Brazilian Rosewood


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Hey Guys... I responded to a Craiglist ad from a guy who is retiring and shutting down his shop.  We arranged to meet at his home so I could see what he was selling.  Upon arriving I was immediately taken in by the beautiful pieces of furniture he had made over the years.  Entertainment centers, dining room tables, credenzas, chairs etc etc etc...  I am certainly in no position as an amateur to truly judge his work but it was beautiful in my eyes.  

 

Anyway on to the point... He had a number of older Powermatic machines that I wasn't interested in but did have lots of wood that I thought I might take off his hands.  The gentleman was very sweet and kind and showed me all the wood and some history behind its acquisition and some of the pieces he made in the various woods.  However he had no idea how to price it per board foot and neither did I...  So off to the internet we went.  Walnut and Oak were no problem...Teak no issues but then we came to the Brazilian Rosewood that he's had from before the embargo.  He had about 20-30bf.  Given the embargo my searches for pricing came up all over the map.  I could like have taken it all for a song but I wouldn't have been able to live with myself...

 

So what's a fair price for Brazilian Rosewood these days?

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I have no real idea what it's worth... seems that it could be valuable and I am ignorant of that true value.  So although he might be comfortable with $5bf it's true value is probably much higher.  I will not take advantage of his or my ignorance.  I want to give him a fair price...

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Genuine rosewood is hard to find and if he offers it to you at a decent price, probably hard to resist.  Just as a comparison, my hardwood dealer sells bocote at $30/bf...and bocote isn't even true rosewood.  I've seen cocobolo at $50/bf and up.  If you have deep pockets, go for it, otherwise just accept that it's a bucket list wood to work with and pick some up later if you can.  I'd put a super-expensive lumber species way down low on the priority list if I was just starting to get my shop together.  IMO.

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Brazilian rosewood is worth whatever you're willing to pay.  How big are the boards?  Size matters a LOT when calculating board foot cost. A 2" wide blank wont be worth that much, but a 3" will double the cost (typically). 

 

 

That said, make damn sure its dalbergia nigra, and not some other member of the rosewood family. Not trying to insult you or the old gentleman, just a lot of people cant tell a difference (food for thought...). 

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Thanks Bob... the 4/4 boards average 6' and 6-8" wide.  He has 2 5/4 boards that are 5' and 6" wide. 

 

No insult taken... in fact as I was raking leaves just before writing this and I thought to myself how the heck do I, of all people, even know if this is Brazilian Rosewood let alone Dalbergia nigra...  I don't get the impression the seller is trying to fool me.  Is there anyway of knowing for sure if it is "dalbergia nigra"?  I've looked at pictures and can't discern the differences...needs a trained eye I guess.

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I'd say, "If this is really Brazilian Rosewood, dalbergia nigra, then it's worth at least $30 a bf, and probably much more because you have nice wide boards.  But, I'm not an expert, and it could be a similar looking species.  In any case, I can't afford to pay that much for wood.  If you need to sell it now, I'd be happy to pay you $X a board foot, but if you can afford to wait you may be able to find someone who will pay more for it."

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Im legit interested in this wood. If you buy it for a good price, I'll gladly give you a profit (pending your costs of course). 

 

 

The easiest way to tell, is .... looking at indian rosewood. It's MUCH more porous and usually far less colored.  I have no  doubt the sellers intentions may be pure as virgin snow. However, if he was sold "rosewood" and has no idea the differences between rosewoods, then... it may not be obvious for him either.  Feel out his price, probably can get a good deal out of it. 

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Hey gang, I have been in the acoustic guitar production for over 20 years. If you can come across Brazilian. Rosewood, by all means do what you have to do to get it. Yes you don't want to totally "rip the guy off". But I can say this, we CANNOT get this type of wood anymore, so what we do have only goes on customs, and the up charge for a set of book matched back and sides is over $10,000, and the total material in the is about 3/4 of BF. So go for it

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I have called the guy and he hasn't returned my call.  I can only assume someone else got it... Hopefully he got a fair price.

 

edit: Just found out the guy sold all his walnut that I was interested in so no good deed goes unpunished.  The rosewood is still available for anyone who's interested...Here's his CL listing...

 

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/mld/mat/4778820600.html

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I really can't see myself using a wood like this for a long time...and 200 bucks right now is better spent on other woods and sandpaper.  I am a noob at this point.

You could always sell it on to buy more wood and sandpaper.

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