Saturday, 8 January 2011

Chapter 11: The wood

As I'm not a wood expert I still don't know what exactly my bassoon is made of but I have learnt few things.

Firstly I know that according to Horniman museum their specimen is made of cocuswood. Secondly from the Hawkes & Son catalog I know that in 1912 they used rosewood or red fox to make their bassoons, rosewood, violet wood and black african wood for oboes and black african or cocuswood for clarinets and fluts. (I couldn't find any samples or description of the 'red fox' so I have no idea what it is so if somebody out there could share some light, please contact me.) Thirdly from professor Arnold Myers the chairman of Edinburgh University Collection of Historic Musical Instruments I know that two of the specimens they have are made of palisander and the third one is made of rosewood. Finally I know that another Hawkes & Son bassoon which is in the Museum of Birmingham Conservatoire is made 'possibly of rosewood'.

Despite I have red many descriptions of all three (i.e. cocuswood, rosewood and palisander) and have seen many pictures of all of them, due to many similarities I cannot tell for sure which one it is. Because cocuswood appears there only once in reference to a bassoon and I am sure that at least in 1912 the company used only rosewood or sometimes fox red for the bassoons my guess would be that my bassoon is made of rosewood. But that is just a guess.

What ever the wood is it was once covered with a coat of lacquer which now has mostly worn off or chipped away.  I decided to strip the wood clean with use of alcohol and some fine sandpaper. Here you can clearly see the difference between processed and not processed parts.

Then I treated the small cracks and applied some wood oils.

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