Today's timber qualities

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davy s

Today's timber qualities

Post by davy s » Fri Apr 11, 2008 6:22 am

This is a subject close to my heart and one that I have been asked about many times in the past.

When I first started to make instruments the availability and quality of readily available timber was good and plentifull and at a reasonable price.

In the last three years or so the jewels of Ebony from Madagascar has almost but dried up as has the top quality Cocabolo and similar timbers, my favourite timber Lignum Vitae, Guayacan has all but dissapeared, however it can be obtained in some quantity and volume from here,

http://www.lignum-vitae.com/

Soon all the rest will be gone and an alternative must be found, other good tonal timbers do exist, in the form of native Laburnum, Holly and many native fruitwoods are worth trying out.

The poorer sap like qualities of some really does efect the overall tonal colourings of an instrument, some are not really up to the job and should be avoided at all costs, unless they are impregnated with oils in order of building up their density.

What if any other timbers has anyone used to good effect ?

Davy.

MichaelLoos
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Post by MichaelLoos » Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:32 pm

I must say I'm quite astonished Lignum vitae still IS available. I remember reading about twenty years ago that the tree is near to extinction and therefore all export is going to be stopped. This has obviously not happened, and lignum is still available, although expensive.
I'm sure you all know the wood contains strychnine????

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KM
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Post by KM » Sun Apr 13, 2008 3:44 am

I haven't priced it but if it is about the heaviest wood in the world I expect shipping across the Atlantic would be costly.

davy s

Post by davy s » Sun Apr 13, 2008 10:23 am

Lignum is a strange species, the greener Palo Santo genus has the recognisable purfume qualities and does show this just about every time you leave an instrument laying around for a few hours.

If you take a look down the bore of a chanter you will see that the inner wall has grown a coating of tiny crystals, when air is passed through upon playing and if viewed carefully you can see those crystals emerging for the instrument each time its played, what is exactly in those crystals and what health isuues there are I do not know, but it does smell nice.

I much prefer the darker of the Lignums, this timber doesn't have the same crystalisations as the greener version does, and the darker also takes on a much better finish as it is slightly harder and more stable.

Did you know this, I was told that when the fertilizer ships travelled to the islands to collect Guano, they sailed down under coal power, then on their way back they used to burn Lignum and actually came back a week quicker because of the hotter burning properties of the wood, What a waste, where there's muck there's money as they say.

Davy.

georgeboscon
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Re: Today's timber qualities

Post by georgeboscon » Sat Oct 23, 2010 6:27 am

Generally, hardwoods used for decking come from tropical forests. Much of the logging taking place to produce these woods, especially teak, mahogany and ipê, is occurring illegally, as outlined in numerous reports by environmental organizations such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Rainforest Relief.

Decking Timber

chris bayley
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Re: Today's timber qualities

Post by chris bayley » Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:41 am

what is exactly in those crystals and what health isuues there are I do not know,
Here is a list of toxic properties of some of the world's timbers

http://www.wood-database.com/wood-artic ... -toxicity/

Palo Santo does not appear in it so may not be harmful -a quick search found this

PALO SANTO (Bursera graveolens) "Holy Wood"
Aromatic wood from trees closely related to Copal and the old world Frankincense and Myrrh. The wood can be boiled and the tea is used to treat stomach aches, as a blood cleanser, expectorant, for rheumatism, and topically as an antiseptic. Sticks of the wood are burned as an incense with a unmistakable sweet scent. Traditionally it was burned for purification and to soothe the spirit. Shamanically it is used as a tool for "spiritual surgery". One stick can be relit many times. It can also be placed in a drawer as moth repellant and to freshen clothes. Palo Santo trees occur in a few low elevation Andean valleys and the wood is only harvested from naturally occurring dead branches and trees.

PALO SANTO ESSENTIAL OIL (Bursera graveolens)
Carefully harvested dead wood and the tips of young living branches are steam distilled to produce this one of a kind magical oil. The sweet balmy aroma is strongly grounding and purifying. Applied topically as an antiseptic, insect repellant, expectorant, and for rheumatic pains. Produced from a sustainably managed forest in Ecuador.

