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Thread: Rotten Wood

  1. #1
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    Default Rotten Wood

    Anyone heard of rotten wood? Doesn't sound appealing, but paired with a Engelmann top? Maybe!

    Rotten Wood.JPG
    John

  2. #2
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    I have seen the words "rotten wood" used to describe ukes before...I concluded that "rotten" was intended to translate as "spalted". They could have called it "hurt wood" as my treenware mentor used to refer to any carving wood with a injury or fungus.
    Anyway, that is my best guess!
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  3. #3
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    Spalted/Rotten... I see it called "Deadwood," also.

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  4. #4
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    I've seen it used too for spalted wood. Not a fan of spalted woods myself, and certainly not on tops of instruments in solid form which you occasionally see. The black lines are essentially damaged wood through fungus - why you would want that on a soundboard I have no idea..
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  5. #5
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    Default

    Or maybe the writer was pissed at his boss.
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by bazmaz View Post
    The black lines are essentially damaged wood through fungus - why you would want that on a soundboard I have no idea..
    Why would anybody want any wood on a soundboard? Because they either like the sound or they like the appearance (hopefully both at the same time). So the use of spalted wood may originally have been merely an experiment but the sound was something the maker liked. Or it looked very nice and people wanted to buy the instrument. Or both. In any event, by the time the wood is made into a soundboard the fungus has died (so has the wood!) so it's not as if someone with a spalted wood soundboard is potentially introducing harmful fungus into other woods in the house.

  7. #7
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    It's hilarious that they're calling it "rotten" but I imagine they started doing it because people kept asking what "spalted" meant.

    In any case, this is also a sign that it's laminated. Doesn't make a difference how rotten the wood is if it is reinforced by lamination.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhbailey View Post
    Why would anybody want any wood on a soundboard? Because they either like the sound or they like the appearance (hopefully both at the same time). So the use of spalted wood may originally have been merely an experiment but the sound was something the maker liked. Or it looked very nice and people wanted to buy the instrument. Or both. In any event, by the time the wood is made into a soundboard the fungus has died (so has the wood!) so it's not as if someone with a spalted wood soundboard is potentially introducing harmful fungus into other woods in the house.
    What I mean is, with solid wood, those black lines are damage in the wood. On a soundboard, tone comes from the wood being structurally sound and the wood fibres doing their job. I discussed spalting with a couple of well known luthiers and they agreed - terrible material for making soundboards. Laminate perhaps, but not as solid tonewood. It's like using a sheet of tonewood with a crack in it (is how one described it to me)
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  9. #9
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    Yes to Spalted. Funny thing is that my favourite Kala ukuleles ARE the Spalted Maple ukuleles. When I mentioned this to a Luthier he said it was probably because most Kala's are overbuilt but the weakness from the rotting Maple means that the top can move despite being overbuilt.

    Anthony

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by bazmaz View Post
    What I mean is, with solid wood, those black lines are damage in the wood. On a soundboard, tone comes from the wood being structurally sound and the wood fibres doing their job. I discussed spalting with a couple of well known luthiers and they agreed - terrible material for making soundboards. Laminate perhaps, but not as solid tonewood. It's like using a sheet of tonewood with a crack in it (is how one described it to me)
    This I think gets into the whole "laminated vs. solid" discussion. I understand your point about spalted not being good as a solid tonewood. I didn't know it was ever used as a solid tonewood -- I've only seen it used in laminated ukes.

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