Buxus macowanii or Buxus sempervirens. Janka Hardness: 12,610 N
Found growing across Europe, Northern Africa, and Southwest Asia, Boxwood has been used in the stringed-instrument world for the making of musical fittings for centuries. Historical boxwood fittings, such as those found on the works of Nicolo Amati and Antonio Stradivarius, display a rich brown appearance, almost resembling the color-palate of cinnamon, due to the oxidation that the wood has experienced over many years. However, when first carved, boxwood holds a much lighter tone, closely resembling a mix of tan and pastel yellow. To achieve the rich cinnamon color that musicians have grown to love, many luthiers use proprietary combinations of stains, ammonia fumings, and even horse urine to chemically darken the wood. But at Hellweg & Cloutier, we prefer to leave our boxwood fittings in their raw form for two reasons. First, while the addition of certain chemicals can produce a desirable appearance, they have a tendency to create allergens and skin irritations when handled. Furthermore, as tuning pegs often need to be shaved down to fit the scroll of a specific instrument, the shaft of the pegs would then need to be re-darkened to match the rest of its appearance, an unnecessarily difficult task given the variability of luthiers’ personal formulas.
Uses: Tailpieces, Pegs, Chinrests, Endpin