Radial variation in pernambuco (Caesalpinia echinata) wood properties

In: IAWA Journal
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  • 1 Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, The University of Georgia
  • 2 Department of Wood Science and Engineering, Oregon State University
  • 3 Department of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Federal University of Parana
  • 4 Charles Espey Ltd.

Caesalpinia echinata Lam. (pernambuco or pau-brasil) is recognized as the premier raw material for manufacturing stringed instrument bows. Several studies have identified properties considered important in determining the suitability of pernambuco wood for bow manufacture including density, modulus of elasticity (MOE), and, possibly, microfibril angle (MFA). No research has been conducted on how these properties vary within individual trees; however, an understanding of how pernambuco wood properties vary within trees is important as it may assist in the identification of trees or provenances most suited for the establishment of plantations, aid in developing an understanding of management practices on wood property variation for plantation-grown pernambuco and also facilitate the identification of regions within trees that possess optimal properties for bow manufacture. Radial variation in density, MFA and MOE was examined using SilviScan for three radial strips representing differing levels of wood quality in terms of perceived suitability for making high-quality bows. The lowest quality sample showed considerable radial variation compared to the higher quality samples for all properties and it also had the lowest average density. It was not possible to identify a strong pith to bark trend for any of the wood properties examined.

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