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Kitchen Guitars
01-02-2008, 08:42 AM
I am off for a few weeks! My morning Guitar education lead me down the road of the off beat tone wood of Osage Orange. I did the forum search and Google search, I just wanted to see what you guys think of it? I like the idea it is a "local" tone wood (Midwest). Does it get swirly, straight grain? The photo's I saw were inconclusive. I read Tim Mcknight coment to the effect of it sounds like Indian Rosewood.
I'm working on someday having a Guitar made with a Monarch Butterfly Theme, I thought Orange would be a cool color for the tonewood.
What cha got?

mikeoso
01-02-2008, 10:22 AM
I got all the Osage orange you could possibly want growing out in my timber...feel free to come harvest it; if you need any black walnut or aok, we can do that as well.

Tim McKnight
01-02-2008, 10:52 AM
Osage Orange, Hedge Apple or Bois d'Arc is pretty plain [figure wise] but the vibrant yellow hue is what sets it apart. I have used and harvested Osage from here in my neck of the woods (OH) and have built with some from further out west and from Argentina. The two latter varieties sound similar but they will loose the vibrant lemon yellow color and turn to a lighter honey color over time due to oxidation and UV. The pore structure is a bit more open grained as well. I have a Jumbo that is about 10 years old, built from Ohio Osage that has remained a very vibrant yellow color.

It is one of the hardest and densest domestic woods that I have used. Tap tone wise it will ring like a bell very remiscent of Brazilian, Honduran and Cocobolo RWs. Al Carruth has done some testing and his results show that it is very close to Brazilian RW in every property except color ;)

A guitar built from it does not have the deep dark bass heavy response that Indian RW has but it does have very good bass. Osage does not have the inherant muddiness than often exists in Indian RW and it offers more clarity but still has the overtone complexity you would expect from the rosewood family.

I wish it was more readily available. The trees (around here) usually grow in clumps, have short and twisted trunks and the trees don't reach a very large diameter. I searched for 7 years to find a 24" diameter log and it only yielded a few really good sets. Another domestic tonewood that has quite similar properties is Black Locust. It is more of a mahogany-ish color but it has a wonderful tap tone with a very long sustain. I just picked up two sets of this wood last month and I am looking forward to building with it in a few more months.

AnthemBassMan
01-02-2008, 01:34 PM
-Another Buckeye here. Osage orange/hedge apple is a pretty good wood for long bows too. It does sound pretty promising as a back and side wood. Never thought about black locust for guitars though. You never know unless you try, I guess. But yeah, there is plenty of both around here.

L8R,
Matt D.

Tim McKnight
01-02-2008, 02:01 PM
Hey Matt,
Do you have Black or Honey Locust around you? We have Honey Locust here but no Black Locust. I am looking for another Osage log and would love to talk with you if you have some large and straight enough??? Drop me an email with your phone number and the best time to call. Thanks.

cjjtulsa
01-02-2008, 02:05 PM
Is Black Locust the one with the thorns measured in inches? Those must be the Honey Locust as my parents have a whole grove of them behind their house in Kansas, and none that are very big in diameter. There are tons of hedge trees as well (osage orange), but most are as you describe - twisted and irregular.

AnthemBassMan
01-02-2008, 02:25 PM
Hey Tim,
We have black locust around here. Yep the ones with the armor all over it. Just about everything I've come across is smaller stuff. Both the locust and the hedge apple. But that black locust is some seriously strong stuff. About 5 years ago, my Dad was cleaning out his GMC Sonoma pickup when the dog jumped in and knocked it out of gear when he went into the garage to get something. His truck rolled backwards down the bank their house is on and hit a small black locust tree about 50 ft down the bank. The tree had a trunk about 4" diameter and it stopped his truck cold. Even creased the rear bumper and tailgate. All it did to the tree was chew the bark up. Never knocked it loose. About the largest trunks I've seen around here from either tree was probably about 8" or so. If I do find out about anything better I'll definitely let you know.

L8R,
Matt D.

Tim McKnight
01-02-2008, 05:39 PM
I don't know what Black Locust looks like but Honey Locusts have huge clusters of long thorns on them. Osage also has lots of nasty thorns as well. I smoked two chains just dropping the Osage log that I have now. It is extremely hard and dense wood.

Brock Poling
01-02-2008, 06:03 PM
It is extremely hard and dense wood.

and... bright yellow. :wink:

AnthemBassMan
01-02-2008, 06:45 PM
-Here's kind of a representation as to what Osage Orange looks like. But as usual, time and finishes affect the end result.

http://www.againstthegrain.us/images/products/web/osage-orange-large.jpg

L8R,
Matt D.

Kitchen Guitars
01-03-2008, 08:36 AM
-Here's kind of a representation as to what Osage Orange looks like. But as usual, time and finishes affect the end result.

http://www.againstthegrain.us/images/products/web/osage-orange-large.jpg

L8R,
Matt D. Thanks. Man, it looks like, and from descriptions like "Ironwood", tough as nails.... Oak. Thanks for the picture.

jlkitch
01-03-2008, 09:53 AM
Years ago, over twenty, I saw some very large Osage Orange trees in the Oconee National Forest, near Scull Shoals, GA. These these were significantly larger than larger than two feet in diameter, closer to three at four feet off the ground. I just checked with one of the foresters and they do ocassionally allow cutting of live trees in the forest. He said that there are a number of these large trees in the area and that there are probably more downstream, on private land. (The forester said that he likes to make bowls out of the wood, he's a wood carver.) Most people down here consider these weed trees due to the difficulty in cutting them and would happily part with a couple. If one is dead or dying it can be easily, and legally, havested at any time (with a permit).

When spring comes, I'll boat down river and see what I can find.

Sugar Bear
01-03-2008, 10:00 AM
Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera) makes good bows for archery. So does American Hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana).

Perhaps someone should investigate the potential for an American Hophornbeam guitar?

Sugar Bear :)

cjjtulsa
01-03-2008, 12:37 PM
Makes great firewood too - will pretty much scorch the creosote out of your chimney, and the heat (and sparks) will run you out of the room.

AnthemBassMan
01-03-2008, 02:54 PM
-If I remember right, there are a few wood burning stove outfits that will void their warranties if Osage Orange is used in them. The stuff burns HOT!

L8R,
Matt D.