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Mexican Hardwoods


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Believe it or not, I have a hard time finding a Mexican hardwoods dealer where I live. It´s odd as I live in a big city and there are a few lumberyards who deal with quality woods. But, they´ve tried to sell me imported woods, including the Mexican ones. I´m not sure as to how it works...are these woods exclusively for exporting, and as such, am I being charged an "imported" price tag? I don´t have the numbers with me, so I have no idea of the bd/ft price. What I know is that they don´t know what Cocobolo or Bocote is. There´s a rosewood employed in luthierie called Palo Escrito (Fender issued a short run of Palo Escrito topped Telecasters a few years ago), and the dealers I´ve visited have no clue what I´m talking about. Instead, they offer me IRW, of which one plank would set me back a full month´s salary.

There´s more research ahead, as I´m pretty sure woods employed in acoustics are viable for electrics, which gives me some amusing choices, such as Primavera (White Mahogany) and Avocado, haha!

So, my question is if anyone has any idea why these woods are so expensive even if they are local, and if could anyone suggest me other sources. I haven´t been lucky enough to find a mahogany blank with African art carvings, ya know?

Edited by MexicanBreed
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Jose - I'm a half-breed , but I think its my inner Mexican that makes me look for wood in un-orthodox places. Look for shipping pallets that have good wood. Quarter-sawn oak is used alot for the runners , not the best neck wood in the world ,but for free - I'll use it. Old furniture is prime target #2 - not useful stuff , but broken old dressers or wardrobes are good sources of free boards. Up here in the northeast , free mahogany pianos abound. I'd feel bad taking a piano apart for a guitar , but if its already broken beyond its worth - recycle those boards man ! Keep an open mind and an open eye for boards.

I've used some odd stuff before , all with good results. Even Teak. :D

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Thanks man, I will keep an eye out for those sources---thing is, I have been looking. Maybe in the wrong places. See, there aren´t things like flea markets over here. Interesting thing about the pallets, I will consider those for practice wood. But I thought that it´d be relatively easier to find them, you know? I mean, they are produced here.

So, half Mexican? Interesting! I´m also half...the other half is Austrian!

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Oh , how I wish it was that easy ! lol My other half is ( in no particular order ) Cherokee , Irish , Dutch, German and French. My dad is mostly Texican ( lol ) but he has Apache blood through his grandfather. His name is Jose' too. :D and pallets don't have to be just for practice if the wood is good enough. My explorer came out quite acceptable in tone, looks and playability. Even old buildings may harbour good boards. keep them eyes peeled. :D

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Ok...new approach. Can you help me by mentioning some Mexican hardwoods? I know Cocobolo (dalbergia retusa), White Mahogany, Chechen, Ziricote and Bocote. I will research again for the Latin names and commercial names, that might yield better results.

Edited by MexicanBreed
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Joe,

Try this site: http://www.hobbithouseinc.com/personal/woo.../indextotal.htm

This guy has put a lot of information together. Check in particular the wood examples that list fact sheets. Then open the fact sheets which have about all the info found on the web for the particular species including dozens af alternative names and all the locations that species comes from. Also sometimes the country of the particular alternative name. It is only searchable in a very limited way so you may have to spend some time to gather all it has to offer....but it has a lot to offer. It's a huge site with a ton of pictures so it may take a minute to load.

SR

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Thank you Scott :D . I´m sure it´ll be an interesting read. I also located some woodworking books, including one volume on different woods, terms, etc. I´m still not sure why it would be "easier" for me to find imported mahogany than local.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry Scott, somehow I missed your post. No, I haven´t made headway. The only promising lumberyard I knew of went under and I will be looking around for another. I´ve tried to find some other sources but haven´t had luck. I was thinking the other day about some furniture places...I wonder what they do with smaller pieces. My hunch is they use them.

But, I´ve been reading and trying to learn more. The woodworking books are so good I have enough reading material for a year.

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That´s an idea...Probably my best shot is if I get to work out an arrangement with my colleague. I´m hoping I can get some workshop time and a bit of tutoring on tools. The other day he told me he´s been working with mahogany, so I´m sure they have a supplier. Other than that, I´ll be researching.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I found out that Cocobolo goes around by other names over here: tampiciran, sangualica, granadillo and Palo de Campeche. Sadly, it seems its restricted in its use and I can´t find any dealers. So, I guess that the only thing for me to do is buy a Coco fretboard from LMII if it´s my intention to use it. Also, I found out that Cedrela Odorata is native to Mexico and other Latinamerican countries, and perfectly usable for electrics (I´m not sure, but apparently also for acoustics). My gf´s grandfather was a carpenter and she remembers him using the wood quite a bit.

Cedrela Odorata is also known as Spanish Cedar and it´s related to the mahoganies. It won´t come cheap, but I´ve pretty much settled on using this wood.

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I've got a dealer 3 miles away with all the Spanish Cedar you could ask for - pretty cheap too. Seems he got a load of the stuff about 10 years ago and the client cancelled the order. He's never used it. I bought a few feet from to make a hope chest for my daughter. Very..... fragrant :D

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Cool! I haven´t even started looking around here, but it´s used on high end furniture, so probably it won´t come cheap at all... My gf loved when her grandad worked with it precisely because of the smell. Also, it´s used in cigar humidors due to some property I can´t remember right now.

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Try this link

http://www.globalwood.org/trade/lumbersearch.asp

Select Mexico as the country of orign. Expect to do some interaction with these people as it is suppliers not retail dealers. I am sure they will be happy to discuss what they sell. You may also find people are growing non native species which either grow faster or bring in more money.

My other thought is a very old luthier who remembers the days when they only built with local species?

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