Maton Guitars Tonewood Guide

MatonTonewoods

Maton Guitars of Melbourne, Australia has released a stunning new brochure on tonewoods.

https://maton.com.au/timbers

But does the marketing work?

Is it the message for the 21st century?

Whilst we acknowledge and have a deep respect for traditional tonewoods, we are also excited by the potential we have discovered in non-traditional (alternative) woods.

The musical instrument making community is becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of availability of some of their favorite traditional tonewoods. … it would be environmentally irresponsible to keep utilising these timbers without looking for alternatives.

We are fortunate enough to have the support of many of Australia’s most knowledgeable and skilled timber gatherers and continue to try new species….

This last statement completely bowls me over!

Maton still don’t get it do they?

Tonewood is about hunting and gathering??? WTF!!

I thought we had left those days behind. I thought this was the 21st century.

If you want tonewood for the future you need to plant, grow and harvest trees. It is not about hunting and gathering! Those forests have gone!

In the 21st century the future of tonewoods is about THE GROWER – who manages the forest, who plants the trees!

To their credit Maton devotes a beautiful two page spread to blackwood. But the idea that we should be actively growing blackwood for tonewood production still hasn’t entered Maton’s conscience.

MatonTonewoodsBWD

In all 15 tonewoods are described, but very little about where the wood comes from, who grows it or whether is it sustainable. Once upon a time I would have mentioned certification (PEFC/FSC) but my faith in forest certification is gone.

In today’s market it’s not enough to just say “it’s not rosewood” or “it’s alternative”.

The whole point of the “alternative tonewoods” story is not just to demonstrate the woods have good acoustic and aesthetic properties, but that they come from ethical, sustainable, profitable (for the grower) sources.

Maton needs to demonstrate commitment not just to using alternative tonewoods, but to supporting those who grow these quality timbers.

“Gathering” isn’t good enough.

Maton Guitars was a pioneer in the use of alternative tonewoods long before they became important.

It’s now time for Maton to take the next step in their commitment.

Unfortunately this glossy brochure just doesn’t do it!

PS. In their defense most other guitar makers are on the same page as Maton.

 

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Another blackwood timber price list

Here’s a blackwood timber price list for a timber retailer in Tasmania.

This sawmiller/retailer specialises in Tasmanian “specialty timbers”.

These timbers obviously come from Tasmanian public native forest, which as everyone should know by now, comes to market at great cost to Tasmanian taxpayers and the plundering of the last of our oldgrowth and rainforest.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/29/tasmanian-forest-agreement-delivers-13bn-losses-in-giant-on-taxpayers

These prices are for individually priced boards, kiln dried and dressed, select grade (ie. Knot-free plain grain).

I’ve sorted these boards by the wood volume per metre, which seems to provide the best (but by no means perfect) explanation for the variation in price. The other curiosity besides the odd pricing structure is the diverse range of dimensions.

Note the variation in price for the boards of the same dimension eg. 310 x 32mm.

Given that timber is sold in Australia just on a price and NOT price per m or price per cubic metre, most customers would not spot this fraudulent behaviour.

Buyer beware!

ZXSJT

That this sawmiller is getting away with selling select grade blackwood for $8,000 per cubic metre should get some tongues wagging (I hope!).

The fact that getting this timber to market costs Tasmanian taxpayers is the criminal aspect of all this. Welcome to the Tasmanian forest industry!

Taylor 358e LTD

Taylor358eLTD

I haven’t done a guitar feature for ages so here we have the latest from Taylor Guitars featuring farm-grown Tasmanian blackwood courtesy of Tasmanian Tonewoods.

I wonder who were the lucky Tasmanian farmers who grew this premium product?

https://tasmaniantonewoods.com

This is a limited edition Grand Orchestra 12 string model in the 300 series.

This guitar was introduced at the 2018 Winter NAMM show in Anaheim, California.

It’s so new it isn’t even featured on Taylor’s website yet.

https://www.taylorguitars.com

In 2016 Taylor Guitars introduced Tasmanian blackwood into their regular production in the 300 series, becoming the first major guitar company to do so. The 300 series is the entry level series featuring all solid wood bodies.

