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How long should you let you new wood age befor you use it.


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#21 Peter Lynch

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 07:16 AM

Really, does moisture content really have anything to do with the aging process of wood? I don't think so. I can show you old wood specimens with varying moisture content.

Aged wood is that in which the aromatic and volatile hydrocarbons have vented leaving a stiff medium/structure. This process is very complex and goes beyond just heating the wood. There is evidently a process involving oxidation of some sort. This is a slow process in natural conditions.

I find that light cabinets accelerate the aging process. The creation of ozone and oxidized oxygen may be key.

If heat treated wood (kiln dried) is kept below the boiling point of water, there is no cell damage. Above boiling, my wood turned to mush. Evidently the trapped steam exploded the cellular walls.

I agree with Oded that heat/cooling cycles are also important. That's why I store my wood in an unheated garage.

Stay tuned.
Mike



Mike,

Are you refereing to the normal light cabinet use of a completed instrument or carvedd parts, or have you put whole billets into th box for a time beffre working on them?

-Peter

#22 Michael_Molnar

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 08:28 AM

Peter,

I'm talking about any wood in any environment. A light cabinet accelerates one aging process, namely, the oxidation of wood by increasing the concentrations of ionized oxygen and perhaps ozone in the surrounding air. This process very slowly works its way deeper into the wood. Just slice open a piece of, say, 50 year old wood and you will see what I mean.

Mike

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#23 DarylG

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 10:52 AM

If the wood is dry enough so that there's none left in liquid form, I don't see a problem. Liquid water could definitely cause cell damage when it freezes, though.


What about trees that are cut in the winter?
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#24 Bruce Carlson

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 02:17 PM

What about trees that are cut in the winter?


Hi Daryl,

They are cut in the winter because there is a minimum of lymph or sap in the tree, as it is dormant (i.e. not growing). Wood cut in that period has less tendency to rot or mildew than trees cut in other times of the year. It also seasons more quickly.

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#25 DarylG

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 02:55 PM

Hi Daryl,

They are cut in the winter because there is a minimum of lymph or sap in the tree, as it is dormant (i.e. not growing). Wood cut in that period has less tendency to rot or mildew than trees cut in other times of the year. It also seasons more quickly.

Bruce


Thanks Bruce, I understand the desire for wood that's cut in the winter and that was my sorta my point. After being cut it spends a lot of time outside in freezing temperatures before it gets processed. If freezing temperatures can damage wood cells as mentioned above then wouldn't that be the case with winter cut wood as well? I'm just curious if freezing wood really does any damage? Cheers,
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#26 COB3

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 03:00 PM

Besides, it had to endure freezing to survive in the first place. Places where rivers freeze to thicknesses of multiple feet don't spare the trees, either.

Even in places of relatively moderate cold (Michigan, for example), the rivers can get a foot or more of ice on them. Montana winters, Minnesota--let alone some of the really cold places of the world, which, nevertheless, produce pretty nice spruce. Siberia comes to mind...
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#27 Don Noon

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 03:38 PM

We know that frozen water can break pipes that are stronger than wood, so the questions arise... does sap act like antifreeze, or does the tree drain itself of water to prevent damage, or are the cells somehow able to withstand the distortion of freezing? I don't know.

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#28 Bruce Carlson

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 03:46 PM

Besides, it had to endure freezing to survive in the first place. Places where rivers freeze to thicknesses of multiple feet don't spare the trees, either.

Even in places of relatively moderate cold (Michigan, for example), the rivers can get a foot or more of ice on them. Montana winters, Minnesota--let alone some of the really cold places of the world, which, nevertheless, produce pretty nice spruce. Siberia comes to mind...

I think we all know that trees can and do resist freezing temperatures, especially mountain spruce cut at 1500 to 2000 meters above sea level. The standing tree is to a certain extent protected and sealed, through the cambium layer and the bark against any drastic changes and is not the case with a spruce or a maple billet. This why we size or seal the end grain. The sizing or sealing is done to avoid any rapid changes which, especially in the case of dryness, can cause cracks. Bitter cold can also be very dry when a high pressure center comes down from the arctic.
My old teacher back in Michigan, who taught me how to keep track of the seasoning process by weighing it at intervals, kept his wood up in the attic over the garage. I'm sure it was darn cold there in the winter and it certainly got hot in the summer. Even with sealed endgrain he would still get the occasional crack or split. I think what I'm trying to say is; why risk it? Some tonewood wood costs a lot of money.

Bruce

#29 Torbjörn Zethelius

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 04:30 PM

We know that frozen water can break pipes that are stronger than wood, so the questions arise... does sap act like antifreeze, or does the tree drain itself of water to prevent damage, or are the cells somehow able to withstand the distortion of freezing? I don't know.


I believe that I've heard somewhere that the sap freezes at a lower temperature than water. Also the water content drops in the winter.

That's why tonewood is cut in the winter season. Also the moon phases have something to do with that, I think, no? At least in the folk lore. Correct me if I'm wrong here.

