Atherosperma Moschatum | Tonewood Profile | “Blackheart Sassafras”
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Blackheart Sassafras is an evergreen tree native to Australia where it attains heights of 45 meters in the cool temperate, lower altitude rainforests of Tasmania and Victoria. Trunk diameters of 1 meter have been recorded.
The sapwood is white with a black boundary to the chocolate brown heartwood with pastel variegations. It is in high demand for cabinets, furniture, and crafts. The bark has been made into a beverage. The Janka of Blackheart Sassafrasis 4.7kN dry.
As a tonewood…
It is used for back an sides for guitars, where it’s light weight but soft texture allows it to compare to maple or walnut. However Stephen Kinnaird says: “It isn’t super hard. It’s tap is somewhat like expensive cardboard. It reminds me of some soft maple we once used on a successful guitar. That maple proved a lot to me–that a good guitar can be built with something other than rosewood–and I believe that this Sassafras will also be nice.”
I would broadly characterise the tone of Blackheart Sassafras as falling between Walnut and Maple- it has more balance than Maple but less overtones than Walnut.
Good stocks of Blackheart Sassafras are limited.
Rc tonewoods: http://www.rctonewoods.com/blackhearted_sassafras.shtml
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