3 woods from Menorca for the Arixa Clarinets barrels

In the first part of the article on Woods from Menorca, I will tell you about the first tests we did at our artisanal workshop with traditional woods from Menorca.

 

I started reading various articles and books and, at the same time, I contacted one of the only wood gate makers in Menorca, our friend Ovidi Pons.

Ovidi is a wood gate maker, an artisanal and traditional profession from Menorca. Very often, taught from parents to children. Ovidi is a master craftsman and also makes wooden handrails, balustrades, stools, tables or tool handles. The main wood he uses is wild olive tree, an autochthonous wood from Menorca.  

It is a profession on the path to extinction and Ovidi is one of the few wood gate makers left in Menorca. If you are interested in visiting his blog, here I leave you the link to it. It is well worth seeing the lovely photographs he has in it and, at the same time,  learn a little bit more of Menorca’s history.

http://ovidiarader.blogspot.com.es/

The truth is I was really amazed when I observed there were different types of wood that, either for their hardness or endurance, could be good candidates for barrel construction. What I wasn’t so sure of is if they would offer enough quality from the musical point of view. It was just a question of trying.

I contacted various country people who really know when and how one should cut wood so it keeps in best condition. It was curious to admire their knowledge and discover things like the influence of the Moon on the correct drying process of the wood to avoid it cracking.

I also had to find the right person to cut the wood for me. It was very important to find someone willing to select, one by one, the best trees; and who met the regulations to manage forests responsibly, even though, in our case, we only need a few units per year.

From this moment I prepared the storing area correctly to be able to start a slow and progressive drying process of the wood, one of the most important periods to avoid it cracking.

The three types of wood I chose for the first tests were:

- Mastich tree (lentisco in Spanish)

- Almond tree (almendro in Spanish)

- Evergreen buckthorn (aladierno in Spanish)

Very soon I will also have the first try outs done with wild olive tree wood from Menorca and, very probably, other autochthonous woods. And I am already drying roots of heather, and incredible wood which needs a 7 year drying process. Further on I will tell you more about this long drying period.

 

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