As so many here in Finland, I too feel I have a strong bond with the surrounding nature and I’ve therefore been horrified seeing how tropical forests are being hacked down. I can’t deny that I love the look of highly figured Brazilian rosewood or some pitch black ebony but I’ve had the idea of using local wood for my guitars for quite some time, and went for it when I could be part of the Leonardo Guitar Research Project. If you haven’t heard of it already, the project aims to develop a knowledge platform concerning the use of alternative non-tropical wood species in guitar making.
So what better place to visit than the old village of Fiskars (famous for it’s ironworks) which also has a sawmill with the exclusive right to cut the trees in the neighbourhood. The wood selection is a bit special as they have plenty of species apart from the normal pine and birch. It didn’t take long to find some nice planks of Black Alder (Alnus glutinosa), Elm (Ulmus glabra) and Goat Willow (Salix caprea).
We could even find some really fine Curly Birch (Betula pendula var. carelica) which is not something I’m very used to see.
As I’m writing this I have made up my mind about which woods to use for my acoustic guitar, as long as everything goes to plan. I’m going to stick with flamed Black Alder for the neck, back and sides and spruce from Vilppula, Finland for the top. For some contrast and binding I thought of using flamed Birch.
Since the Leonardo Guitar Research Project is all about trying out species of wood normally not used for guitar making, there’s no guarantee of what the guitar is going to sound like once finished, but that is part of the challenge and I am so exited to soon be able to hear all these different guitars side by side. I hope we will be wondering in the near future what on earth we’re thinking of when we didn’t use all this lovely wood to it’s full potential.

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Trip to Fiskars
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