Why no Blackwood or Cocobolo?
Due to increased demand for Dalbergia species (Rosewoods) for instruments and furniture over the past century, the global supply is rapidly depleting. African Blackwood, Cocobolo, and other Dalbergia species are currently listed under CITES II restrictions. This means, if we continue harvesting Rosewoods at the current pace, soon there will be none left. The restrictions also make African Blackwood and Cocobolo instruments dramatically harder to ship internationally.
For this reason, I've intentionally moved toward alternative woods for my instruments. While I do use African Blackwood and Cocobolo occasionally for repairs or additions to older sets, I do not offer newly made sets in African Blackwood, Cocobolo and other true Rosewoods.
For a beautiful African Blackwood alternative, I recommend Katalox. Instead of Cocobolo, I recommend Granadillo.
More commonly known as Mexican Royal Ebony, Katalox is a relatively new bagpipe wood from Central and South America.
The dark, fine grain often has hues of red and purple. It is also a cousin to the venerable, but no longer commercially available, Cocuswood.
Katalox works well for Smallpipes, Parlour Pipes, and Highland pipes.
Granadillo is a warm and rich brown color with a straight, distinctive grain. This Latin-American hardwood offers a bright and vibrant tone.
Granadillo works well for Smallpipes, Parlour Pipes, and Highland pipes.
Purpleheart, as you might guess from the name, is... purple. Purpleheart pipes have a mellow, sweet tone. As it ages, the wood darkens from fuchsia to dark brown with a hint of purple.
Purpleheart works well for Smallpipes.
Also known as Black Poisonwood or Caribbean Rosewood, this dense South American wood is not a true Dalbergia, but shares many of the characteristics that make it an excellent instrument wood.
Chechen works well for Smallpipes and Parlour Pipes.
Before they used imported ivory, pipe makers in Scotland used a wide variety of mounting materials (i.e. whatever they could find). Since the mounts provided strength as well as decoration, makers used hard materials like bone, horn, and particularly dense woods.
Many of these materials took a backseat when elephant ivory became the standard. Since customers came to expect that look, imitation ivory (plastic) mounts were introduced as a cost effective and humane substitute.
These days, many makers are moving back to more traditional materials. While creating a traditional look, I try to use sustainable, renewable materials whenever possible.
Moose antler can vary in color from bright white to brown/grey. This gives each set of moose mounted pipes a distinctive look.
Unlike elephant's tusks, moose shed their antlers each year. Collecting antlers does not hurt the animals.
This black/brown mount provides a beautiful contrast to any wood, but particularly stands out next to lighter woods.
Also known as White Ebony, this dense, hard wood makes a beautiful light mounting material.
*Limited quantities. Inquire for availability.