#30 Melvin Goldsmith

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 04:42 PM

Koen Padding told me of his theory backed up by what he had read re timber felling in an 18C Dutch Naval Treatise that wood used to be ring barked and left to stand a while before felling. Apparently the leaves would draw a lot of moisture from the sap wood and hasten drying, make the cut wood lighter to transport and result in better timber from what I remember of what he had read.
I have used wood from a tree that died standing up and it was very light for its age a few months after felling and sawing...it had some other unusual features but that might have just been the tree itself. The tree yielded a Silver medal Cello by Pete Goodfellow at Cremona.
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#31 Wolfjk

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 06:14 PM

We know that frozen water can break pipes that are stronger than wood, so the questions arise... does sap act like antifreeze, or does the tree drain itself of water to prevent damage, or are the cells somehow able to withstand the distortion of freezing? I don't know.

Hi,
I suppose you're asking how trees work? Trees adopt to their environment. The cells expand and contract according to the seasonal temperature. In the temperate zone, the autum cames on and most of the sap retreats into the root system, leaving only a small amount of moisture. The tree cools from the top downwards, the cells contract and the sap is forced down. In spring the tree warms up, the cells expand and the sap rises. In the growing season the sap circulates between the leaves and the fibrous roots.
Trees used to be felled in winter when the sap is at it's minimum. Mahogony trees in the tropics used to be felled during night time to yield lighter coloured timber.
There is also some common sense in felling trees when the moon is out as it is bound to be colder than when it is behind clouds!

#32 David Burgess

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 08:14 PM

Hi,
I suppose you're asking how trees work? Trees adopt to their environment. The cells expand and contract according to the seasonal temperature. In the temperate zone, the autum cames on and most of the sap retreats into the root system, leaving only a small amount of moisture. The tree cools from the top downwards, the cells contract and the sap is forced down. In spring the tree warms up, the cells expand and the sap rises. In the growing season the sap circulates between the leaves and the fibrous roots.
Trees used to be felled in winter when the sap is at it's minimum.


Wolfjk, I spent some time looking in to this a while back, and was unable to find a scholarly source saying that sap retreats into the roots during winter, and that sap content in the above-ground tree is lower in the winter.

What about tapping maple trees for syrup, when the sap is supposedly traveling between the roots and the branches?
The best information I could find was that it has nothing to do with transfer of sap between the upper tree and roots, but with temperature fluctuations and increases which create internal pressure within the tree, combined with high enough temperatures to reduce sap viscosity enough to flow well. The conclusion was partly based on actual internal pressure measurements of the tree.

If someone has an authoritative source which could put these things to rest, I'd like to know.

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#33 Melvin Goldsmith

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 09:26 PM

Hi David and Wolfjk
I see the logic in what you are both saying and mention of authorative sources makes me realise that my info on this subject is based on misremembered school biology lessons that might have been wrong anyway and tidbits I picked up thereafter. ..transpiration...osmosis..etc
On the other hand the gardner in me says sap in plants does respond to the seasons in terms of things like nutrient content and rate of flow. For instance if you prune a grape vine in winter it does not bleed at all but if you cut mature wood in spring it will bleed like a tap for hours or days even in a truly remarkable and possibly fatal way......of course the rate of flow through a tree might or might not have an effect on the amount of moisture in a trunk at any one time....the mechanic in me would think that for the hydraulics of flow to work a live tree maybe should maintain a constant water content in its pipes and tubes.

All this brings me back to the concept of ring barking trees and killing them as they stand before felling. As I remember it the idea was to hit the tree when it had leaves on and let the leaves draw out water and nutrients in their struggle to live as the tree died. Wood I mentioned I had that was similar to this was from a tree that had very recently died naturally in the forest. It was felled in December and Andreas Pahler the forester and wood dealer knowing my interest in these things presented me a cello front from the tree in the following March. The wood already felt ready to use. I'm not sure that there are any mystical advantages to be had in wood from trees that died standing up. ( anyone wanting to test that can buy some great wood from Simeon Chambers)......But it could well be that killing the tree by ring barking it and leaving it to die would very much hasten the seasoning process and explain how del Gesu was able to use such freshly cut wood...just thoughts...
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#34 L.D.L.

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 01:22 AM

Wolfjk, I spent some time looking in to this a while back, and was unable to find a scholarly source saying that sap retreats into the roots during winter, and that sap content in the above-ground tree is lower in the winter.

What about tapping maple trees for syrup, when the sap is supposedly traveling between the roots and the branches?
The best information I could find was that it has nothing to do with transfer of sap between the upper tree and roots, but with temperature fluctuations and increases which create internal pressure within the tree, combined with high enough temperatures to reduce sap viscosity enough to flow well. The conclusion was partly based on actual internal pressure measurements of the tree.

If someone has an authoritative source which could put these things to rest, I'd like to know.


