Timbers with a sustainable timbre


Remember my blog about the 2 academics, Chris Gibson and Andrew Warren, from the University of Wollongong, NSW, and their research around forestry and the guitar manufacturing business?


Well here’s a great article about their research. It’s much easier to read than their academic papers.


The two videos are especially enjoyable and informative.

Here’s one of them.

Unfortunately we still haven’t got the tonewood narrative going back to the tree growers yet. It is still about the players, the makers and the sawmillers. The trees just magically exist in the current narrative.

Where are the people planting and managing these tonewood resources?


3 responses to “Timbers with a sustainable timbre

  1. Thanks for that one Gordon. It really resonates (apologies for the unintentional pun!) with what the Leonardo Guitar Reaserch Project was doing and also with the EGB Local Wood Project. I have shared with both.

    • Thanks Chris, I know the LWP doesn’t have any fixed definition of “local”, but just to point out that Kirby Fine Timbers are 1800 kilometres from Melbourne where Cole Clark and Maton are located. It’s a great story, but until I see some profitable passionate tree growers included in the narrative, I’ll reserve my judgement on whether it is sustainable. Cheers.

      • Hi Gordon. We are all basically coming from the same place – wanting sustainable timber production – in our case non tropical and, in your case obviously, on a profit making basis for the producer. Nobody from LGRP or LWC would have any quarrel with your aim.

        The non-defined ‘local’ works for me in that on the west coast of Ireland we don’t have any trees (except Government sponsored sitka spruce all over every bit of mountain or bog they can fit it on) or in National forests (as in Killarney 70km from here) where any tree that falls is allowed to rot back into the landscape and cannot be harvested which I consider a waste of a resource. To get the Irish ‘local’ woods that I use I have to travel 350km cross country to Wicklow to a private estate that harvests and processes (cut into boards and kiln dries) hardwoods for sale and re-plants to over replace what is taken out. They work on a longer time scale than a generation.

        A little more background from me. My family farm is in Wexford also on the east coast. 20 years ago my cousin who runs it planted spruce trees on some marginal land that has dried up as the trees grew making some of the surrounding fields more productive also. He has taken income from thinnings and is on the point of felling some of the mature trees that have a ready market in the timber processing plants locally that make MDF and OSB sheeting. He reckons the will be into profit. He will re-plant as he realised an additional source of income that previous generations of Larkins would never have imagined that the lower bog could create. It means he can spend more time training and breeding horses which is where his heart lies. Win-win!

        In the recent storms a large ash tree (about 2.4m diameter), part of the belt that surrounded the orchard, fell. Yesterday he sent me some pictures and I have asked for some pieces for me. This tree would have been big when I was a lad running around the place and climbing trees. Now I hope to be able to make a guitar or two from wood from the family farm which is about as local as I can get!

        Best wishes from Ireland.


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