Trees that give us heat, paper, furniture, land or musical instruments (what about the carbon – oxygen exchange?) are silent anonymous actors. Exceptions are trees that shade historical events and every country has a few of these…
Tonewood, thanks to American-style marketing has some heroes now too. The most famous are “the tree” mahogany and the “Lucky Strike” redwood.
The tree was a giant big-leaf mahogany discovered in the Honduras jungle in 1965 by a team of loggers. It is said to have been 15 meters in diameter at the base buttress and 3 meters in the mid section. The tree was felled but it went to a ravine where it was impossible to process and the team abandoned it. The story lived on and in 1983 it was eventually dismembered on spot and hauled out of the jungle, floated to a colonial-era steam mill then shipped and kiln dried in America. The wood displayed the most incredible figure, ranging from quilt, tortoise shell, veins, waterfall and curly grain. The finest sets exhibit bold veins extremely similar to how the blood veins are seen under the skin of a brown horse. The guitars sets used to be sold by some 350$ in the 90’s (quite a price back then), up to $1000 in the early 2000’s and now about 1500 for a mild figure set. Prices for the veined sets are too ridiculous to mention, suffice to say they usually double the price of a guitar. Remaining sets and slabs are now used only for the most posh guitars and furniture.
Now, by some incredible and long chain of events I have grabbed such a set under my greasy paws. It has some good quilt in the center section, going to moderate quilt and waterfall grain on the outside. There is even some solid veining in the center. Sides are a beautiful combination of waterfall grain and moderate quilt. The color is an unusually deep, aged reddish brown even without any finish. The pictures are under no circumstances making it justice. It will be seen in full splendor in about 3 years from now when I will make a shiny guitar out of it 🙂