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In Appreciation of Brazilian Rosewood

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by erikbojerik, Nov 20, 2006.

  1. I'm a very lucky guy today. :hyper:

    The story...I have a very good friend who's a fellow geologist, we go way back to grad school. He is giving me (yes, giving!) verified pre-ban BRW, harvested long before there was a CITES, air-drying for decades in a South American barn, and part of my friend's inheritance from his father who used to make grandfather clocks by hand for the rich & famous in Argentina (since just after WWII). I met the father a few years ago while tromping around Chilean volcanoes, and we spent a very cool evening tossing back tequila and talking wood. I never knew this, but it turns out fine builders of grandfather clocks are just as fussy about tone and acoustics as we are. My buddy doesn't know the first thing about guitars, but he wanted this wood to go to someone who could appreciate it....not to mention he wanted it out of his house.

    This is the first one to be finish-sanded, a full 4' long and 9" wide. :eek:


    Some impressions on my first experience with this stuff:
    The appearance really does distinguish itself from east indian, chechen, honduran and cocobolo (the other RWs I've worked with). The variety of colors (from purple to tan) is pretty cool, like east indian but a more brownish color palette compared to EI (which is more toward grey-ish IMO). Chechen is closest in color to my eye, honduran is more tan and coco is more red I'd say.

    It is hard, not as hard as coco maybe, but it works wonderfully. Doesn't gum up the equipment like coco does. The smell is fruity, and different from the other RWs I've sniffed, but not exactly knock-your-socks-off rosey as is often claimed (and I have real roses to compare to :smug: ). I had to literally put my nose right up against the finished surface to get that smell.

    This piece rings like a bell, but not more so than good examples of other RWs. So if this is a good piece (as it appears to be), the bonk tone is quality for sure, but not exactly overwhelming.

    So to this point the expectations don't exactly meet the hype, but I suppose the proof is in the pudding once it gets turned into backs & sides and I actually manage to make a guitar with it. I've only just now felt comfortable enough in my resawing and side bending to think about using this.

    I've got another 4 pieces that are slabs of a 6" wide log, with some sapwood all around, I'll post some pics when I get it finished.

    There is apparently another stash still on the farm that has yet to make it into the states, I might see it come January.
  2. tribal3140

    tribal3140 Inactive

    Nov 9, 2004
    near detroit...uh
    I was offered a metric ton about a month ago stashed in geneva SWZ

    it had all the pre-ban certs etc but, I just couldnt do it.
    its weird Thats the only wood I wont touch.
    IMO camatillo is a nicer tonewood and yes even rarer.
    Shawn tried to get me to cough one up (of my 2 dark purple ones) the orange is where the oil has receeded, and I wouldnt do it!
    make sense of that, I dare you.
  3. This is the nicest piece of the 5 I have, so it went straight into backs & sides. I'm in no hurry to use it, they will have to wait until my acoustic inspiration catches up with my stockpile.

  4. tribal3140

    tribal3140 Inactive

    Nov 9, 2004
    near detroit...uh
    it is going to sound killer!~
  5. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    Cool story, and beautiful looking wood. Glad to hear you're saving it for acoustics!
  6. scottyd

    scottyd Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2006
    Waco Tx
    Builder/owner Redeemer Basses
    oooh man.......:hyper:
  7. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    Is your friend the devil?
  8. No, but he does stay at a Holiday Inn Express regularly.:bag:
  9. Dean N

    Dean N

    Jul 4, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    So, you just gotta have some thoughts running through your head about what you're gonna do... eventually... with that stuff. Please share...


    That wood is beautiful enough to just put in a frame and hang on the wall!
  10. I'm thinking something a little different; baritone guitar maybe, or maybe a 7- or 8-string instrument (the thought of bracing that makes me shudder...).

    I've also toyed with a double-neck idea, a guitar down low and a mandolin up high, kindofa John Paul Jones deal minus the 12-neck. I left the sides extra long just in case...

    Hey...did I just say 12..??

    I'll wait and see which of these ideas sticks.
  11. mikeyswood

    mikeyswood Inactive

    Jul 22, 2007
    Cincinnati OH
    Luthier of Michael Wayne Instruments
    cough cough wheeze

    Pardon the dust Eric, but what did you do with this amazing board?
  12. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Other than the mystique after cites, I never understood all the hype, there are so many similar looking woods that resonate so much better. That being said, You sir will find the use of this wood to be quite profitable, and a wonderful experience as a woodworker. B Rw is a joy to work, and bends very nicely without the oily burn smell of Cocobolo or Ziricote/Bocote types. Bends much like a Santos Mahogany. Good for you.

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