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Help, tonewood dealers

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Dr Rod, Mar 1, 2006.


  1. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    Dear Luthiers (pro and amateur)

    A while back I posted a thread because I am interested in buying willow.

    Jeff Bollbach was kind enough to supply with the contact info of AM Wood.

    Unfortunately AM and many other dealers just don't carry seasoned willow, they might have unseasoned willow, or veneer, or lining and blocks. I have called many places.

    Nobody I contacted had seasoned poplar, pearwood, or walnut either. Only maple, in all it's flavors.

    Is there a hidden market there that I don't know of?

    I know in some parts of Europe there is almost like a mafia for the best seasoned wood, is that the case here?

    Could somebody give me some info please?
     
  2. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    "Seasoned" is a nebulous concept. One person's seasoned wood is another's green wood. I would almost never use wood I've just acquired. The questions you need answered are "how long has it been cut?", and "what's the moisture content?". There is plenty of walnut and poplar around, but willow is not a commonly harvested wood. Have you perused the Woodfinder at the MIMF forum?
     
  3. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    Thanks Arnold
    For our project we were looking at wood that was at least 4 years old (of cut), on the moisture content perhaps you can help me out for I don't really know what I should ask for.

    I'll check out the woodfinder this evening, I didn't know of it's existance.
     
  4. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Most woodworkers like to work wood at 8-10% or dryer. Getting wood super-dry (6-7%) makes it more stable. Wood that has been taken to this level of dryness will swell and contract less than wood that has not. Age is irrelevant. However, it's important that the wood is dry throughout, and this takes time if you are air-drying. By the way, wood that has been air drying outside in a damp climate like the Pacific Northwest will never attain the dryness level you want. To best stabilize large pieces of wood, cut them to approximate size while partly dry. Then dress the pieces to final dimension when fully dry. When making a bass, that means roughing out the pieces, letting them settle, carving some more, settling, etc. As you carve thinner, the wood gets even drier (unless the workplace is humid). As it acclimates it will tend to bend and twist to release its internal tension; that's why you leave it oversize...
     
  5. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    That's good to know Arnold.

    Now, If the willow thing doesn't work out, should I look for poplar or magnolia? I heard that the north american poplar is nothing like the european one (magnolia), does NA poplar sound anything like magnolia.
     
  6. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    The greenish stuff sold in the U.S. as "poplar" is tulipwood. Stable but ugly, probably a mediocre tonewood. Real poplar and cottonwood are similar. I've never seen magnolia. Gordon Carson In Valemount, B.C. has Canadian Black Poplar in bass size. Aspen is also a good poplar-family tonewood.
     
  7. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    That's really good info, I think he has willow as well.
     
  8. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Is Black Poplar hard to bend?
     
  9. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Very funny, Nnick :meh: What the young whippersnapper is referring to is a problem I had with bending Black Poplar ribs. It has a tendency to crease at the sharp bends. Definately way more difficult than maple, which is more resilient.
     
  10. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    What's wrong with Eastern Soft (Red maple, acer rubrum) Curly Maple? I happen to have over 10,000bdft of it in 4/4 from 8-12" wide and 8-12' long. If you are making a Flat Back in 3 pieces, this would be great or even a shallow curved round back. If you glued up the pieces at a slight angle, you can get even a deeper 'bowl' in the back.

    Arnold? You've used this wood. Keeping the secret all to youself or did you have a problem that makes you not want to use it?
     
  11. Dr Rod

    Dr Rod

    Aug 19, 2005
    Nothing wrong with maple, I just want some variety. I remember Albert Laszlo's poplar IOUO, just thunderous.

    Thanks for the kind offer to sell me some wood though, greatly appreciated.
     
  12. M_A_T_T

    M_A_T_T

    Mar 4, 2004
    Canada
    If you are looking for maple, a good supplier on the southern coast of BC is MVL Specialty Woods. A guitar building friend uses them regularly, their quilt is amazing. They buy logs and cut it them selves, so custom cutting is available (bass sizes), and they also deal in softwoods. PM me if you want the owners cell #.
     
  13. M_A_T_T

    M_A_T_T

    Mar 4, 2004
    Canada
    How long should you wait while carving/settling?