12 Nov Historic Tops
Salvaged Redwood Bridge Tops
General History: Throughout the coastal railways in the Pacific Northwest, large timber trestle bridges were used to span gulches, rivers and creeks. During the
heyday of their construction (which lasted until the early 1950s), Coastal Redwood was the material of choice due to its size and its natural rot /insect resistance.
To support the large spans needed, some timbers were as long as 26′ with cross sectional dimensions of over two square feet. The trees used to produce this
wood were virgin old-growth and several feet in diameter. As time has passed almost all of these railway bridges have been decommissioned. Luckily, some of the wood from these decommissioned bridges has found new life as re-sawn timbers used for instrument making and this is the source of our Bridge Wood.
Our Bridge Wood Tops are sourced from trestles that stood in the Coastal Forests of Oregon for anywhere between 75 to 120 years. During that time, the wood air-dried in nearly ideal conditions. While not all the timber salvaged from bridges has the qualities needed for great tone wood, we have been able to select the material that does. The tops we are generating have very tight vertical grain and a beautifully even coloration. Tonally, we find the tops equal to or better than our striped Sinker Redwood tops. Along with the excellent acoustic properties, this wood provides the satisfaction of being a 100% salvaged product! It took hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years for the trees that produced the railway timbers to grow to their impressive size before being cut. There are only an extremely limited number of virgin old-growth trees still standing, most of which are protected so this wood is a rare commodity. Once it’s gone, it takes hundreds of years to grow trees with the qualities needed to produce equally impressive Tonewood. Written by Edward Powers, March 2021
Huss & Dalton has had the pleasure of working with Ed Powers and his beautiful Redwood tops for quite a while. When he mentioned he had some unique Redwood tops sourced from trestle bridges from the Pacific Northwest, we ordered a stack. It’s lovely wood and lovely sounding wood and what a great way to re-purpose and preserve history.