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"Hazel-spruce" tonewood   You are logged in as Guest
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edguerin

Posts: 1558
Joined: Dec. 24 2007
From: Siegburg, Alemania

"Hazel-spruce" tonewood 

Has any of you guys come across and/or worked with this wood?
It's use as tonewood in Austria (where it is called "Haselfichte") was given the status of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH)



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Ed

El aficionado solitario
Alemania
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 8 2017 12:11:12
 
Echi

 

Posts: 969
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: "Hazel-spruce" tonewood (in reply to edguerin

Hi,
A figured red spruce like that one is called in many ways but usually as bearclaw spruce.
Haselfichte is often called German spruce (even though is the same wood which growns in the Italian or Swiss Alps) and not necessarily is figured like in your picture. Often it looks like normal red spruce.
Some people like a figured top some other don't.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 8 2017 12:56:30
 
mqbernardo

 

Posts: 47
Joined: Mar. 26 2012
 

RE: "Hazel-spruce" tonewood (in reply to edguerin

Greetings!

Haselfichte/ bearclaw / epicia-coudrier refers to the pic Ed posted, spruce with the random indentations that reflect light differntly, acording to the direction of the grain. In his book on building, Romanillos has a small chapter on haselfichte - more of a resume.

I haven´t´t built with it (so probably better to wait for input from someone that has) but i have 4 haselfichte / bearclaw tops sitting in my stash and i don´t find anything exciting about them besides looks. Tap tone seems less lively/more dampened than other spruce tops. Sound velocity along the grain is consistently much lower in these samples, which makes sense since the haselfichte pattern consists of lots of localized, crazy runout disturbing the straightnes"s of the fibers.

If you search that faithful mistress Miss Internet, you´ll get some interesting and contradicting opinions. Dana Borgeois, in his site, states that bearclaw "almost always occurs in older trees that have dense, stiff grain structure and high sound velocity. Thus bearclaw is usually a reliable indicator of the better examples of tonewoods within any given species of spruce.". Dan Hayes, in his respected study on wood for musical instruments finds that "the existence of bear claws leads to high density and damping, detrimental to good musical performance" and concludes that "there does not appear to be any acoustical virtue attached to bear claws". Romanillos knows Hayes study but finds that haselfichte produces "guitars with a bright and singing sound, good projection and lasting sustain".

Go figure.


Cheers,
Miguel.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 8 2017 14:40:36
 
mqbernardo

 

Posts: 47
Joined: Mar. 26 2012
 

RE: "Hazel-spruce" tonewood (in reply to edguerin

A couple of pics.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 8 2017 15:14:05
 
Perrate

 

Posts: 30
Joined: Jul. 23 2015
 

RE: "Hazel-spruce" tonewood (in reply to mqbernardo

I build my first guitar with haselfichte. It`s a bit cheaper than ,,normal spruce,,
But I like it a lot... the guitartop has an individual touch..
A friend of mine, wich is a professional luthier used this a lot. The clients liked them.

You can find pices with really wild structures ... they look beautiful at the end.
I don`t know if there is a big difference between normal- and haselspruce in the way they sound. I like my guitar a lot.
Try it ...go on
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 8 2017 17:40:37
 
Andy Culpepper

Posts: 2955
Joined: Mar. 30 2009
From: NY, USA

RE: "Hazel-spruce" tonewood (in reply to edguerin

I once made a medium-large order of Spruce tops and the supplier threw in a bearclaw top for free without my asking. I ended up using it on a classical and was perfectly happy with the results.

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Andy Culpepper, luthier
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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 8 2017 23:53:34
 
tijeretamiel

 

Posts: 438
Joined: Jan. 6 2012
 

RE: "Hazel-spruce" tonewood (in reply to Andy Culpepper

My Jeronimo Perez has a bit of bear claw to it, I think it looks a like the picture posted by the OP. It has a fair few dark lines and uneven gaps between the lines as well, which I like the aesthetic a lot.

