No more wooden combs
I have stopped producing wooden combs.
In doing a final cleaning on a wooden comb just now I noticed it warped! I checked the other combs from the same batch and they warped too! These were cut from a new board that was produced from huge piece of Maple. I had used another one of those boards with excellent results - maybe it was from the opposite end of the piece?
I now have doubts about being able to consistently produce a quality final product out of wood. I want to make harmonicas and offer combs that you can drop into an ultrasonic cleaner (or even just a sink of water) and not worry about warping. I don't think I can ever achieve that reliably with the wood I can source locally. And the woods that would work well (like bamboo or bamboo laminate) are shipped in from across the world. Unless I can find re-purposed bamboo that would otherwise be waste and therefore have a smaller ecological footprint, I'm just not going to offer wooden combs.
MS comb made from re-purposed kitchen cutting board
To be perfectly honest, I never liked wood. I got into making combs to get away from dealing with how wooden harmonica can warp unpredictably. I was told to offer a wood comb because the demand would be there - and it has. And I think my choice of reclaimed wood is the best in terms of quality and environmental responsibility. I don't think I can get better results from any other source. The pieces of wood I used yielded outstanding results - until today.
But there will always be an element of uncertainty. I simply don't have time for that. I can't afford to spend a few days on a batch of combs only to find out they are crap.
My dark combs are so much better than wood anyway. They are less expensive because I don't have to spend two days applying three coats of varnish to make them waterproof - they already are waterproof.