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Pernambuco vs Brazil Wood


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#1 b sharp

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Posted 21 January 2002 - 08:40 AM

When you look at wooden bows offered for sale you will almost always pay more for pernambuco than brazil wood. I always thought that pernambuco and brazil wood are different species, but the following link suggests otherwise:
http://www.arcosbrasil.com/PernambuccoWood...mbuccowood.html

Can anybody shed some light on this?

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#2 Michael Darnton

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Posted 21 January 2002 - 10:22 AM

My understanding of it is that the two names refer more to quality than differentiating the tree that the wood came from. You'll also find that some makers refuse to call wood pernambuco unless it exhibits a couple of traits found only in the finest examples. I'd just go with what the site you show says.
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#3 fiddlefaddle

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Posted 21 January 2002 - 11:37 AM

Hmmm, nice link b, it seems one needs a leaf to differentiate the real thing from substitutes.
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#4 dlemmi

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Posted 22 January 2002 - 03:26 AM

"pernambuco" wood is named after the state in Brazil where it grows. it actually is a variety of brazilwood, and many people do consider it to be higher in quality than other species.

#5 b sharp

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Posted 22 January 2002 - 04:00 AM

The next obvious question is how can I as a buyer distinguish pernambuco from brazilwood? Is there any visual clues, or is it only in the playing characteristics?

[This message has been edited by b sharp (edited 01-22-2002).]

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#6 MANFIO

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Posted 22 January 2002 - 08:30 AM

As a lawyer and a resident in Brazil the only thing I can say is that ALL pernambuco and Brazil wood being sold is illegal.

Both are endangered especies and their commercialization is prohibited by the Brazilian Law and by International Enviroment Conventions. It`s as ilegal as getting an elephant tusk (with some blood sticked to it).

You may ask: well, but I can find it here. Yes, you can find it because commercialization is possible due to corruption. Prices paid for this wood is so high that a corruption system was introduced to make commercialization possible.

In general the wood is "legaly" exported under other wood name.


#7 b sharp

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Posted 23 January 2002 - 02:50 AM

In that case I will definitely not buy either, new or old. I hope other users of this board do the same.

Thanks for all the responses.

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#8 ttk

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Posted 23 January 2002 - 03:07 AM

I heard a rumor that a similar species of plant grows in Southeast Asia--this is apparently where some of the wood is coming from?

#9 ttk

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Posted 23 January 2002 - 03:20 AM

Wasn't Horst John supposedly to have planted some pernambuco a few years back--just to make bows out of?
If the the Arcos Brasil site is correctly then Tourte wasn't exactly the first to popularize pernambuco as a bow wood--since it was alread being heavily used from 1501 on--as implied in the info

#10 MANFIO

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Posted 23 January 2002 - 08:22 AM

Pernambuco and brazilwood takes 80 years or more to grow, so Horst was not able to use the wood he planted. There is no authorized commercial exploration of these especies here. If you want, you can contact some brasilian enviroment organization, such as WWW.

#11 Jeffrey Holmes

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Posted 24 January 2002 - 01:15 AM

quote:


Originally posted by MANFIO:
As a lawyer and a resident in Brazil the only thing I can say is that ALL pernambuco and Brazil wood being sold is illegal.

Both are endangered especies and their commercialization is prohibited by the Brazilian Law and by International Enviroment Conventions. It`s as ilegal as getting an elephant tusk (with some blood sticked to it).

You may ask: well, but I can find it here. Yes, you can find it because commercialization is possible due to corruption. Prices paid for this wood is so high that a corruption system was introduced to make commercialization possible.

In general the wood is "legaly" exported under other wood name.


I was under the impression that import and export of Pernambuco was possible with a license. Maybe Brazil has changed it's export laws recently???

Concerning Ivory/Pernambuco comparison: The CITES treaty is the predominant international action which restricts import and export of endangered species. Last I knew, this included Elephant Ivory, but did not list Pernambuco. Since we deal with the import/export of antique items; many having parts which are included in the endangered species listings (like the tips on bows); I expected we were pretty well up on this (and I just renewed our license this week)... Maybe I’m not! What specific restrictions do you refer to MANFO? Are they Brazilian law or International agreements?

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#12 Claire Curtis

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Posted 23 January 2002 - 05:03 PM

People might be interested in aiding the efforts of the International Pernambuco Conservation Initiative, which is spearheading a reforestation effort aimed at sustainable arboriculture.

