New wood

Showing off some exciting recent additions to my wood stock.

-2 sets of very dark and tight Amazon rosewood. It is the first time I see this variety (99% of it seems to be the lighter, reddish sort). Under finish it will make a gorgeous dark, almost black chocolate.

-a set of straight grain, quartered ziricote, something increasingly difficult to find these days. The tap tone is better than I expected, not Brazilian rosewood-metallic but still sustaining. I imagine the sound should be a bit like Indian rosewood.

-3 sets of fantastic bubinga, deep dark red and perfectly quartered, full of silk end to end. This tree must have had a humongous (and very regular) diameter.

An incredible Malaysian Blackwood ebony set

Straight out of the box, a couple quick images of an incredible Indonesian flamed ebony set. The base color is a rich reddish brown covered by a very dense network of ink lines. I’ll repost after it acclimatizes and I plane off the protective lacquer which covers it entirely. I smoothed and wiped some shellac on a back area and it is absolutely stunning. The third photo shows the sides detail, natural color no shellac. Strikingly and strangely similar to the finest Ziricote.

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New Amazon rosewood set

Just in a fabulous figured Amazon rosewood set. While this sort of figure is common enough on Madagascar rosewood, cocobolo or ziricote, I’ve never seen any Amazon set even remotely close. Strikingly similar to the finest Brazilian rosewood.

An exceptional matched pair

I just received a truly outstanding pair of Madagascar rosewood sets. They have it all: quartersawn (lots of silk showing here and there), glassy taptone, ink lines, spider-webbing, striking curtain-effect sapwood.

As fabulous as this wood is, these might be the last I ever buy considering the horrendous environmental situation in Madagascar.

Some recent additions to the wood stash

A set of quartersawn Madagascar set with a bit of sapwood. Plain grain but a beautiful, deep dark reddish brown color. Slight black striping figure on the sides.

A set of quartersawn Amazon RW, very nice reddish brown color.

A group of two African Blackwood fingerboards (lower right) quartersawn and of exceptional grain, and six “bois de rose” Madagascar rosewood fingerboards – excellent taptone and moderate density, a perfect match to a denser neck such as mahogany or sapele. Bois de rose soon oxidizes to near black becoming almost indistinguishable from ebony.

Some wonderful Spanish cypress

A new set of beautiful cypress arrived from Spain. The grain is as tight as on fine spruce, with lots of silk, and the smell is amazingly strong. Cypress is still considered by most as the flamenco guitar wood. However, it can make a great classical same as maple or walnut can, bringing a delicate and sweet quality for the trebles. The cypress is also a (visual) symbol of the Mediterranean world, and one of my favorite timbers and trees.

Some more Madagascar

A new Madagascar rosewood set for June. Quartersawn, figured, and pretty much green – the whole house is filled by the wonderful rosewood scent. However, unlike Brazilian rosewood, most of it is lost once the wood is dry.

Two new Amazon rosewood sets

Among others, I recently got two superb Amazon sets. Both quartered, with very tight grain. One is a clean reddish brown, the other a bit lighter in color, with a slight purple hint, reminding of Honduras rosewood or Kingwood.

The Tree

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 🙂


Some new Cedar

Just got a few large, high grade cedar sets. This one for example numbers 270 years and it is likely the tree was a fair deal older than 300 considering what must have fell at the bark and from the center section. Also notice the beautiful medullary rays.