Is willow a tonewood?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by WalthamMoosical, Aug 11, 2020.

  1. WalthamMoosical

    WalthamMoosical Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    We have this willow tree that is mostly dead. A big wind just came along and knocked a lot of it down. So, tomorrow I take a break from poylurethaning paulownia and instead shall wield an array of saws. Shall I cut with an eye toward twang?
     
  2. Steerforth

    Steerforth Friend of Leo's

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    Willow is the traditional wood for the sound box on Celtic harps.

    It’s low density, weak, and fuzzes up when you work it.

    But if you build one out of willow, you can lick your guitar if you get a headache.

    I’d give it a try and see what it looks like. It should make a light guitar.
     
  3. dougstrum

    dougstrum Tele-Afflicted

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    Willow Weep For Me~

    I'm sure you could build a guitar that would really cry:cry:
     
  4. WalthamMoosical

    WalthamMoosical Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    I'm not sure there are enough big pieces of trunk here to make it worthwhile, and I wouldn't know how to follow through anyway. This was in part a poke at The Tonewood Debates but I must admit that this event did make me wonder.

    With the short lifetimes and bendy trunks of these trees I guess I'm not surprised not to have heard of a willow guitar body before.
     
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  5. MugHimself

    MugHimself TDPRI Member

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    I love the tone of willow it has a great high middle plink in the attack and an oakey afterbirth.only sounds good with 11’s on a rosewood fretboard tho!
     
  6. Richie Cunningham

    Richie Cunningham Tele-Meister

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    Cut the switches into short pieces and glue them together like the crayon guitar.
     
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  7. MarkieMark

    MarkieMark Tele-Afflicted

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    All wood is tone wood.
    Except perhaps for deadwood.
    Deadwood has never been known for having "lively" characteristics.
     
  8. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Tele-Afflicted

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    Might be interesting to see how sawed up willow reacts as it dries and cures. Their is a LOT of water in that wood. I’ve tossed cut up blowdown willow in the wood stove before and as firewood I’d put it about one notch above rolled-up newspaper. Not very dense...a big cellulose sponge.

    But I’d be interested to see some sawn up, dried and worked. Might be cool. Veneer? Layered with other wood like on fancy basses?
     
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  9. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Telefied Ad Free Member

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    The huge weeping Willow in my moms backyard self-destructed over time.

    You’d cut a fart in its general direction and a limb would fall.

    by the time I moved out it was 1/4 the size it was at its Largest.

    we always had a yard waste burn pile and willow required much camp stove fuel...
     
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  10. Steerforth

    Steerforth Friend of Leo's

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    It would probably crawl across the floor while it was curing, LOL!
     
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  11. trapdoor2

    trapdoor2 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    Willow is traditional for the linings and blocks of violins...but also for cello. These are small parts, of course.
     
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  12. Boblets

    Boblets Friend of Leo's

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    Cricket bats have been made from Willow. There is a nice tone to the 'thock' of a cover drive hitting the sweet spot of the bat.
     
  13. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Fortune favors the Bold.
    Find out, let us know how it went.
     
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  14. boredguy6060

    boredguy6060 Poster Extraordinaire

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    It depends on which way it’s leaning. If it’s leaning toward Twang, then that’s ok, but if it’s not then don’t cut it that way. It’s a safety thing.
     
  15. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    The Willow we used to harvest, was easy to cut, easy to split, light weight, and useless as firewood, would not burn without better fuel value wood mixed in. I'd say its not far off in hardness, stiffness, and density to Cottonwood, Poplar or Yellow Maple, so it might make a sound board, or resonant solid body. It may be soft though, and dent easily.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2020
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  16. Peegoo

    Peegoo Friend of Leo's

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    Even balsa wood.

    Gibson has used it in Les Pauls, ES135s, and other models.

    But Gibson has been sneaky about it; they call it "chromyte," a bastardization of the balsa species Ochroma. They know the word "balsa" would send guitar players screaming into the hills...but it works fine.
     
  17. Count

    Count Friend of Leo's

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    Just to complicate things, which species of Willow? Not a troll question, Weeping Willow, Common Willow (Cricket Bat Willow) and Osier Willow all have diferent characteristics. Weeping Willow would be the most unusable for anything whereas Common Willow is a totally diferent beast.
     
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  18. Fretting out

    Fretting out Poster Extraordinaire

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    Ha “tone wood”!

    Is it going to be an acoustic?
     
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  19. Bendyha

    Bendyha Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Willow is excellent. The use of the wood in Italian violin making was widespread. Not only was it used for blocks and linings as trapdoor2 rightly points out, but the whole of the back and ribs, and often also the neck and scroll where made from willow. As has also been pointed out, there are many kinds of willow, and poplar also is a close relative, but all are suitable. The quality of the wood has more to do with where it grows. Not only the speed of growth, often relating to how wet or dry it stood, but the mineral content of the soil makes a big difference too. Some woods have so much silicate in the wood, that it makes the tools blunt very quickly. Weight and density are also huge variables. some harder woods have been used for flooring, but others are not much more durable than Paulania...(which makes good guitars) It is very stable in its dimentions when it is fully seasoned. It smells good to plane. I have made violas from harder white willow, and also from softer red willow. Both proved to be well suited to the job.
     
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  20. Cesspit

    Cesspit Tele-Holic

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    If it resonates and interacts with the neck it may well be, though I dislike the term tonewood.
    Best of luck if you go ahead and use the Willow.
     
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