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Wood it's characteristics and use in model building

donfarr

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It sure is GREAT thread Dave, and by the way a thank you for introducing me to BEECHWOOD the Beech that I received for my Blanford, the color as everyone says is WONDERFULL, my only question that I have is it BENDABLE. THANKS AGAIN FOR THIS INFORMATIVE THREAD Don
 

Mike41

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Hi Don,
Beechwood is bendable
 

donfarr

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Thanks Mile, will be posting progress pictures tommorrow with a couple of questions. Don
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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if your hunting down wood in the wild or on the internet multi tasking tools are you best option.

small hobby tools are just that "hobby" size these tool will not handle standard lumber or say tree branches. You still have to either purchase thin sheet stock or have larger tools to cut the wood down to a size the small hobby tools can handle.

table saw vs band saw

with a 4 inch hobby table saw you can cut strips of wood and you are limited to thickness. A bench size10 inch bandsaw you can resaw strip wood and use it for cutting curves and shapes also the band saw will cut 2 inch thick material all the way down to a small fraction.

drill press vs thickness sander & spindle sander and mill

http://www.luthiersfriend.com/index.html

This is a three in one deal with a small bench size drill press you have well first a drill press, then add a jig and drum sander and you have a thickness sander, take away the jig and you have a spindle sander, get an XY table and turn it into a mill.
Some say oh but you can not use a drill press like a mill because you will kill the bearings they are not meant to cut sideways. This is true in a production shop or if your doing a LOT of work. Here we are talking light duty on a hobby level and it works just fine.


so if you are cramped for space or limited on cash think multi tooling. By having the ability of cutting and milling wood you will find it opens an entire new
facet of the hobby.
 

Uwek

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This tool "luthiersfriend" is looking realy interesting.......did you work already with such a device?
To be installed on an oscillating spindle sander could produce better results, or?
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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This tool "luthiersfriend" is looking realy interesting.......did you work already with such a device?
To be installed on an oscillating spindle sander could produce better results, or?

personally I have not built or tried these types of tools. The reason is a difference between industrial grade and home craftsman tools.

the lumber yard for model shipwrights operates on a commercial level so I use the company shop and tools. here is an operation going on at the lumberyard and gives you a scale of what goes on here.

I don't get a pay check I work for room and board and I get to use the machines and free wood for personal use and that it


log load2.jpglog load.jpg
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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personally I like wood hum can you tell? so when I am modeling I am using mostly small tools, hand tools etc I like the hands on approach.

but hey there are a lot to be said about tools and DIY tools some of those hobby tools to me are a tad over priced and you can do the same thing at a fraction of the cost.
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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The colors of Pearwood


the sample to the left is natural pear the other five examples are all steamed pear also sold as Swiss Pearwood as you can see the color will vary depending on where the piece was cut from. At the edge of a plank you might get a pale pink color number 5 and as you get to the center of the plank it gets progressively darker to the color of the second sample. Color and figure will vary from plank to plank and tree to tree from an even pink to a marble figure of shades of pink to purple.


colors of pearwood2.jpg
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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This was a hard learned lesson in color changing. This is a model hull of the Great Lakes bulk carrier Argo.
it is an old photo and the color is faded but it demonstrates what happens to wood over time or cutting the same plank of wood a year later.
The colored arrows are pointing to section of the hull built over different times. The front section was built first and the wood ages darker then the light green arrow at the stern. The darker blue arrow is the same framing stock cut about a year later. Wood cut at different times do not "catch up" to the older wood. As the newer framing stock is aging darker the older framing stock is also aging darker at the darker green arrow at the bow section.

if you are going to frame up a hull it is best to cut ALL the framing stock at the same time or you will end up with color zones in the hull. The deadwood at the stern is the same wood as the frames at the bow just cut much later in the build.

color will also vary as in the last post so if you start a project and maybe 6 months or year later and you reorder more wood, maybe you will get the same color as before OR maybe not and it will not match what you have already done.

color change.jpg
 

Uwek

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the sample to the left is natural pear the other five examples are all steamed pear also sold as Swiss Pearwood .........
Now I need some additional explanations by the specialist:

In Germany we have the so called "Schweizer Birne" which is often translated to "swiss pear".
In addition we have the so called "Elsbeere" (Sorbus torminalis) which is often mentioned also as "Schweizer Birne", but this seems to be wrong, when I follow your words.......it is not the same, or?

