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Hornbeam: Wal neck wood

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by geshel, Jul 3, 2004.

  1. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    I'd always assumed that the hornbeam component in Wal necks was the dark laminates. However, it looks like most species of hornbeam (there are American and European varieties) are a light-colored wood, similar to beech.

    So -

    - anybody know which variety they use?

    - anybody know what the acoustical properties of hornbeam are? I read that it is harder and denser and stronger than maple, by about 30% on all counts

    - can anyone compare it to other similar hardwoods?

  2. Hornbeam gets it's name from it's denseness and workability (like horn) and the English species common use as a building timber.

    American Hornbeam Carpinus caroliniana is a small fluted trunk tree found on creek banks and as an undercover in deciduous forests. It thrives in moist conditions along creekbanks. It's maximum size is 40' tall and 1.5" in dia. It's found in most of the eastern half of the nation. Historical uses were by Cherokee indians that used it medicinally and the Chippewa that used it as a main support poles for their wigwams and tents. No modern uses around because of it's small size and fluted trunk.

    European Hornbeam Carpinus betulus is a much larger species, commonly used as an ornamental.

    I would suppose the reason the European species is used is it's larger size that would be able to yield lumber suitable for necks.

    Beyond this, I have no idea. :confused:
  3. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    IIRC, Wal used to use 2 pieces of hornbeam as the center laminates, then walnut, then maple on the outside. But then I think they stopped using hornbeam altogether. It's definitely the light stuff, which looks likes maple. There was a thread on the Dudepit about this, but I can't seem to find it now.