It is of course possible to become sensitised to anything so when working with woods and other materials proper precautions should be taken to minimise the risks
What if any other timbers has anyone used to good effect
Timbers currently in stock and used for pipes include exotics

Ebony
African Blackwood
Palo Santo
Snakewood
Canthium
Mulga
Sonokilin (Main Stocks)
Indian Rosewood (Main Stocks)
Mahogany (Main Stocks)
Kingwood
Tulipwood
Santos Rosewood

and local sourced

Wild Service
Plum
Pear
Cherry
Laburnum
Boxwood (from Boxhill, Surrey)

Chris
New Website now live at http://www.uilleann-pipes.co.uk. It is still under construction with more to be added
My original website http://www.bagpipeworld.co.uk remains in place as historical

Driftwood
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Re: Today's timber qualities

Post by Driftwood » Sun Oct 24, 2010 2:35 pm

One hardwood that hasn't been mentioned so far is Quebracho Colorado (known as Coronillo in some places) from Paraguay. The name translates as "red axebreaker" (!) which may derive from the SG of around 1.2. I've got several billets of this wood and have made some mounts from it. I'm not an expert woodturner but it seems to work ok.

chris bayley
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Re: Today's timber qualities

Post by chris bayley » Sun Oct 24, 2010 4:03 pm

Quebracho gets a mention in the Toxic woods list above as an irritant and can cause nausea and respiratory problems as can most of the woods pipe makers use

When working with woods I use a full face shield with fan driven ventilation. The particular model I have has the filters and fan situated at the top giving very good vision.

Chris
New Website now live at http://www.uilleann-pipes.co.uk. It is still under construction with more to be added
My original website http://www.bagpipeworld.co.uk remains in place as historical

outofthebox
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Re: Today's timber qualities

Post by outofthebox » Mon Oct 25, 2010 5:54 am

No problem sourcing ebonite 8)

georgeboscon
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Re: Today's timber qualities

Post by georgeboscon » Mon Oct 25, 2010 10:55 am

Resulting declines in lumber quality have been of concern to both the lumber industry and consumers and have caused increased use of alternative construction products. If hardwoods are cut in the spring or summer the sap ruins the natural color of the timber and decreases the value of the timber for furniture.

Decking Timber

Mike Hulme
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Re: Today's timber qualities

Post by Mike Hulme » Mon Oct 25, 2010 3:42 pm

Out Of The Box wrote

"No problem sourcing ebonite"

Ebonite is not a wood. However, as has been pointed out to you, much wood has been involved in its manufacture, by virtue of clearing large areas of forest. This was not green OR clever, merely greedy. Just ask any dispossessed Indian tribe. What is 8) about that?

outofthebox
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Re: Today's timber qualities

Post by outofthebox » Tue Oct 26, 2010 4:32 am

Mike Hulme wrote:Out Of The Box wrote

"No problem sourcing ebonite"

Ebonite is not a wood. However, as has been pointed out to you, much wood has been involved in its manufacture, by virtue of clearing large areas of forest. This was not green OR clever, merely greedy. Just ask any dispossessed Indian tribe. What is 8) about that?
Well would you say that the exploitation associated with the production of ebonite is less green than the wholesale destruction of the the Madagascar forest by loggers seeking to supply the demand for dark ebony and other exotic and endangered hardwoods from instrument makers?

wdhallam
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Re: Today's timber qualities

Post by wdhallam » Sun Oct 06, 2013 11:11 am

Back to the ebonite stock,I am starting to experiment a little with the material for chanters. I started with a highland practice chanter. I like the feel under the fingers much better than Delryn, nylon, or acetyl. The response between notes seems to be cleaner-which may be in part by how the fingers seat on the material. I believe in what has been noted earlier in posts that ebonite stock could be as variable as wood. It may be possible to have a dozen chanter chanters made seemingly identical, but one standing out to have the desired tune consistency throughout the scales to favor.
Ebonite has in the pasted been as desired product by professions for is rich, warm tune for sax mouth pieces, flutes, and clarinets. However, another variable in the product is uncertainty to how well it ages. Some of the older product has been known to become fragile an brittle with age. Ebonite stock can be as expensive as some hardwoods.
In the shop, it turns similar to blackwood; bores somewhat easier, and will polish nicely. It gives off the smell of burning tires and gunpowder. Round stock in some diameters has recently be made available on Amazon, so you don't have to order direct to Japan, China, or India. The quality of the Amazon stock material for instrument making is unknown.

outofthebox
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Re: Today's timber qualities

Post by outofthebox » Mon Oct 07, 2013 6:01 am

When I was researching the ebonite alternative I found this company in Germany. I believe that the ebonite developed by this company is superior to the mass produced stuff from China. Check out the photos - a really high gloss finish with ornamental graining in a range of colours and styles, under eboform colour range. (I don't have shares in this company - but I just thought you might find the link useful).

http://sem-ebonite.com/cms/front_conten ... angelang=2

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