Vast swathes of irreplaceable tropical rainforest in the Amazon, in the national parks of Madagascar, in Africa, in India and throughout the tropics are felled each year to satisfy the demands of the musical instrument industry for rosewood, for ebony, for mahogany, for cedar and for any number of other tropical hardwoods.
What’s more, as the best trees are taken increasing numbers must be felled in an attempt to find high quality timber. The reality is that there is very little high quality rosewood left in the world, Ebony is reduced to a handful of pockets of forest, mahogany is disappearing.
This is why A.S. Potter instruments has a strict but simple two part policy on timber sourcing.
1.) British and European grown timber
The first cornerstone of our environmental policy is to encourage the use of timbers grown, cut and sourced within Britain and Europe.
The standard configurations of all A.S. Potter instruments feature native and European timbers, and native and European timbers have been given a price break in our wood options compared to the tropical alternatives.
By working closely for many years with a large number of sawmills and suppliers ranging from huge international companies to single person operations I can offer high quality European grown timber for EVERY part of the musical instrument, and British grown timber for most.
2.) Ethically source tropical timber
The second part of our environmental policy is that before I buy tropical timbers I must be sure that they meet one of the following standards.
1- Non endangered species – not all foreign timber sources involve cutting down the rainforests, several common American and Australian species are readily available without any environmental problems.
2- From a certified, well-managed source – timber that is either FSC certified or a similar traceable and well documented source such as the Crelicam ebony project in Cameroon.
3- Reclaimed and recycled – Broken or unwanted antique furniture is a particularly good source for high quality, old growth timbers such as mahogany and rosewood.
4- In addition to the above any species that is covered by CITES, such as Brazilian cedar, MUST have the correct documentation.
If I am not certain about the source of any tropical timber I will not buy it and it will not go onto your instrument.
Fortunately, the timbers that we can buy and use can make instruments that look, sound and feel every bit as beautiful as anything illegally felled from a tropical rainforest.Alex Potter, 2014.