Caesalpinia echinata Lam. (pau-brasil) is a Brazilian tree with symbolic character for Brazilian forestry, which is at risk of extinction because of illegal logging activities and exportation as raw material for bows of string instruments. Additional studies are required to select substitutes for pau-brasil, i.e., other wood species are being sought with potentially suitable characteristics for bow manufacture. The present paper is dedicated to the evaluation of six native Brazilian woods by comparing their anatomical features, specific gravity, speed of sound propagation, and dynamic modulus of elasticity in relation to the corresponding properties of C. echinata that are considered as standard for bow manufacture. The results showed that length, diameter, lumen diameter, and wall thickness of fibers are the most important variables contributing to specific gravity. Additionally, ray dimensions influenced sonic velocity. The values of dynamic modulus of elasticity are directly related to dimensions of rays and fibers. Among the six woods included in this study, Dipteryx spp., Handroanthus spp., and Hymenaea spp. were considered as the best alternatives to C. echinata wood as sources of bow construction. The bows from the first two woods were already tested by professional musicians and their suitability was certified. The Diplotropis spp. wood also showed promising characteristics. Mezilaurus itauba and Astronium lecointei do not have the necessary properties for bows.
Holzforschung - International Journal of the Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Technology of Wood – de Gruyter
Published: Jun 1, 2010
Keywords: bows for string instruments; Caesalpinia echinata ; potential woods for bow manufacture; wood properties
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