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Thread: Exotic Canary Wood F5 Back

  1. #1

    Default Exotic Canary Wood F5 Back

    I have a very unique piece of canary wood I was considering doing a build from. I have never built a mandolin, but I have built a couple acoustic guitars. I have done some practice carving on a top and it came fairly naturally to me. This piece is a one of a kind and I think it would make a beautiful back. There is not much information on the internet regarding canary wood for instruments. Overall, I read that it is easy to work and has good tonal properties. Does anyone have information regarding canary wood? Does the grain direction of the wood seem problematic for a back? I'd appreciate any and all feedback!
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  2. #2
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exotic Canary Wood F5 Back

    A few things:
    -You might get better responses in the builder's section.
    -You would be doing yourself a favor by building an "A" or other simpler design for your first mandolin, rather than an F5.
    -For a first build it is better to use standard materials, standard design and standard processes and learn from that before moving on. You then have a basis for comparison when evaluating your finished instrument. With an unusual wood in the mix, there is no good way to completely differentiate what contribution to sound is from the exotic wood and what contribution is from your build decisions.
    -Unless there is something about the canary wood that indicates that it would be a particularly good back wood, what is the reason for using it?
    -If the reason for using it is just novelty, or "I have it, I might as well sue it!" perhaps it would be better to build a more standard mandolin first and save the exotic wood for a future project.

    Now, with all the practical advice out of the way, I see no reason not to use the wood for a mandolin as long as it is reasonably stable, hard/dense, and glues well. I'm not familiar with canary wood and it's working characteristics, but some oily/resinous woods can be difficult to glue, and glue is what holds mandolins together.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exotic Canary Wood F5 Back

    Information for canary wood on wood-database.
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    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exotic Canary Wood F5 Back

    Canary wood is commonly used in the boutique steel string guitar world. With any non-traditional choice, you are on your own for figuring it out.

    Using comparative analysis with traditional woods like maple for things like density, mass, speed of sound, radiation ratio, and young's modulus will give you a methodical way to adjust the parameters.

    John's suggestion of building an A5 first is very good.

    Beware of another health hazard from building out of this nontraditional material: your head will ache constantly from listening to all the internet whiners crying,"....but Bill's mandolin wasn't canary wood...."
    Last edited by j. condino; Nov-05-2020 at 12:12pm.

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    Default Re: Exotic Canary Wood F5 Back

    I'm pretty sure no instrument builder, ever, said their first instrument was as good as their subsequent instruments. But I just searched for prices on canary wood and it doesn't look like it's rare or valuable. I'd build a first mandolin from inexpensive wood and then go to town with the canary wood.

    But with no building skills or tools, I would probably give the canary wood to someone better-equipped! :-)

    Rob

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    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exotic Canary Wood F5 Back

    That simple grain canary wood will be a lot easier to carve by hand than complex interlocking grain curly maple for a novice....

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    Registered User mtucker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exotic Canary Wood F5 Back

    Kendrick makes great amps in Austin TX and as an option and at a premium offers a canary cabinet/enclosure, supposedly for its high resonant quality. Yellow pine is used on cabinets for the same reason. I’ve never test driven one nor have I heard of using canary on an acoustic stringed instrument but that’s not saying it hasn’t been or isn’t done.

  11. #8

    Default Re: Exotic Canary Wood F5 Back

    Quote Originally Posted by Ayden Hofmeister View Post
    I'd appreciate any and all feedback!
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    Wipe down any joint surfaces with acetone before gluing to prevent oils contaminating the joint.
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    Default Re: Exotic Canary Wood F5 Back

    Quote Originally Posted by mtucker View Post
    Kendrick makes great amps in Austin TX and as an option and at a premium offers a canary cabinet/enclosure, supposedly for its high resonant quality. Yellow pine is used on cabinets for the same reason. I’ve never test driven one nor have I heard of using canary on an acoustic stringed instrument but that’s not saying it hasn’t been or isn’t done.
    Not sure about the resonance, but plywood and particle wood cabinets are harsher sounding and heavier. It is for the warmer sound that pine is used. Back in the day it was cheap, now it is for the quality of sound. Yes the resonance plays a part in the sound. It doesn't simply project it like a speaker cabinet for a stereo. There the particle board is preferable for not coloring the sound and projecting it.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  13. #10
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exotic Canary Wood F5 Back

    Quote Originally Posted by Fretbear View Post
    Wipe down any joint surfaces with acetone before gluing to prevent oils contaminating the joint.
    There is a lot of controversy on this statement within the woodworking community. Many believe that wiping it down first will actually cause more oils to pull to the surface of the wood. There are multiple conflicting studies and published articles.

    I would suggest that you do a few test samples of different methods and different glues, all tested to failure, to determine the best method for your intended use. My first choice would be a fresh cut, warm both surfaces to approx. 110, degrees F, and then use traditional hot hot hide glue. YMMV...

