Boxwood scientifically named as Buxus Sempervirens, is a very slow growing hedge plant or shrub. Its key stems hardly ever reach more than 5” in diameter. The plants are cut into quarters for maximizing the stability.
The dense, uniform, creamy colored box timber is extraordinarily steady. Because of this, it’s used for making different wooden parts including violin and viola parts. It lends itself, particularly well to delicately meticulous or metaphorical carving, and the making of motorized mechanisms.
In spite of its density and stability, the use of boxwood for making turnery and musical instruments has been confirmed about 2000 years ago. Its tight unvarying and standardized texture make it boxwood an complete abstraction to turn.
Foothills of North East India Plateau , Foothills of North India Mountain are the origin of boxwood. It is native to Asia and Europe and thick thick shrub and a member of the evergreen family that bears foliage throughout the year. The Egyptian, who first used boxwood in Egypt in 4000 BC planted the shrub in gardens of their own, and trim them into formal hedges. But, the people of other cultures used it to produce woodcuts and accurate instruments.
There are near about 70 species of Boxwood shrub that are commonly derived from two species of Boxwood: first is common boxwood and littleleaf. Since 1400 Japan has been in cultivation. Though the origin of the shrub could not have been traced correctly, it is inferred that it was created by the gardeners in breeding animals or plants using the parents of different races and varieties.
The Use of Boxwood in Violin Parts
A variety of extracts and perfumes were formerly manufactured from the barks and leaves. The leaves also had a curative purpose. There is a range of woods used for making fine violins such as Spruce, Maple, Ebony, Poplar, Willow, Rosewood including Boxwood.
The violin makers generally prefer old trees at the higher altitude because they are found to be denser, stronger, and harder. The chopping of the tree is generally done in the month of winter. Then they are seasoned by cutting and storing the pieces in a cool place for several years. This drying and process of preservation continues till the moisture of the wood is eliminated and the wood is compacted.