Virginia Urban Wood Group
News & Updates
December 17, 2020 | Issue-5
Happy Holidays!

Welcome to the fifth edition of the Virginia Urban Wood Group's newsletter! Our planned schedule is to offer this newsletter every other month.

Have a topic of interest that you want us to cover? Send your idea to me at the email address listed below!

We hope that you find this newsletter useful and enjoyable!

Joe Lehnen
VA Dept of Forestry
Urban Wood Program Coordinator
Tonewood from the Urban Forest
Luthiers Crafting Musical Instruments
from Urban/Local Wood
Tonewood and Luthiers?
Yes, I had to Google those also - here is what they are all about:

Tonewood - refers to specific wood varieties that possess tonal properties that make them good choices for use in woodwind or acoustic stringed instruments*

Luthier - is a craftsperson who builds and repairs string instruments that have a neck and a sound box*

*Many thanks Wikipedia

Photo by: Kate Thompson a.k.a.> Betty Clicker Photography

Taylor Guitars
Urban Wood Program

Taylor Guitars, located in El Cajon, California, has become a national leader in the use of urban Shamel ash (Fraxinus uhdei) for constructing their acoustic guitars.

Recently, the Taylor urban wood initiative was featured in a wonderful, in-depth article by American Songwriter. For a great story, click here >>

The Taylor urban wood guitars have their own branding - Taylor GT Urban Ash Guitars.

Recently, Indie and Folk musician Beatie Wolfe demo'd the Taylor GT Urban Ash Guitar.

Check out the video and turn-up the sound!!! >>

Alex Todt
Luthier & Musician
 Big Bang Bristol
Bristol, VA
Alex Todt has been part of the music scene in Bristol, VA for many years. After playing with several local bands and obtaining a degree from Radford University, Alex began repairing instruments while working at a music store in Radford. After a stint at the Wayne C. Henderson School of Appalachian Arts Alex found his true passion in the music world, making custom built guitars and violins.

"Virginia is blessed with many useful woods for instrument building. From Figured Maple to Black Walnut and Poplar, many tonewoods can be found in Urban landscapes and on surrounding farmland. I enjoy using locally sourced timber as a replacement for some traditionally used imported woods. Also, my customers always appreciate it when I can pinpoint the sawmill and plot of land that the timber for their instrument came from."

For more details, check out their website &
Facebook page >>

Jayne Henderon
Luthier & Instructor
Marion/Mouth-of-Wilson, VA

Hailing from the heart of the Appalachian musical world in southwest Virginia, Jayne Henderson is a Luthier - the maker of stringed instruments such as ukuleles or guitars. Presently living in Asheville, NC, Jayne says she still makes trips back to Virginia to “teach inlay techniques at the Wayne C. Henderson School of Appalachian Arts in Marion and do finish work at my dad's shop located in Mouth of Wilson.”
“I use mostly local materials - walnut my dad harvested and put in the attic of my Granny's cellar 40 years ago, and I also use maple, oak and ash. I love using walnut! It has a great tone, similar to mahogany, but it is plentiful and beautiful and since it is right out our back door, we can all enjoy its shade until it is ready to become a guitar.”

More details about Jayne's business can be found by visiting her web page >>

Larry Hinkle
Luthier & Musician
Fredericksburg, VA
For over twenty-five years Larry Hinkle has been a cabinet and furniture maker in the Fredericksburg, VA area. After work slowed down due to the recession, he started making ukuleles in 2011 because as Larry says: “I love playing them.”

“In 2003, I invested in an Alaskan sawmill after Hurricane Isabel blew through Virginia. I use this sawmill to harvest lumber out of exceptional local trees that have blown down from storms. To me, this lumber has a provenance that provides a story of where the tree grew and of folks who interacted with it. I like to think this attribute of local wood is passed along and helps make my instruments extra special.”

“My favorite wood is a stash of English and black walnut that grew next to historic Kenmore Plantation in Fredericksburg that is beautiful for ukulele bodies and wonderful to work. I like to use cherry for necks and fretboards. Lately I've been salvaging old piano soundboards which I fantasize some of which could possibly be Appalachian spruce if not Adirondack spruce.”

Additional information about Larry and his business can be found his website >>

Photo Credit: Taylor Guitars


Many thanks to Trees Virginia (Virginia's Urban Forest Council) for hosting this newsletter and allowing access to their Constant Contact platform!
The Virginia Urban Wood Program is supported by the Virginia Department of Forestry and a grant from the U.S. Forest Service, Southern Region.
The Marketing Corner

Social Commerce

If you are marketing your products or services via Instagram and Facebook, you are among a growing number of small businesses engaged in "Social Commerce".

Social commerce is all about using the networking websites such as Instagram and Facebook as electronic conduits to promote and sell your urban wood products and landowner services. The success of social commerce is measured by the degree to which consumers interact with the company's marketing through favorites, likes, shares and direct messaging. Eventually your business will begin to accumulate an increasing number of "followers" who share with their friends, who then share with more contacts, etc. Those of you who are engaged in social commerce know very well that all of this web activity leads to more sales of goods and services $$$

Equally important is using the hashtag -#urbanwood as part of your postings. Doing so will increase the attention to your business even more! People follow specific hashtags and receive the posts that contain these special designators.

Social Commerce is a great way to sell products to people all across the country and maybe even internationally!