  14. #11
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exotic Canary Wood F5 Back

    One of the most important things for a glue joint is having freshly prepared surfaces. For oily/resinous woods I've seen many sources say to glue within 15 minutes of making the surface. Sometimes that means gluing as soon as possible after cutting the glue surface, sometimes it means a quick scraping or sanding to refresh the surface. That method is not controversial like wiping down with solvent, and there is a scientific explanation to back up it's validity. (I don't feel like taking the time to once again explain what goes on, as I understand it, right now.)

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    Default Re: Exotic Canary Wood F5 Back

    Quote Originally Posted by Ayden Hofmeister View Post
    I have a very unique piece of canary wood I was considering doing a build from. I have never built a mandolin, but I have built a couple acoustic guitars. I have done some practice carving on a top and it came fairly naturally to me. This piece is a one of a kind and I think it would make a beautiful back. There is not much information on the internet regarding canary wood for instruments. Overall, I read that it is easy to work and has good tonal properties. Does anyone have information regarding canary wood? Does the grain direction of the wood seem problematic for a back? I'd appreciate any and all feedback!
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Beautiful wood !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

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    Default Re: Exotic Canary Wood F5 Back

    I don’t understand why so much attention on preparing this wood for glueing. The Wood Database does not mentions it being oily and in facts states that it “glues well”. Judging by its specs I would think it should make a goo tone wood.
    Don

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exotic Canary Wood F5 Back

    Quote Originally Posted by multidon View Post
    I don’t understand why so much attention on preparing this wood for glueing...
    I don't really either. I mentioned it in my first post, but I also said that I'm not familiar with canarywood. It was simply a suggestion for the OP to check that out before gluing the wood. That was before I consulted the Wood Database (which I did just before the link was posted).
    From there it just sort of took off, but I felt that I needed to post again for those who will take info from this thread about gluing oily/resinous wood.

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  22. #15

    Default Re: Exotic Canary Wood F5 Back

    Thanks everyone for the responses! They have been very helpful so far.

  23. #16

    Default Re: Exotic Canary Wood F5 Back

    Quote Originally Posted by sunburst View Post
    A few things:
    -You might get better responses in the builder's section.
    -You would be doing yourself a favor by building an "A" or other simpler design for your first mandolin, rather than an F5.
    -For a first build it is better to use standard materials, standard design and standard processes and learn from that before moving on. You then have a basis for comparison when evaluating your finished instrument. With an unusual wood in the mix, there is no good way to completely differentiate what contribution to sound is from the exotic wood and what contribution is from your build decisions.
    -Unless there is something about the canary wood that indicates that it would be a particularly good back wood, what is the reason for using it?
    -If the reason for using it is just novelty, or "I have it, I might as well sue it!" perhaps it would be better to build a more standard mandolin first and save the exotic wood for a future project.

    Now, with all the practical advice out of the way, I see no reason not to use the wood for a mandolin as long as it is reasonably stable, hard/dense, and glues well. I'm not familiar with canary wood and it's working characteristics, but some oily/resinous woods can be difficult to glue, and glue is what holds mandolins together.
    Thanks for the great feedback! After some more research I have decided that it would be best to take your advice and start with a simpler build. I am considering a two point mandolin similar to the Lyon and Healy style B mandolin. I've done some tests with gluing the canary wood using Titebond original and it seems to be working great. I tried one using solvent and one without and both were strong enough for the wood to break outside the seam.

  24. #17

    Default Re: Exotic Canary Wood F5 Back

    I have built a few F5s and that's what I started with. Crazy I know but I learned a lot about building and carving but not a damn thing about tone. My next mandolin will be a plane Jane A5 and I don't plan on building another F5 until I get the tone that I'm after. The build should go much much faster and I may be able to build enough of them to get some idea of what I'm doing. That's my plan and I may stick to it :-)
    Richard Hutchings

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    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Exotic Canary Wood F5 Back

    Quote Originally Posted by Dick Hutchings View Post
    I have built a few F5s and that's what I started with. Crazy I know but I learned a lot about building and carving but not a damn thing about tone. My next mandolin will be a plane Jane A5 and I don't plan on building another F5 until I get the tone that I'm after. The build should go much much faster and I may be able to build enough of them to get some idea of what I'm doing. That's my plan and I may stick to it :-)
    Perhaps the best response I've read all year!

  27. #19

    Default Re: Exotic Canary Wood F5 Back

    Quote Originally Posted by Dick Hutchings View Post
    I have built a few F5s and that's what I started with. Crazy I know but I learned a lot about building and carving but not a damn thing about tone. My next mandolin will be a plane Jane A5 and I don't plan on building another F5 until I get the tone that I'm after. The build should go much much faster and I may be able to build enough of them to get some idea of what I'm doing. That's my plan and I may stick to it :-)
    This is an extremely helpful post. Theres a lot to learn here from your experience. I think it is a great idea to start with a simpler build to begin to understand tone... after all, it is a musical instrument (it's easy to get distracted by the wonderful aesthetics of the mandolin). Thanks for sharing!

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