LMI Help Center

The LMI Top-Secret Wood Vault! – October 2017

It’s time for us to be honest with you and come clean about all the great woods we have hidden away.

Many people call us and ask about our ‘special woods’ -the woods that are not shown on the website because we have them stowed away in our secret vault. Usually, people think that we have set aside these woods for our ‘more important’ customers. Some customers say “I know you can’t advertise your Brazilian Rosewood because of all the restrictions”. And we will hear comments like “I saw So-and-So’s guitar at a show with beautiful Madagascar Rosewood back and sides, and he said he got it from LMI. But this wood is not on your website, so it must be in your reserved inventory”. Some people wonder if LMI stores away some woods as an investment so that they can slowly increase in value as the species grows more and more rare with the passing years.

Customers sometimes ask us “who do I need to speak to at LMI to get access to the private reserve woods?” or “do I need to provide credentials to establish myself as worthy of the most precious woods”?  Another common comment is “I am just a beginner, so I am happy to just order from the website” with the assumption being that the ‘big name’ luthiers have a special inside connection to the rare, endangered materials.

People have a pretty rich image in their minds of all the valuable woods that we might have vaulted away from prying eyes, so it is disappointing when we tell them, in all truthfulness, that absolutely everything that we have for sale is on the website. Nothing is kept aside.

All the woods we are painstakingly preparing in the woodshop will go to the website. Not just in terms of species or grade, but size also. We do not store a cache of lumber from which we are able to saw up special sizes on a one-off basis. We are very thorough, so what doesn’t end up as neck blanks or back and side sets (for example) are turned into other parts -or are simply discarded for being too small or unusable. There are no fruitful scraps that we can sell inexpensively. Everything for sale is on the web!

And it’s true what we say about Brazilian Rosewood. We do not carry it because it is basically impossible to do so legally.

It would be a preposterous undertaking for us to allow only certain customers access to our finest products. By what standards would we vet our customers fairly? And of course, it would be a pretty poor business model if we did not advertise (put on the web) the goods we want to sell.

LMI is receiving special products and beautiful woods all the time. Now that most of these woods are photographed and sold individually on the web (our ‘select a set’ program) it’s true that sometimes the really desirable pieces sell quickly.

And who will buy them? Those dedicated and patient customers who routinely revisit the LMI website in the hopes of finding something magical. With a little persistence, they are rarely disappointed!