Today I was busy with a few necks. A couple of them are made with a timber that is quite common at the timber dealers here – New Guinea rosewood. Like a lot of timbers in Oz, timbers are marketed under a name which sounds fancier than the timber really is. If you go to the big hardware chain here (Bunnings) you can but this stuff sold as “Tasmanian oak” It isn’t oak. Its a type of ash. But when it was called “Tasmania ash” no one wanted to buy it. So they called it “oak” instead.
The timber I’m using today is sold as “New Guinea rosewood” and guess what? It isn’t a rosewood. Actually its Asian padauk. This is a totally different and unrelated wood to another wood called padauk that comes from Africa. The stuff from Africa is bright red when first cut. Then it darkens over time. Whatever, I’m not keen on the African padauk. The Asian one, however, is superb – its like a hybrid of bubinga and cocobolo.
This Asian padauk is very impressive stuff. I was first told about it by Gerard Gilet, a well known Aussie maker, when I visited Australia around 2012 or 13. So when I moved here, it was the first stuff I bought. The boards are huge, and perfect for making bookmatched two-piece necks . Its a very crisp wood to work with, stable in service, it machines like cheese, sands well and takes a beautiful finish. As you can tell, I’m a fan.