Wood Under the ‘Scope

A couple of weeks ago I discovered that it was easy to shoot photos through my microscope by just jamming my cell phone camera up against the eyepiece, so I started looking for interesting things to shoot. Some of the varnish ground samples on bridges, shown in an earlier post, look pretty cool under the ‘scope.

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Nitric Toast

This violin is not even 100 years old, even though it looks 300. It came to me with several open cracks on the top, and as soon as I glued one, the stress of closing that gap opened up another. The toasty-brown color and the smell show that the wood was treated with nitric acid

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Prime Choice

Modern makers think they need the very best wood, with particular grain widths, specific gravity, ideal species, from the right side of the mountain cut at the right time by the right person saying the right incantations. The old Italian makers weren’t so fussy. This ¾-size cello is from around 1780, and it sounds great.

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Wood Aging

This is one of those things that I’ve always wondered about: how fast does wood darken, and how? The central stripe here, with three grains of wood, is a bass bar in a violin made in 1941.

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