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Thread: knot in top

  1. #1
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    Default knot in top

    I think i know the answer to this, and will not name the wood provider at this time, as I do not want to slam their name in the event they take care of me. I ordered a piece of AA grade red spruce torrefied from a supplier, looked good, white both sides, near vertical grain. jointed it, glued and cut profile and started carving, about an in. below the top point., and an in. or so in, a knot shows up, and does not look like I can carve it out.As I was carving it was just a wave in the grain as though it were bearclaw. Is this something any of you would use? I am thinking no. and is this something a supplier should stand behind? thanks
    Mike Marrs

  2. #2

    Default Re: knot in top

    I’d speak with the supplier. Unless the ‘grade’ specifies that knots are allowed, I would expect them to replace it. That said, there are no ‘official’ grading standards for tonewoods like there are for commercial hardwoods and softwoods.

    I wouldn’t use it but that’s your choice.
    Play it like you mean it.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: knot in top

    Yes, speak with the supplier.. All that I deal with will make good.. On the other hand, if you are working with lower grade wood, go with it.. I have used less then perfect tops that have come out really great.. those little flicks just give individual character...….
    kterry

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    Default Re: knot in top

    actually, I have a great piece of hard maple that I got from rare earth prolly 10 years ago, so really won't compromise the top. the blemish does not go through, but enough to where it is too shallow. I have a friend who makes mandos, and ukes, he may be able to do a uke top, but we will see what the supplier says,. Which again, I did not want to name them because it is only fair to let them respond

  5. #5
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    Default Re: knot in top

    You could drill it out, hide glue a piece of violin soundpost spruce in it [paying attention to the grain], sunburst the top, and nobody will ever know it's there until you point it out to them.

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  7. #6
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: knot in top

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    You could drill it out, hide glue a piece of violin soundpost spruce in it [paying attention to the grain], sunburst the top, and nobody will ever know it's there until you point it out to them.
    I don't think that will work. Gluing dowel even with matching grain direction leaves rather thick glue line and that will not accept stains evenly and likely be even more visible after fnishing.
    My first question would be why you didn't notice the knot before jointing? Must have been visible on one side even if it stops inside the wood. More often than not you can deal with such knots by shifiting position of plate so it will be cut out.
    (I have several maple back wedges with tiny knots but managed to find a way how to get knot free backs out of them, perhaps one will end up with a shadow near edge)
    That said... there are more than few multimillion $ Stradivari, Guarneri and Amati violins with knots in tops so you are in good company.
    Adrian

  8. #7
    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: knot in top

    My first question would be why you didn't notice the knot before jointing?
    I've certainly had blemishes which only became visible once the wood was worked. I wouldn't quite call them knots as such though.

    BTW all the main UK and EU suppliers will refuse returns of any wood that's been worked in any way, if the US suppliers are standing behind their supplies then you have things lucky over there.

  9. #8
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: knot in top

    Quote Originally Posted by Tavy View Post
    I've certainly had blemishes which only became visible once the wood was worked. I wouldn't quite call them knots as such though.
    Perhaps pitch pocket, that can sometimes be invisible on blank but can be easily repaired by cutting it out after shaping arch and fitting small vessel shaped patch of fitting wood completely undetectably.
    I've had bad luck with return of blemished wood from EU suppliers as well. Perhaps US dealers will stand up behind their wood...
    Adrian

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    Default Re: knot in top

    I called the supplier, and they told me it is not very common , but it happens,m and they hae a group of tops they were sending to CNC for kits, and 3 came back.. The pocket in question was not visable when I started, after a very short while, I did get this z pattern in the grain that I took as a little bearclaw, but as I got deeper, the Z almost left, and the blemish showed. They are replacing it for me but I may have to wait until mid Dec. to get the same " white " wood. They do have a piece that is darker, same grade, and almost looks like redwood.. I E-mialed them yesterday, and had a reply this morning. This was American Tonewood, and I applaud their customer service. I did not name them at first, as I was not out to harpoon them.Am unsure of what I will do with the top, one friend said save and do a black top, if bursted, it would be in a black area, or , I have a friend who builds guitars, mandos, and has been doing uke's . It may be okay for a uke and cut the part out, thanks all, Oh, Adrian, I really like the prints, got them through Elderlys

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    Default Re: knot in top

    they are sending me a new top, and I think as i stated, I sent them pictures one night, and got a response the next morning. I think in any business, a number of things can and will go wrong. I applaud the folks from American tonewood, for putting out a fire as soon as it reached them. They said this wa a sap pocket, and neither of us would have seen it.. Also , they said if I want a white top like I had it would be shipped mid Dec. , which we are coming up on, but they had another piece, but it was a lot darker, in a honey color, that could ship immediatly I didn't know if there was an advantage, or dis- advantage, so told them I could wait on the white. American tonewoods rock

  12. #11
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    Default Re: knot in top

    I want to close this thread out, Tracy from "American Tonewoods "sent me a new top free of charge, I mam greatful for the companys cust service, and will call on them again. I wanted to do this so as to not just say a supplier had a problem, but to also add they did what they could to rectify it

  13. #12

    Default Re: knot in top

    The proper term is pitch pocket. Pitch pockets can show up without warning during carving. The few times I have been made aware, I have replaced those tops for no charge. True knots in softwoods always originate at the pith, and can be found in quartered wood without carving the top.
    John

  14. #13

    Default Re: knot in top

    Wish I could blame the wood supplier for all the tops I've ruined by being dumb.... ;-)
    Cool that John and whomever the OP's wood supplier are will replace wood with a pitch pocket. By that point, the time spent on it is always way more of an investment than the cost of the materials, IMHO, so I've never considered asking for a replacement. Cool that worked out for the OP.

  15. #14
    Registered User amowry's Avatar
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    Default Re: knot in top

    I figure that one out of five or so tops and backs will be lost as a result of pitch pockets, inclusions, voids, etc. They're always things that no one could see without carving into them, so I consider it a cost of business and don't ask for replacements either-- I'd rather not run the risk of damaging my relationship with my suppliers.

  16. #15

    Default Re: knot in top

    Quote Originally Posted by amowry View Post
    I figure that one out of five or so tops and backs will be lost as a result of pitch pockets, inclusions, voids, etc. They're always things that no one could see without carving into them, so I consider it a cost of business and don't ask for replacements either-- I'd rather not run the risk of damaging my relationship with my suppliers.
    +1000

    Mandolins are easy...

    Imagine what it takes to get a perfectly clear blemish free double bass top- you can easily resaw one into 20+ mandolin tops!
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    Spruce dork

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