Maderas

Although the choice of a particular wood can depend on different variables such as the colour of sound or the climate conditions, generally speaking it is the bagpiper who has the last word depending on his/her particular convictions about specific cultural views.
In this section, we will try to give the bagpiper guidance on his/her choice of a particular wood.
Ash tree, oak, apple tree, pear tree, olive tree were traditionally used in Galicia when it came to make a gaita. However, the best valued were those made of boxwood. These gaitas are still considered as the most traditional ones and they also have great acceptance.
For some years now, a number of tropical woods have been used due to their acoustic and physical properties. Koa, Bubinga, rosewood, lignum vitae, ebony or granadilla can be some examples. Let us see some characteristics of the previously mentioned woods:


madera de koa

Koa

(Acacia koa)
 

Density: 830 kg/m3.

Origin: Hawaii

The colour of this wood is dark brown, slightly golden, sometimes with dark and irregular fibres.  

It is considerably hard, heavy and porous. This wood is very similar in strength and weight to that of Black Walnut (Juglans nigra), and is sought for use in wood carving and furniture. Koa is also a tone-wood, often used in the construction of several musical instruments, among others, ukuleles, acoustic guitars,  Weissenborn-style Hawaiian steel guitars, and different kinds of flutes and pipes.

madera de bubinga

Bubinga

(Guibourtia demeusei)
 
Density: 830 kg/m3.
 
Origin: Africa: Cameroon, Ghana, Congo and Gabon.
 
The colour of Bubinga is reddish brown, with clearly visible purple fibres when the wood is freshly cut. However, this effect is progressively vanishing.
 
Workability, bubinga, is hard to machine since tools blunt fast and and it is hard to cleave. On the other hand, it is easy to glue and it is possible polish, stain and lacquer its surface.
 
Bubinga is also used in both acoustic and electric guitars for its figure and hardness.
 
Bubinga is sometimes used in the production of archery bows, in particular as the main wood of the handle in some flat bows.
 
Bubinga is also used in furniture making, usually for tables, as large slabs of the dense wood can be cut, and with very little manipulation, be used for a table top.
 
Bubinga wood is also used in the production of handgun grips.
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madera de palo rosa

Morado / Moradillo / Pau Ferro / Iron Wood / Bolivian Rosewood

(Macherium spp)
Density: 880 kg / m3
 
Origin: Bolivia and Brazil
 
The colour can be highly varied, ranging from reddish/orange to a dark violet/brown, usually with darker black streaks.
 
Pau Ferro is a wood of many names, and is sometimes called Morado: and because the wood is so similar in appearance and working properties to rosewood, it is also sometimes referred to as Bolivian or Santos Rosewood. The wood has been used in various capacities as a substitute for the endangered
 
Pau Ferro is in the medium price range for exotic imported hardwoods, and is likely to be much more affordable than some of the scarcer true rosewoods, (Dalbergia genus), of which this wood is often used as substitute.
 
Some common uses for Pau Ferro include: veneer, musical instruments, cabinetry, flooring, interior trim, turning, and other small specialty wood objects

 

madera de boj

Boxwood

(Buxus sempervirens)
 
 

 

Density: 960 kg / m3.
 
Origin: Europe, Northwest Africa and Southwest Asia
 
The colour tends to be a light cream to yellow, which tends to darken slightly with prolonged exposure to light.
 
Boxwood tends to be somewhat difficult to work in flat dimensions, though it is superbly suited for turning. Tearout can occur on pieces with irregular grain during planing and other machining operations. Boxwood has a slight blunting effect on cutters.
 
Usually only available in small quantities and sizes, Boxwood tends to be very expensive.
 

Boxwood is well-suited for carving and turning, and the tree’s diminutive size restricts it to smaller projects. Some common uses for Boxwood include: carvings, chess pieces, musical instruments (flutes, recorders, woodwinds, etc.), rulers, handles, turned objects, and other small specialty items.

 
madera de palo santo

Rosewood

(Dalbergia nigra)
Density: 850 - 1100 kg / m3
 
Origin: Brazil (also India and Honduras)
 
Rosewood refers to any of a number of richly hued timbers, often brownish with darker veining, but found in many different hues. All rosewoods are strong and heavy, taking an excellent polish, being suitable for guitars, marimbas, turnery (billiard cues, the black pieces in chess sets, etc.), handles, furniture, luxury flooring, etc.
 
All genuine rosewoods belong to the genus Dalbergia. The pre-eminent rosewood appreciated in the western world is the wood of Dalbergia nigra. This wood has a strong sweet smell, which persists over the years, explaining the name "rosewood".
 

All rosewoods are strong and heavy, taking an excellent polish, being suitable for guitars, marimbas, turnery (billiard cues, the black pieces in chess sets, etc.), handles, furniture, luxury flooring, etc.

madera de ébano

Ebony

(Diospyros sp)
Density: 1040 kg / m3
 
Origin: Ebony can be found in many different countries, but black ebony, that one came from India and Sri Lanka, today it is obtained, mainly, from Africa  
 
The colour in the heartwood is usually jet-black, with little to no variation or visible grain. Occasionally dark brown or grayish-brown streaks may be present.
 
Ebony is rated as being very durable, with good resistance to termites and other insects.
 
Ebony is dense enough to sink in water. Its fine texture, and very smooth finish when polished, make it valuable as an ornamental wood
 
Gaboon Ebony is among the most expensive of all available lumbers. The small size of the tree, and its high demand for ornamental work may contribute to its seemingly outlandish price.
 
Ebony is commonly used for small ornamental purposes, such as piano keys, musical instrument parts, pool cues, carvings, and other small specialty items. The wood is exceptionally dense, strong, and stiff, though it is considered to have moderate to poor stability through seasonal changes.

 

 
madera de granadillo

Granadilla / African Blackwood

(Dalbergia melanoxylum)
Density: 1320 kg / m3
 
Origin: Dry savanna regions of central and southern Africa
 
Often completely black, with little or no discernible grain. Occasionally slightly lighter, with a dark brown or purplish hue.  The pale yellow sapwood is usually very thin, and is clearly demarcated from the darker heartwood.
African Blackwood is considered to be among the hardest and densest of woods in the world
 
African Blackwood has a  fine, even texture, with small pores that should not require filling; the grain is typically straight
 
Heartwood is rated as very durable in regards to decay resistance,  though only moderately resistant to insect attack. The sapwood is commonly attacked by powder-post beetles and other borers.
 
Granadilla is very difficult to work with hand or machine tools, with an extreme blunting effect on cutters. African Blackwood is most often used in turnery, where it is considered to be among the very finest of all turning woods—capable of holding intricate details, and is reported to hold screw threads nearly as well as metal.
 
African Blackwood is very expensive. Since the tree grows so slowly, and is generally small and gnarly, available boards tend to be narrow—though large clear sections are occasionally harvested from older trees that yield bookmatched guitar backs (~8″ wide).
 
The tonal qualities of African Blackwood are particularly valued when used in woodwind instruments, principally clarinets, oboes, transverse flutes, piccolos, Highland pipes, Northumbrian pipes, Galician pipes, etc,