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High Heels, Martin Guitars, and my Wooden Floor

There are so many species of beautiful exotic timbers available, but we Brits just don't seem to be in love with them. The C F Martin guitar company is.


When I was 18 years old I dreamed of owning a Martin guitar. I dreamed of other things too, which I got in abundance the moment I stuck a guitar round my neck, jumped on a stage, and became a dangerous anaemic stick of testosterone fuelled sexuality. But I never got my Martin guitar. Other things like long legs tight skirts and Abbaesque boots became far more important, and at 18, you just didn’t need anything else. Who cared about which wood Martin used for the fingerboard of a D45 guitar? Did it make a musical noise when you strummed it? Yes. Did it make the girls all gooey eyed when you sang and played along, no matter how bad you were. Yes. Perfect. It could have been made out of Lego as far as I was concerned, I just didn’t care, as long as it was fit for purpose, and purpose was quite simple. Pulling power. And that’s all there was to life at 18.

Sadly, as time took its toll on my ego and testosterone, which wood was used on the fingerboard of a Martin D45 suddenly became more interesting again. And what about the wood on the body and neck that C F Martin guitars offer. The choice is exquisite – Brazilian Rosewood, Madagascar Rosewood, Mahogany, Ebony, Ovankgol, Cocobolo and a host of other exotic woods.

But you hardly ever see any of these exotic species used for wooden flooring with the exception of maybe Ovengkol, and that’s because they’re far too expensive and endangered to let Kate Moss stamp all over them with her 10 inch Jimmy Choos. But even if she did, it would make little difference as high heels aren’t going to damage a wooden floor, unless the tips are worn to the point where the metal in the heel is revealed. In which case the floors going to end up looking like an old dart board, unless of course you throw yourself on the floor and allow yourself to be stabbed to death by Kate’s killer heels every time she walks on it. Anything for wood preservation, that’s what I say.

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We’re a little boring and conservative in England when it comes to wooden flooring. There are so many beautiful exotic woods readily available on the market, that I find it puzzling that most people just stick to oak. You can find wonderful exotic reclaimed timbers too, like African Greenheart which with a little imagination in the cutting, make dazzling wooden floors. And wood like Greenheart is so dense, I doubt if Kate wore Jimmy Choos made of pure steel, they would even make a scratch on its surface. My own floor at home is of course, err, well it’s err…….. It’s umm,…..ok it’s oak. But that’s because I’m a boring Brit, and besides, it’s still a lovely hand finished example so I’m happy. But if Kate wants to move in, then of course, I’ll change to greenheart.

Nonetheless, a vintage Martin guitar, pound for pound, is far more valuable than gold. Had I stuck a Martin guitar round my neck when I was 18, it would be worth roughly three times what I paid for it today. The same guitar stuck round Eric Clapton’s neck?  A cool half a million dollars.

I wish he could play a floor.