Recently I bought some Elsbeere, which I like very much......
 

donfarr

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Well Dave, Who is the good looking guy with the musels, DAVE 40 years ago, ,,, SEEMS LIKE EV HAS YOU ON A TITE LEASH BEHAVE YOUR SELF NOW,,,, all kidding aside I think this solves my tool problem, THE LUTHIERSFRIEND solves my problem of spindel sander, thickness sander(THAT YOU AND I DISCUSSED) drill press, MINI-MILL, I already have an X-Y TABLE, was going to buy the Micro-Mart table saw it is on sale, but with the extras it will bring it up to over $300.00 are you saying if I got A 10 in TABLE TOP BAND SAW I could still do the STRIP WOOD CUTTING and all the other stuff that the 4in table saw does, CAN I FIT A FEATHER BOARD ON THE BAND SAW, I think I can get the 2 tools for a litte more then the cost of theMICRO-MART TABLE SAW, and what is the difference between a 10 in BAND SAW AN SOMETHING A LITTLE LESS, probally worth it to get the 10 in, I ALSO HAVE A GREAT SCROLL SAW I HAVE HAD IT FOR OVER 15years it is a DREMELL SCROLL SAW THEY STOPPED MAKING IT YEARS AGO, IT REALLY DOES A GOOD JOB of cutting out the 1/4 in nATURAL PEAR THAT I GOT FROM YOU FOR THE BLANDFORD BUILD BUT THAT IS ABOUT THE LIMIT THAT I CAN CUT, LOOKING FOREWARD TO YOUR COMENTS. Don
 

donfarr

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Meagain dave it seems like the drill press does not come with it but I need a drill press anyway I have the dremel work station which I use sparingly so what do you recomrend I get in affordable Drill Press. Don PS Micro-Mart has a standard duty Drill press for $170.00 but I think i can get one for less at Menards, will let you know
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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Now I need some additional explanations by the specialist:

In Germany we have the so called "Schweizer Birne" which is often translated to "swiss pear".
In addition we have the so called "Elsbeere" (Sorbus torminalis) which is often mentioned also as "Schweizer Birne", but this seems to be wrong, when I follow your words.......it is not the same, or?

your not wrong about Elsbeere in general but wrong calling it pearwood.

trees are broken down into classifications


Family
Single or group of genera that closely or uniformly resemble each other in general appearance and technical character
Genus
A group of tree species that have fundamental traits in common but that differ in other, lesser characteristics
Species
A natural group of trees in the same genus made up of similar individuals
Variety
A subdivision of a species having a distinct, though often inconspicuous, difference and breeding true to that difference
Cultivar
A variety, selected for one or more outstanding characteristics, that is being cultivated and usually reproduced by asexual means to preserve genetic makeup

Sorbus torminalis common name is service tree or what your calling Elsbeere and it grows all over Europe, however these days it is becoming rare to find. Both pear and service tree are in the same family Rosaceae, the rose family. If you stop here then your right it is same as pearwood even looks like pearwood but it is not pearwood.
The Rosaceae family includes 91 different genus and 4,828 known species. The Rosaceae have a distribution (found nearly everywhere except for Antarctica), but are primarily concentrated in the Northern Hemisphere in regions that are not desert or tropical rainforest.

some of the more common rosaceae are apple, pear, quince, apricot, plum, cherry, peach, loquat, almond, firethorn, rowan, hawthorn, service tree and another 200 species and cultivars

If you can find a source for Wild service tree is one of the most valuable hardwoods in Europe. The wood is fine-grained, very dense and has good bending strength. It was used to make screws for winepresses, cue sticks, musical instruments mostly bag pipes.



