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Thread: Torrified wood

  1. #1
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Torrified wood

    Sorry spell check got the best of me, the title Should read Torrified. I'm really not trying to find ways to scare the wood.

    Anyone here trying this on their own? I used to repair electronics that were hermetically sealed units. I was wondering if I could make a container with a pressure relief valve that as it was heated expanding air could escape but no air could get back in. Fill it with something inert and heat away. I don't want to turn anything to charcoal. So I was curious if anyone has given this a try yet. Thanks!

    Keep in mind the wood I have to work with is at least 15 years old some closer to 20 that I have kept inside my house. Before that, it was with Orcas Islands and I do not believe any of it was fresh cut wood to start with. I wouldn't be surprised if some of this has been in billet form for 25+ years. For grins, I am going to put a piece in a black garbage bag and set it in the sun a couple of hours then open it up and see if any moisture collected. I think a couple of hours should be enough, this afternoon after it warms up a bit.

    I am not sold on trying it myself and I really want to get this wood all split and joined today or tomorrow if at all possible. I think I have waited plenty long to let it season.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Torrified wood

    You can certainly Google to find this out. IIRC, the process started in Finland and there are studies you can read that provide enough information to try it.

    I have oxidized oak in an oven in a different experiment but similar process, ie, low heat for a time period. I would caution you that the wood can char even at low temperature (200F), so use care.
    Play it like you mean it.

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  4. #3
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Torrified wood

    I will search some more thanks for the heads up!
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

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    Default Re: Torrified wood

    I do not understand a reason for "torrifying" [spelling???] wood that has been air-dried for 15+ years. It is already very dry now.

    Torrefication is an anaerobic kiln drying process that requires specialized equipment. If you don't get all of the air out of the chamber at the temperatures used for torrefication, you may char or ignite your wood.

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  7. #5
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Torrified wood

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    I do not understand a reason for "torrifying" [spelling???] wood that has been air-dried for 15+ years. It is already very dry now.

    Torrefication is an anaerobic kiln drying process that requires specialized equipment. If you don't get all of the air out of the chamber at the temperatures used for torrefication, you may char or ignite your wood.
    I was wondering the same thing which is why I posted how long this wood has dried. I read one comment on how it makes the wood behave like it has been played in for a very long time, no numbers since it all seemed like so much marketing hype. But if it did do something special, I know not what, then I would consider it but it seems that with my wood it would be a waste of time. Well, that’s my current perception.
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    Default Re: Torrified wood

    Haven't done any of this myself, but it's been talked about at MCafe for a few years. Hogo suggests in _this thread_ that it can be done at home. He also talks about some of the differences between aging and torrefaction.

    benny

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    Default Re: Torrified wood

    I am always wary of short-cuts.

    Kiln drying is an ancient idea. Historically speaking, the best instrument makers have shied away from it, except perhaps for storing their wood in the rafters above the fireplace or wood stove.

    I'm curious about how the torrified instruments will be doing 15 or 20 years from now.

    I'm 62 now. By that time, another dozen new things may come and go.

  10. #8

    Default Re: Torrified wood

    I think the people who are talking about torrifaction as a shortcut to aging are misunderstanding what happens. It's not the same thing as aging, you get some cool properties and nice colors, but it's new thing with unique pros and cons, not really a shortcut. Anyone who's saying it's the same as aging is just taking advantage of unproveable marketing hype.

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  12. #9

    Default Re: Torrified wood

    I've never tried a torrified instrument, but my friend who works at a high-end guitar boutique swears by them. I thought it sounded like a gimmick, but he says you can hear the difference.........FWIW.

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    Registered User Gary Alter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Torrified wood

    Using torrefied wood does not make it the same as the wood on a vintage instrument however torrefication does change the wood properties in some ways that are similar. It's not just a drying process it also hardens the resins and sugar in the wood so it brings it closer to what the wood properties are on a vintage instrument. How it will age, whether the change from torrification is the same with all wood species, I'm not sure anyone knows at this point. I will say I own a Red Diamond July 9th mandolin that uses torrefied woods and I've compared it to some other Red Diamond July 9ths that were not torrefied and I would say that mine is more responsive and open consistently. Completely subjective I guess but that's what I've heard doing several A:B comparisons. Every instrument is a combination of the materials, methods used and the particular skill of the luthier so it may not be the same for every builder but I think Don MaCrostie is getting some fine results with his Red Diamonds mandolins.

