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Re: Laminated soundboards
Del #2464180 09/27/15 09:28 PM
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Having read Del's article, I have a question about how soundboards are made.

If I read correctly, the laminated soundboard is flat, and then a crown is formed when the lamination is glued to the curved ribs. When a solid spruce soundboard is made, is the crown formed in the same way, by clamping the flat soundboard to curved ribs, or are solid soundboards carved to a curved crown shape, and then glued to curved ribs to preserve the crown shape?

Re: Laminated soundboards
Del #2464201 09/27/15 10:29 PM
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Until someone more knowledgeable than I chimes in, I believe there are two approaches: rib-crowned and compression-crowned.


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Re: Laminated soundboards
bleak #2464209 09/27/15 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by bleak
Having read Del's article, I have a question about how soundboards are made.

If I read correctly, the laminated soundboard is flat, and then a crown is formed when the lamination is glued to the curved ribs. When a solid spruce soundboard is made, is the crown formed in the same way, by clamping the flat soundboard to curved ribs, or are solid soundboards carved to a curved crown shape, and then glued to curved ribs to preserve the crown shape?


Two basic methods are available. Ribs are pre-cut to the desired curve or the panel is dried to a low moisture content before the ribs are glued on which induces a curve as the panel gains moisture. Solid panels are not carved to a curved shape, although I suppose it has been tried.

Curved rib presses can be used on either system to increase or enhance the curve. Any combination you can think of concerning these two system can and probably has been used.

i.e. 1.slightly curved ribs with a moderately dried down panel using a flat (non-curved) rib press

2. Curved rib presses with flat ribs and flat panel using moisture as a further inducement.

3. Flat ribs and curved press not using extreme moisture inducement.

4. Curved ribs, curved press and only slightly dried panel conditions. (My preferred method as the results are more predictable.)

5. Any other combination the manufacturer might think to their benefit.

Only a curved rib option will work with the laminated panel.



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Re: Laminated soundboards
Del #2464219 09/27/15 11:06 PM
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Another thing: violins, which have a solid carved spruce top that functions in the same way as a piano soundboard, continue to improve after even hundreds of years of use. Piano soundboards, however, fail after 50 to 100 years of use. Is that because the downbearing on a violin is relatively very small, whereas the downbearing on a piano's soundboard is so great that the wood's fibers are inevitably crushed? Since Mr. Fox indicated that soundboards are not carved, would carving them improve their wearability, or will the amount of downbearing from a piano's strings crush those fibers no matter what?

Re: Laminated soundboards
bleak #2464220 09/27/15 11:13 PM
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There was a time when violin repairers replaced tops. It was a fad, like replacing soundboards on pianos. There are plenty of pianos which are older than 50 to 100 years old with original soundboards which would sound like new with just new strings and hammers.

(I suppose that I should add that there were plenty of pianos that did not sound real good when they were new! The design of the soundboard may have had something to do with that, so while the soundboards did not fail, they may not ever have been ideal.)

Last edited by BDB; 09/27/15 11:16 PM.

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Re: Laminated soundboards
Del #2464233 09/28/15 12:10 AM
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In general, though, a Stradivarius with a Vuillaume top is no longer considered a Stradivarius.

It's my impression that the general consensus on this forum is that soundboards lasting more than 100 years are a rarity. Is that not correct?

Re: Laminated soundboards
Del #2464298 09/28/15 08:50 AM
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In the violin example there is not only much less downbearing but there is a sound post underneath and supporting the bridge.


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Re: Laminated soundboards
bleak #2464299 09/28/15 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by bleak
In general, though, a Stradivarius with a Vuillaume top is no longer considered a Stradivarius.

It's my impression that the general consensus on this forum is that soundboards lasting more than 100 years are a rarity. Is that not correct?


There are huge differences in the stress levels of a violin and that of a piano. Compare less than 200 pounds of downbearing for a typical violin to many tons of downbearing in any piano.

I have seen a few pianos that still have some downbearing at 100 years old, but they are rare indeed. I have also seen 30 year old pianos with negative downbearing.


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Re: Laminated soundboards
Del #2464302 09/28/15 08:58 AM
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Del,

Thank you for this article and for all the work you have done (and continue to do) in this industry. Your desire to educate has helped me personally more than you know. Your willingness to share over the decades, along with some others of your caliber right here on PW, has IMHO helped to transform the mood at today's PTG conventions. There is more willingness to share, to pursue excellence, to educate, and to work in one accord to help the industry than in any other time in my memory.

Thank you Del et al.



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Re: Laminated soundboards
Rich Galassini #2464307 09/28/15 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
Del,

Thank you for this article and for all the work you have done (and continue to do) in this industry. Your desire to educate has helped me personally more than you know. Your willingness to share over the decades, along with some others of your caliber right here on PW, has IMHO helped to transform the mood at today's PTG conventions. There is more willingness to share, to pursue excellence, to educate, and to work in one accord to help the industry than in any other time in my memory.

Thank you Del et al.

