Torrefaction, all in all, is the process of baking the woods used in the construction of the guitar, most often the top. This process is typically done with high-quality pieces of wood such as Adirondack Spruce or Sitka. The pieces of wood are placed into an oven or kiln and then heated to around 250 degrees. After 20 hours, the temperature is lowered which removes the moisture from the wood. The final step is to re-heat the wood to about 400 degrees. Then the temperature is lowered while utilizing water vapor to add moisture back into the wood. The idea of this process is to cook out as much of the oils and organic compounds that are in the wood without compromising the cellular structure. Once the oils are cooked out, you are left with a guitar that is chemically aged to replicate what will happen naturally over time. Although this process is generally done on the tops of guitars, torrefaction can also be done on the neck, back, and sides. Combining the process of torrefaction with other pre-war designs including using animal protein glue, Adirondack bracing, or a cut through saddle can really transform the sound of the guitar and maximize the benefits of torrefaction.
The benefits of torrefaction begin with the sound of the guitar. When you receive the guitar new, it will already be sounding like an older instrument. This means a fuller tone, a richer dynamic range, more body, and more volume. Structurally, you will receive a guitar with a top that is lighter, and able to flex more than a non-torrefied guitar. Also, the torrefaction process gives the guitar a roasted gold appearance that you would see on an older guitar. The risk of owning a torrified guitar? Well, while speaking with Dana Bourgeois, there are no reasons to be worried about the structure of the guitar. You should not expect anything to break or come apart on a torrified guitar. The only thing you should expect to change with your torrified guitar is to sound better and better with age.