They have a website at http://www.ipci-comurnat.org/

As far as the original question goes, pernambuco is "Caesalpinia echinata". Brazilwood is a more general term, referring to several related species, including Caesalpinia echinata, C. sappan, C. crista, and C. brasiliensis. So while pernambucco is thus a type of brazilwood, not all brazilwood would be pernambuco. At least that is my understanding.

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#13 Claire Curtis

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Posted 23 January 2002 - 05:15 PM

Oh, additional trivia -- C. sappan is native to Indonesia and the Malay peninsula, and was well known in antiquity and through the Middle Ages as a dyewood. According to several sources I've seen, the Portuguese named the country Brazil after the valuable dyewood they found growing there.

I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear that some brasilwood for bows was now being imported from Indonesia. Being C. sappan and not C. echinata, it would not be pernambuco, however.

According to IPCI, pernambuco can be grown to a commercially valuable state (for lutherie, not for dye) in 30 years.

-Claire


#14 Michael Lewis

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Posted 23 January 2002 - 11:48 PM

Brazilwood extract is a crucial stain/dye for use by the medical field for testing. The dye has a known behaviour of penatration of cell walls and turns different colours with contact with differient substances. Viewed under a microscope, a particular colour showing in a stained tissue sample would indicate excessive Al, another colour would indicate Fe. Note again that this gives indications WITHIN the cell; hence it's importance.

There was a severe shortage back in the eighties or ninties, causing great concern as there were stain/dye alternates only for some of the many substance/tissue combinations tested for. Appearently for many tests, there is no alternative.

Medical grade extract is quite expensive. I seem to recall figures of .0001 % pure.


#15 Ole Bull

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Posted 24 January 2002 - 02:38 AM

In the link given, it states:
" Today, some sites where pernambuco wood occurs naturally are legally protected. "

(in the "conservation" section.)

i.e. in other areas presumably pernambuco is not legally protected and is OK to export....?


#16 MANFIO

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Posted 24 January 2002 - 02:53 PM

Ole Bull: brazilwood (pernambuco) occurs naturaly only in the Northeast of Brazil, and is that wood that is protected. The best is named after the State in wich it`s found, that is Pernambuco State, that is in northeast region.

In other parts of Brazil (south, North, Amazon, "Cerrado" there is no natural occurrance of brazilwood. It is in this way the text must be interpreted.

If I buy an American Eagle in the USA black market and try to bring it to Brazil I`ll certainly be jailed. But if you try to take brazilwood from Brazil you will only be jailed if you call the Forest Police and say: Hey, I`m a bow maker, I`m taking this brazilwood to the States. Is there any problem? (PLEASE DON`T DO THAT, OUR PRISONS ARE HORRIBLE AND THIS CRIME IS VERY SERIOUS).

I`m working now in a big law suit, so unfortunatly I don`t have time to research. But I think if you contact WWW, or GREENPEACE (they have branches in Brazil) they will give you all information you need and the way wood is "legalized".

Perhaps brazilwood is not classified in the same section as ivory, but it`s exploration is prohibited. It`s almost extinct, as well as brasilian rosewood.


#17 Richf

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Posted 24 January 2002 - 04:24 PM

MANFIO's comments are certainly a show stopper. But don't throw away your bows just yet. My understanding of Brazil's export ban is that its intent is more in the nature of trade protection than environmental protection. In particular, I believe the law (dating to the mid 1980s) restricts the export of raw logs. That means that some type of wood processing must take place in Brazil prior to export, which is good for Brazilian wood processors.

#18 Richf

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Posted 24 January 2002 - 04:53 PM

Just a little more background. A good review on the biology/ecology, history, commercial use, and legal protections related to pernambuco wood is available at www.unep-wcmc.org/species/tree_study/2.pdf That's a big file: scroll down to the page on "Caesalpinia echinata." (The plant pages are in alphabetical order.)

Besides the export ban on raw logs (which actually dates to 1969, not the mid 80s), there are indeed some reserves where no cutting is allowed (as MANFIO indicates), but that restriction is not universal. Apparently there also is pernambuco under cultivation.


#19 ttk

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Posted 24 January 2002 - 09:37 PM

to luthier and dealers__--are there then bows being made right now out of brazilwood of the Indonesian variety? Inexpensive Chinese bows then? Or are highend bowmakers already using this and making fine bows at that, but passing them to us consumers as "pernambuco"?

#20 Desert Rat

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Posted 24 January 2002 - 11:15 PM

Asking Greenpeace for a clarification of the law is like asking Ray Charles to drive you to the airport.

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