To date the 300 series has not included an Orchestra Model in the line up. I guess this is Taylor testing the market to see if there is demand for a large body 12 string model in this price range. Currently 12 string Orchestra Models are only available in the 400 and 800 series.

Here’s a great review of the guitar from Alamo Music:

If you are after a big guitar with a BIG sound this is your axe!

Enjoy!

PS. I do like that shaded edge-burst on the blackwood back and sides. Good one Mr Taylor!

New Zealand Cypress Market Report

And one VERY switched on sawmiller!!

Macdirect

This has little to do with farm grown Tasmanian blackwood, but in terms of where I wish the forest industry in Tasmania was right now, this is a fantastic example. In fact I would rate this little piece as one of the best things I’ve read in my 40 year career as a forester:

http://www.nzffa.org.nz/specialty-timber-market/headlines/member-profile—macdirect/

It’s a shame it’s hidden away in a corner of the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association (NZFFA) website so that very few people will ever read it.

I suspect Murray Grant, Director/Owner of MacDirect Ltd., didn’t set out to write a cypress market report. But that is exactly what this is. This “member profile” is jam packed with lots of useful information for existing and potential cypress growers.

Most Tasmanians would only know macrocarpa cypress as large scraggly farm windbreak trees. Only a handful of Tasmanians know that this tree is fast growing and produces a high value, high quality, durable timber. New Zealand farmers have been growing it in commercial plantations for 40 years. There are only a handful of small cypress plantations in Tasmania.

MacDirect Ltd is NZ’s number 1 Building Grade Macrocarpa supplier.

https://www.macdirect.co.nz/

To me the thing that makes Murray Grant unique is that he’s not just thinking about how to improve his sawmills profitability; he’s not just thinking about the logs that will be coming into his sawmill tomorrow or next week.

He’s thinking about the logs that will be harvested in 10, 20 and 30 years time!!

He’s thinking about the trees that need to be planted tomorrow!!

The major priority of EVERY sawmiller is NOT to produce profitable sawn timber! That’s the easy part of the business!!

Given that timber takes 30+ years to grow, the major priority of every sawmiller is to ensure that farmers are growing more (profitable) trees for wood production to meet market demand.

Sawing up logs is the easy part!!!

And Murray Grant knows this when he says:

We would love to hear from any farm foresters who are keen to work closely with us to grow plantations into the future, get our perspective on silviculture for the marketplace and/or look at log price and harvesting.

Murray Grant knows the critical part that sawmillers (and the market generally) play in ensuring their own future.

Murray Grant is a hero!

He needs a medal!!

 

 

Bunnings Timber Price List Update

Bunnings

It’s been almost 2 years since I last reviewed Bunnings timber prices.

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/2016/07/01/bunnings-timber-price-lists/

Bunnings timber prices (per linear metre) are readily available on their web page.

https://www.bunnings.com.au/our-range/building-hardware/timber/dressed-timber/hardwood

From these I have created the following chart showing the current retail price for Tasmanian Oak Select Grade Dressed All Round (DAR), together with two previous price points.

Prices are shown per linear and cubic metre.

BunningsTasOak3

The retail price for tas oak hasn’t increased that much over the last 2 years. This is curious given there is supposed to be a timber shortage due to the building boom. Obviously the building boom is doing nothing for the fortunes of public native forestry.

Current retail prices range from $5,850 to $8,900 per cubic metre.

These prices do not reflect the actual cost of growing the wood and managing our public native forests as this recent article in The Guardian newspaper makes perfectly clear:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/29/tasmanian-forest-agreement-delivers-13bn-losses-in-giant-on-taxpayers

Almost all Tasmanian oak comes from the harvesting of Tasmanian public native forests.

Bringing Tas oak to market comes at the expense of Tasmanian schools and hospitals, roads and public housing; never mind the 35 years of bitter community conflict.

Australia will never have a real forest industry whilst the market continues to support uneconomical public native forestry.

So where does that leave Bunnings?

