ABOUT THE GUITAR BARREL PROJECT AND CARCAVELOS MAHOGANY

There are times when something magical happens, when special circumstances, world-class artisans, and a remarkable material come together and enable the creation of something truly outstanding.

 

This is one of those times


Wood is the basic working material for guitar makers.  When a guitar maker discovers a very special piece of wood, it captivates him, fires his imagination and pushes him to test the limits of his craft.  Great wood that has aged and matured, wood with a history, wood that has a story to tell — those are the things that spark the magic, that will resonate in the music imagined and played on the instruments carved from this special wood, the Carcavelos Mahogany.

 

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Well over 250 years old, this Mahogany is culled from wine barrels originally belonging to the Marques de Pombal.  Appointed by King D. Jose I to oversee the reconstruction of Lisboa after the devastating 1755 earthquake, Pombal eventually assumed quasi-dictatorial powers and reigned with the King's blessing, trying to bring Portugal out of the medieval ecclesiastical darkness and transform it into a modern state.  Banished from power upon the King's death he has remained a somewhat controversial figure.  Today the rebuilt city of Lisboa remains a legacy of his vision.

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Portugese luthier Adriano Sergio discovered these wine barrels, stored in a disassembled state, dusty and still caked with the essence of the wine they had contained.  But a few strokes with the hand plane revealed the rich hue of Mahogany beneath the grime.  Adriano told his friend and colleague Ulrich Teuffel about this discovery and the opportunity to purchase these barrels.  They developed the idea of a project which would honour the historical context of this wood by placing it in the hands of a group of select artisan luthiers, reviving it and giving it a new purpose and life.  They decided to call it the

 

The Guitar Barrel Project

 

Six select luthiers will use this wood to create six special instruments, applying their inspiration and craft to this unique 250+ years old Carcavelos Mahogany.  The project was first presented in conjunction and with the kind sponsorship of the Oeiras Winery, the Marques de Pombal's former estate, on September 22nd, 2018.  The collection of completed instruments will be presented in 2020, in an exhibition at the winery and played in a concert.