Construction has slowed a bit as I approach the bottom of my padauk (tone wood used for bars) inventory. I've spent several many hours in the past weeks scrambling for a source of padauk, and experimenting with a possible replacement wood. Fact is, in the 15 or so years I have been building marimbas for schoolkids, no other wood competes with padauk in terms of ringiness and availability of large quantities in preferable grain patterns. But the recession has dwindled our local supplies considerably and a variety of issues prevents me from obtaining a usable supply of padauk from other regions.
My dream has always been to replace padauk, which arrives stateside with a murky and questionable environmental pedigree, with some American tone wood. Along with the eco concern, in these tough times I would love to be able to claim "made and grown in America".
So, as the photo here documents, I am making Lowrider bars from a veritable rainbow coalition of wood types, in a renewed quest for some suitable padauk substitute. Can you name these wood types?
p.s. If you are getting hungry looking at this photo, it may be the resemblance to a certain perennially favorite flavor of ice cream!