Music, Woodwork, and Sustainability: What Kay John is Made of
Updated: Feb 2
'The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness'. John Muir
My name is Kay John Newport, and I wish only to share thoughts, facts, and beauty. As the age old saying goes, 'sharing is caring'. Right? Only through listening, learning, and the sharing of knowledge do we broaden our understanding of the world around us.
If I learn something that brings me a deeper understanding and love of that subject, I wish to tell others right away. So this blog will see me seeking out information with the intent to educate myself and to share my newfound knowledge. If you learn something, cool! If not, then please share with another who may be interested in what I've found.
To start with, here's some info on me, my interests, and how my business came to be.
Who is Kay John and what is he about?
I am a guitarist and woodworker. Guitar-obsessed from age 10 and moving into woodwork around age 20. My first love is for the natural world. Growing up in the Forest of Dean, I was surrounded by diverse woodland daily. Just a hop over my garden wall and I was in the woods. Many an hour spent exploring my surrounding's cultivated a dependency on being outdoors.
The origin of tonewoods
An interest in environmental issues may come to you at some time in ones life. It may already be in you, or may be growing as we speak. Sadly for many it never develops. For me it came in recent years when I started to make my own guitars. When considering timber for the builds, it urged the question of how they go from rough boards to singing tools of music. Only then did I start contemplating how this came to be in my hands. From nut to tree to saw mill to me. A process that can be hundreds of years in the making. This made me question the order of process behind the tree species that I know and love as a guitar player. Mahogany for those thick bodies and tones. Ebony and rosewood for the dark fingerboards. Adirondack spruce for the ultimate sound board. The list goes on. The guitar market relies heavily on the use of these species. What is the impact on the areas which these tree's are coming from? That is a rabbit hole of a question... My findings and personal understanding on these matters aren't all doom and gloom. All over the world there is responsible and innovative forestry pushing growth and prosperity to new heights. It has to be said that also there is a wealth of exquisite wood work within the guitar market that owes its beauty as much to the exotic tonewoods as it does to the craftsmanship. Without the felling of these trees you wouldn't have most of the finest instruments the word has ever seen.
The guitar market is a very small segment of the world timber trade so it is only fair to speak more broadly on the topic. This got me questioning what wood I was going to use and promote in my builds. I started to look at alternatives closer to home. Walnut, Sycamore, Cherry, Ash, Oak are all species that have been worked and exported for hundreds of years. Some dealers of timber that I've met and use make a point of stocking wood that was not felled to supply a demand. The tree came down due to natural causes or simple because the land owner did not want that tree any longer! I will in time blog about the individuals and company's that I buy from for these reasons. Buying from these sources is prefect for a small business like mine but not a world wide solution.
Regardless, I still feel it important to align my self with these values and do my part to promote this way of thought. This is why Kay John guitars and the Infinity Case will always be promoting the importance of giving back. I know full well that ultimately I am certainly taking more than I am giving, as most businesses do. Not all but most.
Anyway, that's my story in a nutshell which I will expand upon in time no doubt. I would like to hear any stories you have regarding anything thing you consider related. It is all about discussions. Please message me anytime, I invite a conversation.
This blog will see me also writing in depth about many species of tree. One post per species. Something I've been wanting to do for a while. I will talk factually on the matter, however in equal measure, there's as much fantasy and mystery when talking about trees.
Lot's to learn, lots to talk about and lots to do!
"Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.
― John Muir