“We love to use local woods and products, and we love to make local jobs, but the world is not so simple as many imagine. PRT is both a locally-owned and operated family business AND a global company. Our customers, although mostly domestic, are on every continent except Antarctica. We source woods in the US and Canada, but do thermal modification of soundboards in Europe and Canada. We’re refining our soundboard grading using test instrumentation that was developed for us in France.
Local business depends on global trade
We now have underway, or have recently sponsored, research projects at universities in Germany, British Columbia, and the US. A recent study about a Canadian sitka spruce hybrid was conducted in North Dakota by a Canadian PhD, using a lab in Quebec for DNA extraction.
Many of our tools come from abroad. We recently purchased a John Deere forwarder, made in Finland, from its previous owner in Scotland. It is now enroute to Hawaii. Our Wintersteiger frame saw is from Austria, as are our ultra- thin kerf band saw blades. Our 2 month old Amitech rotoplaner is from Japan, and our new robot, a Kuka, is from Germany. The huge walnut tree that we purchased recently from 10 miles down the road, will go into American guitars, many of them made in Mexico, for US customers, but we’ll first slice it into veneer 4 hours north of us, in Kamloops, British Columbia.
Trade barriers would greatly hinder us in buying and selling logs and manufactured components, and they would hinder our customers –primarily major American guitar makers– even more. Equally as important are the tools and the research that we need, tools and research that are often available only by import.
The solar panels that power my California–built Tesla were fabricated 30 miles from here, and I’m proud of that, but often, when driving, I play music from The Gambia in Africa on my Chinese-built iPhone. We live and thrive in a complicated global economy.”
–by PRT founder and owner Steve McMinn.