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Thread: Rosewood

  1. #26
    _________________ grandmainger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Paul Hostetter @ Mar. 03 2006, 18:10)
    Grandmainger caught me: I confused jacarande with palissandre.
    Actually, from what the EU dictionnary says, we French use the 2 terms Jacaranda and Palissandre...
    Paul, I could use good real-life examples like your trip to Madagascar in my ethnobotany classes. Would you mind telling me more? (PM if necessary...)

    Cheers

    Germain

  2. #27
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    I went there about five years ago and produced four albums of music for Shanachie. Moon and the Banana Tree, World Out of Time III and Tarika Sammy's Beneath Southern Skies are still in print. I'm still dealing with folks there all the time, but haven't been back since. My neighbor and very close friend Frans Lanting is a senior photographer for National Geographic and works for a number of other major magazines. He's a biologist by training and has logged more than two years on assignment in Mad. His photos grace the covers of all our CDs, and in fact the World Out of Time title mirrors his marvelous book of the same name. His experiences augment mine because he's tramped every square inch of that island.

    Madagascar was pretty much logged bald by the French, and then typically discarded at the end of the colonial era (1960s). Since then it went through a long period under a French-installed despot who mopped up as much of the remaining resources as he could. He was finally deposed and lives in France. Mad is the 3rd world of the Third World. What little forest that remains is theoretically protected as parkland, but there is no government protection because there's no money to pay for it. Flying logs out is like flying drugs or arms. A bit of bakshish here and there, and you're on your way. It's extremely sad.



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  3. #28
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    I read somewhere that the French logged Brazilian Rosewood by the boatloads, ground it up and cooked a "spirit" out of it

    The main ingredient in Chanel No 5.

    This was not presented as a joke. #So perfume accounted for Martin having to change in 1969



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  4. #29
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    This sounds a wee bit implausible. I was working at a Martin dealership back in the Sixties when it was phased out. The deal was that the Brazilian government, sensing (rightly) that the supply was near the end of the line and being exploited to death by foreign concerns (which for all I know could have included Chanel), insisted that any D. nigra be cut and processed in Brazil. No more logs, only sawn and processed timber. The price of the wood went way up and people like Martin lost control of how the wood was sawn, so they decided to punt and go to Indian.

    I don't want to go into how well Brazil has managed its resources before or since - it's obviously a travesty - but that was the explanation at the time and it made complete sense. And meanwhile most of the Brazilian rosewood on earth is sitting in warehouses in Spain.

    I'm sure the sawdust from the milling operations alone could have supplied the perfume industry, if in fact there's any substance to that use. I'd never heard it before. What is Chanel doing now? #5 is still on the market. Old stock?



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  5. #30
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    I'll try to find that. I was mostly joking on the Marin part, but the Chanel thing was presented as the main procurer of the Brazilian
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    By 1969, the 1964 military junta that was put in place by the US was firmly in control in Brazil, having revoked most civil liberties. But this is not the board to discuss such things. Suffice to say that our fearless leaders had a contradictory attitude towards natural resources - they saw them both as something they needed to control, and as the key to making Brazil an economic super-power. They proceeded to mismanage the natural resources as they mismanaged everything else.



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  7. #32
    Formerly F5JOURNL Darryl Wolfe's Avatar
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    Perfume trade fells the Brazilian rosewood
    By Larry Rohter The New York Times

    TUESDAY, AUGUST 30, 2005


    SILVES, Brazil Until Chanel No. 5 perfume went on the market in 1921, pau rosa, or Brazilian rosewood, was just another tree that grew in abundance in the Amazon.

    But the enduring popularity of that fragrance, which includes rosewood oil as a key ingredient, began a process that has led both to a black market in the oil and the tree itself being designated as an endangered species.

