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  1. #1

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    French Pearwood?

    Any comments regarding the use of French Pearwood in the making of LF cameras? Zone VI, under Fred Picker, actually built some of their cameras with this wood as well as Black Walnut. I have no idea how much the use of these exotic woods increased the price of camera, nor have I been able to actually locate a Zone VI (or any other brand) made of Fr. Pearwood. Any information would be appreciated.
    "A certain amount of contempt for the material employed to express an idea is indispensable to the purest realization of this idea." Man Ray

  2. #2
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    probably one of the most knowledgeable people about different woods used in view cameras is Richard Ritter, as he does alot of repairs on wood cameras in addition to working with Fred Picker for a number of years.

    Dave

  3. #3

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    He built the whole camera out of pear? Or did he use it for just a few small items?

    Orchard fruit trees don't get that big. The wood is often just branches cut during normal pruning. Fine for making a knife handle or something. I could see maybe somebody supply pear veener but whole boards?

    Walnut isn't exotic. It's not cheap but it's a domestic.

  4. #4
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    Pearwood is extremely dimensionally stable once it is dry and is quite strong. French Pear is one of the names for European Pear (a name common in the U.S.) ,pearwood (a common name in the U.K.) or Common Pear. They are all from the same genus and species therefore all the same.

    As Nick has pointed out, most orchard trees do not get that big. The lumber yield from branches and trunks of orchard wood is usually very low because of distortion during drying. The wood should be kiln dried and then machined several times before reaching final dimension. There should be a rather liberal time given between machinings to allow the natural stresses in the wood to warp the hell out of your nice flat lumber. Then it can be machined and warp again. So what you are left with when you finally get it straight is very little. This in addition to the small branches you start with makes the yield very very low and therefore the price is quite high.

    According to "the Real Wood Bible" (best book I have ever seen on wood) Pear is medium hard and rather heavy at 44 lb. per cubic foot which is more dense than Black Walnut but less dense than Red Oak. I suspect it is stronger than either and it is more stable dimensionally than Walnut or Oak.

    So I guess if you can afford it, it would be an excellent wood to make cameras from. It certainly would have some snob appeal.

    Barry Young
    Barry Young
    Young Camera Company

  5. #5
    eclarke's Avatar
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    Hi all,
    I have been making fancy pool cues as a profession for 31 years. Good old straight grain maple can not be beaten...Evan Clarke

  6. #6
    barryjyoung's Avatar
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    Your cues are simply stunning Evan.
    Barry Young
    Young Camera Company

  7. #7

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    Won't the pear branches all be reaction wood?

    I think one of the local places stocks [or used] pear veener and small pieces. IIRC it was pretty expensive for what it was.

  8. #8
    Dave Wooten's Avatar
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    I agree with Evan on the Maple, I do remember years ago I used to get a Newsletter from Zone VI and there was a special price for the pearwood cameras...It was lower! don't remember if it was a close out or if they did a run of experimental cameras etc.....Ritter would probably know.

  9. #9
    eclarke's Avatar
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    Thanks Barry, I thought I might be incognito here 8))..

    They use a grade of straight-grained maple called "piano action" to mount the frame and action of the piano on. It is stable and light..Evan Clarke

  10. #10
    BradS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eclarke
    Thanks Barry, I thought I might be incognito here 8))..

    They use a grade of straight-grained maple called "piano action" to mount the frame and action of the piano on. It is stable and light..Evan Clarke
    I've heard maple is hard on cutting tools...have you experienced this?

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