Ancient Kauri

Thousands of years ago, for reasons that will probably always remain a mystery, some of the kauri forests that grew over much of the North of the North Island of New Zealand were destroyed. These trees were buried under peat swamps where they have remained undisturbed, and well preserved, until recent times. There are differing theories regarding what caused these events but whatever the cause, these trees have been sealed from the air and have been preserved for thousands of years.
Exactly how many thousands is open to debate but logs have been independently carbon dated from 3,000 to over 45,000 years old depending on the area that it is extracted. It is the oldest workable timber in the world. It is not petrified but can be sawed, planed and turned like many other species, although it can be problematic and experience is required to use it to its full potential in musical instruments.

 

Ancient Cache
My stock af ancient kauri has been built up over many years. I live in the heart of the ancient kauri area and my contacts have rewarded me with the best variety of the most featured and highly figured grades. It would be misleading to assume that what you see here is representative of the average grade of ancient kauri; it is not. Because I use relatively small quantities I have been able to focus my attention on the very best featured ancient kauri, which can vary considerably not only from one log to the next but also markedly within the same log. For this reason I now prefer to place online the actual selection of flitches and guitar sets that I am working with at the present. You can now view the actual sets and choose with confidence knowing what you see here is what will be on your new commissioned instrument.

 

Whitebait
The term "whitebait" refers to a grain pattern that is found in some ancient kauri to varying degrees, sometimes only just visible, sometimes bold and present in high densities. It is not unlike the bearclaw in spruce but it is a lot more consistent throughout any given board. When combined with the curl or flame figure the effect is unique and striking in the very best examples. The name "whitebait" is taken from the schools of small fish, called whitebait, that seasonally migrate up many New Zealand rivers.

It should also be noted that this grain pattern, as well as most figure, in ancient kauri has a chatoyance that is only fully appreciated with movement.

 

Williams Signature Series
The Williams Signature Series is my line of instruments that include ancient kauri for the back and sides and also for the neck of the instrument. The tonewoods and neck of ancient kauri for signature models are all cut from the same flitch to better match the figure and colour as much as possible although some variation is normal. The below samples are actual sets or flitches that I am building with at present and each flitch can give 4 or more sets. The sample pictures are a very accurate guide but I will be able to provide photos of your actual set (including neck), for your final approval, prior to the commencement of building. The Williams Signature Series brings together the neck, back and sides to showcase this remarkable timber in an instrument that is truly exceptional.

Note on pricing:
A Williams Signature Series neck of ancient kauri uses just over the same volume of wood required for the back and sides. This wood therefore represents a set I cannot use for another guitar and must be factored into the cost. The ancient kauri necks also require additional work of a proprietary nature that adds to the expense in materials and labour. My pricing therefore reflects these two components by adding the cost of the additional wood used, plus a $550 cost associated with producing it.

 

Currently Available Sets

Available back and side sets are priced individually per set. Does not include base price or extra options for instrument.

Click on the samples for a larger picture.

 
Flame and whitebait figure

Set #314-2

Cost per set, add $1,200

 

Williams Signature Series with this set, add $2,950

Click below to view a guitar with a similar back and side set.

Flame and whitebait figure

Set #410-1

Cost per set, add $1,800

 

Williams Signature Series with this set, add $4,150

Click below to view a guitar with a similar back and side set.

Flame and whitebait figure

Set #612-1

Cost per set, add $2,200

 

Williams Signature Series with this set, add $4,950

 

 

Williams Signature Whitebait ancient kauri

Set #612-2

Cost per set, add $2,200

 

Williams Signature Series with this set, add $4,950

Click below to view a guitar with a similar back and side set.

typical ancient kauri

Set #612-3

Cost per set, add $2,600

 

Williams Signature Series with this set, add $5750

 

 

 

 

 

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