View Full Version : contrasting woods on 1913 F4

Dec-14-2005, 5:45pm
Hoping Bruce will comment on this one.. This is an F4 I'm helping an English chap sell, and I'm struck by the back woods. Clearly 2 very different cuts.. what do you think Bruce?


Dec-14-2005, 5:45pm
The top is very tight-grained on the treble side, and very wide on the bass.. huge run-out..


Dec-14-2005, 5:53pm
Oh man....

Yeah, the back is a composite of two different boards....
Could be from the same tree though, as the figure looks similar in certain sections...

"The top is very tight-grained on the treble side, and very wide on the bass.. huge run-out.."

I'm not seeing run-out...
In fact, is there a joint at all? Is it indeed a one-piece top? Sure looks like it in the pic...

What a cool looking instrument wood-wise...
What year is it?

Dec-14-2005, 6:02pm
Bruce... I'm glad you commented on that, because I was wondering if it was a one-piece top, but I would be the one with the untrained eye! That's pretty uncommon, isn't it? Or were there more wide logs used for tops back in the good ol' days?

I had seen this a little while ago in the classifieds (http://www.mandolincafe.com/cgi-bin/classifieds/classifieds.cgi?search_and_display_db_button=on&db_id=16775&query=retrieval) as a 1913. Nice looking instrument!

Paul Doubek

Dec-14-2005, 6:02pm
I'll be darned, it is a single piece top. The grain is so wide on the bass side I just assumed 2 pieces!

Dec-14-2005, 6:05pm
Bruce, I have a piece of sugar maple that looks almost exactly like the wood on the "point" side of that one. I'm saving it for if I ever built a "The -----".

I think you're right. I don't see no center seam.

Dec-14-2005, 6:09pm
That's pretty uncommon, isn't it?
I don't know how common, but I've seen them before.
I found a nice old A in a music store in Seatle. I was in the store with Bruce, as a matter of fact, I showed him the mando, and he said "Yep, one piece top."

Dec-14-2005, 6:21pm
One-piecers were kinda common back then, but rather hard to spot.
The trick is to "gunsight" the instrument, looking right over the top of the tailpiece. #The grains will usually stick out a little better this way, and joints become more visable...
This will work with a photo too, although I just tried to do it with my computer screen on this F4, and that ain't happenin'.... #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif

I think the existance of one-piece tops conforms to the way that Gibson used to acquire their wood, namely in the form of lumber...
So-ooo, they would order up some Sitka 1x10 lumber (back in the day when 1x10 was 1x10), and save themselves the labor of making a joint...

Haven't seen a one-piece top in a Loar yet, but nicely quartered boards 10 inches wide are rare in Red Spruce, then or now...

Hey, I'm looking at the F4 again and thinking it might be Red Spruce...
It has all the hallmarks. #Uneven graining, very wide graining near the center of the tree, etc.

Wish I could hand-lens it...

Dec-14-2005, 6:59pm
yeah I just eyeballed it, definitely no join line. There is some pretty good silking on it too sort of where the arch is you can see it best. Hard to photograph..

Dec-14-2005, 7:27pm
how about a Macro shot then.. best I can do with my not-as-good-camera and halogen spots..

Dec-14-2005, 8:01pm
Wow, that's cool....

See those pencil-point "pits" near the top of the pic? #
That's saying "Sitka" to me, but it's hard to get the proper magnification on the subject matter...

It's amazing what you see when you put a 30x lens up to a computer screen...
Little red and green squares, and not a hint of the subject matter at hand...

Not recommended...

Dec-15-2005, 4:34am
Heheh, great picture Bruce. Or rather, great picture Becky!

Dec-15-2005, 6:09am
Nice photos!

I'm intrigued at the way the binding is cut in the macro photo. Is it cracked at the joint or was it actually cut at right angle originally?

Here's a photo of what I mean: