I just received a few sets of torrefied spruce. Torrefaction is a fairly recent process of slowly roasting the wood in a vacuum, thereby influencing the tonal qualities while also enhancing dimensional stability. Reportedly, this process imparts tonal qualities that are characteristic of vintage instruments, by speeding-up a process that takes many decades to occur naturally in tone-wood.
There is a remarkable difference in color! The soundboard on the left is untreated sitka spruce, and the soundboard on the right is the torrefied version. In the second photo, I applied some solvent in order to enhance the color, demonstrating more closely what the wood would look like after varnishing. It is dark like cedar with honey-colored, caramel, or amber hue.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the smell. It is definitely toasted, and not subtle, somewhere between the smell of an extinguished campfire and the smell of an old church.

David J. Pace (Luthier)

Torrefied Wood

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