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Thread: Moon Wood

  1. #51
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Moon Wood

    Hey, not to worry ... but thanks all the same. I didn't mean to single you out, nor anyone else; it was the cumulative effect of people guessing that got to me. I didn't know myself - nor ever cared before, to be honest - so I looked it up. That's the way I am and how I do, which isn't the same for everyone. Not a big deal, but I do find it puzzling. Anyway, I'm climbing down off the soap box now. Next!
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  3. #52
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Moon Wood

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    Q: What are the qualities of a good piece of wood?
    A: Stiff, dense, resonant, and well seasoned.
    I would say most makers prefer stiff and less dense wood... especially violin makers won't go over some density for spruce, they rarely even consider red spruce because it is heavier in average. Mandolin/guitar makers accept the heavier red spruce but it HAS to be proportionally stiff. Of course there are guitar/ mandolin makers who would use only red spruce just because the vintage mojo...
    Adrian

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  5. #53
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Moon Wood

    I'm surprised John Arnold has not commented yet; I'd guess he is lurking.

    I've cut plenty of spruce by hand and I buy it from several different sources.

    When I buy it from the local Duck Dynasty type guys, I assume the worst and store it up in the rafters for a decade.

    I also occasionally buy it from some folks in Europe whose families have been cutting it for centuries. When someone who has almost 300 years experience claims that there is a difference in their "moon wood", I'm inclined to take their word over my 30 years experience; just like when I chat it up with someone who has built 500+ great mandolins vs my 132 mandolins. I can build a great mandolin from a lot of different materials, a nice story adds to the fun.

    It amazes me how many people around here lick up the mythical unicorns and rainbow dust Lloyd Loar fairytales, but add a little creativity to a modern spruce dealer and suddenly, "You kidz get off my damned lawn!!!!!:"

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  7. #54
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Moon Wood

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    ...Sorry for ruining people's fun.
    Don't worry, J-Bear. Takes more than that to ruin our fun.
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  9. #55
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Moon Wood

    I'd hope so. Or keep folks from trying. But I'm not from the NFL - the No Fun League. No worries.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

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  10. #56
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    Default Re: Moon Wood

    Quote Originally Posted by j. condino View Post
    I'm surprised John Arnold has not commented yet; I'd guess he is lurking.

    I've cut plenty of spruce by hand and I buy it from several different sources.

    When I buy it from the local Duck Dynasty type guys, I assume the worst and store it up in the rafters for a decade.

    I also occasionally buy it from some folks in Europe whose families have been cutting it for centuries. When someone who has almost 300 years experience claims that there is a difference in their "moon wood", I'm inclined to take their word over my 30 years experience; just like when I chat it up with someone who has built 500+ great mandolins vs my 132 mandolins. I can build a great mandolin from a lot of different materials, a nice story adds to the fun.

    It amazes me how many people around here lick up the mythical unicorns and rainbow dust Lloyd Loar fairytales, but add a little creativity to a modern spruce dealer and suddenly, "You kidz get off my damned lawn!!!!!:"
    I don't buy the Loyd Loar fairy tales or the marketing from anyone, no matter how long they have been doing something. When I read the material, much of it was nonsensical and some were contrary to facts. Just because someone has been doing something for a long time doesn't mean they are doing it well.

  11. #57
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    Default Re: Moon Wood

    Well, let's say that the introduction of the F-5 design was possibly the greatest marketing success in the history of the mandolin, although it failed at the time because of the waning popularity of mandolins during that time. But yes, there's a lot of horse feathers in the old marketing material.

    And I've never played a bad Loar-signed mandolin, except perhaps for one that had been butchered. But some of them are much better than others.

    And as far as horse feathers go, Gibson couldn't hold a candle to the old S.S. Stewart company.

  12. #58
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    Default Re: Moon Wood

    Just because someone has been doing something for a long time doesn't mean they are doing it well.
    In the case of "moon" wood, they ARE doing it very well. Whether it is due to the moon or the trees or the processing or the climate or whatever really is irrelevant. It is superb quality European Spruce, no question. In the guitar world they are very well respected for the quality of the wood from builders who have actually used the wood, but there are also many stupid comments about "moon" from know it all's who have no idea. It is a pity that is also happening here as well, I thought we were better than that. I have made many mandolins from it and one classical guitar. The guitar is simply the best sounding classical guitar I have ever come across, so I have no complaints about "moon" wood, and will happily buy more of it when I run out. Currently working on a flat top mandolin with a very nice "moon" wood top.
    Peter Coombe - mandolins, mandolas and guitars
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  14. #59
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    Default Re: Moon Wood

    If Mr. Coombe says it is great wood, I believe him. The company's marketing approach may not be helping them, though.

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  16. #60
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Moon Wood

    Quote Originally Posted by peter.coombe View Post
    In the case of "moon" wood, they ARE doing it very well.
    Good to know.

    Quote Originally Posted by peter.coombe View Post
    Whether it is due to the moon or the trees or the processing or the climate or whatever really is irrelevant.
    Bogus claims may be irrelevant in terms of the quality of the wood, but not irrelevant to me and perhaps others who tend toward evidence-based decisions.

    Quote Originally Posted by peter.coombe View Post
    It is superb quality European Spruce, no question.
    Once again, good to know, but why then do they make up all sorts of stuff about the moon and it's influence on the wood?