    Worldwide, the demand for perfumes, soaps, balms and scented candles has skyrocketed in recent years, boosted by rising incomes among women and new-age trends such as aromatherapy. Because of rosewood's cachet, demand for the oil far outstrips the legal supply, and some fragrance manufacturers will pay just about anything to get their hands on some.

    full article link
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  8. #33
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    I think this is a different wood. I'm not aware of any tree in Brazil called "pau rosa", but it's possible it exists. Grandmainer's dictionary had the Spanish equivalent, "palo rosa", and also "pau rosa" in the Canary Islands.
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  9. #34
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    Pau rosa seems to be Aniba rosaeodora (article in English).

    Here's an abstract, in English (Portuguese title), that connects Pau Rosa and Aniba rosaeodora.



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  10. #35
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Here's another good article. It's a laurel, not a bean. And it's in trouble, but it has nothing to do with lutherie.

    "Populations throughout the species range have seriously declined because of rosewood oil extraction. Substantial wild stands are believed to exist still in areas which are unlikely to be exploited, but where exploitation has occurred the population is devoid of mature trees and significant signs of regeneration are absent. The whole tree and its roots are destroyed in the extraction process, trees of all sizes being harvested indiscriminately. The sole producer at present is Brazil, although the species was wiped out through exploitation over large areas in French Guiana between 1910 and 1930. Harvesting incurs high costs and is taking place in more and more remote locations concentrated around Amazon tributaries, principally in Amazonas and Pará states. Mobile distillation factories have moved deep into the forest. Levels of exploitation have significantly declined with increased use of synthetic oils. The species is included in lists of threatened plants in Colobia, Brazil and Suriname."

    "At the height of international interest in rosewood oil in the 1960s, Brazil alone exported 500 tonnes pa. The world market is now stable at about 100 tonnes. Fluctuations in supplies are caused by changes in rainfall levels, which affect access to harvesting sites. Although Peru, Colombia and the Guianas have all produced rosewood oil for the international market, Brazil is now the only producer. The chief importer is U.S.A. followed by Switzerland, France and other EC countries."
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  11. #36
    Registered User Rob Grant's Avatar
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    glauber wrote: "Rainforest vegetation tends to be quick growing stuff; the slow growers can't compete. The dense woods that are favoured for instrument building tend to grow in environments where there isn't much water, so the trees take a long time to grow."

    This statement is only true for the "pioneer" species and not the mature trees that are cut by the timber getters. In a sense, your west coast redwood is a "rainforest (temparate) tree." Plenty of dense, instrument grade hardwoods are found in rainforests. Temparate rainforest can also be the source of some excellent softwoods that are used for instrument tops. Ultimately the pioneer species of a rainforest are replaced by the slower growing, more desirable timber species.
    Rob Grant
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  12. #37
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Again, Brazil's Atlantic rainforest is much like California's. Neither is your stereotypical Amazon jungle, as most people assume about all of Brazil. The Atlantic forest isn't in the Amazon basin, it faces the ocean. The term rainforest is rather confusing. No monkeys, no fern fronds two meters across, no bananas, there or here.

    Wish you could see my rainforest today. It's been pouring hard intermittently, and out my window past the monitor are a lot of big redwoods. We're cruising for another 100+" rainy season, well into the rainforest category (we average 80" here each winter), but we're still in a confused desert because of the length and severity of the dry season. Wish we had a nice Dalbergia to add to the redwoods. Instead we have oaks, madrones, manzanita, and some California sycamores.

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  13. #38
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    Only yesterday, i found a handful of pictures that my Mom took in 2000 when she took a trip down the Amazon river in the boat owned by the Presbyterian Church of Brazil. There aren't many trees in the pictures, just a lot of water.

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  14. #39
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Well c'mon, it is a matter of perspective. How many trees might be over on the shore in this photo?:



    And how did they get that river to flow uphill like that?
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  15. #40
    Registered User Rob Grant's Avatar
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    Paul wrote:
    "Wish you could see my rainforest today. It's been pouring hard intermittently, and out my window past the monitor are a lot of big redwoods. We're cruising for another 100+" rainy season, well into the rainforest category."

