My Florida Cypress Tonewood

I’m one of only a few luthiers that I know of which use Gulf Coast Bald Cypress as a primary tonewood. I’m fortunate to live in an area where it is accessible. Most of the cypress in this region goes into building construction or outdoor furnishings. It is harvested in two ways; Salvaged Barn wood, and Recovered Dead fall. It grows in environmentally protected wetlands, so harvesting live trees is not permitted. The supply therefore is quite limited.

My supply comes primarily from recovered logs that were dragged up out of the Green Swamp. It is wood that is considered “Old Growth”, meaning the trees grew naturally slow and thus the grain is very tight. They have also been naturally seasoning and air drying for decades! Because they spent some considerable time submerged in high tannin swamp water, the chemistry of the wood has changed. It is more varied and distinct in coloration. In my humble opinion, my cypress has all the desired characteristics of premium exotic tonewood.

On the topic of “Hand Crafted”, I am also one of those rare instrument makers that does in fact start with a wood log, and work it through the entire process.