Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 68

Thread: Moon Wood

  1. #1
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    766

    Default Moon Wood

    Over on my MAS thread, Allen Hopkins and I were discussing Octofones, new and old.
    Apparently the top and bracing of the new ones are made of something called "MoonWood":

    Allen quotes from the Octofone Guitar Co. website:

    Top and internal Bracing MoonWood Spruce-from the Swiss/Austrian/Italian Alps- The MoonWood is harvested once a year when there is a full moon. At this time the moisture is pulled from the tree into its roots. Also the leaves on the trees form a canopy which allows the leaves to have full direct sun throughout the day causing the grains of the wood to be their straightest. This forest is located above 10,000 feet and is the very same forest that Stradivarius used to make his famous violins nearly 200 years ago.

    Is this really a thing? Love to hear what some of you dendrology and tonewood folks think.

  2. The following members say thank you to Sue Rieter for this post:


  3. #2

    Default Re: Moon Wood

    Moon Spruce is touted by some "aficionados" over on the AGF. Mostly Marketing, IMO.

  4. #3
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    15,069

    Default Re: Moon Wood

    It's really not much better than ordinary wood unless it is harvested by leprechauns, and since leprechauns are not normally from the Swiss Alps they must be brought in at considerable expense. The reason is, they are the only ones capable of summoning the wood nymphs that bless the MoonWood and make it superior to all other wood, and in fact superior to all other materials.
    (As an aside, I've heard that part of the reason for the push to get back to the moon is so that domes can be constructed to grow spruce trees on the moon itself, thus producing material that will make all other materials obsolete.)

  5. The Following 15 Users Say Thank You to sunburst For This Useful Post:

    + Show/Hide list of the thanked


  6. #4
    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Forest Grove, Oregon
    Posts
    1,862

    Default Re: Moon Wood

    If you believe, it is a thing.

    With 13 full moons a year, plenty of reasons to be suspicious.
    Play it like you mean it

    Not all the clams are at the beach

    Arrow G
    Clark 2 point
    Ratliff CountryBoy A
    00-21 (voiced by Eldon Stutzman)

  7. #5
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    28,461

    Default Re: Moon Wood

    Shmergel Devastators have been built from 100% moonwood since the beginning of the company. Strings are Moonel steel and tuners are made from tensilized crater ore. Consult your rep at your local Shmergel showroom. The new 2022 models will be out soon.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  8. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Jim Garber For This Useful Post:


  9. #6
    Registered User Eric Hanson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Bloomington, IN / USA
    Posts
    770

    Default Re: Moon Wood

    FWIW
    Some years ago I had Butch CLick build a mandolin for me using the Moon Wood. It was a very warm sounding instrument that still had a measure of bite.
    And, I also gave a top set to a local luthier to do as he pleased.
    He was building 5 consecutively at the time.
    The one with the Moon Wood was really nice. In fact, he sent it to a relative to borrow/play for a period of time. When it came back to his shop he was QUITE please with the result.
    The wood when shipped to me was right on the mark for moisture content.
    My experience with the seller was a very good one.
    Eric Hanson
    Click #016/ Born on 2/29/08 - Sold to the next Conservator of this great mandolin!
    The search has ceased! (At least for now)
    Collings A-Style

  10. The following members say thank you to Eric Hanson for this post:


  11. #7
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    2,408

    Default Re: Moon Wood

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    Over on my MAS thread, Allen Hopkins and I were discussing Octofones, new and old.
    Apparently the top and bracing of the new ones are made of something called "MoonWood":

    Allen quotes from the Octofone Guitar Co. website:

    Top and internal Bracing MoonWood Spruce-from the Swiss/Austrian/Italian Alps- This forest is located above 10,000 feet and is the very same forest that Stradivarius used to make his famous violins nearly 200 years ago.

    Is this really a thing? Love to hear what some of you dendrology and tonewood folks think.

    This would be a neat trick, since Stradivari was born in 1644 and would have been 180 years old "nearly 200 years ago." He did live a very long time, but not that long. And the tree line in the Alps varies between 5700 and 7200 feet.

    There might still be some very fine wood available from the Alps. But if you're going to print a line of baloney, it's best to get your facts straight first.

    While I'm not a dendrologist, and my scientific knowledge of wood is limited, I can read an encyclopedia.

  12. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to rcc56 For This Useful Post:


  13. #8
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    766

    Default Re: Moon Wood

    I'm wondering if that marketing blub is mainly a garbling of something traditional that may actually have potential merit.

    Further perusing of the internet lead to this website from a seller of this wood, which maintains that this is wood produced in a traditional way, and it's the last quarter of a waning moon in winter, not some special full moon.
    Last edited by Sue Rieter; Jun-12-2021 at 2:03pm. Reason: fixed link

  14. #9
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    15,069

    Default Re: Moon Wood

    I clicked the link. There's nothing particularly wrong with traditional methods of harvesting and processing of wood, but other methods can produce wood just as good if not better.
    As for phases of the moon, NW slopes, specific altitudes and grain lines per inch; Hogwash.
    There are good reasons to harvest spruce in winter, but the trees don't care about the moon phase. They do "care" about fungus and insect damage that can easily happen in warm weather. Grain lines per inch is only important to looks. The ratio of stiffness to density is important for the luthier, and that is almost completely independent of lines per inch. Lines per inch is also independent of elevation where the tree is grown. Etc. etc..
    Last edited by sunburst; Jun-12-2021 at 2:51pm.

