Page 1 of 1

Wide vs tight grain

PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:51 pm
by Øyvind Taraldsen
I have seen countless people claim that tighter grain wood is stronger than wider grain wood, and that wide grained conifers are practicaly useless as musical instrument wood.

Is there any scientific evidence to back these claims up?
Has anyone tested large samples of wood of the same species, with different grain width?

Re: Wide vs tight grain

PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:52 pm
by John Hamlett
Øyvind Taraldsen wrote:I have seen countless people claim that tighter grain wood is stronger than wider grain wood, and that wide grained conifers are practicaly useless as musical instrument wood.

Is there any scientific evidence to back these claims up?
Has anyone tested large samples of wood of the same species, with different grain width?


1.
No
2.
Yes

For quality, it all comes down to the piece of wood in hand; mostly, it's density, stiffness, and internal damping characteristics. Appearance is as important as the builder and/or customer makes it, and if wide grain is not considered visually attractive because of tradition, it is graded down.

Re: Wide vs tight grain

PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:44 pm
by Rodger Knox
Tight grain is a little more likey to be stiff than wide grain, or wide grain is a little more likely to be floppy than tight grain, but there's no direct corelation.
Tight grain is also more likely to be denser, and there is a corelation between density and stiffness.
It all come down to each individual piece, there's wide grain that's just as stiff as tight grain, and will make just as good a top.

Re: Wide vs tight grain

PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:49 pm
by David Malicky
Yes, for an individual piece of wood, the way to tell is to test it. For trends, the best study I know of says uniformly tight grain wood does tend to have higher longitudinal modulus and velocity of sound, but also tends to be heavier, like Rodger said. See Figs 7.3 and 7.4 here:
http://books.google.com/books?id=z4bIWm ... &q&f=false
But, I've heard of other data that doesn't show the trend.
For cross-grain stiffness, very well quartered wood is probably more important than anything else. Trevor Gore's book has some great plots (from Schleske, CAS article) on E vs. angles of quarter and runout.

Re: Wide vs tight grain

PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:21 pm
by Øyvind Taraldsen
Thanks for the source, interesting read.
It seems to suggest that uniform growth is more important than the actual width of the growth rings when it comes to acoustical properties.

I know that wood is very variable, and that every piece is different, i just wanted to find out if there has been any experiments done to figgure out if grain width has any direct link to the properties of the wood.

When it comes to the way the wood is sawn, this is also important to take into concideration when comparing wood. When comparing longditudinal modulus on seemingly perfectly quartersawn wood, where some of it has no runout, and some of it has alot of runout will make the data you get quite useless, unless you have a very large sample size.
I am guessing the same would apply when comparing cross grain stiffness on pieces with various grades of quartersawing, but this is easy to see when you are handling a piece of spruce, it is very hard to know if a planed piece of spruce has runout and how much just by looking at it, the exeption would be when you have the "harlequin" effect on a bookmatched soundboard.