Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hunting Season 2012: Story 4, Cypress

Story 1:

Story 2:

Story 3:

On the day we were coming home from hunting, we decided to make a little detour.  Before we hooked the truck up to the trailer we went down the road to visit Bo Swindell's Sawmill.  Bo is a true old timey Florida Cracker.  I mean that in a good way, as most people have no clue what a true Florida Cracker is.  It's a term from the 1920's that referred to Floridians who raised cattle, and used a whip.  Hence, the cracker. 

But Bo is a great guy to talk to, or should I say listen to.  I gotta be honest, the man had a lot to say.  He had hurt his back, and hadn't cut any fresh wood in a while.  But he was sitting on a lot of new-old stock.  The good news about that was the wood had dried out, and was ready to go. 

We took a tour of the sawmill, and all the wood he had.  I think Bo was more interested in talking than actually selling wood.  He was 75 years old, and was concentrating on building tables and such.  As we wandered the piles of wood, Dad managed to find some persimmon. 

We then came across a pile of wood that surprised Bo.  He thought he had sold all of his cypress, but he had a giant pile of it stacked chest high.  I looked at a few boards, and picked one out.  Bo wanted all of 12 dollars for it.

The neat thing about this cypress is that it was old growth fallen cypress.  You see, over the years the cypress trees get old and when they die they fall into the water and much where they live.  These logs are then submerged in the water for many years.  The oxygen can't get to them, so they don't rot.  What's really neat is that the tree then soaks up the minerals in the mud and water. 

The tree harvesters then pull the logs out of the Florida/Georgia rivers and swamps.  The logs are then dried out, and sold as old growth fallen trees.  The good news is that they are not cutting down live trees.  These trees have been dead for many, many years.

So here is the board I bought in its rough sawn form:

Now here is a picture after I had run the boards through a planer.  Notice the golden yellow color?

Here's a picture of the growth rings.  Notice how they are black with the minerals in them.

So the main question is, "What am I going to use it for?"  Well, I'm not sure yet.  But cypress is used on acoustic guitar tops.  The most popular acoustic top wood is spruce followed by red cedar.  Cypress is a great tone wood, but is much more expensive than either spruce of cedar.  That's one reason why it is not used that much. 

I tap toned a few pieces of the cypress at the sawmill before I decided on the one I did.  But I have to admit, I liked them all.  The cypress's tone is not as bright as spruce, but not as dark as cedar.  The one thing I like about it is how loud it is.  It really surprised me at how the sound seemed to jump right off the board. 

So hopefully I will be able to write a post a year or so from now telling what magic project I have created with this cypress.  But I have to admit, I'm in no hurry.  I have more guitars than I really know what to do with.  But I guess I could always use one more. 

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