Thursday, 7 June 2012

The wood so wild - part 2

Earlier on in the English spring, I journeyed over to David Dyke's in East Sussex to pick up some fretwire, and to have some rosewood cut. A full account of this trip can be seen here. I acquired some striking sets of English yew and I have posted pictures of these two sets as I think they are really rather wonderful.
Yew is a magical timber and much folklore has been connected to it. It has been seen as a tree of significance for many thousands of years, and can still be seen in many old churchyards.
It can be quite problematic to find clean sections of timber suitable for guitars; it grows in a wild and distorted way and much of it is beset with knots and other defects. It is however a lovely timber to work, with a fine silky feel. These two sets are light and resonant and will make delightful guitars. I will let them season in my workshop a little while longer; I am so looking forward to using this wood.

The rosewood David cut for me is the last of a huge baulk of timber I purchased many years ago from a retired cabinet maker in Essex. He had spent much of his working life making gun cabinets for one of the big London shotgun makers (Holland and Holland I think). He had purchased this piece of  rosewood from them, and they had had it since the early 1900's. Dark and fragrant, this is a wonderful timber, but I will not be purchasing any more as it is endangered in its native Brazil. This ancient piece of timber yielded a number of beautiful 4 piece backs, one of which is pictured below.

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