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Thread: Old Beech Wood

  1. #1
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    Default Old Beech Wood

    Hi all,

    We have some "old growth beech" wood. Very old. We think it was cut down in the 1850s. Super hard wood-- you have to drill a hole to put a nail in it. What would a mandolin made out of this look like? Is it possible? Who would do it for a reasonable price (under $2k)?

    Thanks,
    --Sam
    Samuel Acus

    2021 Duff Two-Point
    2004 Weber Gallatin F5
    2021 Gold Tone 5-String Electric
    1936 (?) Kalamazoo A5
    1940s Regal Guitar

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Old Beech Wood

    I had a banjo with a beech neck many years ago and it was a darn good sounding banjo. Great straight grain the entire of length of the neck. It also had a 1/4" ebony fingerboard.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Old Beech Wood

    I’ve made a few cellos with beech ribs (in fact, I’m making one right now). If it is well quartered it can have pretty stunning fleck and figure, kind of similar to sycamore or lacewood. I think it would work well as mandolin wood because of its density. A lot of cheap factory violins were made with it, but I also know of one Guarneri del Gesu made of beech that looks pretty cool (if that’s your thing). Click image for larger version. 

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  4. #4

    Default Re: Old Beech Wood

    Budweiser had some success with beechwood aging.....

  5. #5
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Old Beech Wood

    Can you post a photo of the wood?

    If it is as hard as you say, I don't think many builders would want to deal with it at that price point. Builders usually have a stash of wood that they are familiar with and gives them the results they expect.
    Last edited by Charles E.; Aug-15-2022 at 6:59pm.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  6. #6
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Old Beech Wood

    Beech can be comparable to hardmaple in many characteristics (I'm not sure how much US beech differs from our european though).
    BTW, that beech backed Guarneri del Gesu violin is named "the Terminator"... for its tone (and perhaps somewhat rustic looks :-) )
    Adrian

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    Default Re: Old Beech Wood

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here are a few pictures. Thanks for your help so far, everyone! Looking forward to hear if anyone else has any suggestions...
    Samuel Acus

    2021 Duff Two-Point
    2004 Weber Gallatin F5
    2021 Gold Tone 5-String Electric
    1936 (?) Kalamazoo A5
    1940s Regal Guitar

  8. #8
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Old Beech Wood

    Looks like it has a lot of bug damage? Powderpost beetle?
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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    Default Re: Old Beech Wood

    I'm a little worried about that. Hoping some of the other wood doesn't have it. Would the bug damage make it impossible to build with?
    Samuel Acus

    2021 Duff Two-Point
    2004 Weber Gallatin F5
    2021 Gold Tone 5-String Electric
    1936 (?) Kalamazoo A5
    1940s Regal Guitar

  10. #10
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Old Beech Wood

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandolinian View Post
    I'm a little worried about that. Hoping some of the other wood doesn't have it. Would the bug damage make it impossible to build with?
    The woodworm damage is usually worse inside than on surface. You only see few enter/exit holes but there will be lot of damage inside making use of such piece unpredictable.
    BTW, I wouldn't keep that piece in my house or shop to make sure the bugs won't get into other wood. Even keeping it in plastic bags won't help (they bite through thick plastic like nothing).
    Adrian

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