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James
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Why local wood

The actual paradigm on instrument making

Some musicians and luthiers are, still, attached to the idea that a good guitar is made out of exotic woods. Wood like Ebony, rosewood, mahogany, etc. are the most claimed materials on guitar making. Those are found mostly in rain forests in countries like Cameron, Brazil, India, Congo, Sri Lanka, etc.

The transportation methods in the exploitation areas demand opening big roads to reach a certain place. After the wood is obtained it is transported to a certain arbour and shipped in containers to the place where instruments or furniture will be made.

The problem of using exotic woods

Countries where this wood comes from have, most of them, high levels of corruption, suboptimal environmental policies, limited levels of education and scarce working conditions. The corruption levels allow that protected areas are violated to have some profit. The lack of environmental policies keep the interests of corrupt logging companies over animal or human conservation projects. Limited levels of education force children to work. Bad working conditions force all workers to perform with no safety and to live in subhuman conditions as a result of very low income.

Sometimes to get a single tree it is necessary to open a road that goes for hundreds of kilometers. Those roads have a huge impact in fauna, flora and social life of the populations that depend on this forests to live. Most of the times from these roads many more are opened to reach new places and trees and, as a result, the all ecosystem gets disturbed. After the woods are taken from the forests the cargo shipping represents another big environmental impact. After this, the woods are sold for many different industries and transformed or resold by retailers. Subsequently there is another transportation to another part of the world.

Why local wood

My company is based in Sweden and I work by myself. 

My goals are:

I strive to ensure that corruption is eliminated, environmental policies are fully implemented, education is provided in a way that allows children to grow into responsible adults, and working conditions promote a happy life. To achieve this, I believe it is necessary to oversee the entire process of material processing, starting from the very first steps. By doing so, I can ensure, as far as can, that people, animals, and the environment are not being mistreated or harmed in any way.

The transportation distances are reduced from thousands and thousands of kilometers with cargo ships and trucks to a few kilometers or even less than a kilomenter with a Citroen Berlingo. The woods are split and let to dry for a minimum of four years. 

I have now a big stock of wood that were collected in an area smaller than 10 kilometers from my workshop. I fell the community is involved and receive many calls of people asking if I want to go and pick maple, alm, oak, apple, pear, cherry, sorbus, alder, poplar, spruce, birch or larch! I pick it all!

Just like I try to eat local food and have the minimum possible travelling distance by any fossil fuel transportation, I also try to use has local materials as possible. Always focused on making the best instruments possible, I have a relation with all the woods I use. That is why I know that only local wood can sound good!

Do you agree?