  15. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to sunburst For This Useful Post:


  16. #10

  17. #11
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    2,408

    Default Re: Moon Wood

    As far as Octofones are concerned, about 20 years ago, I was given an old Regal that needed a bit of work to make it playable.

    I gave it a new ebony nut, modified a solid compensated ebony bridge of unknown origin, installed a celluloid pickguard, and cleaned up the frets. I cut down the top of the bridge beneath the 3rd and 4th strings and inlaid a piece of bone for those strings to rest on, because it seemed to make sense at the time. It "firmed up" the tone on the 3rd and 4th strings.
    A couple of years later, the neck, which was dowelled on, started to come loose, so I installed an LMI style threaded insert and a bolt. It has been stable ever since.

    All you need to know about Regal Octofone specs:

    The top is tight grained spruce of indeterminate species, .106" thick at the soundhole. If I had to guess, I would guess Michigan white spruce.
    The back and sides are birch. The neck may be birch or it may be something else.
    The fingerboard is the mystery wood popularly known as "dyed pearwood." It is 1 5/16" wide at the nut, 1 5/8" wide at the 12th fret, and the scale length is 532 mm. or approximately 20 15/16".
    The finish appears to be some sort of varnish.

    The sound hole is 2 11/16" in diameter, and the top and back have 4 spruce ladder braces. The 1st and 4th top braces are a bit lighter than the 2nd and 3rd.
    The tailpiece is labelled "Bell Brand," "Patented," "N.M.S. Company."
    The back of the peghead is stamped "PAT.APLD.FOR." The tuners appear to have been made by Waverly, with plain rectangular base plates.
    The original bridge was "dyed pearwood." If I recall correctly, the original nut appeared to be the same stuff.

    I string it quite lightly, with 11 - 16 plain - 26 nickel - 41 nickel. I tune it GDAE or GDAD, depending on my mood. I like it. It is all the octave mandolin I will ever need.

    I'm sorry. The records of the phase of the moon, the alignment of the planets, and their location in the signs of the zodiac at the time the top was harvested have not survived.
    Last edited by rcc56; Jun-12-2021 at 5:48pm.

  18. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to rcc56 For This Useful Post:


  19. #12
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    SD
    Posts
    3,190

    Default Re: Moon Wood

    I only want wood harvested by virgin wood nymphs on the winter solstice!

    Seriously though the only benefit I can see of a winter harvested wood would be the lack of moisture because the sap is not running as much, and I’m not even sure that is a good thought.

    But, I like winter and was born in December so it has to be the best wood for me, right?
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

  20. The following members say thank you to John Bertotti for this post:


  21. #13
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    2,408

    Default Re: Moon Wood

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bertotti View Post
    I only want wood harvested by virgin wood nymphs on the winter solstice!
    This idea is much more appealing to me than leprechauns, elves, dwarfs, or just about anything else I can think of. Except perhaps slightly more mature nymphs on the vernal equinox.

  22. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to rcc56 For This Useful Post:


  23. #14
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    766

    Default Re: Moon Wood

    Okay, so it seems the consensus is what I was originally thinking: marketing for those of a particular esoteric mindset. I guess for instruments like the one Eric mentioned above, it's probably an awesome piece of wood for some other reason.

    I'm happy with my old Regal Octofone, and look forward to it being ready to play. I guess I don't need the Aquarian model.

    Edit: I wouldn't mind the new TKL case that comes with them, though. The case that came with mine is destined for the trash.
    Last edited by Sue Rieter; Jun-12-2021 at 6:43pm.

  24. The following members say thank you to Sue Rieter for this post:


  25. #15
    Teacher, luthier
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Southeast Tennessee
    Posts
    2,408

    Default Re: Moon Wood

    I recommend that you string it lightly. The original Octofones were built much more lightly than modern octave mandolins. It doesn't take much to drive the sound board, and anything more than a light set of strings might cause the instrument to fold in upon itself.

  26. #16
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    766

    Default Re: Moon Wood

    Thanks. That seems to be the universal recommendation from folks whose opinions I have come to value.