Elsbeere-furnier_02.jpg
 

Uwek

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Many thanks for the detailed explanation - so I have to purely search for "Elsbeere" and "service tree" - I like the colour very much but also the workability of this wood - THanks
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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,SEEMS LIKE EV HAS YOU ON A TITE LEASH BEHAVE YOUR SELF NOW,,,,
actually it is my doctors who are saying you can't do this or that and don't eat this eat that and take your meds and come back and see me in a few months.

all kidding aside I think this solves my tool problem, THE LUTHIERSFRIEND solves my problem of spindle sander, thickness sander(THAT YOU AND I DISCUSSED) drill press, MINI-MILL, I already have an X-Y TABLE,

it looks like it might work but keep in mind like all thickness sanding either with a jig or a machine without a power feed it will take a little practice to use it

was going to buy the Micro-Mart table saw it is on sale, but with the extras it will bring it up to over $300.00 are you saying if I got A 10 in TABLE TOP BAND SAW I could still do the STRIP WOOD CUTTING and all the other stuff that the 4in table saw does, CAN I FIT A FEATHER BOARD ON THE BAND SAW, I think I can get the 2 tools for a little more then the cost of the MICRO-MART TABLE SAW,


all the resawing I do I do with a bandsaw I have a 10 inch big old table saw that I never use. You will not get a smooth cut with a band saw as you do with a table saw so you do need to finish off the strips with a thickness sander.

and what is the difference between a 10 in BAND SAW AN SOMETHING A LITTLE LESS,


I am not sure but I think a 10 inch bandsaw is as small as they get then it becomes a scroll saw.

probably worth it to get the 10 in, I ALSO HAVE A GREAT SCROLL SAW I HAVE HAD IT FOR OVER 15years it is a DREMELL SCROLL SAW THEY STOPPED MAKING IT YEARS AGO, IT REALLY DOES A GOOD JOB of cutting out the 1/4 in natural PEAR THAT I GOT FROM YOU FOR THE BLANDFORD BUILD BUT THAT IS ABOUT THE LIMIT THAT I CAN CUT, LOOKING FOREWARD TO YOUR COMENTS. Don

I have a 10 inch bandsaw to do the work from the big shop bandsaw and it works also as my scroll saw. Then I have one of those little hobby scroll saws for the delicate work.
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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Many thanks for the detailed explanation - so I have to purely search for "Elsbeere" and "service tree" - I like the colour very much but also the workability of this wood - THanks

from an article I had in my archives
this wood has a long history in Europe

The wood of the wild service, Sorbus torminalis.

"The wood's got a pretty colour to it. When you get an old gentleman and saw it out properly you'll get beautiful stuff". This is how a very experienced Sussex forester described wild service wood to me a few years ago. It is a hard, heavy timber weighing 65lb per cubic foot (1,041 kg per cubic metre) when freshly cut and 48.5 lb per ft3 (776.9 kg per m3) when dry (Loudon, 1838). In seasoned examples the grain is not usually strongly marked and the colour is usually a pale pinkish buff or pale brown. If pinkish it distinguishes it from pear wood, which it otherwise resembles. When seasoned the wood holds its shape well without shrinking or splitting . At one time the timber was highly valued, both here and on the Continent, for turnery, furniture making and cabinet work (Demesure-Musch, B. & Oddou-Muratorio, 2004; Elwes & Henry, 1906); for wooden screws and arrows and especially for pistol and gun-stocks. Anne Pratt, writing in the mid-19th C, says it was preferred to any other wood for the latter purpose and this would appear to have originated in wild service wood having been particularly sought for cross-bow stocks. In various British documents in medieval Latin reference is made to its use in this way, the term aliera being used to describe the tree. (The meaning of aliera is given by Latham (1975 ) in his Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources as "? hawthorn", but following correspondence with me over the matter he is now full agreement that "wild service" would have been meant.) In one account in this dictionary, dating from 1260, reference is made to the fact that two wild service trees were taken from Havering Park in Essex to the Tower of London to make cross-bows for the king[1]. The tree still grows in this area.

In France, Germany and Poland the wood has been used for making stringed musical instruments; for parts of harpsichords and simple wind instruments such as flutes, fifes and flageolets (Drapier, 1993) . It was used also for sheaths for knives, daggers and swords. One correspondent (October 1993) from Billingshurst, West Sussex, has said "I use the wood for various purposes, especially harpsichord jacks, for which it has long been the most favoured species, although pear is more commonly employed as it is more readily available." The wood, and that of the true service, were also widely used for this purpose in France and Switzerland..

