Curly or Birds-eye maple
Posted 17 January 2000 - 10:36 PM
Posted 18 January 2000 - 09:47 AM
Sometime the very highly flamed wood isn't as stable, and won't hold up through bending. Usually violins made from birds eye have ribs of more common maple.
[This message has been edited by Ben (edited 01-18-2000).]
Posted 18 January 2000 - 11:18 AM
Posted 18 January 2000 - 11:44 AM
I'll throw in my two cents here, for last summer Feng Jiang and I made a copy of a Sancto Seraphin violin complete with birds-eye back and ribs. We had a lovely time planning the violin with the customer, choosing wood, and making the violin.
As you say, birds-eye is drop-dead gorgeous, though as with all beauty, it's probably in the eye of the beholder. Birds-eye was used in the past by fine makers in Italian and German schools, but of course only infrequently. I doubt that this is a consequence of rarity, but rather the fact that "birds-eye" shows up best when wood is cut on the slab rather than the quarter. A slab back poses different challenges for the luthier, for it inherently is a little weaker than a back cut on the quarter, and the luthier must therefore graduate it accordingly. Another little quirk of this wood is that when you carve and bend it, the individual "bird's eyes" have a tendency to want to pop out.
Birds-eye is really not that uncommon. As with finding first-class curly maple back, the problem is always finding that perfect piece.
I agree with you that they are beautiful, but not for all.
Hope this helps,
Posted 18 January 2000 - 12:05 PM
Do we know of any famous violins that are made like that?
Posted 18 January 2000 - 06:36 PM
Posted 18 January 2000 - 09:45 PM
Posted 19 January 2000 - 02:54 PM
The Bigleaf is another animal entirely...wide graining (2-3 to the inch is not uncommon) and distinctive under varnish, is is generally used in violas and 'cellos, although when cut on the slab it can fool the dendroligist who tries to ID it in an instrument. It's wild flaming and wide grain makes it my favorite wood to see in a 'cello--the two seem to be made for each other...Check out <http://www.rockislan...com/~tonewoods>
for furthur info.
Posted 19 January 2000 - 08:58 PM
I don't have any expirience carving birdeye maple yet. I have ten one piece violin/viola backs in Rock maple but everyone who has bought one of my violins has wanted Flamed maple not Birdseye maple for the back. If I don't get any orders for Birdseye maple violins soon I'll end up building myself a violin or viola from it just I can get to use some of it.
Posted 20 January 2000 - 04:03 PM
Posted 20 January 2000 - 04:07 PM
Posted 21 January 2000 - 12:10 AM
The popping out of individual bird's eyes that I mentioned only happened on the ribs when we were rough planing them. With care we were able to bring the ribs to thickness without any problems. Something to be said here for very sharp tools.
The tone of the birds-eye Seraphin copy that I mentioned before was very pleasant and presented no surprises. This is my only experience with making a violin with this wood, but like Mr. Johnston I too have stash of this attractive wood and I hope that sometime in the future I have an opportunity to make another.
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