Back and Sides
There are a wide variety of tone woods that can be used for the back and sides of musical instruments. It is an area where luthiers are free to experiment to good effect, and with increasing pressure on some of the more traditional species, it makes a great deal of sense.

Hollow log
Chainsaw milling a puriri log

One of the most uniquely beautiful, not to mention oldest (not hundreds, but thousands of years!), is what we in the Far North call "Ancient" Kauri. However, Ancient Kauri varies considerably in colour, grain, density and strength, from one log to the next, in sometimes alarming degrees, more than any other timber I have ever known. This makes selection tricky but the more highly figured samples tend, on average, to have a higher density and aside from the associated increase in difficulties bending and working figured woods, it is easily adapted for service as back and sides for musical instruments.

I have been building with ancient kauri for many years now with excellent results and I have arguably the best selection of highly figured examples you can find anywhere. My signature series instruments feature ancient kauri back and sides and also the neck.

Boys with axes
This is one of my favourite photos. Two of my boys attempting to cut through a totara log in our river.
And they still have all their toes!
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Ancient Kauri
Information on all things ancient
NZ Species
Some more back and side woods from NZ.
Email for other tonewoods also available