The town of Ivry-la-Bataille in Upper Normandy specialised in making "elegant and large" combs from wild service wood and in Germany it was used for weavers' combs. This tradition of comb making is also reported from Ézy-sur-Eure and other places in Upper Normandy: Pendant la belle saison, les habitants cultivaient champs et vignes .... et pendant la mauvaise saison, ils fabriquaient sabots de hêtre et peignes de buis ou d’alisier. [During the warmer months the people cultivate the fields and vines .... and in the colder months they make sabots from beech and combs from box or wild service.].

In rural communities throughout Europe wild service wood was sought after for tool handles and in particular for the striking portion of the flails that were used for threshing corn (Britten & Holland, 1886). As with pear wood, which is still in demand for mallet heads, wild service wood possesses the necessary resistance to splitting, a fact also reflected in its use for making skittles and butchers' chopping blocks. In parts of France the poles for supporting grape vines were made from wild service wood, something paralleled by its occasional use for hop poles in England . The idea was that while the wood was as good, if not better than, other available timbers the trees, before they were cut, provided the bonus of edible fruit.

Where exactly all the artefacts that were made with wild service wood are today is something of a mystery. Many must still exist in museums, collections, antique shops and households but it is plain that their true nature is neither understood nor appreciated. Also, after the passage of time, wild service wood is difficult to distinguish without damaging the artefact and an expert trying to be specific about the timber used in a particular object may mistake it for pear wood. Generally, wild service is classified as 'fruit wood', a description covering apple, pear, cherry and other rosaceous species and widely used in the antique and furniture trades. One remarkable piece of information was sent to me by Henry Green who was a friend of the celebrated Enfield gardener E.A. Bowles. He once showed Bowles a branch of wild service and was told that the tree used to be common in Epping Forest where it was planted to provide timber from which the furniture for the Royal household was made. If there is any truth in this it would be consistent with comments by the German author Bechstein (1810) who described it as his country's most precious and beautiful native wood and eagerly sought by cabinet makers and similar craftsmen. It is used in Germany today for veneers and other purposes.

Today the wood is, not surprisingly, hard to come by, especially in the British Isles, but is in demand to some extent by turners and carvers who appreciate its qualities. I have a very pretty wooden dish given to me by a master carpenter and turned from a piece of S. torminalis wood from a fallen tree. It has a flared grain of the type that is caused by the pressure of a heavy branch where it curves out from the trunk.

Another important use for the timber in the past was in the axles and wheels of carts and carriages and for the wooden cogs used in mill machinery (Du Breuil, 1854). The tree was used by millwrights for this purpose in the Wyre Forest on the Worcestershire/Shropshire border. The species is still not uncommon there along the Dowles Brook where the watermills are situated and it could well have been encouraged to grow in such places (Hickin, 1971). Hanbury (1770) said: "The timber is very valuable, being hard, and useful for millwrights who greatly covet it." In 13th century France the wood was recommended, among others, for barrel making.

The trunk of the wild service can reach 5 metres (16.5 ft) in circumference and often there is a clear run of 6 or 7 metres (20-23 ft) or more from the ground to the first branches. Substantial planks and beams of timber are available from such trees, especially when the heartwood is sound (foresters have told me that this is often not the case: the tree is liable to decay from within). In areas where the species grows well and is, or was, relatively abundant such as the Weald of Kent and Sussex, large trees sometimes arrived at sawmills, and perhaps still do. I know of some recent instances where the timber was planked, but not what happened to it then: who bought it and what it was used for. Writing in the 17th C, John Evelyn (1664) spoke of a house in Surrey which had a room "curiously wainscotted" in wild service wood and in the early 19th C Henry Phillips (1821) said that it was "a very durable wood for buildings that are exposed to a northern aspect". In England, and in mainland Europe the wood was used both for roof-beams and for domestic carpentry (as most woods were) and one informant told me that in England in the past it had been used for gravestones, again a reflection of its durability. It could well be that some of our older houses have structural elements and interior or exterior panelling of wild service wood but in contrast to the situation that would exist with, say, oak or walnut this seems to have gone unrecorded and unremarked.

