Local woods

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
Alan Carruth
Luthier
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Re: Local woods

Post by Alan Carruth » Thu Mar 03, 2016 6:34 pm

If you plot the Young's modulus along the grain against the density all of the softwoods I've tested so far tend to fall close to the same line. This makes sense, since all softwoods have a similar structure. Heavy latewood lines, often caused by 'reaction wood' on the compression side of the tree, add density without commensurate stiffness. Cross grain stiffness is all over the lot for every species. The main variable there is ring angle; the closer the wood is to being perfectly vertical grained the stiffer it is across the grain. I have not tested any larch, so I can't say how that would fare.

Alan Clark
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Location: Ryedale, North Yorkshire

Re: Local woods

Post by Alan Clark » Thu Mar 03, 2016 8:15 pm

Thanks for your comment Alan.
It seems that Larch is a bit of an unknown quantity as a musical instrument wood.
Because it is very durable, in and out of the ground, it is much used for fencing in the UK. And it burns well! That's all people seem to know about it.

Alan

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Doug Ingram
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Re: Local woods

Post by Doug Ingram » Fri Mar 04, 2016 5:30 am

I've used Ash on a number of guitars and it works very well. I know of a least one buiilder (flamco) who swears by Larch. Go ahead and use the both.

Alan Clark
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Re: Local woods

Post by Alan Clark » Mon Mar 07, 2016 7:24 pm

Doug Ingram wrote:I've used Ash on a number of guitars and it works very well. I know of a least one buiilder (flamco) who swears by Larch. Go ahead and use the both.
Thanks for your encouraging comments Doug.
I've got all the wood for my "local" guitar cut up now, and going through its final drying stage. It's all in neat weighted piles in my warm dry study.
Using local woods is an addictive process, and I am now seeing useful wood everywhere. I work as a volunteer at my local Folk Museum, and we were thinning some trees out today, and I came home with a pristine round Willow log, for blocks and linings. If it was good enough for Stradivarius..... Our next job is to take a huge Blackthorn down that is threatening to fall onto a building. The Manager looks at this tree and sees a big potential problem. I just see pegs, fingerboards and bridges....

Alan

Roberto001
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Re: Local woods

Post by Roberto001 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:55 pm

Alan Clark wrote:
Mon Mar 07, 2016 7:24 pm
Doug Ingram wrote:I've used Ash on a number of guitars and it works very well. I know of a least one buiilder (flamco) who swears by Larch. Go ahead and use the both.
Thanks for your encouraging comments Doug.
I've got all the wood for my "local" guitar cut up now, and going through its final drying stage. It's all in neat weighted piles in my warm dry study.
Using local woods is an addictive process, and I am now seeing useful wood everywhere. I work as a volunteer at my local Folk Museum, and we were thinning some trees out today, and I came home with a pristine round Willow log, for blocks and linings. If it was good enough for Stradivarius..... Our next job is to take a huge Blackthorn down that is threatening to fall onto a building. The Manager looks at this tree and sees a big potential problem. I just see pegs, fingerboards and bridges....

Alan
Dear Alan, hi.
I´m very interested in the same topic. Did you got any news regarding the Larch top guitar?

I was about to create a topic about the same, given that i found a local store selling a classical guitar with larch top as one of the top models.
It looks different, but i wonder how it sounds.
http://www.mesko.cl/catalogo/ver/guitar ... chilena/18

Regards,
Roberto.

