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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000371.txt from 2002/05

From: "Jeremy Yager" <bomber@-----.com>
Subj: [kl] Thoughts about Greenline from a materials person.
Date: Wed, 15 May 2002 01:33:10 -0400

I hold a materials engineering degree and my senior design work
was in wood manufacturing techniques and reconstituted wood products.

'Reconstituted wood' is a term used to describe (simply) wood chips that
are glued (or otherwise bonded) into a new shape that can then be
machined. RW products are seen EVERYWHERE in the low-cost furniture
industry (go to walmart and look at the pressboard in the furniture
section to see many examples of RW.)

The major advantage to RW products is that they reuse scrap wood
(shavings, dust, bad parts, etc.) I believe that many forms of RW are
cheaper than their non-RW counterparts as well--otherwise you would see
'regular wood' in the lowest price components.

The disadvantage to it is that the wood must be protected against
invading moisture that would otherwise eventually destroy the bonding
and the part would disintegrate. For the systems that I dealt with,
silica is the prime dessicant that protects the bond.

However, silica (essentially very pure sand) presents its own problems.
It is a royal pain to machine anything that has silica in it--silica is
VERY hard and will ruin most metal tools and many carbide tools very
quickly through both chipping and abrasive wear.

If the material in the Greenline (without having seen it) is similar to
the systems I saw (albeit with a much smaller particle size and a much
higher basic wood quality) then the machine tools for the Greenline
would require a completely different material for the tools and very
possibly a different approach to machining than the standard grenadilla
wood used in 'regular' clarinets.

In short, I think the actual material may or may not be cheaper (a small
supply of a specialty item in a niche market will likely draw a
premium), but I am certain that there would have to have been some
heavy-duty engineering work done to start the fabrication, and the
machining process will most certainly cost more in worn tools.

--Jeremy Yager, Indian Trail, NC
NC State University, Class of 2001
Clarinet and Bass Clarinet

(PS, is anyone looking to hire a new materials engineer who is willing
to relocate?)

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