #31
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    Quote Originally Posted by BradKlein View Post
    Another question for those in the know - and forgive me if it's unanswerable or otherwise dumb. How can I evaluate the usefulness of the wood that I've squirreled away?

    I imagine that a first step is to see if I can get it to dry reasonably well without end checks, rot, or insect damage. And I expect that I'll have some ideas of how that's going by the end of the Summer.

    Beyond that, is there a way to evaluate potential beyond building an instrument and seeing how it comes out? For example, I suppose that I could 'kiln dry' a small amount, or even bring a billet inside this Fall and let it dry more quickly in a heated environment. Then I could at least evaluate it for hardness, relative to other maples that I've worked, and weight/volume. Even if I brought or sent a sample to an experienced luthier, could they evaluate it?

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    I'd mill those billets into mando sets--backs, sides, and necks, and let them dry a little more....
    Hopefully you won't have much fungal stain...

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  11. #32
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    Figure out each use you might put it to and cut to appropriate lengths. (For example, think about whether you might want octave mandolins, backs and necks, think about side material and so forth.) Cut the log into lengths, strip the bark...
    Quote Originally Posted by BradKlein View Post
    The tree sat for a couple of months with the bark on...
    Big mistake...
    For those of you using this thread for future reference, strip the bark.
    That is all...

  12. #33
    NY Naturalist BradKlein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    Once again, I serve as a cautionary tale!

    Hoping that spalted mando backs are in fashion a few years from now...
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  13. #34
    NY Naturalist BradKlein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    THREAD REVIVED - HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL!

    Most of these quartered logs have been sitting - stacked for maximum airflow, and covered with corrugated roofing - for about 28 months now. But this one piece has been in NYC with me, outside, under cover. It has stopped losing weight via air drying - and so I suppose it's a reasonable time to haul it to a friend with a band saw and re-saw into mando/fiddle sets, and see how much checking and staining there is.

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    These are SPLIT quarters 7-10" on the radius side and 19-35" long - and I'm wondering about the best dimensions to aim for, off the band saw. I imagine touching them up on a jointer before use.

    For F or A mandolins, I'm thinking 17.5" x 6" (440mm x 152mm) tapering from 1" to 3/8" (25mm to 8mm) thickness.
    for sides: 35" x 2" x 2" (890mm x 50mm x 50mm) for later milling and re-sawing
    for necks: 18" x 2.5" x 3.5" for later milling and re-sawing

    For violins - I think the wedges could be as small as 4.5 - 5", but I may as well aim at the larger mandolin size if I can get it.

    But perhaps they should air dry as wedges twice that thick, and then each be re-sawn in half closer to use???

    If they do not seem sound, well... I'll have provided a pile of firewood for my friend on Long Island, where the stack has been sitting. But if there is staining, I may still be willing to re-saw the whole pile just for the satisfaction of moving forward with my tone wood project. Bruce and John have already provided much expert information in this thread - thanks to them and everyone who has contributed.
    Last edited by BradKlein; Aug-19-2018 at 2:28pm.
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  15. #35
    Full Grown and Cussin' brunello97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    Nice lid, Brad.

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  17. #36
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Harvesting Norway Maple A. platanoides

    The fungal staining can often be bleached. SOme pieces I cut and didn't stack properly years ago got some staining but two or three applications of hydrogen peroxide (techincal 33% from drugstore) didi the trick.
    I'd resaw into 2" thick wedges (on the thicker side) so if there is any residual stress inside and they will warp you'll still have enough to flatten and still get a matched pair sufficiently thick. But since the wood is quartered any cupping will be likely minimal.
    Adrian

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