• Words by Layne D

Sustainable Tree Harvesting

Part of our responsibility as craftspeople and as humans is to leave something behind for future generations.

Young Silky Oaks going into the ground

If we sow we can reap, but in order to reap again we must continue to sow.

Our line of work is in trees and timber, so we are sowing trees for our future. To guarantee that not only will we still have a healthy planet for future generations, but that we will also be able to continue to make the musical instruments we love so much for many more generations to come.

We are planting the seeds of our future, a sustainable future!

We practice responsible harvesting and planting, striving to maintain an ethical attitude toward our craft, and as a small business this has been an achievable goal. We are really only harvesting 2-3 trees a year to get the timbers we need, so we follow a one for one rule. When we harvest a tree we try to plant at least one of that same species of tree in the appropriate place. We do only do this with native trees, as some of the timbers we harvest come from pest species that we'd prefer not to reintroduce into the wrong area. Luckily we have access to a large rain forest property to plant out with beautiful native Aussie trees. In some cases we've even been able to get the direct offspring of the tree that was removed to continue its legacy.

So how do we get the timber in the first place? We know a few guys in the tree lopping industry who remove pest and dangerous trees, they let us know when they have a tree that is large enough for us. This tends to be a win win situation, as the trees that are too small get turned into mulch by the loppers and give nutrience back to the soil. While the big trees that can be a real hassle for the tree loppers to mulch get milled up and taken away by us, meaning they don't have to clean up all that mess and we get to save an excellent resource from becoming mulch for the garden bed. We also collect scrap timber from architectural salvage warehouses. Many of these timbers are recycled from antique iconic Queenslander homes, making the guitars we make with them a first of their kind in Australia, containing in each the rich and diverse history of Brisbane and the modern Queensland lifestyle.​

Milling trees on a portable mill.

Above you can see this massive Bunya pine that was removed by the property owner as it was too close to their home. The tree lopper had cut it down and we came in and processed it with a portable mill. The trees we collect need to be around 1m wide to be big enough to make guitars so the one pictured above was perfect.

Once milled we take the timber back to our workshop where it is dried for several months in our special drying room, pulling out litres of water a day until there is minimal moisture left in the timber. After this we process the timber a bit more to get it to the right size for their appropriate use, whether it be bodies, necks or tops. Then it's back into the drying room until the timber is perfect!

After all that hard work it's the fun part! We create all our instrument designs in a 3D CAD program called Fusion 360, this really allows us to visualize the whole project before bringing it into the world, it especially helps when we are coming up with new original concepts.

From there we use a variety of handtools and CNC carvers to perfectly carve out our shapes. We then take our time to stain, lacquer and match up the parts to give us a completly unique one of a kind art piece. We use all natural lacquers which we find allows the true voice of the guitar to sing out.

This part of the craft becomes very personal as a lot of the maker goes into the instrument at this point, we literally use our own body parts to achieve some of the lines in the instruments, and what is left is something infused with a piece of our soul.

When we say our guitars are alive we really and truly mean it because we feel it. When we are holding this instrument we know we are holding something that has life and is infused with love and care. We can feel proud that we saved a tree from a worse fate.

We are passionate about using the resources we have in a thoughtful way to give trees a second life, one full of music, joy and connections!

If you'd like to hear more about our journey and methods you are always welcome to come in for a chat at the new showroom or swing us a message, we love hearing from you!

To see the guitars pictured here in their final glory check out our Metamorphosis page.