Nothing on TV - Tonkin Cane?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
RedCliff
Posts: 143
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:26 pm

Nothing on TV - Tonkin Cane?

Post by RedCliff » Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:56 pm

Christmas brings lots of things - but not it appears, good television. :x

Over Christmas I got increasingly bored and found my mind wandering in all sorts of directions. One of these was to the Tonkin Cane culms I have in the workshop, which I periodically use to construct longbows, although it is more generally used by people for building split cane bamboo fly rods.

Now I know different individuals and companies have experimented with bamboo tops, backs, sides etc, largely unsuccessfully, but what about for bracing?

I was considering experimenting with a Gilbert T-brace, which got me thinking, if one of the ideals is to make bracing from materials that are strong but light (i.e. high Young's Modulus) then could Tonkin Cane be an option here as it has a modulus of elasticity of at least double you average spruce? Smallman et al use Carbon fibre to go strong and light, but the strength of good Tonkin isn't far off carbon, and way better than spruces or cedars, and yet still a natural material.

Anyone tried? Anyone think it is a particularly bad idea? Have I drunk to much Christmas sherry? :wink:
Giles Ratcliffe
Sheffield
England

KamHon Leung
Amateur luthier
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2017 1:55 am
Location: Hong Kong

Re: Nothing on TV - Tonkin Cane?

Post by KamHon Leung » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:13 am

I have access to plenty of this material. Will give it a try.

Ryeman
Posts: 110
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2016 4:31 pm

Re: Nothing on TV - Tonkin Cane?

Post by Ryeman » Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:59 pm

The problem with Tonkin cane is its weight. It may be as stiff as carbon fibre, but it's a lot heavier, which is why 13 foot cane fishing rods were called "hernia poles" and you don't see them any more, but 13 foot carbon rods are commonplace.
It is true , as you say, that Tonkin cane is a lot stiffer than spruce, but it's a lot heavier as well. You could plane a strip of cane down to match the stiffness of a given strip of spruce (of same cross-section shape) and if the cane ends up lighter, you may be on to something. But it may end up heavier. Could be worth finding out...
I assume you are an archer, since you make longbows. So if you make your own wooden arrows you will no doubt know that there are woods that have a better stiffness/weight ratio than spruce. Port Orford Cedar is lighter than spruce, for a given stiffness, as you will know, which is why it has long been the preferred arrow shaft wood when the lightest weight arrows are needed.

Alan

RedCliff
Posts: 143
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:26 pm

Re: Nothing on TV - Tonkin Cane?

Post by RedCliff » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:47 pm

Thanks for the replies. As you say Alan, it would have to give at least equal strength for less weight. You obviously do a bit of archery yourself - I've never tried using a Perry reflex in guitar building - that would be a way to get more for less, but a lot of work.
Giles Ratcliffe
Sheffield
England

Ryeman
Posts: 110
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2016 4:31 pm

Re: Nothing on TV - Tonkin Cane?

Post by Ryeman » Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:51 pm

Giles, yes, Field Archery. And made a good few yew longbows and flatbows. I think you would be brave to Perry-reflex internal struts for a guitar....Did it once on a Yew flatbow and really liked the result. The bow is very sweet to shoot, and very fast, and stable.

Alan

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