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MMD > Archives > February 2000 > 2000.02.28 > 13Prev  Next


Wood Type in Player Piano Actions
By Craig Brougher

Mike Kitner was wondering about the wood used in the Standard player
action and others, but was told that it couldn't be red gum because of
the stability problem.

Actually, red gum and yellow poplar are two of the most stable woods
cut for furniture and plywood, so I don't see a problem there.  I am
not absolutely positive that Standard used red gum, but I do not know
of another major grainless red wood like it.  It certainly isn't
Florida cherry.  And, it is slightly aromatic.  Sweet gums don't get as
large as yellow poplar (tulip tree), but will still grow 100 feet tall,
and are second in production only to oak among the hardwoods even yet,
according to the Audubon Society Field Guide.

There are two kinds of sweet gum wood, cut from the same tree, by the
way.  Heartwood cuts are called red gum and sapwood is called sap gum.
They do have different properties, but both are used in the wood
industry.  (Sweet gum is classified as lumber, and is a member of the
witch-hazel family -- for all the witch-hazel fans out there.)

Drying times and seasoning are the same as for yellow poplar.  (By
the way, there is also a white poplar).  Wood stability should not be
a problem with either red heartwood gum or yellow poplar.

One possible misconception is that wood too often goes by common names
that are mistaken for other species.  There are many kinds of beech
trees, for example, among which are all the oak trees, except for some
of the local names.  Lots of maple trees are called by other names, and
then trees themselves like to mimic other trees, even to having leaves
that look like they belong on another variety or even species.
Counterfeit trees, I think.  "It's a plot."

Craig Brougher


(Message sent Mon 28 Feb 2000, 16:54:57 GMT, from time zone GMT-0600.)

Key Words in Subject:  Actions, Piano, Player, Type, Wood

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