Source for New Zealand tone woods

Tukanu

Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2017
Messages
265
Points
18
I am looking to build a soprano for a friend bound for NZ. I was thinking of Kauri for the top and Blackwood for the body.

Any suggestions for a source would be greatly appreciated.

If anyone has some suitable pieces laying around, I would be interested in a purchase.

Thanks for your help,
David
 

sequoia

Active member
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
Messages
2,811
Points
38
I was not familiar with Kauri wood having never worked with it before so I looked it up. Sounds like it might make an excellent tonewood. For those interested, I've pasted in some info on Kauri below:

Color/Appearance: Pale yellowish white to golden brown heartwood. Sapwood typically same color as heartwood. Due to the tree
 

Tukanu

Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2017
Messages
265
Points
18
Thank you Jim....It's for a teardrop with a Winnie the Poo quote for a grandchild ;)
 

lauburu

Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2012
Messages
541
Points
18
NZ has many native trees whose timber is excellent for instrument making.
Kauri, mentioned above, is visually beautiful and dimensionally stable. It makes excellent tops and necks and I have used it for backs and sides. Much of San Francisco was rebuilt using NZ kauri after the big earthquake
My experience with NZ grown blackwood is limited to backs and sides on 4 instruments. The owners are very happy with the results but it requires lots of pore filling. IMHO Australian blackwood is far superior - and it's not often a Kiwi would admit such a thing.
Quartersawn kahikatea makes wonderful tops. In the first half of last century, NZ used kahikatea for butter boxes which were exported to Britain.
Rimu is another wonderful wood. Old milled heart wood is dramatically coloured and hard as nails though it is independently minded and moves where and when it wants to. It can be tamed at sizes up to tenor ukes but I'd hesitate to use it for anything larger. Recently harvested rimu is pink, much softer and quite boring in comparison.
Mangeao has been described as NZ's version of "Brazilian Rosewood". It certainly makes wonderful backs and sides. You've got to get the right piece as it comes in all sorts of colours greys, browns, pinks. Sometimes it's so ugly only mother could love it. Sometimes it's stunningly beautiful with flaming and wonderful chatoyance.
Puriri is a wonderfully hard wood I've used for fretboards and bridges. Pale but with wonderful swirly grain (which lends to chipping if you're not careful).
I've also used Swamp Rata for fretboards which was very dark and when oiled looked similar to ebony. Black maire (which isn't really black) is also hard as nails.
I've used a couple of local suppliers who were very helpful.
Graham is a great guy who knows everything about wood but is terrible at spelling. www.wood.treeworkx.co.nz
Rarefind Timbers are also another good source of NZ native timbers at reasonable prices https://www.rarefind.co.nz/
Hope this helps