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Story of the Myrtle Log

by Les Stansell


This +/-350 year old 30,000 lb Myrtle log was saved from the “chipper” during a 2nd growth private logging show on the South Oregon Coast. A most extraordinary log as it hits on all cylinders regarding criteria for "Master" instrument grade material. Some, but not all of these criteria include (light) weight, stiffness, dimensional stability (low tension), harmonic resonance, solid tight figure (curl) and a wide palette of contrasting color variation. It also displays extremely fine grain for a Myrtle with in excess of 40 grains per inch at around 30 feet up the log.
BSMyrtleLogsLesStansellSERIES2 The first step in the milling process is to “buck” the log into the desired lengths and then rip the rounds into millable slabs or “cants”.
BSMyrtleLogsLesStansellSERIES3 Some of the first boards fresh off the log.
BSMyrtleLogsLesStansellSERIES4 This matched set from the first cut or “butt cut” features two types of water stain that resulted from the advanced age of the tree . . . “Stained Heart” and “Tiger Stripe”.

The tree was actually dying from the “heart center” out but fortunately was harvested before the stain turned to rot.
BSMyrtleLogsLesStansellSERIES5 “Flamed Tiger Stripe”.
BSMyrtleLogsLesStansellSERIES6 More “Tiger Stripe”
BSMyrtleLogsLesStansellSERIES7 This is the true color of the log minus the spalting and the “heart stain”.
BSMyrtleLogsLesStansellSERIES9 The Boys aren’t too sure about this crazy wood . . .
BSMyrtleLogsLesStansellSERIES10 . . . but then they decided it was pretty cool.
BSMyrtleLogsLesStansellSERIES11 “Stained Heart”
BSMyrtleLogsLesStansellSERIES12 More “Stained Heart”
BSMyrtleLogsLesStansellSERIES13 In my years of searching high and low for the elusive Myrtle I have never seen a log that even came close to the consistent quality and sheer volume of this log.

I feel privileged to find myself in the position to be able to help direct the path of this marvelous wood from what could have been an unceremonious and anonymous product of the building industry . . . not necessarily a bad thing but much better in my opinion to live on in the body and spirit of the several hundred guitars and ukuleles it is now on the path to become.