Finish for a percussive woodblock

I sanded down my old musical percussion woodblock from my kit the other day and I would like to put a hard finish on this thing. Any suggestions? Being percussive I think a durable finish would be best. It might even help the sound a bit. I'm also wondering if oiling the wood (with linseed?) would be better? However I'm a novice in woodworking so I'm not sure. Any help is appreciated.
Here's a photo of a typical woodblock:
http://camilx2.music.uiuc.edu:16080/classes/243/images/woodblock.gif
http://www.latinpercussion.com/Product_Showcase/Blocks/lp_groove_blocks.html http://www.latinpercussion.com/Product_Showcase/Blocks/lp_wood_blocks.html
http://www.jhs.co.uk/pped%20web%20images/wb100.jpg
Stan
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Guessing that a percussive woodblock is something you beat on, it depends on what you are hitting it with. If it is something that puts a lot of force in a very small area you probably won't want t surface finish such as varnish and an oil would be a better bet. If it is something that spreads the force out a bit then you could probably get away with a varnish.
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Mike G.
Heirloom Woods
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Stan Mulder wrote:

Thin finish would have least effect on tone. Oil would weigh down the sound, at least in theory. Consider a hard carnauba wax such as Briwax. Since you'll be banging the instrument as normal course, you'll want easy maintenance. Nothing's easier (or faster) to rejuvenate than wax. Shellac or padding lacquer would be good for similar reasons, if you have a little experience with the finishes.
Violin makers plane or scrape, never sand. Thought is that sawdust fills the wood pores, dulling an instrument's sound as surely as it does the wood's appearance.

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As an update, I went to my Ben Moore store and they had a product by Howard called "Feed-N-Wax". (I've had good luck with another product by them.) Feed-N-Wax contains beeswax, orange oil and carnuba wax. It seems to do a good job. I don't think it has the hard finish you mention.
The text on the bottle says, "A penetrating feeder and preservative for all furniture finishes and natural woods. Polishes to a soft luster leaving only the scent of oranges."
As for the acoustic properties of this block, most problems were solved just by sanding it down. Over the years the wood had become somewhat "fuzzy" being banged around so much in my trap case. So sanding it ending with a 220 grit paper made the striking surface hard once again. The wax will prevent the wood from drying out causing the same thing to happen again.
If anybody wants a musical wood project, check out some of these woodblocks and temple blocks:
http://perso.wanadoo.fr/predurein/deutsch/claven.htm
http://www.ludwig-drums.com/news/PR2002/images/MapleTempleBlock.jpg
http://classroom.psu.ac.th/users/wkomson/data/western-musuc/CHAINA/Pic%20Chaina/Temple%20blocks%20player.jpg
http://www.caulfieldmusic.com.au/graphics/products/Templeblocks4104800.jpg
http://www.musiccentre.co.uk/drums/toca/toca_bells_and_blocks.htm
http://logosfoundation.org/images/templeblock.jpg
Stan
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Stan, I've just been 'involved' with a short thread about wind chimes.
I'm pretty sure I've either seen, or read, about some made of wood. Being a sailor, and for no particular reason, I'd like to make a set from Mahogany and/or other nautical' woods.
The first 'site' you listed seemed to confirm the shape/style of what could be individual 'pieces' . . . however the German was a problem. The UK site presented some items 'Made in USA' which I'll try to pursue. The one site which I think was from 'here' {and Penn State, if my interpretation pf ' . . psu. . .' is correct}, wouldn't work.
Have you any advice where to look, or should I simply start with the lengths & formulas for metal chimes ??
Regards & Thanks, Ron Magen Backyard Boatshop
Snip...

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On Wed, 09 Jun 2004 15:44:54 +0000, Ron Magen wrote:

I think a wood wind chime is a great idea. I've never built one but check out the videos of this drummer (bottom of page). He's got some nice wood sounds in this performance: http://www.bartelliott.com/demo.html
Check his equipment page as well because he lists the origins of the various ethnic percussion.
For mathematical formulas, I believe there are some but I don't know what they are. The general idea is to string percussion in the place that preserves resonance. Look for the "sweet spot," the place that sounds the best. For example, look at these photos and notice where the suspension rope goes through each of the keys:
http://www.karoline-hoefler.de/karo_dat/karo_bil/tribute.jpg
http://www.hmtrad.com/catalog/percussion/images/balaphone1.jpg
http://www.hmtrad.com/catalog/percussion/images/balaphone2.jpg
This idea of where to place the string to enhance resonance may not be as important for wood as it is for metal chimes.
Here are some links for ideas:
http://www.lpmusic.com/Product_Showcase/Chimes/index.html http://larkinthemorning.com/product.asp?pn=PER150 http://larkinthemorning.com/product.asp?pn=BON018 http://user.cavenet.com/dims/windchimes.html http://www.acclaimimages.com/_gallery/_pages/0001-0402-1823-5827.html
Stan

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Here are more:
http://larkinthemorning.com/product.asp?pn=PER387
http://larkinthemorning.com/product.asp?pn=PER019A
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Do you know about the BabelFish ? <http://babelfish.altavista.com

I can confirm that 'psu.EDU' _is_ Penn State University. There are other 'psu.' domains that are not related to the Uni.

