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Adirondack Spruce Growth Rates and Accessibility

Adirondack Spruce Growth Rates and Accessibility

by Ralph S. Charles III

Originally published in American Lutherie #81, 2005 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume Seven, 2015

With a day job in the forestry and logging industry, I know a little something about wood. After thirty years of selling saw logs and pulpwood for a living, I thought that a move into the tonewood business would be a natural transition into retirement. Membership in the GAL, however, has uncovered a realization that some luthiers may appreciate my perspective on tree growth rates in general, and Adirondack spruce in particular.

The grading of wood for instrument tops takes into account at least the following considerations: evenness of grain, straightness of grain, tightness of grain, color or discoloration, location or lack of knots, figure, heavy grain lines, pitch pockets, foreign objects (bullets and barbed wire), closeness to quarter and runout, and stiffness. The following discussion is directed at the evenness and tightness of grain which are a direct result of the laying down of the annual growth ring.

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