Irrespective of it's visual aesthetic, difficult to isolate just what the spruce soundboard of my guitar provides but the tonality of the guitar is superb.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 9 2017 16:16:47
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: "Hazel-spruce" tonewood (in reply to mqbernardo

quote:

. Thus bearclaw is usually a reliable indicator of the better examples of tonewoods within any given species of spruce.". Dan Hayes, in his respected study on wood for musical instruments finds that "the existence of bear claws leads to high density and damping, detrimental to good musical performance" and concludes that "there does not appear to be any acoustical virtue attached to bear claws". Romanillos knows Hayes study but finds that haselfichte produces "guitars with a bright and singing sound, good projection and lasting sustain".


I´ve made a lot guitars with Bearclawing and at least 10 of them have with spruce from Austria. I´m building 1 now as well.
I personally like the looks of bearclawing a lot but I cant hear or feel any difference tonal wise. A good quality spruce is good. Also, I´ve never had any discounts because of the bearclawing. Really wild bearclawing is sometimes extra price.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 14 2017 13:09:43
 
Anders Eliasson

Posts: 5780
Joined: Oct. 18 2006
 

RE: "Hazel-spruce" tonewood (in reply to edguerin

here´s a snapshot of a spruce top that I´m French polishing these days. Its what I call "babybearclaw" It gives a lot of life to the looks of a guitar.
The top is from Austria from a dealer called germanspruce. (trees dont know borders.



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 14 2017 19:56:52
 
Randy Reynolds

 

Posts: 30
Joined: Feb. 23 2010
 

RE: "Hazel-spruce" tonewood (in reply to edguerin

Brian Burns, who has tested more wood scientifically than anyone I have heard of suggests that bearclaw tends to cause the ratio of longitudinal and latitudinal stiffness to move closer together. Now I am paraphrasing him from a paper written long ago and reserve the right to be wrong. In essence bearclaw either increases the cross grain stiffness or reduces the stiffness long grain or perhaps both. I hasten to say that I may be misinterpreting Brian's work but isn't that in the traditional luthier tradition?

I will say that I have built extensively with bearclaw (including Englemann) and have had excellent success with it. Also I have yet to have a complaint from a client and have had several requests for it as well. I have never run across anyone selling it for less money BTW.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 15 2017 17:48:20
 
mqbernardo

 

Posts: 47
Joined: Mar. 26 2012
 

RE: "Hazel-spruce" tonewood (in reply to edguerin

Hi Randy, nice to see you here. I've enjoyed visiting your site.

That's correct, at least that's what Voichita Bucur states on her book "Acoustic of Wood" (I believe she might have had access to on of Brian Burns' data, as she also had to Dan Hayes' and others - must check) - i.e., bearclaw decreases long grain stiffness and increases cross stiffness. I never measure cross grain speed of sound, but I measure long grain speed of sound, which correlates to stiffness, on all my tops and indeed it is much lower than I'd expect for a particular density - sometimes 25% below average - in tops with bearclaw. Granted, I don't have a huge stash to go through so this could all be spurious.

What got me interested in your post is that that's what I suppose the double top thing does (please correct me if I'm wrong) - it gets cross and long stiffness closer together, as it should increase cross stiffness proportionally more than long stiffness.

Btw, I chose my bear law tops from stash, in a local factory, of tops reserved for painted guitars. They considered it a defect. They cost me 20 eur iirc. Bliss!

Cheers,
Miguel.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 15 2017 23:21:32
 
Randy Reynolds

 

Posts: 30
Joined: Feb. 23 2010
 

RE: "Hazel-spruce" tonewood (in reply to edguerin

Hello Miguel, thanks for your informational post. Congratulations on you application of wood testing principles. I think that and paying your dues at the work bench is an excellent recipe for success.

I have tinkered with trying to orient the Nomex cells to adjust the ratio of stiffness however I just can't get to the volume of production to draw a bead on results. You may know the Nomex is slightly stiffer in one orientation than the other. In addition there are cell configurations called "elongated cell" with even more stiffness that could be a good alternative as well. Moreover there are various density weights of Nomex just to complicate the picture. Finally how the luthier decides to thickness the internal Nomex or to graduate it gets into the picture.

You can see that there is enough variations in this issue to fit nicely into the saying..."Art is a science with too many variables".
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 17 2017 14:39:25
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