Best alternative neck wood?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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Alexandru Marian
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Re: Best alternative neck wood?

Post by Alexandru Marian » Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:48 pm

For a few months it cannot be exported in raw form, such as neck blanks, but finished products seem to be OK. LMI is not exporting cedar to Canada, the Spanish dealers are not exporting outside the EU and so on.

Michael Thames

Re: Best alternative neck wood?

Post by Michael Thames » Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:22 pm

For a few months it cannot be exported in raw form, such as neck blanks, but finished products seem to be OK. LMI is not exporting cedar to Canada, the Spanish dealers are not exporting outside the EU and so on.
Thanks for the info. I didn't know that.

JohnAbercrombie

Re: Best alternative neck wood?

Post by JohnAbercrombie » Tue Oct 18, 2011 5:34 pm

The internet is our friend. :)

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export ... /cites.pdf
Page 2-5
Quote:
Cedrela odorata (Spanish cedar)
IMPORTANT
On April 27, 2011, Cedrela odorata was listed as Appendix III for Brazil. On or
after this date, any shipment originating in Brazil containing logs, sawn wood,
or veneer sheets imported into the United States must be accompanied by a
CITES Appendix III Export Permit or Re-export Certificate (Columbia,
Guatemala, Peru, and Plurinational State of Bolivia already list Cedrela
odorata). Cedrela odorata originating from any country other than Brazil,
Columbia, Guatemala, Peru, or Plurinational State of Bolivia is required to be
accompanied by a CITES Certificate of Origin.
End quote.
So, not banned really, but requiring CITES paperwork (which for most of us makes it impractical).

Interesting document. I learned that 'cedro' is not SpanishCedar (you just can't trust everybody you meet in a lumberyard) but a different species Cedrela lilloi.

Scot Tremblay
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Re: Best alternative neck wood?

Post by Scot Tremblay » Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:02 pm

Thanks for digging that up and posting it, John. Interesting article for sure.
Scot Tremblay Guitars

"One picture is worth a thousand words. So, for me, one good note put where it should be put, will say what it will take some people many notes to say. ~B.B. King, 1986

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gabasa
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Re: Best alternative neck wood?

Post by gabasa » Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:11 pm

This might be slightly off topic, but what about alternative fingerboard woods as well? Is Indian rosewood good for this application? I've read that cheaper guitars use IR, but in terms of tone production, is there an audible difference between the two?

Michael Thames

Re: Best alternative neck wood?

Post by Michael Thames » Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:48 pm

I'm pretty sure the Cedro I get doesn't come from Brazil.......
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cedrela_odorata

JohnAbercrombie

Re: Best alternative neck wood?

Post by JohnAbercrombie » Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:24 pm

Michael Thames wrote:I'm pretty sure the Cedro I get doesn't come from Brazil.......
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cedrela_odorata
Yes, but now we need the paperwork to prove it.
Argh.

Scot Tremblay
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Re: Best alternative neck wood?

Post by Scot Tremblay » Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:25 pm

JohnAbercrombie wrote:
Michael Thames wrote:I'm pretty sure the Cedro I get doesn't come from Brazil.......
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cedrela_odorata
Yes, but now we need the paperwork to prove it.
Argh.
I've just spent an interesting week researching both the Cities and Lacey material because of a small misunderstanding on the part of the customs folks (Yes it's true, they don't know everything!) and lost document scans with shipping an instrument to the USA. That indeed is the problem, proper documentation.

There are sources for all our beloved guitar woods, MOP and abalone that can supply the documentation needed but most of us already have a bunch of money tied up in a stash containing, legitimate and legal at the time of purchase but now banned (or presently not banned but look-a-like) materials, that we have picked up over the years, decades even, and cannot document it's harvest source.

However, even with proper documentation the authorities can still demand that the material in question be tested with the owner being fully responsible for the cost incurred with that test. I don't know what the fees for a wood test would be but MOP and abalone tests can be in excess of $1000.00 for a single test. And if your test comes back that you are indeed honest and using legal material there is no refund on the test, it's just the cost of doing business.

There appears to be a movement, very slowly gaining momentum, in the US and elsewhere to amend the laws to include a "Grandfather" clause but varifiable documentation proving the date of purchase before a certain date (yet to be chosen and may be different for each material) will still be required. For many of us...good luck with finding that receipt for that prized set of Brazilian or that "Primo Cedro" purchased 40 years ago! The other troublesome thing with this amendment is that it may only apply to finished instruments and not the raw materials...we'll see how that goes.

So, back to the original question...the best "Alternative Neck Wood" may very well come down to the wood that causes one the least amount of hassle.
Scot Tremblay Guitars

"One picture is worth a thousand words. So, for me, one good note put where it should be put, will say what it will take some people many notes to say. ~B.B. King, 1986

JohnAbercrombie

Re: Best alternative neck wood?

Post by JohnAbercrombie » Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:30 pm

Scot-
You've 'hit the nail on the head' ....

Maybe I'll just put a 'Made in China' label in my guitars- that should make the problem go away......

Michael Thames

Re: Best alternative neck wood?

Post by Michael Thames » Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:05 pm

Scot Tremblay wrote:
JohnAbercrombie wrote:
Michael Thames wrote:I'm pretty sure the Cedro I get doesn't come from Brazil.......
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cedrela_odorata
Yes, but now we need the paperwork to prove it.
Argh.
I've just spent an interesting week researching both the Cities and Lacey material because of a small misunderstanding on the part of the customs folks (Yes it's true, they don't know everything!) and lost document scans with shipping an instrument to the USA. That indeed is the problem, proper documentation.

