Presentation to The Sonoma County Woodworkers Association

With the help of local knowledge

The Sonoma County Woodworkers Association is a 30 year old, non-profit association of over 100 professional and amateur woodworkers. Their Artistry in Wood exhibition displaying members’ work is held in the Fall at the Sonoma County Museum and is that institution’s most attended annual event.

I’ve been a member of the SWCA for a couple of years and have seen presentations on just  about every constructive thing that can be done with wood, so the SWCA was the obvious first stop for gaining an insight into the possible local wood options for the Redwood Violin.  Last night I attended their first COVID days Zoom meeting and, after presenting an outline of the Redwood Violin Project, I asked for possible substitutions for the woods that I normally use in a violin.  Making a presentation on Zoom was a  different experience, with no way to feel the vibe in the room it was hard to gauge the response, but follow up  questions and emails showed that the idea resonated well.  In  particular we got  into discussion of local substitute for ebony, the hard dense black wood normally used for the violin fingerboard and pegs.  Suggested possibilities were madrone, toyon, persimmon, black locust, almond and osage orange.  I also learned that mountain mahogany, a west coast wood which makes an exceptionally fine peg and is used by at least one professional pegmaker, is out of the question as it  does not grow at our low elevations.  Along with these suggestions, members also offered samples to try and I look forward  to taking up those offers.

Launching the Redwood  Violin Project

For me, with my woodworkers view of the world, this meeting represented the official launch of the project. Up to this point it has been an ever shifting and evolving set of plans, ideas of things that could happen. With this call for help with materials and knowhow things at last begin to become concrete.   As the violin gets built the story will  move from possibility to actuality. The project has  two core components 1. Make a violin, out of locally sourced materials,  2. Report on that process.  Exactly how the story unfolds within  those guide lines  is an open book….blog? …