[Harp-L] American Chestnut harmonica wood MUCH MUCH older than previously thought
My American Chestnut harp line's name is being changed from "Americana" to "The Patriot." Here's why:
I did some research on the American Chestnut wood I've got for harmonica combs, which came to me from a friend who is a
museum historian, a friend to me of many years and a lodge brother. The
wood was originally part of a barn on his property. I had thought it
was cut during the panic logging of the early 20th Century. Mostly because it had some wormholes, which wood cut after the blight made the tree virtually extinct did its damage.
I talked to him today, told him how the combs turned out, etc. and asked for some more details on the wood itself in an attempt to date it. Originally, I had thought it would
have grown in the late 1700s or early 1800s, since it was center wood
used for beams and I thought it was cut in the 1920s. The trees grew
three or four hundred years, so that estimate seemed pretty safe. Turns
out, I BIG TIME UNDERESTIMATED the age and learned that it was
originally cut by a Revolutionary War veteran, thus the name "The Patriot."
The property was originally owned by Simeon Deming of Mass., a Revolutionary War veteran who moved here once the Indian Wars of the 1780s and 1790s calmed down. Deming built his house in 1806 and
the barn was built at that time, if not completed before. He was a
sheep farmer and served as a judge. The barn was torn down because it
had collapsed and was not salvageable (which a barn expert was called
in to confirm).
One thing the American Chestnut Foundation folks told me makes it hard to date chestnut is nobody knows how long it would have laid on the forest floor before cutting, because the wood is so rot resistant it a log could lay
on the ground for centuries. As a first settler, Deming would have used
the good chestnut logs on the ground first.
The wood I have has
wormholes, and the foundation tells me the worms who did this got in
the trees after they died. So that points to the tree already having
grown a full life, died and been laying on the forest floor before
1806. My best possible estimate, and this is conservative, is this
harmonica wood was already a good size tree when Columbus sailed the
ocean blue in 1492. It would not be impossible for this tree to have
been a seedling in the 1200s or 1300s.
The harps are still $180.
Elk River Harmonicas
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