There are sources for all our beloved guitar woods, MOP and abalone that can supply the documentation needed but most of us already have a bunch of money tied up in a stash containing, legitimate and legal at the time of purchase but now banned (or presently not banned but look-a-like) materials, that we have picked up over the years, decades even, and cannot document it's harvest source.

However, even with proper documentation the authorities can still demand that the material in question be tested with the owner being fully responsible for the cost incurred with that test. I don't know what the fees for a wood test would be but MOP and abalone tests can be in excess of $1000.00 for a single test. And if your test comes back that you are indeed honest and using legal material there is no refund on the test, it's just the cost of doing business.

There appears to be a movement, very slowly gaining momentum, in the US and elsewhere to amend the laws to include a "Grandfather" clause but varifiable documentation proving the date of purchase before a certain date (yet to be chosen and may be different for each material) will still be required. For many of us...good luck with finding that receipt for that prized set of Brazilian or that "Primo Cedro" purchased 40 years ago! The other troublesome thing with this amendment is that it may only apply to finished instruments and not the raw materials...we'll see how that goes.

So, back to the original question...the best "Alternative Neck Wood" may very well come down to the wood that causes one the least amount of hassle.
Fortunately, this doesn't seem to be a big problem for those of us in the USA when shipping a guitar out of the country. This seems to be more of a concern shipping to the USA, and Canada seems to have the biggest problem....... either that, or, there is a disproportionally large number of Canadian luthiers on this blog.

I've hand delivered guitars to India and Thailand with no problem, a couple of them were Brazilian.

Marcus Dominelli
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Re: Best alternative neck wood?

Post by Marcus Dominelli » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:20 am

Michael Thames wrote:Fortunately, this doesn't seem to be a big problem for those of us in the USA when shipping a guitar out of the country. This seems to be more of a concern shipping to the USA, and Canada seems to have the biggest problem....... either that, or, there is a disproportionally large number of Canadian luthiers on this blog.

I've hand delivered guitars to India and Thailand with no problem, a couple of them were Brazilian.
I've shipped about 5 guitars into the U.S. in the last year and a half that had Spanish cedar necks and the guitars made it in. I had the Lacey Act paperwork done correctly and the Customs people who read it must have seen the cedrella odorata, on the list, assuming of course, that they read it.

I don't know if it will continue to be this easy in the future. I have enough spanish cedar in stock for another 30 or 40 guitars atleast, but I'd like to start experimenting with some other neck woods.
I was at a specialty wood dealer near home today and they have no more Spanish cedar, and will not be getting anymore of it. But there are many other woods that will work well. Sapele might be a bit too heavy for my liking, but there are some other good candidates, like walnut, maple, alder and others.

I'm sure plenty of other woods will sound and feel great, and this is not my concern. My concern is with all the paperwork required nowadays.

Clearly, some people are going to be able to just walk through International Customs with thier guitars, and have no problem like you did Michael, but I certainly would not feel comfortable doing this without the required paperwork.
Delivering a Brazilian rosewood guitar in Canada, the U.S. , or Europe is a totally different thing than bringing one into Thailand or India. It's not an even playing field by any stretch.

Scot Tremblay
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Re: Best alternative neck wood?

Post by Scot Tremblay » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:45 am

You are very correct Michael. The USA as a country is very near the top for being the most problematic that I have shipped my wares to. For you folks shipping stuff out there doesn't seem to be a problem. At least I've never had an issue of any sort when puchasing material and instruments from the USA.

In my experience, when shipping or even accompanying instruments to America there is about a 30 - 40% chance that there will be a problem or at the very least a hold up. And I would certainly never show up at the border with a Brazilian Rosewood guitar and expect to just walk through beliving I was going to keep my guitar.

But don't feel bad about being left out of all the fun...during my research into the Lacey and Cities I came across references hinting that ways are being explored to impliment these acts between states. So if you want to ship your guitar from California to Arizona or anywhere else in America you are going to have to jump through all the same hoops the rest of us are now enjoying.
Scot Tremblay Guitars

"One picture is worth a thousand words. So, for me, one good note put where it should be put, will say what it will take some people many notes to say. ~B.B. King, 1986

Michael Thames

Re: Best alternative neck wood?

Post by Michael Thames » Thu Oct 20, 2011 6:03 am

But don't feel bad about being left out of all the fun...during my research into the Lacey and Cities I came across references hinting that ways are being explored to impliment these acts between states. So if you want to ship your guitar from California to Arizona or anywhere else in America you are going to have to jump through all the same hoops the rest of us are now enjoying.
Thanks Scott, that was more information than I needed.........now we all have something to look forward to. I have no doubt this is coming, something out of George Orwell's 1984. Soon they will simply say the words "Brazilian rosewood" as they monitor your blood pressure and brain waves....... they won't even have to open up the case to find you guilty.

Scot Tremblay
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Re: Best alternative neck wood?

Post by Scot Tremblay » Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:13 pm

"Brazilian rosewood" as they monitor your blood pressure and brain waves....... they won't even have to open up the case to find you guilty.
Yikes!....Don't give them anymore ideas than they already have!
Scot Tremblay Guitars

"One picture is worth a thousand words. So, for me, one good note put where it should be put, will say what it will take some people many notes to say. ~B.B. King, 1986

Alan Carruth
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Re: Best alternative neck wood?

Post by Alan Carruth » Thu Oct 20, 2011 6:01 pm

One of my students made a tongue-in-cheek suggestion last night. If the Lacey act really has made your whole stockpile of wood valuless, then simply write it off on your taxes. If we all did that, maybe the IRS would sit up and take notice, and put in a 'phone call to F&W. ;)

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