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Possible bow wood? Odum/Iroko

 
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Rick M
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Joined: 18 Sep 2016
Posts: 41
Location: Okotoks, AB, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:24 am    Post subject: Possible bow wood? Odum/Iroko Reply with quote

Wondering if anyone knows if (or has tried) Odum / Iroko (Milicia excelsa = Chloroplora excelsa; M. regia = C.regia) for making bows?

My father-in-law worked in Africa for a time and had a supply of Odum shipped home, something like 25 years ago. I was cleaning up some recently and had some cut-offs that seemed like possible candidates for something. So thought I'd make up some bow blanks and let them sit for a year or two to see if they moved.

To me, it works like something between mahogany & teak.

Any thoughts or input appreciated. I guess if nothing else they'll make good practice blanks for turning squares into rounds Smile


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whatwasithinking
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Joined: 26 Jan 2013
Posts: 212
Location: Washington State

PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since no experts have replied, I'll offer an input.

For a modern bow, most makers seem to look for a specific gravity of at least 0.95, and according to wood-database.com Iroko is about 0.6. You might be able to tolerate a low value for a baroque bow, but perhaps not to that point. There are some alternative woods around that have proven somewhat successful in the making of both modern and baroque bows, but I've never heard of this one being tried.
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Rick M
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Joined: 18 Sep 2016
Posts: 41
Location: Okotoks, AB, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks!

I had looked at elasticity, hardness etc and realize they are lower than pernambuco,ipe or some of the other options.

Specific gravity isn’t something I’ve paid much attention to. What does it tell you other than density or weight at a given moisture content? (Not disputing but curious how the value is used)
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whatwasithinking
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Joined: 26 Jan 2013
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Location: Washington State

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Specific gravity is directly related to density, while it's an indicator of Young's modulus, or elasticity. It's also related to the speed of sound in the wood, which can be measured with a Lucchi meter, and guessed at by simply tapping on the wood. Take a look at Lucchi's description of their product.
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Rick M
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Joined: 18 Sep 2016
Posts: 41
Location: Okotoks, AB, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pretty interesting, thanks for posting the website.
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Nick Walker
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Joined: 17 Sep 2014
Posts: 44

PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bloodwood, Ipe and Masaranduba are relatively easy to find and have properties close enough to pernambuco to use for bows, especially early in your learning process. You can also find Wamara from time to time. Glenn Kuisch in Suriname can export wamara to the states if you're seriously looking to get into making.

All of the above mentioned woods have been used historically as well, so you may find success with a well selected piece.

Just a quick note on your cut. Try to make sure you're oriented on the quarter, not slab cut (looks like several of your blanks are slab). I made the mistake of purchasing many slab cut blanks and, especially for violin, this orientation leaves the head vulnerable to sheer. Luckily, some of my slab blanks are bass sticks which have enough wood, in my mind anyway, the tolerate a bit of an off the quarter orientation.

Good luck.
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Rick M
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Joined: 18 Sep 2016
Posts: 41
Location: Okotoks, AB, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nick, thanks for the tips.

You're right, the original board was flat sawn. I did some re-sawing to get closer to quartered, but a couple of them are still a bit off.

I had read about Ipe as an alternative, but missed the others as options
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