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Eric Lapp • Posted on 10/23/2019

The Ebony Project, an environmental conservation effort put forth by Taylor Guitars, is an international program working to ensure the preservation of ebony wood. Founded and based largely in Cameroon, The Ebony Project focuses on the preservation of ebony as well as the enrichment of the people whose livelihoods depend on it. Taylor Guitars has invested a large amount of resources toward this effort since its inception in 2011, and the rewards and benefits have been fulfilling for both the American company and the Cameroonian community.

Ebony, a wood used in fine musical instruments and a standard of Taylor Guitars fretboards and bridges, is a valued material. Due to deforestation and environmental preservation practices, ebony has become commercially more scarce. As an essential component of all Taylor Guitars, the gradual depletion of ebony wood globally may have induced anxiety for the company. Luckily, Taylor Guitars thought ahead.

The evolving state of the environment affects businesses and commerce globally, and Taylor Guitars is of no exception. During the decades of progress and growth of Taylor Guitars, co-founder and Master Builder Bob Taylor took a special interest in finding where his materials came from. Global travel and sourcing led Taylor to Cameroon, the place of origin of his ebony wood supply. Upon discovery of the Crelicam ebony sawmill, an inefficient establishment with subpar regulatory standards, Taylor set out to purchase the mill and bring the quality business standards of Taylor Guitars to Cameroon. Today, The Ebony Project is a wide-scale effort to preserve the material and promote sustainable practices for years to come.

Taylor Ebony Project - Crelicam Sawmill

El Cajon, California and Yaoundé, Cameroon, two places worlds apart, came together in the common goal of serving the environment and enriching lives. Bob Taylor, an active and vocal player in the project, brought new machinery and practices to the Crelicam sawmill site to maximize on production efficiency and environmental preservation. Now, The Ebony Project and the Crelicam ebony sawmill affects the entire Cameroonian community, as the fair business standards and extensive conservation practices adopted by the sawmill resonate from the employees to their community of Yaoundé. Involvement with this program has not stopped at the assembly floor, however. Taylor Guitars has dedicated great effort to establishing and instilling sustainable practices with new programs devoted to the research and replanting of ebony. The Ebony Project envisions and acts for a sustainable future for Taylor Guitars and for the people of Yaoundé.

Bob Taylor at Ebony Project

While speaking prospectively about the building practices of Taylor Guitars for the future, Bob Taylor expressed his confidence in the lasting effects of the preservation efforts of The Ebony Project, “Will Taylor be doing it out of wood? I believe we will.”