+ google

Re: Laminated soundboards
Del #2464395 09/28/15 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Del
Originally Posted by Ed A. Hall
Del,

Do you envision laminated soundboards someday being made available for piano rebuilders to install in pianos needing rebuilding? There are so many older pianos with defective soundboards that so often don't get replaced for various reasons. I would think that there would be a market for these soundboards if made available to the piano rebuilding community.

I would think so as well. I don't see it happening any time soon, however.

ddf


This would pretty much have to happen by someone building a CAD/CAM system to make one-off laminated soundboards. Front end costs would be massive, and payback questionable. The alternative would be to make them by hand, even more expensive.



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Re: Laminated soundboards
Olek #2464406 09/28/15 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Olek
Thanks Del, you answered to me by stating that the ribs are crowned, so there is no "slippage of the panel on the ribs during the gluing.

The stiffness is mostly due to the ribs ?

Not any stress installed between the layers ? That is the kind of thing I was curious about? The use of different layers allow to do that I suppose, by playing with dryness, but I have my doubts it is actually done that way.

What you are suggesting is certainly possible -- and I know it has been discussed -- but I don't know of any manufacturer actually doing it.

ddf


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Re: Laminated soundboards
JohnSprung #2464409 09/28/15 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnSprung
Originally Posted by Del
Originally Posted by Ed A. Hall
Del,

Do you envision laminated soundboards someday being made available for piano rebuilders to install in pianos needing rebuilding? There are so many older pianos with defective soundboards that so often don't get replaced for various reasons. I would think that there would be a market for these soundboards if made available to the piano rebuilding community.

I would think so as well. I don't see it happening any time soon, however.

ddf


This would pretty much have to happen by someone building a CAD/CAM system to make one-off laminated soundboards. Front end costs would be massive, and payback questionable. The alternative would be to make them by hand, even more expensive.

The biggest problem -- in the U.S. at least -- is coming up with the vertical grain surface veneers. They have to be sliced rather than peeled from the log. There are veneer makers in the U.S. that do this but they are mostly set up for hardwoods. They would be happy to do Sitka spruce but one would have to be willing to purchase a car load (give or take).

ddf


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Re: Laminated soundboards
Del #2464428 09/28/15 03:03 PM
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Slicing veneers takes a lot of heat and moisture. Could that be adverse for the tonal qualities of the wood?


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Re: Laminated soundboards
Del #2464432 09/28/15 03:16 PM
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Veneers can also be sawn, but it's an extremely inefficient use of the wood. You get a lot of sawdust and not much veneer.



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Re: Laminated soundboards
BDB #2464448 09/28/15 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by BDB
Slicing veneers takes a lot of heat and moisture. Could that be adverse for the tonal qualities of the wood?

So does peeling. But as far as I know it does not affect the tonal qualities of the soundboard panel.

ddf


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Re: Laminated soundboards
chopin_r_us #2464606 09/29/15 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by chopin_r_us
Morley used laminated soundboards in their clavichords - very much to the detriment of the volume (which is practically non-existent anyway). I assume it was to ensure against splitting.


The most warped, distorted useless soundboard I have ever seen was a Morley laminate. Yuck. The piano that shared the same location and environment did not exhibit any problems like this.

Re: Laminated soundboards
Del #2464740 09/29/15 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Del
Originally Posted by BDB
Slicing veneers takes a lot of heat and moisture. Could that be adverse for the tonal qualities of the wood?

So does peeling. But as far as I know it does not affect the tonal qualities of the soundboard panel.

ddf


Rotary peeling is how ordinary building plywood is made. It sort of unrolls the growth rings like a roll of paper towels. Shrinkage is greatest around the growth rings. That's why beams with heartwood in them check and split and twist like crazy. That's why the plywood at Home Depot looks like a stack of saddles. I sure hope nobody's even thinking of using rotary peeling for soundboards.

Quarter sawing (or quarter slicing) cuts perpendicular to the growth rings and yields the most stable lumber.




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Re: Laminated soundboards
JohnSprung #2464763 09/29/15 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnSprung
Originally Posted by Del
Originally Posted by BDB
Slicing veneers takes a lot of heat and moisture. Could that be adverse for the tonal qualities of the wood?

So does peeling. But as far as I know it does not affect the tonal qualities of the soundboard panel.

ddf


Rotary peeling is how ordinary building plywood is made. It sort of unrolls the growth rings like a roll of paper towels. Shrinkage is greatest around the growth rings. That's why beams with heartwood in them check and split and twist like crazy. That's why the plywood at Home Depot looks like a stack of saddles. I sure hope nobody's even thinking of using rotary peeling for soundboards.

Quarter sawing (or quarter slicing) cuts perpendicular to the growth rings and yields the most stable lumber.

As far as I know there are no manufacturers using peeled veneers for soundboard use.

Peeled veneers are used extensively for pinblock construction and for grand rims.

ddf


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Re: Laminated soundboards
Del #2464773 09/29/15 02:30 PM
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there are peeled, sliced and sawed veneers

sawed veeners are the nicest (and the thickest), but they are very rare


Last edited by Olek; 09/29/15 02:32 PM.

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