Wood and Materials

This yellow to reddish-purple wood has been the standard for pre-modern and modern bows for 200 years. I have seen it in examples from about 1770 on. Originally used for making dye (shavings make a deep purple color) Pernambuco was found to have the right balance of weight and stiffness. Though really fine Pernambuco is rare today, the best for bows is extreemly strong with a weight/density just slightly greater than water...it sinks. I have a limited quantity of very fine Pernambuco, but I use it rarely because of its toxicity. For anyone prone to allergies, Pernambuco is quite dangerous. Because I have collected other woods that have many of the same characteristics as the best Pernambuco wood, I have little incentive to spread that awful dust around.

Caesalpina echinata: Increasingly rare, traditional bow material, very fine.