Flaxwood is the second guitar manufacturer with a post on this weblog. The first one was about the Parker Fly. Flaxwood was founded in 2005 following the construction of a guitar prototype developed by Veijo Rautia, in 2003, and a research project about natural fibre-reinforced thermoplastic composites, led by Heikki Koivurova, an industrial designer. The company is located in Joensuu city/ municipality in North Karelia, Finland, close to the Russian border.

Kareline FLX is the name of the composite material used. It is claimed that this is wood fibre, from recycled northern spruce, mixed with a thermoplastic bonding agent. The semi-liquid mixture is injection moulded into shape with the fibres set in a predetermined direction. This results in a uniform material with a density of 1.2 g/cm³ = 1.2 kg/litre = 1200 kg/m³. Yes, it is 20% heavier than water, for the same volume. It is impervious to humidity and temperature changes, and can be recycled. What I have difficulty understanding is its name. Flax usually refers to, Linum usitatissimum, a domesticated flowing plant processed and used as a textile, linen, and an oil, linseed oil. It is derived from a wild species Linum bienne, known as pale flax.

The production process is patented. It is a method for manufacturing guitars or related musical instrument of which at least one part is manufactured from a thermoplastic polymer. In particular, the plastic is made by adding natural fibres to a thermoplastic polymer followed by injection moulding so that the natural fibres are oriented in a specific certain direction.

Additional information about the patent has been supplied by Google which allows for a document download. This includes the anticipated patent expiration, immediately after the publication of this weblog post, on 2024-02-27.

Flaxwood originally produced only fully assembled guitars. Molded parts would be shaped with the required cavities, pockets, joints and holes. They would then be assembled and finished by hand using traditional tools. Normally, these offer 22 medium jumbo frets and a 25.5″ scale length. Guitars are assigned a Finnish name representing its main personality/ characteristics.

In 2011, they started to make and sell components. bolt-on guitar necks, guitar blanks and fingerboard blanks for bowed string instruments.

The photograph at the beginning of this post shows a Flaxwood 3LP-T Laine. It is the model that comes closest to a Fender Stratocaster. Laine = wave, in Finnish. The guitar combines Seymour Duncan lipstick pickups with a Schaller LP Tremolo. A blender pot mixes signals from the neck pickup with the bridge pickup.

Guitars offer lots of opportunity for restorations, as well as makeovers. Some changes may be small, cheap and easy; other may be comprehensive, expensive and require specialist skills, typically soldering. Regardless, the most important changes are those that allow the musician to play more in keeping with her/his spirit.

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