” I’m not that much of a “high tech” guy by any means. But I know and trust what I hear. To play a guitar made from wood that comes from the other side of the planet, or dates far back into history is an incredible experience, but hearing the richness and tone that comes from that wood is even more rewarding. I know what I expect to hear and for me it’s all in the wood. That’s the bottom line. This is why I love my Helstern Guitar, a stellar sound born from the wood of far away lands and centuries gone by. It speaks, it sings, it inspires.” –John Beland
“… I went all the way to 1500 grit which was an interesting process – more
Applying the finish you could really see the shimmering, 3d gold effect
– nice and certainly distinctive. I would not have wanted a “showier”
board, this is just perfect. Kind of like opening a Christmas present!” – John Z. 11/14
You may remember sending Ancient Kauri to the Netherlands some 6 months ago. I have made it into a wonderful looking and sounding archtop guitar “Ice Age Jazz”. It was wonderful to work with the kauri, there’s truly no other wood like it.
I used a quartersawn board for the top and slab sawn for the back. The sides came from the Luther’s Mercantile and blended beautifully with the back. The neck is 3 piece kauri from your Ice Age Jazzwood. Working the wood was an awesome experience. To shape wood with that history, incredible. When working with power tools the wood has a very fine dust, almost smoke. When first planing and joining the boards on my power planer, i switched it off because I thought the engine was on fire ……. smokey……….!!! Working with hand tools was great, you have to take your time, and adapt to the characteristics of the kauri. I sanded all the way with Micromesh from 1500 till 12000 grit and that really makes the wood come alive.
Thanks again for selecting such great boards. I can make three more guitars, and as soon as i have a commission for an Ice Age Jazz i will order more wood. Parts are made in mammoth ivory, i thought that would be a nice touch. The guitar sounds the way it looks, rich cognac sounds, classic archtop jazz sound, round and smooth, much sustain, really a joy to play. Thanks again for making it possible to work with ancient kauri.
Best regards, Daniel Slaman, slamanguitars.com
I thought you might be interested in my experience with your company. I purchased some Kauri to make a gift for some friends Anniversary. They were just astounded at the handmade gift and the presentation. I have not given a gift that was more appreciated and admired. Thanks for the possibility with the literature support.
Regards, Glenn M.
I just wanted to pass along a couple photos of the last two guitars I have built with the wood that I bought from you.
Cheers, John apolloguitars.ca
I received your package last Friday and it arrived in good condition. The piece of Kauri wood is absolutely beautiful and it will be on display with my two turned pieces of Kauri wood. I appreciate your time in working with me on this project.
Thanks again, Jim Brooks, Millersville, Maryland
The stump just came and it is BEAUTIFUL!!!! Thank you so much for all your help in its selection. Is the yellow stuff on it wax? I may leave part of the outside on the finished piece…if it is wax will it just gently chip off? Oh, my…this is so exciting!
(Note: What Jo is seeing is some resin that is prominent in a few pieces)
Finally had some time away from cabinetmaking to work on the table and got it finished in time for Thanksgiving. I think it looks smashing, the Kauri wood is the color of cognac. Tom made the base out of local walnut that was highly figured and dark to anchor it to the floor. I thought it would look too big for the room but does not and I am thrilled to have the table of my dreams. Hope you are well and enjoying life.
Dear Mr. Teisberg,
I received my shipment of Kauri today. All I can say is WOW WOW WOW!!!!!! As a woodworker with over 20 years experience, I can just about see how this wood is going to look finished. You have outdone yourself,
Thank you, Matthew Stever, M.A.C.E. Custom Guitars
Attached you will find pictures of the first knife produced by JW Smith and Sons featuring your Ancient Kauri that we purchased. It was a joy to work, we put it through our stabilization process which impregnates the wood with an acrylic polymer. We look forward to producing many more knives using you amazing wood.
