European Pearwood. Tonewood Database

Pyrus communis| Tonewood Profile | ”Pearwood”

 

Tonewoods Database

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European and Pacific Yew are very similar species, in terms of physical properties.

Quick Facts
Scientific name: Pyrus Communis
Trade names: Pearwood
Janka: approx 1,000 lbs-force
Uses: Back & sides, drop tops, veneer
RIYL: Maple, Walnut
Bling factor: Flamed figure available
Availability: Limited
CITES status: Not listed. No restrictions

 

Natural History

Pearwood is a cultivated species native to temperate Europe. It attains heights of 17m. It is highly prized for food but has been used for furniture and woodwind instruments.

Lowden 30th Anniversary
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Read more about this guitar here.

Status

This species is cultivated as an ornamental but also for it’s fruit. Usually only old trees are harvested for timber hence the relative scarcity.

Physical properties

Pearwood is usually steamed as part of the drying process to bring out a red-pink hue, prevent twisting and also kill large wood borers which are common to this species. It takes an excellent finish and stain and plans and works easily.

It has a Janka rating of approximately 1,000 lbs-force and a specific gravity of 0.7. It can be stable and durable once steamed.

As a tonewood…

As a tonewood, Pearwood has been only infrequently used and predominantly by the European luthiers. In my experience it is easy to work with, although care needs to be taken when bending the sides especially in figured examples.

UK based luthier Adrian Lucas says “I have built a couple of guitars with pear wood. Like all fruitwoods it is tight grained and therefore works very evenly and doesn’t require pore filling. In Europe it is often sold as steamed pear. I think the steaming process is done to stabilise it but it has the side effect of turning it from a straw colour to a beautiful apricot colour. It bends easily.” (read more about Adrian Lucas here)

Subjective tone…

I have found it to have a tone between maple and mahogany with sweet overtones. Adrian Lucas finds it “gives a breezy open sound to a guitar and I found it particularly successful on a baritone where the bass was not overloaded.

Availability

limited. Most stocks come from Germany and Switzerland.

Tonewoods Database

References:
Wikipedia
Adrian Lucas www.lucasguitars.co.uk

©Terence Tan.

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