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Dawn Redwood as Tonewood (Read 1507 times)
Matt Blacka
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MAKAIO Ukuleles Australia

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Dawn Redwood as Tonewood
Oct 15th, 2007 at 2:43pm
 
G'day all,

A friend of myne has said that he has a few big pieces and a stump of a Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia Glyplostrobaides) tree at his house, and asked if I wanted any for luthery work. I've been trying to work out if the wood is any good for a soundboard, and was wondering if anyone knows anything about it. I've done some searching on the net, and can only find that Californian Redwood is commonly used as a soundboard material, but no specific info about the use of Dawn Redwood.

The two different Redwood species seem a fair bit different. The Dawn Redwood is very very light (density of about 260 kg/m3 or 16 lb/ft3) and has a Modulus of Elasticity of 5500 Mpa or 798000 psi. It appears like a very tight grained pine but lighter, with quarter sawn grain spacing of about 10 grains per inch.

Does anyone have any ideas or experience with this timber as a tonewood?

Thanks,
Matt
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konacat
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Re: Dawn Redwood as Tonewood
Reply #1 - Oct 17th, 2007 at 8:06am
 
Matt,

The Hana Lima ‘Ia forum is great. I keep learning a great deal from the wonderful members along with the wonderful support of Mike and Asa. Unfortunately, I’m not sure how much alternative woods are used on ukuleles. It’s probably more than I know. In this instance you might try posting at the Official Luthiers Forum. This forum has quite a number of wood producers and many members around the world who use alternative woods on their instruments. Someone should be able to respond to your specific questions.

http://www.luthiersforum.com/forum/default.asp#forumTop

Philip
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rcelley
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Re: Dawn Redwood as Tonewood
Reply #2 - Oct 20th, 2007 at 7:15am
 
I'd advise more research and questions also but my hunch is you could treat it just as you would our native redwood or would treat cedar, ie., a little thicker and keep a very clean work surface under it and it would work just fine. I have no idea what it would look like.
This tree is a native of china and is considered to to be critically endangered at the present time (in its native habitat) though it is being researched as a fast growing ornamental species that can grow quite large (3+meters/dia.) and potentially be a commercially viable source of wood.
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Matt Blacka
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MAKAIO Ukuleles Australia

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Re: Dawn Redwood as Tonewood
Reply #3 - Oct 24th, 2007 at 7:48pm
 
Thanks guys,

The few samples that I have at the moment look great, dead straight grain lines like good spruce and cedar, with a creamy pine colouring. Feels extremely light in hand, like balsa I guess, but is certainly a lot stiffer. This is what inspired me to consider it in the first place.

Hopefully I will get some usable size pieces of it in the next few weeks, and might make a soundboard for a concert uke out of it. Will have to wait a while to hear the results though, cos I'm just in the early stages of building 4 tenors (all which allready have soundboards).

Matt
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