Thanks, Jerry Smith
I received this board last week and I am very happy with it. It has a lovely flame with nice modular silking. I thought that you might like to know that I have been finishing it with micro mesh down to 12000 grit and you can really see into the wood. You might want recommend using it to some of your other clients. Thanks again I will order more once I have this guitar finished.
The new piece arrived today. You are a masterful judge of guitar wood, add it to your resume. This piece is going to make a drop-dead guitar. The first body came back from Washington the other day and has been hand sanded to 1500. I am sorry I was worried about color. The wood shines through with brilliant gold fleck almost as if I had added metal flake to the clear.
Thank You very much.
A beautiful ancient Kauri flute…
I purchased your figured variety and upon receipt, was mildly disappointed as it didn’t look like it had much character….until I gave it the first seal coat of shellac. I was stunned by its beauty. The wood is remarkably easy to work with, yet polishes out like an extremely dense rosewood. Keep me in mind if you stumble across some REMARKABLY figured material. Thanks again for the kind words.
PS. I neglected to mention that this flute produces the loudest cleanest tone of any flute I’ve built thus far. Two instrument makers, who are exceptional in their skill, INDEPENDENTLY of one another, suggested that like the unique characteristics of the wood used in the Stradivarius violins, subtle changes occurred at a cellular level, rendering a material unique in terms of its harmonic potential. I agree because there is no other explanation.
Thanks again, Rich Halliburton.
A while back I purchased a slab of kauri that I used to build a couple electric guitars. They turned out very well and I now have requests for 2 more guitars.
Compared to some of the tougher hardwoods it would be about like straight grained walnut, but a little harder. I would, and will, make more stocks with it, so from my point of view it makes good stocks!!!
I received my order last week and I am very happy with the wood. I contacted Florida to see if they would verify the age. They went on to say that they often test wood that comes in at the 30 to 50k age, and that it is highly probable that my wood is that old. Needless to say I am very pleased with my order, and hope to order again soon. Thanks again for this wonderful wood.
I contacted you last year and got a sample bundle. I make canes and have made several handles out of the Kauri I got from you. Everyone that has purchased a kauri handle sticks just raves about the beauty of the wood. The pieces you sent were a great mix of flame, white flecks and just straight grain.I don’t know if you sorted the samples to get me the great grain or if it’s all like this. I used it to make canes for my father and sister in law. Most end up displayed on walls as people think they are to pretty to use. Once again thanks.
Regards, Kevin Rosecrans
I just wanted to let you know about a car show I went to today. When the judges came around to judge my car they noticed the gas tank lid and asked what kind of wood I used to make it. I started to tell them the Kauri story and gave them the brochure you had sent me. They were amazed at how great it looked.
Well, to make a long story short, I won a beautiful trophy and wanted to say how happy I was to hook up with you guys. I also won another show about 2 weeks ago.
Good luck in your business and hope to hear from you soon.
When I looked at the piece you showed me, I just couldn’t figure out how to make it work. In talking to my wife, we started changing and getting new ideas, and I’m not sure where we are now except that I am VERY interested in this wood. This is so exotic, so special, that I’m inclined to go for the best.
Thanks again very much. WK
Thank you. I appreciate your customer service. I look forward to using the wood and buying more.
WE JUST FINISHED THE OLDEST HARP IN THE WORLD
Every summer, Pamela and I take one special, showcase harp to the harp conferences. So every winter, we have to decide what the ‘harp of the year’ is going to be.
The December, 2004 issue of Fine Woodworking magazine had an article about some huge Kauri logs… we were both completely intrigued by the idea of building a harp from this unique wood.
Our harps have a number of highly curved pieces, so we need wood that’s at least 9 inches wide and 2 inches thick. When I call most of my lumber suppliers, they often groan quietly and say they’ll be happy to pull whatever wide stock they have, but it may not be much.
I told Bob, however, that I wanted a board 14 inches wide, 10 feet long and 2 inches thick, and his response was “Well, OK, I guess I can cut something down for you.”! Music to a harp makers ears! He was able to select a beautiful figured board for me that was just big enough to build one 38-string DragonHeart harp.
