maple for luthiers
I spent an interesting hour with a local guy here in Porec who has a business selling maple for making violins, violas,etc.
I was initially surprised, as no-one locally makes musical instruments.
He was apparently originally involved in interior remodelling,which gave him a wood background. His son had been studying in Italy and when he damaged his guitar, had approached a local instrument maker to see if he could help. The instrument maker explained to the son that they could maybe trade, as Croatia has apparently been a source of maple for instrument makers for hundreds of years.
Stradivarious was reported to have gotten his wood from Turkey, but in fact the part of what was then Turkey turns out to be what is now Bosnia and Southern Dalmatia. Milan started looking and went on to establish himself as a respected supplier of maple to the instrument trade, particularly in Cremona.
The maple grows on the shady side of the Dinaric Alps, the mountain range that runs South from Slovenia to Albania and runs through Northern Istria.
The trees used for violins are normally 2-300 years old and those for chellos older still, as trees of larger girth are necessary. Seasoning is normally seven years and I was interested to learn that much of that concerns not just the moisture content but the expelling of some minerals.
He sells the wood as radially saw wedges, which initially surprised me, until I realised that each was half an instrument and that violins are bowed rather than flat, like guitars, so require cutting from something this shape.
If anyone needs to know more, shout!