Ryeman
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Re: Local woods

Post by Ryeman » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:04 pm

Hello Roberto,
I finished the guitar about four months ago, strung it with cheap Classical nylon strings and was immediately surprised by the amount of volume coming from a small bodied instrument. The quality of sound was very nice to my ears, not quite a Classical sound, but it is a Romantic guitar after all, not a Classical. I should say that I am no player, and no expert on the sound of the Classical guitar (nor on how to build them! ) A friend who plays seemed very impressed by it. Then another friend came to stay who is a concert violinist, and has an excellent ear. He played my guitar first with the cheap Classical string, then we re-strung it with Aquilla Ambra900 strings, that people on this forum recommended for a Romantic guitar. He thought these were much better, and said they produced a more refined sound. I could hear quite a difference myself. My violinist friend was actually very complimentary about the sound,so the Larch top isn't a flop. But just how good it is I honestly don't know. I guess I would have to build another Romantic guitar, with back and sides of Ash, like the first one, but use a nice piece of Alpine Spruce for the top; then compare sounds. I might just do that as I have a lovely piece of 45 year old spruce that is too small for a classical size top.
I called the guitar the Ryedale Guitar, because Ryedale is my local area, and all the woods came from here. A friend thought the bone for the nut and saddle should come from a local cow! I am working on this. In the end I used Blackthorn for the pegs, Damson (very similar to Blackthorn) for the bridge, Laburnum for the fingerboard and decorative lines, Ash for the back sides neck and head, and Larch for the top.
A final word on the Larch. It wasn't easy to work. It is quite fibrous, and tears out when being planed. But I got a good finish with a sharp scraper. The Summer growth is much harder than the early growth, making it tricky to cut out the channel for the rosette. But it all worked out ok in the end.

Alan

Dave M
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Location: Somerset UK

Re: Local woods

Post by Dave M » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:50 pm

Alan. Pleased to hear the guitar worked out well. Pictures would be nice...!

You have reminded me that I have some Laburnum logs that I really should be sawing up and get properly dried.
Dave

Dave M
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Re: Local woods

Post by Dave M » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:54 pm

Oh and how did the carving of ash go for the neck and headstock?
Dave

Ryeman
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Re: Local woods

Post by Ryeman » Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:03 am

Dave,
Thanks for your interest. I would be pleased to post some pictures, but I don't know how!

Alan

Ryeman
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Re: Local woods

Post by Ryeman » Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:15 am

Dave M wrote:
Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:54 pm
Oh and how did the carving of ash go for the neck and headstock?
Dave, it was fairly hard work as you have no doubt guessed. I am in the middle of doing a classical guitar at the moment, and am making the neck and head from some old Honduras Mahogany, which came from an old table. Child's play by comparison. The mahogany is much easier to work. You only have to look sternly at it and it assumes whatever shape you want it to...
Two things made shaping the Ash easier than it might have been. One was that it came from a small tree, and was, in effect, all sapwood. I have worked with harder (heartwood) ash. The other thing that helped was that I butt jointed and screwed the neck to the body. This meant I could shape the neck and head in their entirety without having a guitar body attached to the neck.

Alan

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Michael.N.
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Re: Local woods

Post by Michael.N. » Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:19 am

Dave M wrote:
Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:50 pm
Alan. Pleased to hear the guitar worked out well. Pictures would be nice...!

You have reminded me that I have some Laburnum logs that I really should be sawing up and get properly dried.
I have a couple of thin pieces of Laburnum. They won't do a guitar but they were bought for fingerboards for vihuelas. Exposed to UV and it gets dark in colour, pretty close to rosewood. I've been experimenting with a bit of varnish and I've used this laburnum as test pieces. I'll try and post a pic. If your logs are large enough for fretboards they'll make for a good alternative wood although I don't see a problem with having a joint down the centre if lack of width is an issue. Bridges should be easy.
Historicalguitars.

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Michael.N.
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Re: Local woods

Post by Michael.N. » Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:22 am

Alan. If you scraped the larch did you then use the tru oil. . . or did you scrape, sand and then use the tru oil?
We need to know the purity of your methods.
Historicalguitars.

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Stephen Kenyon
Teacher
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Re: Local woods

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:40 am

Ryeman wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:03 am
I would be pleased to post some pictures, but I don't know how!

Alan
PM one of the Moderators (names in green) they love dealing with that kind of question :D

I too would very much like to see (and hear!) this creation.
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
Louis Panormo (1838)
Alexander Batov Baroque Guitar (2013)

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James Lister
Moderator & Luthier
Moderator & Luthier
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Re: Local woods

Post by James Lister » Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:40 pm

Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:40 am
PM one of the Moderators (names in green) they love dealing with that kind of question :D
Thanks Stephen! (now sorted, hopefully)

James
James Lister, luthier, Sheffield UK

Ryeman
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Re: Local woods

Post by Ryeman » Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:20 pm

Fingers crossed, here are a couple of photos of the Ryedale guitar. If this works I will post a few more.
Alan
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