English Elm. Guitar wood?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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Doug Ingram
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Re: English Elm. Guitar wood?

Post by Doug Ingram » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:18 pm

If it means anything, it definitely has the Elm look! Good luck with your project.

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Doug Ingram
Amateur luthier
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Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 11:11 pm
Location: Lorette, Manitoba, Canada

Re: English Elm. Guitar wood?

Post by Doug Ingram » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:19 pm

printer2 wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:11 pm
We have about 160,000 Elm trees in town. We loose about 5000 trees a year. I would like to get wood from some of the bigger trees but they disallow diverting the wood from landfill in an attempt to reduce further infestation.
Phil,

I have some nice pieces of American Elm and Bur Oak cut and dried if you ever want to try some. Its not cut down into guitar size pieces yet.

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Michael.N.
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Re: English Elm. Guitar wood?

Post by Michael.N. » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:25 pm

The back looks very nice. I really like the change in grain colour/count and the touch of sap wood.
Historicalguitars.

Ryeman
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Re: English Elm. Guitar wood?

Post by Ryeman » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:42 pm

Doug and Michael, thank you for your comments.

Alan

Alan Carruth
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Re: English Elm. Guitar wood?

Post by Alan Carruth » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:28 pm

Back when I was getting started making guitars we moved into a house that had a large elm tree on the driveway which had been killed by Dutch Elm disease. I considered cutting the stump down and making some of it into guitar sets, but at that point it had been colonized by Plurotus ostryatus mushrooms, which are good to eat, and had probably themselves eaten away at the wood. We used to harvest those by the shopping bag full a couple of times a year. We did get a lot of elm when we scavenged fire wood for our stove. That was not much of a bargain. The old 'Fire Wood Song' has a line: "Elm wood burns like graveyard mould, e'en the very flames are cold", which is just about right. You had to throw a lot of that stuff into the stove to get anywhere. It was also a pain to harvest, since it's so interlocked as to be nearly impossible to split. We used to actually rip the larger logs into quarters with chain saws, producing lots of elm excelsior. Anyway, the long and short is that I never did use any as guitar wood, nor have I ever measured the stiffness and density. The few reports I've heard rate it as being a pretty decent tone wood, though.

Any wood can be 'sensitizing' if you work with it long enough. My violin making teacher became sensitive to both spruce and maple when she was in her 70s. Trees, of course, can't run away when something bites them, so they resort to chemical warfare. That's what all the 'extractives' are that give wood it's colors and odor. Tropical woods have lots of enemies, and lots of ways to fight them off. It would be surprising if some people were not sensitive to at least some of those. I find some samples of ebony to be extremely pungent: I may not be 'sensitive' (yet!) in the sense of breaking out in a rash when exposed, but it can make me sneeze nearly uncontrollably, which is not good when you're re-sawing the stuff. I had one student who was allergic to Indian rosewood and morado, to the point where he could not touch them.

Ryeman
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Re: English Elm. Guitar wood?

Post by Ryeman » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:17 pm

Rosewood dust used to get to me when I was turning and sanding lots of lute pegs. Worse than ebony for me.
I have always had two workshops, wherever I have lived. A garage -style one with big open doors, where I use a circular saw, planer, lathe , and now a bandsaw. I try not to sweep up in here, preferring to suck up the dust with an extractor.
My other workshop, which at present doubles up as a painting studio, is where I do all the hand-work. No dust to speak of in here, apart from the odd bit of Japanese saw dust. I like a scraped finish, keeping sanding to a minimum.
I still get troubled by dust from time to time. The worst is when I inadvertently disturb some old dust that has been laying around for a while. A doctor once told me that ALL dust is bad, when breathed in, but this "mature" dust really makes my eyes run and nose stream.

Alan

printer2
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Location: Winnipeg

Re: English Elm. Guitar wood?

Post by printer2 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:56 pm

I have not had a reaction to sawdust but I did from fire retardant clothing at work. Massive itching and burning feeling. Our management had the wisdom of making me keep wearing it and within a dozen episodes it rewired my nervous system (neural plasticity) and the condition became permanent. It keeps me on a short leash as far as what I can do, part of the reason I haven't got out to see Doug's wood pile yet. The medication helps but this sensitization thing sucks.
Fred

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Doug Ingram
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Re: English Elm. Guitar wood?

Post by Doug Ingram » Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:58 pm

printer2 wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:56 pm
I have not had a reaction to sawdust but I did from fire retardant clothing at work. Massive itching and burning feeling. Our management had the wisdom of making me keep wearing it and within a dozen episodes it rewired my nervous system (neural plasticity) and the condition became permanent. It keeps me on a short leash as far as what I can do, part of the reason I haven't got out to see Doug's wood pile yet. The medication helps but this sensitization thing sucks.
That sucks.

BTW, its more of a wood "lean to" than a pile!

The large pieces are easier to store and access when they are vertical rather than horizontal.

printer2
Posts: 348
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Location: Winnipeg

Re: English Elm. Guitar wood?

Post by printer2 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:14 pm

Doug Ingram wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:58 pm
printer2 wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:56 pm
I have not had a reaction to sawdust but I did from fire retardant clothing at work. Massive itching and burning feeling. Our management had the wisdom of making me keep wearing it and within a dozen episodes it rewired my nervous system (neural plasticity) and the condition became permanent. It keeps me on a short leash as far as what I can do, part of the reason I haven't got out to see Doug's wood pile yet. The medication helps but this sensitization thing sucks.
That sucks.

BTW, its more of a wood "lean to" than a pile!

The large pieces are easier to store and access when they are vertical rather than horizontal.
I lean mine also. Tue rack on the left is full now though.

Image
Fred

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