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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 3:55 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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I have an opportunity to buy some really old cypress barrel wood which was used around the late 1800's to early 1900's. This stuff is extremely tight grained, rift sawn, and still has somewhat of a smell of pickles. I know there is one luthier who is building some really good guitars out of old whiskey barrel wood, but I have never heard of pickle barrel wood being used.


Is it any good for instruments? It is rediculously expensive and the widest piece is only 6" wide, so a 3 or 4 piece back would be necessary.


Anybody else interested in any of this stuff? Here are some pics. by the way, the wood has been planed and cleaned up in these pics.




 


 


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 2:04 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Ken I tried posting on this earlier. Here goes again.

Typically, most folks want their guitars to smell like wood, and their pickles to smell like, well, pickles.

That said, I'm sure there are members of the population who have spent their lives in pickle plants and probably couldn't smell whether the guitar smelled like dill or not. Desensitization.

On the other hand most folk will really pick up on that fact.   

You may have some marketing line such as Bread and Butter Guitar, Kosher guitar, Relish Guitar, etc..... again, I think there may be a limited market, if it reeks of any of the above seasonings.

Lastly, folks want guitars made of guitar wood, you know, the standard stuff. Plus, they want it to hold up so quartersawn on tops and sides at least. And... I'm not too fond of flatsawn backs we see so much of nowadays.

I have a barn stocked with non-traditional woods for guitar. First class stuff, but I doubt I'll ever use it. Red Oak mainly, but lots of it.

That's my two cents.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 4:44 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Sounds like a great dill to me.

Ron

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 5:06 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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Ken,

In terms of "suck it and see" I'd take the whisky wood over the pickle every time

Only you can really tell if it's worth it by examining the wood and assessing it's tonewood potential. Given the price you imply, unless there is something really killer about it (apart from the smell ) then it doesn't sound like a great buy to me.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 5:10 am 
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Koa
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Hey Ken... Cypress is the traditional wood-of-choice for Flamenco guitars. The smell may have you "in a pickle" though.

I guess this old stuff like you have is in great demand. I have a bunch that looks just like yours and is from the same period. The tank I have was used for water though.

Let me know if you find a home for some.

long


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 5:37 am 
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Koa
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Cypress is my personal favorite wood for the back and sides.

But with that said, I wouldn't build a guitar with the boards pictured...

Just because wood is old doesn't mean it's good (especially if it smells like pickles and is expensive). At best you could split a piece and if there isn't much runout saw it to be quartered and have some back braces or possibly a neck.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 6:01 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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I have tons.... literally TONS of oak also.(like several thousand board feet of it) Owning a sawmill, that is the wood of choice for most furniture builders and a wood I saw a lot of. Some of it is of a quality that I could use for guitars, but for some reason I'm not in the mood to build an oak guitar right now.


This cypress may gass off the pickle smell... who knows. A fellow sawyer came across it and is trying to sell it. I thought it may be of some use to classical builders. I may buy a few sticks of it for myself, just to see if it will get rid of the pickle smell out in the barn in the 100 degree Florida heat.


I have smelled guitars that are owned by heavy smokers.. not a pleasant smelling guitar... whiskey may not be too bad of a smell, but I have no clue about a pickle smelling guitar


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 6:57 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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I would probably be interested, but I already have access to a near
indefinite supply of cypress a friend went to Italy to buy about twenty
years ago.
As to the cut, flatsawn cypress can be very useful. Traditional harpsichord
soundboards were made using flatsawn cypress because the quartered
wood was simply too stiff. I plan on playing with cypress soundboards,
and perhaps entire cypress boxes when I get back to building.

I go up to Grand Marais at least once a year, and I could probably build
some simple ukes out of it that would sell pretty well at the Pickle Barrel
museum.

Pickle Barrel

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 7:22 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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By "ridiculously expensive", are we talking maple, mahogany, or rosewood
expensive? I could see maybe $5/b.f., but more than that I think would be
pushing it. I just don't know what market would pay high dollar for it.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 7:56 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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right now I am looking at $4.50/bf plus shipping to get it here.  The problem is that I have to buy it in lots of 100 board feet. I am trying to see if any of it is reasonably verticle grained and havent heard back from him yet.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:42 am 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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If you buy some I may be interested, but probably not in a huge
quantity. In other words, I may take few boards if you get it anyway, but
certainly don't buy counting on me to take much. I probably don't need any
more boards lying around that I may or may not use anyway.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 2:31 pm 
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Brazilian Rosewood
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I finally got through to my source tonight on this wood. He has placed about 200 brdft of it in a kiln and it has just come out. He says that it has no smell after it has been planed and has offered to send me a board of it, relatively verticle grained and wide, for shipping cost only to try out.


As soon as I get it and can resaw it, I'll send out a couple of sets for trails if it looks promising.


Thanks for all of the replies!


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Ken H


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:13 am 
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Ken, if those barrels were built east of the Mississippi, they're probably Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum). The cypress preferred for Flamenco guitars is Spanish Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), I think.
I built my barn entirely from bald cypress as most of the sawmills here in central Fl. cut cypress as opposed to Oak or Pine. You have to nail it up while it's green because it's as hard as a rock when it dries out. I cut up some 8" offcuts for back/side sets last summer that had been sitting around under roof for over 10 years. The grain is rather uninspiring but I've never seen a wood that bends so easily. If your friend is offering a free board for the cost of shipping, I'd say go for it.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 1:43 am 
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Koa
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[QUOTE=JimW] Ken, if those barrels were built east of the Mississippi, they're probably Bald Cypress (<font size="-1">Taxodium distichum). The cypress preferred for Flamenco guitars is Spanish Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), I think. [/QUOTE]

True, that. Bald cypress and Spanish cypress are totally different. I had a customer send me some bald cypress thinking it would make a good guitar. The resonance is very dull. I talked him out of it.
Common names like cypress, pine, cedar are very misleading. Think of all the unrelated woods called "cedar" and you get an idea of the problem. Bald cypress is great for exterior applications like decks and outdoor furniture, but I would not want to build a guitar with it.
--Tom

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