Wood is going to have a lower pitch, given the same dimensions. look up 'speed of sound' in various materials, and you'll get a good feel for the variation.
The formulas, essentially, calculate the resonant frequency for a given length of material, _at_the_speed_of_sound_ in that material. Or, conversely, the length of material needed for a particular frequency, given the speed of sound in that material.
Resonances occur at multiples of 1/2 the wavelength, so the math is very straightforward. speed-of-sound/frequency ==> wavelength. divide result by 2, and use some multiple of that number.
With wood, things get 'interesting', because the speed of sound in wood varies -- *RADICALLY* -- depending on the orientation of the sound-wave, relative to the grain of the wood.
From googling on 'speed of sound in wood', I found the following 'interesting data':
Speed of Sound (in ft/sec.) Along Fibre: Across Rings: Along Rings: Acacia 15,467 4,840 4,436 Fir 15,218 4,382 2,572 Beech 10,965 6,028 4,643 Oak 12,662 5,036 4,229 Pine 10,900 4,611 2,605 Elm 14,639 4,916 3,728 Sycamore 15,314 4,567 4,142 Ash 16,677 5,297 2,987 Elder 15,306 4,491 3,423 Aspen 16,677 5,297 2,987 Maple 14,472 5,047 3,401 Poplar 14,052 4,600 3,444 A few comparative numbers for metals: m/s ft/sec Iron 5130 16,830 Aluminum 5100 16,732 Brass 4700 15,420 Copper 3560 11,680
Also, if one isn't familiar with it, <http://www.wood-handbook.com is a definite keeper for the bookmark collection.
Metals are reasonably homogeneous, and speed-of-sound propagation is effectively the same 'along', and 'across' the piece. This does *NOT* hold for wood -- which calls for different proportions for wooden 'chimes' vs 'metal' ones.
If you're not particular about what 'key' the chimes play in, just using a similar set of -lengths- of wood will give the same _relative_ pitches.
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Robert, Yes, I know about 'Babelfish', but I wasn't to interested in translating what seemed to be a product advertisement. Hence, the interest in the Penn State site.
Thanks for the detailed info / advice.
Correct . . . I'm not really concerned about the 'key' and low tones are more in-line with my 'mental ear'. Just something visually pleasing to go along with a 'wind bell' that mimics the sound of the Buoy off Bar Harbor.
Regards & Thanks, Ron Magen Backyard Boatshop {for some reason your name rings a bell . . . didn't we 'discuss' some other subject about boats & music . . . maybe a year ago ?? }
wrote:

SNIP
SNIP
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I dunno. <grin>
I'm known to pontificate on any of a bunch of subjects, at the drop of a hat.
There aren't a whole lot of Bonomi's in the U.S.
If it had to do with bigger than day-sailer sailboats, there's a good chance it was my brother, Scott. He lives on a circa 35-footer, in the S.F. bay area. Has an Earthlink email address.
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On Thu, 10 Jun 2004 21:01:45 +0000, Robert Bonomi wrote:

Take an ordinary vibraphone. Place your finger lightly on the middle of one of the low notes. Hit the key hard directly over the suspension cord and you get a note two octaves above the fundamental.
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I wanted to add that its been about 24 hours since adding several coats of this Feed-N-Wax wood feeder to the woodblock and the difference in the sound is like night and day. The block has a sharp cutting tone once again typical of the "softshoe" sound of old. So this project has been a success. Two steps: sand thoroughly and then treat with a beeswax/carnuba mixture.
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Here's some of the math for vibrating chimes:
http://www.geocities.com/teeley2/chimeart.html
From the article:
When a chime is struck, it vibrates along its entire length in a sort of standing wave, but it's so small you can't see it with the naked eye. The wave has a mirror image of itself so it crosses itself at two specific points on the chime. Look at the illustration below. It's not exact, but it will give you an idea of what's happening when the chime is struck.
These spots are 22.4% from either end. It is here that there is virtually no vibration and we call these places the nodes of fundamental frequency. It doesn't matter which node you use to drill your holes, either node will perform the same way.
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