Travelling to get the best tonewood
At Dowina, we believe in traveling to get each piece of wood personally, which may sound a bit crazy to some, but we know it’s the only way that works for us to secure the acoustic and visual quality of our guitars. While some may think that all rosewood is the same, or that AAA quality is all that matters, we can assure you that’s not the case. The AAA quality often only refers to the visual part of the plates, not the acoustic and physical quality. We need to test the toughness and the 5th and 2nd acoustic modes – more about this in another blog – to ensure that the plate resonates the way we need it to.
We usually spend 2 to 3 working days every 3 months to get the wood we need. However, we can’t use the wood immediately, so it’s crucial to have a nicely stocked inventory in advance. Many woods need to undergo vacuum drying if they’re freshly cut, and then they need to rest for months before they can actually be used in guitar production. So, we have to think way ahead of time. At Dowina workshop, the wood undergoes a special process called “wood conditioning” in a hot room or vacuum oven with multiple cycles.
Personally, I’m a huge fan of selecting the back plates. Some American walnut plates can leave you breathless, and don’t get me started on cocobolo! I remember the first time our supplier Toni showed us a piece of super old Bois de Rose. I was so captivated that I literally held at him, “I want that now!” Toni just laughed and assured me that we would be one of the first to approach him when it was ready.
Unfortunately, sometimes the most beautiful plates are too weak and soft, and there’s nothing we can do but let them go with a sad tear in our eye. But don’t worry, we’re not standing over a pile of plates crying. In fact, we love our wood selection trips because they’re a lot of fun. We get to chat with people who love tonewoods just as much as we do, discussing news and discovering old stocked sources. Sometimes, it can feel like entering the Tutankhamun tomb – it’s that exciting! I think that’s why my dad loves it so much, and we hope that you can feel the love in your Dowina guitar too.