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    Default Re: Torrified wood

    I first heard about this process about 30-40 years ago. The Finnish luthiers were doing this.

  16. #12

    Default Re: Torrified wood

    IIRC, in an interview I read Don Macrostie noted that light didn't pass through the spruce tops on vintage guitars. He noted that light doesn't pass through torrified spruce either. He didn't draw the conclusion that torrification made the wood the same as the wood on the vintage instrument, but the RD with torrified wood I played had something special going on. There is an immediacy to the response and clarity to the tone like I've never heard. He's definitely on to something, but he's got a lot of other things going on in how he voices tops.
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    Default Re: Torrified wood

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Grieser View Post
    IIRC, in an interview I read Don Macrostie noted that light didn't pass through the spruce tops on vintage guitars. . . . .
    It does on mine . . .

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    Default Re: Torrified wood

    I prolly have a mis-conception o the whole torrified subject, but i have found a site that offers torrified back,sides, and neck for mandos. I guess I was under the impression, that torrification was only going to help a top?
    Mike Marrs

  20. #15

    Default Re: Torrified wood

    I was fortunate enough to get a nice piece of torrefied Spruce for my current Mandocello build. I just did the first sound test, although itís my first Mícello build and first time hearing one in person... the top if very very responsive.

    As for working with the wood I noticed a difference also. It chips easily, itís lighter and harder than regular Sitka..

  21. #16
    Registered User Gary Alter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Torrified wood

    Quote Originally Posted by Martian View Post
    I prolly have a mis-conception o the whole torrified subject, but i have found a site that offers torrified back,sides, and neck for mandos. I guess I was under the impression, that torrification was only going to help a top?
    Each builder approaches it individually, on the newer Red Diamond mandolins Don MaCrostie torrefies the top, back, neck, sides and bridge. I’ve noticed Collings has offered some of their MT2 models with torrefied tops, some the whole body. Since the top has the greatest influence on the tone I’m guessing that’s where most luthiers have decided to begin experimenting with it. One thing to take note of is there is no standard method for torrefieng wood so time and temperatures will vary from builder to builder which makes it difficult to judge the true effects of the process. Some luthiers do the torrefication themselves, some buy the wood pre-torrefied from suppliers, there’s a lot of potential for variation there.

  22. #17
    Registered User Jim Roberts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Torrified wood

    [QUOTE=Gary Alter;1712469]Each builder approaches it individually, on the newer Red Diamond mandolins Don MaCrostie torrefies the top, back, neck, sides and bridge.

    Red Diamond offers a torrrified saddle, too...

  23. #18
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Torrified wood

    Quote Originally Posted by bennyb View Post
    Haven't done any of this myself, but it's been talked about at MCafe for a few years. Hogo suggests in _this thread_ that it can be done at home. He also talks about some of the differences between aging and torrefaction.

    benny
    I just wanted to reply but noticed the post above.
    Yes, you can do it at home. You don't need wood seasoned for years, just basic wood that is acclimatized to workshop RH. read the thread above for details.
    BTW, I'm just finishing the two mandolins I mentioned and there was no real difference that I could attribute to "roasted" top. Basicly I could not hear a difference at all.
    Adrian

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    Default Re: Torrified wood

    Dana Bourgeois has been using torrefied wood for a couple years now. Here is an article.
    https://bourgeoisguitars.net/wp-cont...rrefaction.pdf

    same article, different format:
    https://bourgeoisguitars.net/our-new...oustic-guitar/

    I recently acquired a very sweet Collings MT with torrefied Sitka top. I've owned/played a good variety of the MT models(MT, MT2, MT2V). this is by far my favorite. it could simply be the mandolin itself and nothing to do with the processed top, all I know is it has a very clear, full, and satisfying note quality.

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