Posted on

Letter: Crystals in Wood Cells

Letter: Crystals in Wood Cells

by Bill Moran

Originally published in American Lutherie #35, 1993


Dear Tim,

In American Lutherie #33, Nicholas Von Robison has sent a signal, maybe unknowingly, that there are scientific activities related with lutherie that are not well known or yet fully appreciated as part of quality instrument assessment. I am referring to the growth of crystals in the wood parenchyma cells. Concern over acid rain also leads me to openly ask, what are the effects of acid rain on the crystal development and their performance, and who is doing the studies, if any? I hope this letter will catch the attention of the Wood Chemists and the true wood anatomists amongst the membership and that they also will respond to my questions. Mr. Von Robison appears to be well informed on wood chemistry and I hope he will publish related data or suggest sources for the details he has on these subjects.

Microphotographs of wood samples taken under the electron microscope has shown that crystals are present, and separate spectrum analysis have been made of their mineral content. Information is sparse but I believe important since I am referring to the crystals in spruce and maple woods, although I do have reports describing the crystals in a number of other woods. This study includes unique measurement instrument construction, computer programs, resources, and time.

I will be pleased to correspond with anyone pursuing study related to material in this letter.