The color and appearance of the ancient Kauri are not unlike teak, but lighter in weight and color. The DragonHeart in Cherry or Walnut usually weighs about 25 pounds, but in Kauri it came in at 23 pounds.
The other thing that most impressed me, as a woodworker, was that the Kauri has 50 to 60 growth rings per inch. Most of our Cherry and Walnut we use today have 4 to 6 rings per inch, and occasionally up to 10. So the Kauri has a very tight grain and no real visible grain pattern.
It has a lovely golden color, and because of the incredibly fine grain, it has to be sanded down to 1200 grit sandpaper, instead of the usual 320 grit, before the finish can be applied. The benefit of all this sanding, though, is that the wood develops a beautiful inner glow that I’ve never seen in any other wood.
The sound of the Kauri made it worth all the effort, as well. It has a wonderful sweet tone that was recognizably different from Cherry or Walnut from the moment it was strung.
We had a customer bring his two-year-old Walnut DragonHeart in for regulation the day after we strung the Kauri, and we all heard the sound difference between the two harps immediately, even with the Kauri only barely holding tune. We almost sold the Kauri harp before it even made it to the conferences!
The wood was a joy to work with, also, with a very light and pleasant fragrance when cut, and not at all difficult to work. Kauri costs about 8 to 10 times what we normally pay for Cherry or Walnut, but it was worth every penny.
The board arrived via FedEx in mid-May, fully boxed and well protected. When I helped unload it, I told the FedEx driver about the wood and its history, to his obvious interest. So when we got it into the receiving room of the shop, I had to open it up right away so he could see it, too. I don’t know what I was expecting, perhaps a soft neon-green glow or something, but the wood looked.. well, it looked just like any other board, rough cut with some nice figure visible, but no other indication in the unfinished board of its extreme age.
So I made some calls, and found that I could get a piece of the Kauri radiocarbon dated at the Radioisotope Research Center at the University of Georgia for a fairly reasonable price. Joan Noakes, the head of the Center, was also intrigued by the wood, but for different reasons. Radiocarbon dating has a maximum effective age indication of 50,000 years, so the Kauri coming in at 45,000 to 50,000 years was going to challenge the limits of his equipment.
For the techies among you, carbon 14, or radioactive carbon, has a half-life of 5,000 years, or, after 5,000 years, only half of the original carbon-14 still exists in any organic material. Their equipment can measure up to 10 half-lives, or 1/1,024th of the original carbon-14, or 50,000 years. After that, there’s just not enough left to measure, and you have to resort to the more complex radio-uranium dating.
The Radioisotope Research Center normally needs two months or more to get the testing completed, but when I told John that HarpCon was just a month away at that point, he was very accommodating and got the results to us on the way to Montana. We were quite pleased to hear that the age of our wood was 45,399 (give or take 500 years!), and we received a letter certifying the age.
I was glad to have the certification at HarpCon, to satisfy the skeptics, along with all the pictures of the ‘harvesting’ of these huge logs. Having the Kauri harp at the conferences was really a treat. The look on peoples’ faces when we told them the wood was 45,000 years old was worth all the effort, and when they heard it played, we could only smile.
We had a great deal of interest in the harp at HarpCon, and it was purchased by a lady in Oregon. Since she had flown to the show, and wasn’t able to fly back with it, she very graciously agreed to let us take it to the Somerset Harp Festival ten days later, then send it to her afterwards. While it was on display at Somerset, a lady from Virginia wanted both the unique sound and the beautiful wood, and asked us to build one for her just like it.
So, the harp is now on the coast of Oregon, I’ve ordered another board from Ancient Wood, and I’ve sent some photos of the Kauri DragonHeart to them to go in their next catalog and on their website. It’s been a real pleasure to be part of the unique adventure in harp building!
Heartland Harps & Music, Dave Woodworth and Pamela Bruner, 800-969-4277, heartlandharps.com