Spalted Maple cap question pls

tvr

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I am building an Electric Violin for my daughter as a grad present. I have read a number of posts on working with Spalted Maple from a number of fellow members warning against the insanity, but as it her dream wood combo of Spalt top on a curly maple bottom, I am going to tempt the fickle wood gods and try for her :fingersx:

I know I need to be extra careful with dust and that I will need to "harden" the spalted wood with Miniwax Wood Hardener or an epoxy but still not sure if....

1..should I be trying to glue the two pieces of the bookmatched cap together first before using hardener?

2..if so , once joined should I glue onto maple bottom FIRST? Or use the hardener to make it more stable and then glue it?? I am assuming glue first, then harden but I have been wrong before :)

2..Also was hoping to tint the spalt slightly but I would have to do so before the hardener correct?

3...am I going to be able to do any gently shaping of the Spalt once hardened or is it best used flat which seems to be the consensus?

Any suggestion or help on this one appreciated as always.

Sd
 

45WinMag

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I would use Minwax before doing any gluing (it is basically a solvent that carries polymer deep into the wood, then evaporates leaving the polymer embedded). This solvent may affect glue. Also, be ready to use large amounts of Minwax. A piece with heavy spalt will absorb tons of hardener. I had one piece that I was using a brush to apply Minwax. I gave up on the brush and just started pouring it on. It even sucked up the overflow that was in contact after spilling over the side, just like a sponge.

I would hesitate to tint spalt. It is likely to turn out splotchy. The softer areas will soak up tint like a sponge. If you want to color it, I would spray lacquer afterward.

It is possible to shape spalt, but very difficult depending on the level of spalting. Mild spalting that just adds a little character shouldn't be too bad if you take care. If it looks like a puzzle with tons of black line, it probably has the structural strength of cork, and will be almost impossible to shape. It is best used flat if the level of spalt is significant. That stuff is even difficult to use even flat. The soft spots will dish out even with a sanding block if you aren't careful. If it is really soft, you should probably bind the edges too.
 

tvr

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Perfect thanks for the info sir.....I was afraid if I used the hardener before joining top pieces together the hardener would seal edges so I couldn't get a good glue joint. Good point re tint, hadn't thought of it although makes sense given any maple is bad for splotching, this would logically be worse!
The piece I have isn't heavily spalted but has nice figure in center where I need it, so hopefully will work reasonably. Will give some thought to black binding, could set it off well. Tks again for the help
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sdshirtman

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I'd suggest glueing them together before hardener. When I did mine (a carve top) I treated the piece with hardener after gluing, after I trued the top flat and again after I carved it while attached to the body. Because of the soft and hard pockets of the piece I had to use blocks when sanding. If you sand by hand you will get ripples.
 

TKOjams

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I book matched and glued mine before using the hardener without any issues.

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grohlstheman

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Just harden it and then plane the gluing face? I've worked with spalted maple, but only in small pieces. Indeed very difficult to work with


EDIT-

Nevermind, listen to TKO, he knows what he's talking about!
 

tvr

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Thanks to all for the posts......TKOJams, great looking guitar....1/4 inch top??? How much hardener roughly did it take for yours and what did you use if I can ask?
Tks everyone, looking forward to this one....for now anyway :)
 

Ole'Lefty

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I use water thin CA (Super-Glue) to soak spalted. I have had to build edges on Buckeye spalt. On a violin, I would fear a dead top!!
 

tvr

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Ole'Lefty, would certainly take a fair bit of CA for the piece I have!! Good point re "dead" top, clearly wouldn't work on an acoustic violin, hoping it will be less of an issue with an electric......does have me thinking of ways to design modify to ensure bridge is on dense maple though....thanks for pointing it out.! Hope your feeling better !
 

TKOjams

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Thanks to all for the posts......TKOJams, great looking guitar....1/4 inch top??? How much hardener roughly did it take for yours and what did you use if I can ask?
Tks everyone, looking forward to this one....for now anyway :)
I just kept brushing it onto the soft parts until it stopped soaking in, then sanded it back.
 

Ole'Lefty

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Around a pint- bought it "bulk" ( 2 eight ounce bottles) somewhere industrial- can't recall where. Finishing with hardening oil- spalted buckeye over mahogany Tele for HB's- it was a PIA and sits half done, now.[ picture on right is more accurate color rendition] I now consider this a waste of money and sweat. My Strat has two very hot Suhr/ Aldrich HB's and P/P to go to single coil. Damn thing is just dead. So much for the "Big Apple" configuration! Very expensive pickups, too. I have just concluded that Fender= Singlecoil, period. I have a good NOS Fender single coil loaded pickguard assembly I have to transplant (bath tub rout) -11 screws and two quick and easy solder joints and I'm just too tired of everything to do it.

I have Shep's HB P90's and I thought about wiring them in- they were going into my "Custom Shop" 2009 Epi Dot Sunburst with a Jonesy harness, but after a year of being a very, very nice guitar, the neck now seems to change relief daily so I'm not putting in guts worth near what I paid for it used, but in new condition.*** Maybe they will go into this Tele if I ever get another 30 coats of oil on it.

*** I may be expecting too much- I have the action set very low for that type of guitar (bass "E" was just under 1/16th @ 12th and was clean for a couple of Iowa Spring weeks)
 

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tvr

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Ok thanks to both of you again, guess the weekend workshop time will yield some results, one way or the other :fingersx:
Tks
 

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