Our Swamp Ash comes directly from the swamps of Louisiana through a mill in Arkansas.
I choose wood with a medium light weight, which means it is cut from lower in the tree.
I don’t want wood so light that it has no resonant qualities.
1.5 to 2lbs per board foot is about right for my instruments.
I won’t use wood any heavier than that. I have a consistent supplier,
family run and four generations deep in the Swamp Ash business.
Quality is paramount to both of us, and your instrument!
An important word on tops.
Tops are what I consider something special.
It doesn’t have to be what others might call a “10 top”
it’s already unique just the way it is!
Someone will think it’s perfect for them.
It’s not something everyone wants, and for some, it’s a must have.
Every piece of wood is unique and one-of-a-kind.
That being said, I have a different approach to this procedure.
While topping off an instrument, in essence, I am also covering another unique,
one of a kind piece of wood.
This means the back of the body also has to look outstanding, not just the front.
My tops may be ¼”, 3/8” or even a 1/2'” or more in thickness
depending on the stock I am able to acquire, and I'm fine with that!
I look at it this way. I have a beautiful 1/2” piece of book matched wood.
A solid piece that has been cut down the middle and opened like a book,
thus revealing matching sides carefully joined at the center line.
I see no reason to plane a piece of wood to a thickness of ¼”,and basically
throw away what some would consider "over the tolerance range"
just to keep a uniform thickness.
So you will see a wide variety of thicknesses adorning our instruments.
This is done on purpose, and is not a mistake.
So either way, if you decide top you instrument or not,
it will always be a unique, one-of-a-kind, work of art, and we hope you love it!
Neck, fingerboard, and different species of body woods, are purchased from suppliers
that have what I'm looking for available at that time.
Exotic woods are chosen on an individual basis and will vary.
I usually choose for uniqueness, and not uniformity.