Bunnings seems to be a pretty good company and corporate citizen. They have some good policies:

https://www.bunnings.com.au/about-us/our-actions/bunnings-and-timber

Our actions

We pursue sustainability within our operations by striving to make them socially responsible, environmentally aware and economically viable.

Bunnings has a great Responsible Timber Sourcing Policy and is obviously proactive in helping protect the world’s forests:

We are confident that more than 99 per cent of timber products are confirmed as originating from low-risk sources including plantation, verified legal, or certified responsibly sourced forests. Within that, more than 85 per cent of our total timber products are sourced from independently certified forests or sourced with demonstrated progress towards achieving independent certification, such as that provided by the Forest Stewardship Council and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).

We continue to seek advice from Greenpeace and WWF on our procurement and we remain grateful for their ongoing support.

We are proud that our long term efforts and commitment to timber procurement has provided customers and team members with the knowledge that our timber is responsibly sourced.

Bunnings is Australia’s leading retailer of Tasmanian oak timber, legally sourced from public native forests in Tasmania, and certified under the Australian Forestry Standard/PEFC, but not under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

I think it is time for Bunnings to live up to its policies and stop plundering Tasmania’s forests and Tasmanian taxpayers.

It is time for Bunnings to stop selling Tasmanian oak.

Public native forestry in Tasmania is not profitable or sustainable. Never has been and never will be.

Bunnings in New Zealand does not sell any dressed hardwood timber at all. None.

I can’t see why Bunnings Australia can’t do the same.

Come on Bunnings!

Live up to your policies!

 

Tasmanian Forest and Forest Products Network

TFFPN

Tasmanian taxpayers have generously sponsored the creation of a new forest industry representative body (goodness knows the forest industry can’t afford to fund such luxuries themselves).

Not only do we have FIAT (Forest Industry Association of Tasmania) as the sawmillers representative, but we now have the Tasmanian Forest and Forest Products Network (TFFPN).

Tasmania now as not one but TWO forest industry representative bodies. That should work well! NOT!!

Two bands of thieves to plunder our forests and the State Treasury.

Check out their website:

https://www.tffpn.com.au/

This new body exists to represent everyone; everyone that is except real forest growers. No one is representing forest growers. Not even the TFGA.

One of the reasons forest industry reform has been so difficult in Tasmania is because there are too many forest industry people with their hands in the taxpayer’s pocket. With the creation of the TFFPN that list of people has grown substantially longer. Forest industry reform will henceforth be nigh impossible.

The TFFPN will be launched in Hobart next week.

It will be interesting to see who signs up to the TFFPN to join the war games and get their hands on the money.

No doubt the Government will describe it as a major achievement.

What a joke!

The Government will use the TFFPN to wedge the community by promoting bitterness and division. No doubt the TFFPN will be more than happy to play this game.

FIAT is obviously not disappearing anytime soon.

FIAT no longer has the support of the Government because they had the temerity to go and talk to The Greens and negotiate the Tasmanian Forest Agreement, which has since been rescinded.

The forest industry in Tasmania is a complete mess.

Stand by for another 4 years of forest industry chaos and waste.

This article was in Wednesday’s Mercury newspaper:

MercuryTFFPN

Softwood growers seek sector review

SWANpine

https://www.bdtimes.com.au/?news%2Fbusselton-dunsborough-times%2Fsoftwood-growers-seek-sector-review-ng-b88817681z

WOW!!

This must be the first time in my 40 year career as a forester that I’ve heard farm foresters openly complaining about Government control of forestry markets in Australia.

This is a unique event.

Hopefully this is the beginning of the major reform of the forest industry that is so desperately needed in Australia.

We really need to keep this discussion going.

And it’s not just about softwood prices.

It’s also about native forest log prices, and markets, transparency and competition.

It’s also about Government forest policy which is firmly focused on subsidising sawmills, and not about profitable tree growers.

This is true right around Australia!

I wish the WA farmers luck in their discussions with the State Government.

Even if you don’t succeed initially, keep the discussion going. Keep the campaign alive.

The fact that here we have farmers wanting to grow trees for wood production and yet we have Government policy directly hindering their efforts is beyond madness.

GOOD LUCK!