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  #31  
Old 01-07-2012, 06:03 PM
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Danny, that's the most elegant uke I've ever seen. Gorgeous!
Thanks, Joe! Paul's a very talented guy and did a great job with it. I agree, extremely elegant. I haven't been able to put it down. There's a soundclip of it on his website if you'd like to hear a little mini clip.

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  #32  
Old 01-07-2012, 06:21 PM
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Yes, some quilted mahogany is not from the "tree", and as far as I know there's no provenance on any of it. RTaylor had 7 sets when I asked about it 5 years ago. The picture below is of the "veined" set used on the guitar built by RT shop for Bob. Another forum member has 5 Taylors / RTaylors made from their sets. I think they're out now.

Not all of it is "veined" or turtle-shell - I've only seen three sets of that. Taylor called it AAAAA, and only had 3 sets, and the upcharge alone was $7000.

Is it magic? No, but as I said before if you like mahogany, and you like quilt, this is a great wood with a great story.

Cheers,

Phil
Hi Phil,

Thanks for your great post.
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  #33  
Old 01-07-2012, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by roberts View Post
. There's also a bunch of quilted sapele that you see a number of guitars (including my Caldwell) built with - very tightly figured like The Tree but figure is compressed into much smaller fingerprints. That stuff I'm told is also from one tree.
No way.

Sapele pommele (to give it its correct name) , is and always has been widely available, mostly in veneer form.

The quilted figure is a function of how the tree is cut (ie it is not quartersawn).

Any sapele tree, cut judiciously, could yield sapele pommele.
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  #34  
Old 01-08-2012, 01:02 AM
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Lot's of "Tree" info around. I have some photos and a pretty decent PDF of the 1985 Fine Woodworking Magazine. I also have about 40 copies of that printing. If any one want a copy IM or email me. Here is a link to it I found as well. I'll share anything I have or know about The Tree...well not wood.

http://www.mermerguitars.com/documen...edMahogany.pdf

It's rare, getting more so. I saw a few boards a few weeks back that a guy wanted to sell. $1350 a board foot, I couldn't afford that even with his discount it went up $500 a board foot this year alone and people are buying them. I just wanted some side material to match back sets I have. So it's getting to be the same price as premium Brazilian Rosewood but when it's gone it's really gone.

It's a great tone wood and leans towards rosewood because of it's density. It's hard to bend! Jayson Bowerman pours boiling water on it before he tries to bend it. It sounds as good as it looks! I hope to have one built with an LS top. I have both in my stash of woods.

In a board form it looks like this...which is in a crate in my garage, it's 13 1/2 feet by 39 inches. I owe a few sets to Harvey! Yeah Harvey Leach loves the stuff as many of us do. (Sorry if this is redundant as I posted the photo in Harvey's thread as well. ) It's really hard to commit to cutting this thing up!

[IMG][/IMG]
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Last edited by BBWW; 01-08-2012 at 01:49 AM.
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  #35  
Old 01-08-2012, 11:06 AM
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No way.

Sapele pommele (to give it its correct name) , is and always has been widely available, mostly in veneer form.

The quilted figure is a function of how the tree is cut (ie it is not quartersawn).

Any sapele tree, cut judiciously, could yield sapele pommele.
Thanks for clasrification. Which leads me to wonder if The Tree figure is also a result of not quartering the wood....?
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  #36  
Old 01-08-2012, 11:36 AM
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Hey BBWW...What is the street value on that slab? How thick is it? and is it quartersawn or flatsawn?
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Old 01-08-2012, 12:04 PM
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[QUOTE=BBWW; It's hard to bend! Jayson Bowerman pours boiling water on it before he tries to bend it. [/QUOTE]

Sylvan Wells has commented on the same thing. The figuring makes it prone to fracturing if not bent properly. Here's a few pics of the sides being formed for the "Tree" guitar that I posted the finished pictures of:

Ready for bending:



Soaking sides:



Wrapping sides for bending:



Bending:



Safely in mold:

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  #38  
Old 01-08-2012, 01:41 PM
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Hey BBWW...What is the street value on that slab? How thick is it? and is it quartersawn or flatsawn?
This whole tree was figured. 3 types of quilt. Tortoise-shell, Sausage Quilt and a combo of both. The tree it's self was quartered when it got to the mill after being floated downriver. No matter how it got cut it was highly figured. I have had some sausage quilt that was well quartered and some close to quartered. The wood is so stable that really I'm not sure from a building point of view it's ever been an issue. I've handled about 50 sets of the Sausage over the years and about 10 of the Tortoise-Shell. I had one last set of that floating around the luthierverse this last two years, my last set, and it landed in Harvey Leach's hands. I won't get into costs of that set or others. I know that if I gave him the whole board he might build me a guitar out of it. :-) And that might take some sweet talkin'. He is having an affair with the Tree right now. I think he has something big planned for that set. I have ZERO sets left, just a few backs and the board.

The board is about 40 board ft. It's an inch thick with a good layout (best case) I could get around 40 sets. I won't do the the re-saw myself. Funny thing about boards though...you open them up and you can get big surprises! Beetles and borers alike enjoyed parts of this tree. I could more easily get only 20 sets out of the board, so we'll have to see. Here is a photo of my kitchen table after the last re saw...all of this is gone.
[IMG][/IMG]

I will say cutting these big boards is really difficult for me as I know I'll never see anything like them again. It's been argued that now a board this big is worth more in one piece than in guitar sets. If indeed people are getting $1350 a board foot...well this board would be worth $54,000 as a board, maybe more because of it's size. (Check your pockets!) I still have access to it's base for a conference table as well. 3 years ago this table did not sell for $90,000. But in the end it's worth what someone pays for it. I know what Taylor paid for the wood they had (have) and they sell the upgrade for $6000 or more. They are doing OK on that markup. Smaller builders take many more risks with the wood and have a lot less to makeup for it if something goes wrong, yet most I know mark it up less than Taylor. I know Breedlove still has a couple of sets left for a $4000+ upgrade.

