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 Post subject: Sourcing spruce
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:52 am 
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On IUPD, a friend gave a few of us a quick intro into making spruce reeds. He mentioned that one source of suitable spruce is salvaged sound boards of pianos. I'm curious about what other possible sources exist. Would spruce from guitars, violins, etc., which, for whatever reason, are no longer playable, be suitable for making reeds? Any thoughts?

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 Post subject: Re: Sourcing spruce
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2018 5:07 pm 
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How thick does the wood have to be? Guitar tops are usually 2.5-3mm thick (Average, I know there are many exceptions). Violins are a different story: The tops are not flat in any dimension, and can vary in thickness from fiddle to fiddle. So with a fiddle you are dealing with a compound curve of unpredictable thickness over a small area, which may make finding a suitable piece of wood difficult. Being a violin maker, I have a lot of cutoff ends of various species of spruce, so the best bet may be to search for violin makers (or guitar) in your area and see if they want to get rid of cut-offs. I do not know if this matters, but piano soundboards are not cut on the quarter but at close to 45 degrees (maybe a bit less). Violin maker's wood (and guitar maker's) will be cut perfectly on the quarter.


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 Post subject: Re: Sourcing spruce
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:32 am 
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Hi, why not buy good quality spruce from any of the very large number of tonewood suppliers around the world? Google violin tonewood. The presumably small amount you want is not expensive. I am not a pipe maker, but I imagine using the highest grade spruce possible would give the best sound? Discarded guitars and violins are likely to be rubbish spruce, which is probably why there were dumped. As a previous post says, buying a select tonewood piece it will be accurately quarter sawn.


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 Post subject: Re: Sourcing spruce
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:40 am 
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Location: Germany, half an hour west of "Old Brunswick" (Braunschweig < Brunswieck)
From my (?) experience: The blades of a cp-reed are ~ 13 mms wide. Sitka (not so good) has about six "grain-stripes" per 13 mm. The finer (and better) Engelmann has ~ 12 stripes per 13 mm. Any spruce -gender that has more than 10 "stripes" per 13 mm is ok.


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 Post subject: Re: Sourcing spruce
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 4:13 am 
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Just use the top of a Stradivarius - you can't go wrong with that! :D


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 Post subject: Re: Sourcing spruce
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 4:15 am 
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As Hans-Joerg says, more grain stripes the better. I tried Sitka. . .meh. When I thinned the lips down enough to be responsive, I encountered warping and general 'wonkiness'. I could not source Engelmann commercially, though it is a common growth in Eastern Oregon. I had much better luck with Pacific Northwest Western Red Cedar, (thuja plicata), not a true cedar, but really a cypress. The best I found had over thirty 'stripes' in the width of a 12.5 mm reed. Someone referred to this type of wood as 'a deck of cards'. I started with a blank of .105 ins. per David Quinn's recommendation.
Bob

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 Post subject: Re: Sourcing spruce
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 5:01 am 
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MichaelLoos wrote:
Just use the top of a Stradivarius - you can't go wrong with that! :D


By the time you scrape off the polyurethane that Tony used on his fiddles the timber would probably be too thin, better to buy a good quality Steinway ,smash it up for the sound board and hopefully you'll get a couple of mediocre reeds out of it.
If you could find out where Howard Hughes abandoned his plane you'd get plenty of spruce from that.

RORY

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 Post subject: Re: Sourcing spruce
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:50 am 
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rorybbellows wrote:
If you could find out where Howard Hughes abandoned his plane you'd get plenty of spruce from that.

RORY


It's at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.
Image
You'll still have to scrape off the silver paint to get at the spruce. Just tell them you're from the exterminator...

dave boling

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 Post subject: Re: Sourcing spruce
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:30 am 
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Sorry guys, despite the name, the Spruce Goose is built of birch.

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 Post subject: Re: Sourcing spruce
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 11:34 am 
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Try guitar luthier suppliers - wood for braces. You can find Sitka (softer) or Red Spruce/Adirondack (harder). Often sold as small boards (to be split) by the square foot, not too pricey, and should already be straight grained for strength.

Example, LMI:
https://www.lmii.com/bracewood/1552-adi ... grade.html
https://www.lmii.com/bracewood/1554-eng ... grade.html
https://www.lmii.com/bracewood/1556-eng ... grade.html
https://www.lmii.com/bracewood/1557-ger ... grade.html

StewMac
https://www.stewmac.com/Materials_and_S ... races.html

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 Post subject: Re: Sourcing spruce
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 11:59 am 
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A few months ago I posted the same question in the FB reed making group. The advice I received was the same posted here already: reach out to local luthiers. I happened to know a local instrument maker pretty well, and he immediately offered up spruce scraps he had siting around. Because of a busy schedule, I haven't picked them up yet, but a bandmate is holding onto them for me. So I'm not sure what type of spruce it is, but I'll try making a few reeds with them as an experiment.

My research also pointed to Engelmann spruce, like was mentioned above. I'm wondering if the spruce I'm getting locally is Sitka, but I'll give it a go regardless.

When doing research I also found that Kenneth McNicholl sells spruce strips pre-cut. It costs more than sourcing free scraps, but they are still cheap: http://www.kmbagpipes.com/rdmkg.html.

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 Post subject: Re: Sourcing spruce
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:08 pm 
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PJ wrote:
Sorry guys, despite the name, the Spruce Goose is built of birch.


Back to plan A so !
https://www.ebay.ie/itm/Steinway-Model- ... rk:36:pf:0

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 Post subject: Re: Sourcing spruce
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:27 am 
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You do want to make sure it is quarter sawn? You almost have to see it in person to be sure, hope for a large tree.

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