Violin Timber In Australia

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Campo
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Violin Timber In Australia

Post by Campo » Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:22 pm

Hi all, I am new to instrument makiing. Can anybody tell me where I might get timber suitable to make Violins in Australia.

If I have to buy from overseas, how difficult is it to buy timber into Australia?
I probably want lower cost timber for my first few efforts.

Thanks,
Nick

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P Bill
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Re: Violin Timber In Australia

Post by P Bill » Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:49 pm

I have used Surian Cedar to build a double bass, an archtop guitar and a viola. The guitar has been sold and the owner is very happy. I still have the db and the viola. Masters sells 40mm x 150mm wrc decking that really needs some searching through to find a quartered board. I've used this on a mando but I built a better sounding mando from Oregon. There's Oregon and there's Oregon. I'm building a small body tenor guitar from Bunya. I'm not saying use these timbers, just that they have worked for me. Once you start buying wedges the cost really starts to go up. Eventually I'll promote myself to proper timber. :)
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Bill

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Re: Violin Timber In Australia

Post by kiwigeo » Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:50 pm

Welcome to the forum Nick,

Not being a violin builder I'm not up with the Australian suppliers of tonewood for same. Australian Lutherie Supplies are the only Australia supplier I know of that carries violin tonewood.... http://luthierssupplies.com.au/index.php

Here in Adelaide Ive seen a bit of violin tonewood on the shelves at Ottos in Magill but I wouldn't recommend them purely because they're service is cr*p.

Importing tonewood into Australia isnt a big deal as long as the wood doesn't have bark attached or dirty big worm holes in it. The other thing to watch is the value of the shipment to avoid GST and customs duty.

Cheers Martin
Martin

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rocket
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Re: Violin Timber In Australia

Post by rocket » Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:58 pm

My first ever build was a 4/4 violin, i used some Tassie oak from Bunnys for the back which turned out to be u/s and some sitka spruce from Mathews timber for the belly, my next i got all the stuff from Mathews, sitka top, Blackwood back and sides maple neck, Stumack can also supply violin timbers and import costs aren't too expensive.
Cheers,,
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peter.coombe
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Re: Violin Timber In Australia

Post by peter.coombe » Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:18 pm

For the good stuff (these are my suppliers so are recommended) -

Spruce -
http://www.oldworldtonewood.com/ (Carpathian Spruce and European Maple)
http://www.tonewood.ch/ (FSC certified European Spruce from Switzerland, VERY NICE)

European Maple (various grades), and their Spruce is ok as well -
https://www.tonewood.sk/

Never had any problem importing wood from these suppliers.

Peter
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Re: Violin Timber In Australia

Post by peter.coombe » Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:38 am

Thinking about this overnight -

A violin is one of the most difficult and time consuming instruments to make. Do yourself a favour and use traditional woods (i.e. European Spruce and European Maple) for your first few violins. Saving a few small dollars by using an alternative wood is just not worth it. Altertnative woods have different properties and need to be used slightly differently, and if you don't know what you are doing you will probably get it wrong. At least with traditional woods you can't blame the wood if the violin sounds like crap. Also, the violin world is incredibly picky and conservative, and you will have a hard time selling a violin made from anything that is not Spruce and Maple. There are centuries of tradition around the violin family of instruments. In addition to that, if you go to an experienced violin maker for help, they are much more likely to give you help if you use the "right" woods. Carving a scroll is a heck of a lot easier with European Maple than Blackwood or Tassie Oak. You don't need to use the expensive wood, get some of the lower grade Maple. It has less figure, but sounds just as good. Tonewood.sk specialise in the violin family so you can get the lot from them if you want. Their prices are very reasonable, especially for the Maple, and quality is excellent. John Preston from oldtonewoods.com is great to deal with, his Carpathian spruce sounds great, and he has some amazingly figured European Maple. Tonewood.ch are not cheap, but they have some of the best Spruce money can buy.

I have never made a violin, but have made plenty of arch top mandolins and I can assure you that mandolins made from European Spruce and European Maple sound mighty fine. It is one of my favourite wood combinations.
Peter Coombe - mandolin, mandola and guitar maker
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P Bill
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Re: Violin Timber In Australia

Post by P Bill » Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:10 am

Pete is right of course. When he says the classical world conservative it's an understatement! Two kinds of fiddles in that world, soloist and section member. Most violin players are folk fiddlers. In the old time/ hillbilly world there is plenty of precedent for oddball timbers. Although most prefer Spruce and Maple.
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Dominic
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Re: Violin Timber In Australia

Post by Dominic » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:00 pm

I have been looking into making violins. The good thing about them is the wood is very cheap being so small. Around a 1/4 the price of archtop wood or even flat top wood. I've seen places where you can buy all the wood you need in high grade flamed maple and top quality spruce for around 300 bucks.
Dom
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rocket
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Re: Violin Timber In Australia

Post by rocket » Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:35 pm

Dom, i suppose if you make 2/4 size violins the cost of the timber would only be 1/8 the price of a guitar, bargain!! :idea: :idea: :idea:
Rod.
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P Bill
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Re: Violin Timber In Australia

Post by P Bill » Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:55 pm

I've been buying timber in bulk for so long it's hard for me to shift gears. In August I bought .144 m3 of plantation Mahogany for $375. I can turn about 65% of this into luthier timber. The rest into furniture. That is hand picked, broken pack price.
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Dominic
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Re: Violin Timber In Australia

Post by Dominic » Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:04 pm

Exactly Rod, you would know well how expensive it is to make an archtop guitar. So I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the price of violin wood.
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Re: Violin Timber In Australia

Post by Campo » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:00 am

A big thank-you to everyone that took the time to answer my question. I have made contact with Old Tonewoods and placed an order, so I'm off and running.

Nick Campitelli

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