I have seen oak trees freeze in the winter. The wood split and the bark popped off. It killed some of them. it distroyed the value of the wood. Only good for fire wood. It happend after a few days of very worm weather. Then it turned very cold in a shot time. Like in a few hours.
I also know that most trees are cut in the winter for the fact that the sap is not in the tree,as much at that time.
Also the cold weather is best for the newly cut lumber. It does not mold (discolor )as eassy or spit and crack from drying to fast.
I used to have my own sawmill. I cut hardwoods . I stacked it with 3/4" thick cleets between the boards outside . That was to start the drying prosses. It was way bellow freezing ,and at the time when the sap would be the hight % in the wood. Well It never seemed to hurt it.

One other thought on this. The old master violin makers most likely did not have a heated place to store the wood. Seems to me it would have been bellow freezing in winter there.

I do say, This has meen a very interesting discution!!!
I thank all of you for your input!!!

Now I can make an informed dissision on when to use by new wood. ( I just bought more old wood . That new wood can wait for 10 years or more.)

#35 Roland

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 04:39 AM

We know that frozen water can break pipes that are stronger than wood, so the questions arise... does sap act like antifreeze, or does the tree drain itself of water to prevent damage, or are the cells somehow able to withstand the distortion of freezing? I don't know.


That's right, sap acts to some extend like antifreeze, it's the same effect as salt in water which reduces the freezing temperature. Actually, this is an entropy effect :)

L.D.L .'s observations suggest that the sap content of trees is reduced in the winter. Obviously, trees need time for the sap to drain so aprubt temperature changes have disastrous consequences.

Some sap has to remain in the capillaries in the winter, otherwise the walls of the capillaries might stick together.

One last thought: A living tree is probably capable to repair / renew damaged cells to some extend.

#36 Torbjörn Zethelius

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 06:06 AM

I have seen some extremely light weight Swedish instruments from the baroque era. It makes sense that they were made with extremely light weight wood. I would believe harvested in the fashion that Melving suggests.

#37 David Burgess

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 07:32 AM

Melvin, ringing the tree makes sense. Water would be lost from the tree which could not be replaced.
Would this lower resin and carbohydrate (sap) stores? It seems like the tree would be producing carbohydrates as long as the leaves are alive and working.

LDL, I can see how harvesting in winter would prevent mold growth and cracking. The mold likes warm temperatures to grow, and the drying rate would be slower in the winter. By the time it's warm enough for mold, ideally the wood has already dried enough that it won't support it. Are you sure the sap content is actually lower?

Another question:
What part of the tree is active in transporting carbohydrates? Isn't it just the outermost layers? So if sap content was higher during a certain season, wouldn't it just affect the layer right below the bark? Or are non-active parts used for storage?

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#38 L.D.L.

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 08:00 AM

[quote name='David Burgess' date='Feb 18 2010, 06:32 AM' post='457881']

"LDL, I can see how harvesting in winter would prevent mold growth and cracking. The mold likes warm temperatures to grow, and the drying rate would be slower in the winter. By the time it's warm enough for mold, ideally the wood has already dried enough that it won't support it. Are you sure the sap content is actually lower?"

I am 100% sure that there is a lower % of water in the tree in the winter when it is cold. I don`t know if that is all called sap? That`s the way I alway think of it.

Think about the trees that froze. The sap runs when the weather wormed up .
I think it will go back down to the roots at night in the cold weather.
My dad always taps the maple trees "When the sap is running" It is always when it has wormed up for a few days.

Then trees that froze didn`t have time for the sap to all go out of the tree to the roots before they froze. The out side about 4" of would was all split and popped off in so placese. That tells me that the tree had sap at lest that far into the wood. I think the sap runs though most of the wood to some extent at lest.

#39 David Burgess

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 09:01 AM

My dad always taps the maple trees "When the sap is running" It is always when it has wormed up.


That warming up was what was described as the reason for the sap exiting the tree. When the tree warmed, internal fluids and air expanded, and the internal pressure increased.
Some of the commercial tapping operations I read about got around this need for temperature change by using a vacuum pump connected to a network of hoses to create their own constant pressure differential (not reliant on temperature swings, and also with an increased pressure differential) to extract the syrup. This would suggest that the sap is present, even when temperature swings aren't sufficient to make it exit the tree on its own. If I remember correctly, this enables them to tap any time the tree isn't "frozen".

Not trying to argue with anybody. It's just that when I spent a little time trying to find out what was lore, and what was supported scientifically, I couldn't find much support for the lore, and the explanations for observed phenomena were different.

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#40 L.D.L.

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 09:35 AM

That warming up was what was described as the reason for the sap exiting the tree. When the tree warmed, internal fluids and air expanded, and the internal pressure increased.
Some of the commercial tapping operations I read about got around this need for temperature change by using a vacuum pump connected to a network of hoses to create their own constant pressure differential (not reliant on temperature swings, and also with an increased pressure differential) to extract the syrup. This would suggest that the sap is present, even when temperature swings aren't sufficient to make it exit the tree on its own. If I remember correctly, this enables them to tap any time the tree isn't "frozen".

Not trying to argue with anybody. It's just that when I spent a little time trying to find out what was lore, and what was supported scientifically, I couldn't find much support for the lore, and the explanations for observed phenomena were different.


But David, Don`t you think that when they are vacuum pumping the sap out, that it is comming Up from the roots?




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