    Quote Originally Posted by peter.coombe View Post
    In the guitar world they are very well respected for the quality of the wood from builders who have actually used the wood, but there are also many stupid comments about "moon" from know it all's who have no idea. It is a pity that is also happening here as well, I thought we were better than that. I have made many mandolins from it and one classical guitar. The guitar is simply the best sounding classical guitar I have ever come across, so I have no complaints about "moon" wood...
    I have no complaints about the wood either, especially since I have no first hand knowledge of it. I do have complaints about their marketing and perpetuating of myths that make those of us who tend to be evidence-based thinkers cringe when the subject comes up with customers. Are we to nod and agree? Are we to argue and perhaps put off a customer? Are we send the customer away to someone else who doesn't mind playing the "moon" game? I'm all for producing excellent wood for the market, but isn't excellence enough of a marketing claim? Perhaps not...

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  18. #61
    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Moon Wood

    Well, the jokes are the jokes, and I can see how they would get old if you've heard them a bunch of times. I guess the marketing strategy invites it some, though.
    Also, I think the Octofone Guitar Company interpretation of what the wood people were maintaining seems a little off, like how things change in the kid game of telephone.

    I was really curious to know what was behind it, though, and as the OP, I appreciate the serious opinions, answers, and information.

  19. #62
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    Default Re: Moon Wood

    As one who received a sample of this wood around 20 years ago when they first started up and was impressed, and purchased more, I tend to ignore the marketing rubbish. That stuff came later, and is perhaps unfortunate, but maybe the marketeers like to draw attention by creating controversy, in which case we have fallen right into their trap. Once you have a sample in your hands, the marketing stuff does tend to become somewhat irrelevant, but I would have to agree that their marketing would have put me right off if it were not for that original sample. The evidence is right there in your hands once you have some of the wood, and even better once it is incorporated into an instrument (or two).
    Peter Coombe - mandolins, mandolas and guitars
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  21. #63
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Moon Wood

    WHole alps/carpathians region is loaded with great spruce wood (at least in mandolin, violin, viola sizes). I can get out to local "log yard" of forrestry office and find few excellent logs anytime and I don't live in one of the "best" spruce forested parts of our country. I even found excellent wood among the firewood. It is not as simple to get guitar or cello sized wood but nothing like short supply. Two winters ago I scored 3' diameter log of 250-300 years old spruce, perfectly straight split and even grain, almost no defects, just walked around one day...
    In this light, the "moon" wood snake oil serves them just as marketing tool to distinguish them from all the other excellent alpine/carpathian spruce suppliers.
    “If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”
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  23. #64
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    Default Re: Moon Wood

    After reviewing the websites for the Eurospruce and the Octofone companies, I find that Eurospruce's discussion describing the tradition of harvesting that yields moon spruce seems reasonable enough. It is the modern Octofone Company who makes the odd claims about excessive altitude, inaccurate allusions to Stradivari's age, etc, etc.

    The result of this is that I would probably be more likely to do business with Eurospruce than with Octofone.

    It also seems that "moon spruce" harvesting traditions could be observed in any mountainous region for any variety of spruce, if suitable trees can be found.

    Does the tradition of cutting during the winter make sense? To me it does. During the waning of the moon? Well maybe. I couldn't hurt anything. Splitting the wood before quarter sawing certainly makes sense, and it is not a big secret. Northwest slopes? I suppose that depends on the individual tree.

    But if a letter by Strad discussing moon spruce has come to light, it has not come to my attention.

    A few years back, Lynne Dudenbostel told me that the best spruce that he keeps in stock is Carpathian, but he doesn't use much of it because most of his customers want red spruce. It would certainly be nice to be in Adrian's position, where he can find fine instrument wood at the local log yard.

    Peter, are there any conifers that grow in Australia that can yield good instrument tops?

    In all of my years of repairing instruments, I've never built a new instrument from scratch. This discussion is just another thing that makes me want to put together a bending iron and build something, perhaps a 12 string guitar. If I do, I probably won't special order a piece of spruce from Europe, but I might call Lynne and see if he'll sell me a piece of AA Carpathian that's gathering dust in his store room. I won't ask questions about how it was harvested, though.
    Last edited by rcc56; Jun-18-2021 at 1:59am.

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  25. #65
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    Default Re: Moon Wood

    Peter, are there any conifers that grow in Australia that can yield good instrument tops?
    Yep, King Billy Pine grows in Tasmania and can make exceptionally nice sounding mandolins and violins. Unfortunately it was logged unsustainably for almost 200 years and is now very difficult to get. It is illegal to cut down a living tree nowadays, it is classed as a threatened species, the main threat being bushfires because fire kills it. I bought a whole tree 20 years ago when they were still logging it and have plenty still left, enough to see me out. There is also Bunya Pine, a tropical tree that is used to make guitar tops. I have not used Bunya. There is also Huon Pine from Tasmania. Graham McDonald has used it, I have not. King Billy Pine and Huon Pine are first class boat building woods, and that is one reason why they are so scarce nowadays. King Billy Pine is similar to Western Red Cedar, but does have a different sound, and most people do prefer that different sound.
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  27. #66
    Mandolin tragic Graham McDonald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Moon Wood

    Asa small point of clarification, I have not used Huon pine for soundboards, just King Billy. I do use Huon for back and sides, combined with a King Billy top, and this combination makes a delightful and light weight mandolin. I am running out of the King Billy, but have put enough aside for a mandolin quartet with some very nice blackwood for the bodies.

    Cheers

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  29. #67

    Default Re: Moon Wood

    With this thread approaching 4 pages long, I finally thought I'd actually read all of it considering that in over 40 years at the bench I'd never heard of "moon wood".
    I won't say I wasted my time, but it's damn close.

  30. #68
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    Default Re: Moon Wood

    Aww, come on now. As a result of this thread, we've learned something about conifers in Australia, and the difference between a sun roof and a moon roof, and a little about how the old Regal Octofones were built. And it motivated me to learn something about the altitude limits for flora to exist.

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