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Plantation Pernambuco: Coming soon to a store near you?

 
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whatwasithinking
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Joined: 26 Jan 2013
Posts: 208
Location: Washington State

PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:08 pm    Post subject: Plantation Pernambuco: Coming soon to a store near you? Reply with quote

This paper provides some encouragement regarding the suitability of plantation-grown Pernambuco in the making of high-quality bows.
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Nick Walker
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Joined: 17 Sep 2014
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is the time frame on availability? Would be great to pay reasonable prices for great wood.
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whatwasithinking
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Joined: 26 Jan 2013
Posts: 208
Location: Washington State

PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Nick,

I wish I knew. It may not be cheap, but at least it shouldn't go extinct in the near future. What I found especially encouraging was that at least in some respects, it might be superior to old wood.
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whatwasithinking
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Joined: 26 Jan 2013
Posts: 208
Location: Washington State

PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finally obtained a copy of the complete article. Here's the Readers Digest version:

Three kinds of wood were studied:
- Native growth Pernambuco
- 25-year-old plantation trees
- 30-year-old plantation trees

Only the 30-year wood had begun to have any heartwood, generally considered the only part useful in making excellent bows.

The mean loss tangent values, or the amount of energy dissipated during vibration, was lowest in the native wood, at about a third of the loss tangent in the 30-year wood. The 25-year-old wood was worse than the 30-year-old wood. These values derive largely from the extractives content, which was very low in the plantation wood, but sometimes too high in the native wood. The values found in plantation wood were very low indeed.

Mean density was highest in the 25-year samples, all of which was sapwood. Max density was found in native wood.

The very highest elasticity was found in the native wood, but the mean was highest in the 25-year-old trees.

The standard deviation in most measures of quality was lower in plantation wood than in the native samples. That seems like a good thing for the future value of plantation wood. If and when it does finally mature, the quality may be much more consistent than that found in native trees.

The paper seems to suggest that 30-year-old trees aren't ready for harvesting, and no one knows yet how long the harvesting cycle might be. 40 years? 50 years? Anyone's guess. But eventually, they may provide very good wood. But we may have to wait another 20 years or so.
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