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Thread: Persimmon mandolins?

  1. #1
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Persimmon mandolins?

    I picked up some beautiful North Carolina persimmon from the Hampton Brothers yesterday for my new Carolina Quartet project.

    Has anyone built an F5 using persimmon for the back and ribs?
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  3. #2

    Default Re: Persimmon mandolins?

    Didn't "Bryce" (his name escapes me) make some mandolins out of it? Maybe that was just finger boards though...

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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Persimmon mandolins?

    Wow, that looks amazing.

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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Persimmon mandolins?

    James, that is indeed some beautiful persimmon you have there. I have never seen a mandolin made from it but a few years ago a couple of friends in Durham NC were making banjo pots from it.
    Can you expound a little on your "Carolina Quartet" project?
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Default Re: Persimmon mandolins?

    Yes very pretty wood. Not a clue if it will work for any instrument. And yes tell us about the Carolina Quartet project. You've piqued our interest.
    Ratliff R5 2007, Capek A5 2003, Washburn M5S-SB Jethro Burns 1982, Mid-Mo M-2, Epiphone MM 30 Bk mandolins, Harmony Batwing 1970's, George Bauer bowlback early 1900's Philadelphia.


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    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Persimmon mandolins?

    Hmmm, judging from the templates, would a guess that it involves at least a mandolin and a guitar be anywhere near what's happening?
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
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    [About how I tune my mandolins]
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  8. #7
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Persimmon mandolins?

    It will be interesting to see what James comes up with.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Default Re: Persimmon mandolins?

    I can't comment on expectations for the sound, but will eagerly await the photos and some sound clips!
    That is some amazing looking wood.

  10. #9
    Registered User j. condino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Persimmon mandolins?

    Thx for the kind words of support.

    Most of the materials I have been building with for the last 15-20 years is ancient, impossible to find, air dried for 50-100+ years, exotic, and comes from the estate(s) of my friends who never got a chance to use it. It is both a wonderful place to be and an elitist conundrum, so I'm always on the lookout for exceptional local materials.

    I'll get into the details more next month. A long term student of mine and I received a sizeable grant from the North Carolina Arts Council to build a quartet from all North Carolina woods. We've got control of any combinations of instruments. I can't imagine a North Carolina specific quartet without a nice F5 and from my perspective it has got to have a double bass or it lacks true credibility. The middle two are still being worked out.


    We spent yesterday visiting the Hampton Brothers; they have probably the best tonewood specific business in the nation and are incredibly cool young guys to do business with. In addition to the obvious amazing local red spruce ( I looked through about 4000 sets yesterday!!!) and killer maples plus other traditional luthier's materials, they also put a lot of work into many of the great local timbers like torrefied locust and osage and killer walnuts and such.

    I can't say enough good things about them- imagine if Bruce Harvey was 30, had four times the warehouse, and you got to drive through the Great Smokies following a beautiful little kayaking & fly fishing river to get there. I just wish they had the same hippee hot spring 1/4 mile down the road like Bruce has and I could take the sailboat there like I get to Orcas Island!!!

    Back to milling up more persimmon...

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  12. #10

    Default Re: Persimmon mandolins?

    According to the Woods Database it has similar stiffness and density to Brazilian Rosewood with slightly lower crushing strength and modulus of rupture.

  13. #11

    Default Re: Persimmon mandolins?

    Pisgah makes some very well-regarded banjos using persimmon fingerboards and tone rings. Be worth pursuing further, IMO.

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    Registered User Simon DS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Persimmon mandolins?

    Very nice! Does the persimmon tree have any symbolic meanings in North Carolina?
    I seem to remember something about the tree in California, a film maybe.

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    Default Re: Persimmon mandolins?

    Since it belongs to the same genus as Ebony (Diospyros), does it have similar physical properties (hardness, density, grain)?

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    Registered User bbcee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Persimmon mandolins?

    What a great project (and impressive initial set), James.

    Back a bunch of years, pre-mandolin, I wanted to build dreadnoughts using only American woods, which wasnít cool at the time. I got to know Osage and got pretty obsessed by it. It seems close to impossible to use for back and sides due to its twisting nature (although there were several big, straight, tree-size specimens in the Brooklyn park I lived next to), but seems like it would be good for bridges and bridge plates. Any plans to work it in? I love that it oxidizes into all those wonderful colors.

    Donít forget to take lots of pics!

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    Default Re: Persimmon mandolins?

    Persimmon is one of my very favorite tonewoods!

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    '`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`'`' Jacob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Persimmon mandolins?

    Wait until the first frost has kissed the persimmons
    The frost takes away their puckering quality, making them as sweet as honey.

  22. #18
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Persimmon mandolins?

    Poplar perhaps for the double bass?
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  23. #19
    Registered User tree's Avatar
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    Default Re: Persimmon mandolins?

    Regarding persimmon fruit and ripeness (for Diospyros virginiana, American persimmon): if they're soft, they're ripe - regardless of frost occurrence. Doesn't matter if they're on the tree or on the ground, if they're soft they are reliably ripe (and therefore sweet).

    Like most biological populations, individual persimmon trees vary considerably in fruit production, even from year to year (although trees that tend to be early ripeners always tend to be early ripeners). Some individuals drop their fruit, some hang onto it persistently.

    The reason I know is because I love persimmon pudding and collect persimmons every fall, and I make it a point to search out as many persimmon trees as I can to support my habit . . .

    Another interesting aspect of American persimmon is that the species is dioecious ("two houses"), meaning individuals only produce all male or all female flowers (mostly). So you only ever get fruit from female trees.

    I'm betting James will make some fine instruments with the beautiful wood, although as hard as I've found it to be he may have to sharpen his edge tools a little more often than normal.
    Clark Beavans

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Persimmon mandolins?

    Quote Originally Posted by tree View Post
    ...I love persimmon pudding and collect persimmons every fall, and I make it a point to search out as many persimmon trees as I can to support my habit . . .
    I had several in the edge of my yard when I was still living in Virginia. I didn't make persimmon pudding but I sure ate my fair share of them. We have a domestic persimmon tree in the yard here (Chinese?) but it has yet to produce fruit. I had a neighbor back in VA who had a Chinese persimmon tree that produced large sweet fruit. I believe it was killed by the polar vortex some years back.

    A logger brought in 3 or 4 large persimmon trunks, sawed into quarters, and donated them to Troublesome Creek while I was still working there. They were still stacked and drying last time I saw them so I don't know what they will end up being used for. They are much more uniform in color than the sample in James' photo, just cream colored with a small dark heart.

  26. #21
    Registered User tree's Avatar
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    Default Re: Persimmon mandolins?

    This year is apparently a high production year for persimmons near me in Northern VA . . . I picked these up, processed and froze 4 cups of pulp.

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    Clark Beavans

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