We’re committed to refining our processes and our products; to that end, we’re engaged in a number of research projects. We are pleased to be collaborating with some of the world’s top forestry scientists and institutions.
One of our areas of research involves understanding the genetics and propagation of desirable lines of koa, spruce, and maple. We have a number of projects in the works with the following:
- Hawaiian Agricultural Research Center (HARC)
- Purdue University
- Simon Fraser University
- Oregon State University
- North Dakota State University
We are developing methods of sonic screening so that our raw materials can be better selected, and our finished materials can be acoustically graded.
Other projects include the systematic categorization of figure, new drying technologies, and new milling technologies.
With the Sustainable University at Eberswalde (Germany), we’re studying ways to thermally modify (TMT) wood in order to maximize sonic benefits and minimize degradation.
Thermal modification of tonewood (TMT) is an exciting new development in the guitar world. TMT uses a specialized kiln to apply heat to wood in the absence of oxygen. Under the right circumstances, such modification can improve the acoustic properties of the wood. The resulting guitars can feature improved resonance and tone. TMT guitars are much more stable; they shrink and swell less in response to changes in humidity, making them more durable and constant.
TMT is a tricky technique for several reasons. TMT applies oven temperatures to wood, and like all “cooking,” it can be easily over done, resulting in a degradation of the acoustic properties that we seek to improve. In addition, there are several methods, and several different kiln designs, for doing thermal modification. No one is certain whether one technique is superior to the others. Recognizing this complexity, Pacific Rim Tonewoods has embarked upon the world’s first comparative study of the four main methods for thermal modification. We have engaged an international expert in this field, Prof. Alexander Pfriem of Eberswalde University, Germany. Dr. Pfriem and his research team are presently modifying spruce tonewood from PRT, and comparing the results using precise acoustic measurements. Phase I of the study will be completed in early 2016. Through this unprecedented research, we hope to gain insight into the optimal “recipe” for TMT, and use this knowledge to provide the best possible product to the guitar industry.