There is a
remarkable difference in color! The soundboard on the left is untreated
sitka spruce, and the soundboard on the right is the torrefied version.
In the second photo, I applied some solvent in order to enhance the
color, demonstrating more closely what the wood would look like after
varnishing. It is dark like cedar with honey-colored, caramel, or amber
received a few sets of torrefied spruce. Torrefaction is a fairly
recent process of slowly roasting the wood in a vacuum, thereby
influencing the tonal qualities while also enhancing dimensional
stability. Reportedly, this process imparts tonal qualities that are
characteristic of vintage instruments, by speeding-up a process that
takes many decades to occur naturally in tone-wood.
I would be remiss if I
didn't mention the smell. It is definitely toasted, and not subtle,
somewhere between the smell of an extinguished campfire and the smell
of an old church.
David J. Pace (Luthier)
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