  27. #17
    Mandolin & Mandola maker
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Bega NSW, Australia
    Posts
    1,288

    Default Re: Moon Wood

    Yes well "moonwood" has been done to death on the guitar forums, and now the stupid done to death jokes are appearing here as well. I have used wood from the Swiss Alps from this vendor before and after they started calling it "moonwood". It is really just a name for traditional harvesting techniques turned into marketing. All I can say is that it is excellent Spruce, some of the best I have seen or used, and have recommended it to other luthiers. If you want some of the very best quality European Spruce from the Alps then this is it. Whether that is because of when it was harvested or not I have no idea. Do I care, NO. Does it matter, NO.
    Peter Coombe - mandolins, mandolas and guitars
    http://www.petercoombe.com

  28. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to peter.coombe For This Useful Post:


  29. #18
    Registered User tree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    1,490

    Default Re: Moon Wood

    Please make it stop
    Clark Beavans

  30. The following members say thank you to tree for this post:


  31. #19
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    Posts
    1,177

    Default Re: Moon Wood

    The moon should pull the sap up, not down.

  32. #20
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    15,069

    Default Re: Moon Wood

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bertotti View Post
    ...the only benefit I can see of a winter harvested wood would be the lack of moisture because the sap is not running as much, and I’m not even sure that is a good thought...
    Sap is only in the cambium layer, right under the bark. The moisture content of the wood itself will be beyond FSP (fiber saturation point) regardless of time of year (or phase of the moon).
    As I said earlier, the cold of winter discourages fungus and insect damage in wood, especially in spruce, and especially in the time between harvest and the start of drying.

  33. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to sunburst For This Useful Post:


  34. #21

    Default Re: Moon Wood

    Quote Originally Posted by Nevin View Post
    The moon should pull the sap up, not down.
    It depends on if the moon had risen or not at the time it was harvested.

  35. #22
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    13,141
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Moon Wood

    If you'll permit a bit of physics introduced into the discussion ...

    Astronomical occurrences may be a bit tricky to understand, and different aspects interrelate. Moon phases are caused by the relative motion of three celestial bodies - the moon, the earth, and the sun. The earth rotates on its axis once a day, and the moon's gravitational pull effects changes in large bodies of water, known as tides, which are highest at ones' locale when the moon's position relative to the earth is either above or on the opposite side, and at their lowest when the moon is farthest from one' locale, at right angles from the line from earth to moon. Moon phases are caused by the difference in sunlight reflected on the moon as seen from earth, and these go through their cycles - approximately 13 of them in the course of the year - as the earth-moon system revolves around the sun. Moon phases have nothing to do with gravitation, only visual perception. Sap in trees being pulled by the moon seems far-fetched to me, and even if there is some movement, it won't be affected by the phase of the moon, but perhaps in conjunction with the tides - ever so slightly, methinks. Further, methinks climactic changes as mentioned by others would be a much greater factor in moisture content variations.

    That said, at full moon the moon is opposite the earth from the sun, so perhaps the gravitational effect would pull the sap down - during the day, that is, when the moon would be on the other side of the earth form one's locale. Though it seems to me, the optimal time would be during the new moon, when the two celestial bodies would work together to exert maximum force this way.


    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Moon Phases.jpg 
Views:	12 
Size:	197.2 KB 
ID:	194665

    Thus saith the wiki:

    1) The lunar phase or Moon phase is the shape of the Moon's directly sunlit portion as viewed from Earth. The lunar phases gradually change over a synodic month (about 29.53 days) as the Moon's orbital positions around Earth and Earth around the Sun shift. The visible side of the moon is variously sunlit, depending on the position of the Moon in its orbit.

    2) Tidal forces affect the entire Earth, but the movement of solid Earth occurs by mere centimeters. In contrast, the atmosphere is much more fluid and compressible so its surface moves by kilometers, in the sense of the contour level of a particular low pressure in the outer atmosphere.

    So yeah, Captain Obvious is a bit of a killjoy. But it's better to understand what is really going on than get taken in by someone spinning a lot of hooey. IMO, FWIW, & YMMV.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    Lucinda Williams and Eric Von Schmidt (who would have turned 90 5/28/21), the night devotee met hero (and both my heroes)

  36. #23
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Brisbane, Queensland
    Posts
    176

    Default Re: Moon Wood

    Just maybe it's not total nonsense: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/1998...-through-trees

    But moon schmoon. It's nice wood.

  37. #24
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Key West
    Posts
    13,141
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default Re: Moon Wood

    Wel-l-l-l-l ... I'm not going to say it's impossible, but ... Two things about that article right from the start - It's 23 years old, and it talks about minuscule fluctuations. A few micrometers variation in the diameter of a tree trunk ... That's fairly negligible.

    But keep looking. If you or anyone can find something more recent that provides evidence of the moon's effects on trees, I'd like to see it. Who knows? Stradivarius et al may have been onto something. People have been trying to figure out what makes his violins so great for centuries. Workmanship and materials ... some mysterious combination that was just right.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

    Blues Mando Social Group
    Gibson Mandolins Social Group
    North Florida Mandolin Players Social Group

    Lucinda Williams and Eric Von Schmidt (who would have turned 90 5/28/21), the night devotee met hero (and both my heroes)

  38. #25
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Brisbane, Queensland
    Posts
    176

    Default Re: Moon Wood

    It didn't persuade me either. But if the moon does something measurable to trees (just) I suppose the moonwood story is just possibly free of leprechauns.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •