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Thread: Sinker redwood questions

  1. #1

    Default Sinker redwood questions

    This is my sinker redwood/figured cherry adaptation of an F5. The picture is wonky with the f-holes out of perspective.

    [IMG]Untitled by Gary Davis, on Flickr[/IMG]

    This is the redwood top. I scraped the top and sanded the back. I'm done with all that and I'm about to start tanning the instrument. My question involves the sparkles/reflections in the redwood. Its like the redwood started to mineralize while under water. Is this what a varnishing ground is supposed to do-reflect light? Do I still need a ground on the redwood? I'll be using the Old Wood varnish components.

    [IMG]Untitled by Gary Davis, on Flickr[/IMG]

    [IMG]Untitled by Gary Davis, on Flickr[/IMG]

    Also, the scraping has produced a corduroy effect on the redwood especially along the edges where the grain runs straight off the edge. Should I try to soften that effect along the edges or leave it so it can be felt?

    By the way, I was a little concerned that the mineralization might destroy the sound. But its been stringed up and played by a couple of folks and they say its sounds great - especially for a first attempt.

    Thanks for the help - Gary

  2. #2
    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sinker redwood questions

    The "sparkly" things look like "ray fleck" to me (exposed medulary rays, part of the naturally occurring cell structure of wood).
    The scraped surface is more common in violin making, but I've seen it done on mandolins. I've seen it left "rough" so that it is felt in the finished instrument, but commonly the washboard surface is mostly or completely filled with varnish in violins so that the surface feels mostly smooth, and the color in the varnish enhances the longitudinal grain because it appears darker where it is thicker between the ridges of grain.
    As for ground, it is seldom used in mandolin finishing, whether using varnishes, lacquers or newer finishes, though it is still a strong tradition among makers of violins. If you are continuing with the violin-ish finishing process you might as well apply a ground.

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Sinker redwood questions

    Thanks for your thoughts John. I've seen alot of wood and I've never seen it sparkle anywhere near like this piece does. I think I know ray fleck-the sparkle is coming from the lighter, "background" wood.

    How could I determine whether the sparkle is mineral or wood or does it matter?

    Thanks again - Gary

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    Registered User sunburst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sinker redwood questions

    I really don't know a lot about "sinker" wood, other than that those dealing in it hype the heck out of it. I don't know how much mineral deposition there would be from being submerged, but it would surprise me if there is enough mineral present to form visible crystals, and if so I would expect very dull tools in short order. Did the wood dull tools quickly?
    The only time I've used salvaged sunken wood it was mahogany supplied by the customer, and it was pretty normal wood in nearly all ways, near as I could tell.

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    Default Re: Sinker redwood questions

    I have some redwood here that looks like that. The fleck. This was bought from a well known supplier and friend. Perhaps some of the "Sullivan stash". Incredibly wonderful wood. That's not to say that yours is the same except for the fleck. I've been finishing mine with clear lacquer. Looks great.

  8. #6

    Default Re: Sinker redwood questions

    Thanks for that Dale. I seem to recall I got a couple of top sets from Connor in California. This one was the better of the two sets. I know nothing of the Sullivan stash but am interested in hearing what you know.

    Thanks again - Gary

  9. #7
    Registered User bennyb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sinker redwood questions

    (i'm not Dale) Here is a mention of the Sullivan stash. Don't know how much redwood was involved, but Bruce did have some nice redwood. Yours looks like a very nice piece of wood.
    benny

  10. #8

    Default Re: Sinker redwood questions

    Thanks Benny. I have bought some redwood from Bruce that he said came from a stash in California but not this piece. Or maybe I did-its was some years ago.

  11. #9

    Default Re: Sinker redwood questions

    I thought Bruce had retired from the wood business but I see he couldn't completely. Saw his FB page yesterday and that piece of sinker redwood on the opening page looks very similar to my piece-similar color and sparkles. So maybe I got those two sets from Bruce?

    Was there anything "special" about the Sullivan stash other than it came from a highly-regarded luthier? Wasn't evident in the links provided (thanks).

    Gary

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