Wood is an extremely versatile material. It allows for the construction of robust and strong structures, while it can also be used as the raw material for delicate objects such as musical instruments. Understanding all its particularities, properties, and behavior is a journey of knowledge that could take a lifetime. Basically, wood is made up of cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, and mineral elements, and each species has its own unique characteristics. The history of Stradivarius violins, for example, is interesting to mention: they are still worth fortunes and experts argue that luthiers have never been able to replicate their timbre on newer instruments. Researchers point out that the differentiated sound is due to the wood in the body and arm, which went through a submersion process with a mineral solution that increased the decomposition of hemicellulose. The treatment made the wood absorb less moisture, making the sound brighter and more pleasant.
This shows how complex it is to work with a living material like wood. It can swell or shrink depending on weather conditions, how the tree grew or was cut down, etc. And, varying between wet and dry states, it can end up rotting. Such factors must be understood when we work with a natural material, but it can also be a nuisance when we look for the aesthetic appearance of wood while lacking technical precision and maintenance capabilities.