Hello All. Having moved 6 years ago to a part of California with lots of orchards, I notice that most of these trees get hacked into fairly small lengths for firewood or just chipped. I've approached a couple orchardists who were replacing trees and asked them to save me a piece long enough for ribs and back and they didn't want to do it. Is there a reason these beautiful fruit trees are not being recovered for use? Cherry, peach, plum, pear, apple, walnut are all great woods, I don't care if it's for a guitar or not, it just seems such a waste.

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Walnut is GREAT for guitar necks as well as solid bodies and backs & sides. bends REALLY well too.

Cherry is good too, though I've only completed one mandolin with it, and have another under way.

maybe if you showed the orchardists (great word BTW!!) some green paper?
Maybe some of that green paper would convince them. There was a big patch of a pear orchard coming down, and the orchardist said sure, he'd cut some lengths for me. That didn't happen. I did get a big black walnut log, almost to the roots, but only big enough for headstock. The cherry (Black Tartarian's, yum...) that were pulled out just a month ago, were chopped up before I could even get there. When I spoke with the guy, he said some of the trees were more than 60 years old.
Ah well...
Hi Doug -- I agree with you 100% and its too bad that this kind of thing goes on , but heres my theroy on that-- its all about money and if you have enough of it then you can do as you please.
Or maby this is another one of thoes gr8 american ways that goes on in this country..
sorry to sound off but I just can't help it sometimes....
I agree. I really think there should be a municipal wood yard. I work at a library, and county council determined that because the books were purchased with county funds, that once they have had their useful life within the library, they are available first to the people, for free! I like that. Well, what about all those municipal trees? What the maintenance folks do around here is cut them down and toss directly into a chipper. The mulch sits in location until it's gone. I've watched this happen to bay laurel (gasp!) sycamore (UGH!) and some local maple (EEEK!) plus a couple big redwoods (YIKES). How many artisans would you get combing through that stuff to use? I'd guess a lot. There's plent of custom cabinet and furniture shops within 50 miles of here.
The intrepid wood turners in my area seem to have a good philosopy - speak softly and carry a chainsaw in your trunk. I see them trundling about great blocks of olive, blackwood acacia and so on. My Dad had a great gig going - befriend the arborists at the local university. There's a lot of wood out there if you're determined to get some. Like the woods themselves, the connections take a little cultivation.
If you contact a city, sometimes you can find out who does their tree work. I've gotten some good wood that way (an entire floor's worth of black acacia, for example). It takes persistence but it can work.
I have a pal who's a tree surgeon.

he gets paid to take trees down, then he gets ppaid to dispose of the bits, then he has the choice of disposing by chipping, or disposing by selling. he has just bought a $40.000 chipper to go with his lorry mounted band saw to make the choice easier.

Pay the guy, he'll be happy to let you have the wood!!

I get most of my wood for free from a shopfitter near me. all their offcuts (like slabs of cherry 2" thick by 14" wide, by 4 feet long... REALLY!!) go in a pile, and about twice a year I take the school bus over and fill it. some goes into the school stock for students use...... after I've had the chance to sort it of course!!
Martin, those 40k chippers are amazing things. The mincemeat it made of my ten year old Leyandii tree..

With regards to Wood Aquisition, it all seems to be about "who you know"...

Wood is definetely an underground currency- even local suppliers will keep back the very best woods...and only until you become a liked regular do you get shown the best stuff.

Me, I take every opportunity to get wood- at work a colleague brought in a solid Cuban 'hog wardrobe for storage and I kept asking if I could have it- unfortunately I wasn't able to secure it, but another work pal brought in a small board of spare mahogany to ease the WAS pains...

Advice I would like to share is that when you find a source, don't say you are building guitars- for some reason the value suddenly goes up...
"Advice I would like to share is that when you find a source, don't say you are building guitars- for some reason the value suddenly goes up..."


I get the scrap wood from the shopfitter for the school workshop and cherry pick it.

I've just started an electric mandolin and the total cost will be under $25. tuners and bridge from the scraps box, Ash body from the shopfitter, maple necK from the lumber yard and a split precision bass pickup for $2 off ebay.......The most expensive part is the rosewood fretboard and frets from Stewmac

I agree I go talk to the Owners and get permission and now look


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