It is a great sounding wood. I haven't heard a bad guitar from it and I've played more than most. It is a mahogany but it is atypical and has some of the mysteries of rosewoods. It's not JUST pretty, it has a tone that I think is unique. I bought my first set in 1992...then well I sort of obsessed...I would think around 300 guitars built is a good guess and I'm guessing there are 50 sets in the hands of Luthiers, but know one really knows for sure. It is not for the faint of heart to buy or bend. People like pretty guitars, sure, a few of us like them to sound as good as they look too.

Is it worth it...probably not! But being an idiot myself it was to me in 1992 and is to me in 2012. RioRider would agree, as would many on this board who own a guitar out of "The Tree". I would expect to pay the same price as good old growth Brazilian and it's going up because it's getting harder to find. My wife will have some in my shop when I die...that would be a good time to buy. :-) My next guitar will be one like the Steve Seville "The Tree" with a "Lucky Strike" Carter redwood top over in the Custom forum. That will cost me...sigh. Somebody buy some CD's or book me so I can get it...in 5 years.
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Last edited by BBWW; 01-08-2012 at 01:46 PM.
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  #39  
Old 01-08-2012, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by murrmac123 View Post
No way.

Sapele pommele (to give it its correct name) , is and always has been widely available, mostly in veneer form.

The quilted figure is a function of how the tree is cut (ie it is not quartersawn).

Any sapele tree, cut judiciously, could yield sapele pommele.
Uh, no - The quilted figure you see in Sapele, as well as with mahogany, and maple, and redwood, and many other woods is a result of growing conditions and genetics, not a result of a choice made when sawing any old log. You see it mostly in veneer as it is highly prized and valuable, and so it is made into veneer where you can get the best return/highest yield/greatest value -

If you consider quarter-sawn as being sawn with the annular rings perpendicular to the face of the board, most of these highly figured materials are not truly quarter-sawn as the grain runs all over the place, but they can be cut to be as quarter-sawn as possible. Usually though, really unusual logs like these are cut for maximum yield -
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  #40  
Old 01-08-2012, 01:47 PM
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Beautiful stuff!
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  #41  
Old 01-08-2012, 01:53 PM
JoeCharter JoeCharter is offline
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My silly question has turned into a really informative thread with lots of nice pictures! Thanks everyone for posting.

I hope to contribute with my own pictures in a few months...
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  #42  
Old 01-08-2012, 02:14 PM
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Holy Cow! Joe - you're getting a guitar made from this stuff? Lucky man! I hope it turns out as exquisitely as all who have spoken of it so highly...

I know that the pictures of "The Tree" wood on the R Taylor website was what got me started on getting a mahogany guitar... by the time I contacted R Taylor, they were all out of that wood...

...but it led me to James Goodall, and my current GC w/ figured mahogany and redwood, so it's been a worthwhile exploration!

I wish you all the best on your upcoming build! It is a gorgeous wood with a fascinating storyline...

play on..................................>

John
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  #43  
Old 01-08-2012, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by riorider View Post
RTaylor used to have the story on their website, along with a picture of one they build for Bob.

...
It's still there, although a bit buried.
http://www.rtaylorguitars.com/Woods-Backs-Sides-08.aspx

So purty.


Bel isi,
-kyle
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  #44  
Old 01-09-2012, 03:54 AM
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I've handled about 50 sets of the Sausage over the years and about 10 of the Tortoise-Shell. I had one last set of that floating around the luthierverse this last two years, my last set, and it landed in Harvey Leach's hands. I won't get into costs of that set or others. I know that if I gave him the whole board he might build me a guitar out of it. :-) And that might take some sweet talkin'. He is having an affair with the Tree right now. I think he has something big planned for that set. I have ZERO sets left, just a few backs and the board.

My wife will have some in my shop when I die...that would be a good time to buy. :-) My next guitar will be one like the Steve Seville "The Tree" with a "Lucky Strike" Carter redwood top over in the Custom forum. That will cost me...sigh. Somebody buy some CD's or book me so I can get it...in 5 years.
OH, you mean this piece of crap...


I've seen a lot of this wood over the years (I think Lance and I went to look at some for the first time about 15 years ago) but really nothing I've seen has compared to this set. Anybody who knows anything about quilted wood knows that when it's "book matched" it's never really the same on both sides, this piece is almost a perfect mirror image from one to the other. As for my "big" plans for it.... well I guess I'm waiting for the man who has everything, or at least thought he did
I've never built a guitar that wasn't for sale (OK, my first guitar I gave to my wife, but that doesn't count) but if I still have this set after we sell Voyage Air for a few cool million and I can retire I might just build a "statement" guitar.

As for it's tonal properties, I just don't get it when people say "it sounds like mahogany" not even close to me and every builder that I've ever talked to says the same thing... maybe I'm just not getting very good "regular" mahogany...

Ya know Jay, I have some really nice LS that I cherry picked from several hundred sets :^)

p.s. what was your wife's cell # again???
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  #45  
Old 01-09-2012, 05:02 AM
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Call me sentimental, but reading the story I almost (well, did in fact) feel sorry for the tree being cut down at such a grand old age and size. But then I'm one of the first to admire a beautiful piece of figured wood on a guitar. Guess we can't have it all ways!
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