    Just talked to the sister-in-law in Boulder Creek and she said the same thing... So you're the ones who are getting our wet season!!!!<G>

    Rob, tongue hanging out for a good low (cyclone will do), FarOutNorthQueensland,Oz.
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    That's a very beautiful understated guitar, Paul! What is that rib wood? Anaconda snakeskin?

    Ron
    My wife says I don't pay enough attention to what she says....
    (Or something like that...)

  17. #42
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    Can I just say that this is turning out to be one of the most interesting threads I've ever read on here. Thanks to all the contributions, it makes fascinating read.
    Paul, I'll be in Santa-Cruz for the Symposium in June/July, I'd love to pop by and shake your hand if you're around then.

    From your builders' experience, is there any other tree species on the decline at the moment due mainly to the instrument/mandolin industry? Rosewood is, but we don't use it that much for mandolins.

    Germain

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    There's also New Guinea Rosewood "Narra" Pterocarpus indicus. I'm using it for some of the necks for my mandos and ukes. It's a lot softer than the usual Queensland maple, Tasmanian blackwood or "Australian oak" I've been using, but it looks a million dollars and makes a welcome change from the smell of Tasmanian blackwood. I originally bought a small piece to try for fretboards but it's way too soft for that application.

    Ellis Guitars website says...

    BOTANY: Pterocarpus indicus
    SOURCE: Solomon Islands, Philippines, Malaysia, NewGuinea, Indonesia
    COLOURS: Like Koa, golden tan to cinnamon brown, to deep brown red
    CHARACTER: Mostly straight, can be interlocked or wavy grain, can be mottled. Moderately fine texture
    COMPARES: Koa, only harder. Honduran Rosewood



    Rob - Jupiter Creek Music - Australia

  19. #44
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    The guitar above is made entirely out of my local "rainforest" woods: redwood top, California sycamore (Platanus racemosa) sides, back and neck, manzanita bridge, fingerboard and overlay. All these woods were harvested within about two miles of my house. It's an SCGC model H-13, my autograph model. The bridge and overlay are root burl, the board is simple trunk wood. Manzanita is a pretty scraggly desert shrub that also grows in our rainforest. In my spare time (ha ha) I hope to make a matching mandolin.
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  20. #45
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Germain - I don't think even Brazilian rosewood was pushed to the state it's in by the musical instrument industry, not at all. Look at all those old pianos, end tables, dining room sets, etc.

    Yeah, I'll be around during Symposium, I live just a few miles away from UCSC, and I tend to at least come by in the evenings to hang out. It's a great event and has a terrific lineup this year, as ever. Hamilton de Holanda would be worth the price of admission all by himself. He just played here last week with Mike Marshall, a whole evening of just two nutcases armed with mandolins, it was simply great. Anyway, when you're in the zone, let's plan something.
    .
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    In the flute world, depending on who you listen to, we may be driving African Blackwood (Mpingo - Grenadilla - Dalbergia melanoxylon) to extinction. But the worst offender in terms of volume of blackwood used are the clarinet manufacturers. European boxwood is another wood that's prized by flutemakers and is basically extinct, but that wasn't because of musical instruments either. Good flute woods are very dense (to deal with the moisture generated in playing) and grow very slowly.



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  22. #47
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    Dalbergia melanoxylon was long a favored "ebony" for piano keys, and is still heavily harvested for vernacular sculpture in Africa. Think of how many black piano keys have been made, although many also came from Diospyrus crassiflora, known as Gaboon (Gabon) ebony, which is a true ebony. D. melanoxylon is in sad shape but there are some efforts to replenish the plantings through nurseries and the like. Cross your fingers.
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    I thought I had a pretty stupid question to start this; not really knowing what rosewood was. This will take some time to absorb. Thanks for all the info.

  24. #49
    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    It was a very good question. The only questions that ever really irritate me are ones that get asked about every ten days where an archive search would have done the trick best.



    Jacarandá da bahia (Dalbergia nigra)
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  25. #50
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    Here is a Rosewood back;

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