In addition to its value for making things, wild service has also been used as firewood and for charcoal. One French author recommended planting hedges of it in view of the benefit to be derived from using these as a source of firewood. Taylor P. (pers. comm. 10 Oct 1993) says the tree is highly thought of as firewood by local people in the Billingshurst area of West Sussex. Henry Phillips (1821) says the wood is preferable to that of the whitebeam for both fuel and charcoal and Smith says its value in this respect "when compared with that of beech, is as 1.038 to 1.540 and for charcoal as 1.062 to 1.600". It was also praised by Du Breuil (1850) who said of all the French Sorbi "son charbon est tres estimé". It is tempting to hypothesise that the Iron Age inhabitants of Maiden Castle in Dorset, where wild service charcoal has been identified (Salisbury & Jane, 1940), appreciated this point to the extent that they were prepared to leave the hills for the lowland forest in order to search for the wood. In point of fact, however, it could be that 2,000 years ago the tree grew on the chalk, or its boulder clay cappings, and much closer to this great earthen rampart than it does today. Also the amount involved could have been very small, or intended for some special purpose, and not necessarily brought to the fort specifically for its incendiary qualities.

Although wild service wood is clearly valuable in a number of ways, it is pre-eminent only for the making of harpsichord jacks and, perhaps, for cross-bow and gun stocks, the striking portion of corn flails and mill machinery. Oak is better for barrels, hornbeam for firewood, lime for carving, beech for furniture, alder, willow and buckthorn for charcoal and so on. Had this been otherwise, the wild service might have been more carefully conserved and be much less scarce than it is today, though it does seem to be coming into fashion in mainland Europe for high quality furniture and interior décor.
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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sometimes the wood used adds value to an object because the wood itself is said to have certain mystical properties.

Wood from the genus Sorbus ( exactly which species was protected information) is helpful with clearing the mind and opening our inspiration. The Essence of Rosaceae family of trees is used in medicine and also to assist in attuning us to nature, broadening perspectives, and making room for a deeper understanding of our place here in the universe. It also has a significant role in protection. Rowan wood and Service wood was traditionally used to make spindles and spinning wheels, tool handles, stakes and pegs, dowsing and divining rods. A wand or walking stick will protect you from being harmed on a journey and bring spiritual enlightenment along your path. To the Celts the Sorbus family of trees was a symbol of the hidden mysteries of nature and the quickening of the life force. Early Scottish tradition did not allow for the use of Rowan or Service wood for any other purpose than ritual.
 

Dave Stevens (Lumberyard)

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An interesting wood is North American Ebony it is a true Ebony, and grows in the southern states into Texas and down into Mexico. What is nice about the wood is the black heartwood which is not a solid black but shades of gray, dark charcoal color and into black. When used on a model ship it looks like a weathered painted black surface so using it as rails, cap rails and wales is the prime use. It can be used for bulwark planking if the pieces are selected for color it will look like a weathered black paint. I have found slabs with a solid jet black heartwood.

the wood is extremely hard and dense. It is elastic enough to be used for planking. High crushing and bending strength with medium stiffness.

it is a fussy wood because of the wide range of figure for model building where you are using small strips you can actually pick and choose the color.

persimmon.jpg

Date-plum (Diospyros lotus), also known as lotus persimmon, is native to southeast Europe

American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) is native to the eastern united states

Black persimmon or black sapote (Diospyros digyna) is native to Mexico

Asian or Japanese persimmon (Diospyros kaki) , and is native to Japan China Korea and Myanmar

Texas persimmon (Diospyros texana) is native to central and west Texas and southwest Oklahoma in the United States


if you search for the wood goes by several names American ebony, white ebony, bara-bara, boa wood, butterwood, possum wood and Virginia date palm . simmon, sugar-plum around the world there is long list of common names.

all species comes from the family Ebenaceae, the same family as ebony

no doubt about it Persimmon is a tough wood to work, it will dull the best of blades real fast, small hobby type table saws do not have enough power and will just burn the wood. As this wood dries it gets harder and harder, is it worth the trouble? sure is! its just a beautiful wood when polished. Trim out a ship model in this wood and you have yourself a gem of a model.

again don't forget the sapwood it is totally different from the heartwood in color and figure

persimmon.jpg

it is the fruit persimmon or as the Greeks call it "the fruit of the gods" the tree is best known for. Eat an unripe persimmon and your face goes instantly numb.
 
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