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Thread: 250 shades of rosewood

  1. #1
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    Default 250 shades of rosewood

    After looking at the comprehensive list that also includes Bubinga now and Koso or African Rosewood, the writing is on the wall for these as luthier tonewoods. Just when you thought Indian Rosewood had just about managed to replace Rio as an equal alternative at least in the minds of most of the big guitar manufacturing marketing departments, (doesn't matter how many times the big boys oil it, IR is not BR and we all know it!) BANG, CITES.org screws the industry over yet again...

    So this is what I think will happen. Richlite will take centre stage despite protests and there will be a rush to replace rosewood with ebony. And guess what? All ebony varietyes will be the next specie to go on the list along with any wood that has the title Mahogany even if it is not a true mahogany. They will put every other 'brown' wood into Appendix II and within a short space of time all of Appendix II tonewoods will be bumped up to Apppendix I. Easily, within ten years, CITES will have such a stranglehold over the industry that plastic and composites will be marketed as the genuine replacements for traditional tonewoods. And still there will be illegal logging of wood until it is all gone - Silent Running here we come!

    As for me? I have 190 instruments more to make and I am stocking up on mgurure while they are looking elsewhere!
    Last edited by Pete Howlett; 12-08-2016 at 08:42 PM.

  2. #2
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    Pete, I agree.

    Ebony will be next. After that alot of other dark woods which appear rosewoodish to the uneducated.

    That IRW made it to Appendix II before Gaboon ebony is absolute joke...

    Expect to see more maple, wenge and walnut instruments for international orders.

  3. #3
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    Didn't realize they classify IRW more stringently than gaboon ebony! That is very backwards, as true gaboon jet black ebony is super rare

    I am sure this will also drive the cost of ebony even higher now

    Silver lining - local native American woods will be more popular?
    Koaloha Tenor 2016
    Hoffman ML ebony/red spruce tenor
    Mya-Moe redwood/walnut tenor
    Stansell Myrtle and POC flamenco baritone
    Hoffmann A style cedar maple tenor

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Recstar24 View Post
    Didn't realize they classify IRW more stringently than gaboon ebony! That is very backwards, as true gaboon jet black ebony is super rare

    I am sure this will also drive the cost of ebony even higher now
    ?
    Yes- it is utterly ludicrous, but this is government where are talking about.

    Here is the list- ebony is actually on the Appendix 3 (lower then IRW)
    https://www.fws.gov/international/pl...e-species.html

    Info on the difference within appendix 1, 2,3:

    Appendix 2
    https://www.fws.gov/international/pd...ix-ii-2014.pdf

    Appendix 3
    https://www.fws.gov/international/pd...x-iii-2016.pdf
    Last edited by Beau Hannam Ukuleles; 12-09-2016 at 07:56 AM.

  5. #5
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    When did they ban these woods?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael N. View Post
    When did they ban these woods?
    A few months ago (i think)- but it comes into effect 2nd Jan 2017

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beau Hannam Ukuleles View Post
    A few months ago (i think)- but it comes into effect 2nd Jan 2017
    It looks to me like you've just posted an abreviated list of the restrictions that have been in effect for quite some time (cacti, ferns and such filtered out). I'm not seeing Indian Rosewood anywhere - either latifolia or sissoo. anywhere. Apparently it will be listed shortly, but I don't find it here. I don't see Gaboon Ebony listed at all.

    As for the restrictions on all species of Madagascar Ebonies, that's definitely been there a while. They ought to just put all timber exports on that island under the permit process. "Guesstimates" are that they could have lost 90% of their forest. What's not a guess is that the island is an environmental disaster. Once again, agriculture and cattle play the big part, but to deny responsibility because "that guy is worse than me" is just a self centered refusal to participate in any way in rectifying a bad situation.

    I have small stockpiles of a bunch of the woods on that list - principally somewhat obscure Central American Rosewoods - woods that were unrestricted at the time I aquired them. If they ever do make it into instruments, they'll just be sold in the states, so no loss. If we ever get going in Central America again there are more woods there than you could ever list (some that have never even been classified) that make perfectly fine tonewoods and are not threatened in any way.

    I really don't understand the anguish.

    And BTW, aside from the obvious need to intervene in certain situations, politics play a definite part in this process. Brazil jumped in first on Spanish Cedar because it competes with some of their own architectural exports (Red Grandis), and by putting it in Appendix III for their population (where it was never plentiful to begin with), they force everyone else to prove their Spanish Cedar didn't come from Brazil. So certificates of origin for all Spanish Cedar - higher prices as a result and more sales of unrestricted species from Brazil.

    And have you ever wondered about why no woods from the U.S. are listed? Ever wonder about the sustainability of Koa, for example, versus Spanish Cedar? No, it's not a perfect system, but don't use that as an excuse to criticize the neccesity of having a system at all.
    Last edited by southcoastukes; 12-09-2016 at 05:17 PM.
    Dirk Wormhoudt



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  8. #8
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    Thank you Dirk for a well thought out and well written response. I've been following this thread with much interest as have many others. No it is not a perfect system, but lets see how it works out before we condemn the system. Let's wait until the final regulatory response comes out in the next year.

  9. #9
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    CITES is not a benign organisation that is going to give the ukulele making industry a free pass because they make cute looking instruments. It is a powerful, unilateral-acting organisation that bullies the small guy because the governments who support it cannot act effectively to get at the root of the problem. I do not see an equal zeal at attacking climate change, world poverty, reliance on fossil fuels, growing cash crops like tea and coffee instead of food for their starving citizens and backing the sale of arms that are used to wage war by proxy... who has ever seen a government act so swiftly on a matter with such far reaching consequences? I guess not since JWB went to war with Iraq....

  10. #10
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    Do you remember these from about 3 years back ? when we discussed the same subject...When Gibson was experimenting with alternatives to rosewood...here is a link to that thread http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/...ht=baked+maple
    One of these is rosewood and the other baked maple
    Last edited by Timbuck; 12-09-2016 at 09:54 PM.
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