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Markelberry
Mar-16-2006, 7:15am
Would Sitka ever be used or is this type of wood used on more recent type mandolins only?

Hans
Mar-16-2006, 7:34am
West Virginia red spruce was the preferred wood according to Lloyd.

David B
Mar-16-2006, 9:48am
West Virginia red spruce was the preferred wood according to Lloyd.
Is that the case for the F4's from the 'Teens also? and I see you used the word "preferred". That implies that different woods were used for the tops when WV red spruce was not available.

sunburst
Mar-16-2006, 10:15am
In fact, there's no good way to tell what kind of spruce is in a top, sometimes, with the possible exception of sitka. Most of the older (teens) ones look like sitka, and most of the Loars look lile red spruce, but there could be examples of other spruces, or examples of red spruce earlier, or, who knows?

Loar did write that West Va. spruce was prefered, or, as I understand it, he specified West Va. or New York (Adirondac?) spruce. If the wood came from West Virginia, it would have to be red spruce, because that's the only spruce that grows there. If it came from New York, it could possibly be white or black spruce, and we wouldn't be able to tell today.

Paul Hostetter
Mar-16-2006, 10:52am
Markelberry - it's fairly safe to say that most if not all American-made string instruments from colonial times until WWII used Picea rubens, commonly referred to as Adirondack or red spruce. It very closely resembled European spruce, and was a very fine wood. By WWII, it had been pretty logged to oblivion and the supply was so shaky that Sitka, which was formerly not thought highly of, became a replacement. Wonder of wonders, it seems to work quite well.

A bit of red spruce remains in the supply stream, mostly deadfalls from parklands and wherever a woodcutter can score a tree. Itís not in yards, thatís sure. Like the woo-woo golden era instruments, itís somewhat scroungy-looking stuff: wide, streaky grain and so on. But you never judge spruce by looks, only by structural and tonal characteristics.

There are other very nice spruce species, and as John mentioned, you cannot tell them apart by looking. I have a lovely English guitar that ďexpertsĒ swear is Sitka, but I and the guy who made it know itís European because we know where the tree grew and who cut and milled it.

Hereís a page (http://www.lutherie.net/eurospruce.html) I started a few years ago about so-called German spruce, you might have a look.

Markelberry
Mar-16-2006, 1:12pm
thank you all fellow cafe members for the always enlighting information!