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any advice on working with Burl woods?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by KAOSBass, Jan 12, 2006.


  1. KAOSBass

    KAOSBass

    Mar 10, 2005
    Amarillo Texas
    This is my first try at working with a Burl top. Any advice on setting it up? Planing, etc...?? It's 1-1/8 thick, going on ash....


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  2. klocwerk

    klocwerk

    May 19, 2005
    Somerville, MA
    You gonna split and bookmatch it, or is it going to be a 1 piece? Can't tell from the photo if it's big enough.
     
  3. most burl woods are end grain on the figure side, so keep your tools real sharp and go slow.
     
  4. Suburban

    Suburban

    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    Beware of planing! Both mackine and by hand. The tear-outs are nasty to fix.
    For some reason, routing seems to be OK, though. Probably due to spinning speed.
     
  5. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I would think planing would be a non-no as well. Use a thickness sader. It will take a lot longer but it will be safer......t
     
  6. KAOSBass

    KAOSBass

    Mar 10, 2005
    Amarillo Texas
    yea I'm gonna have to cut it and bookmatch it to avoid the bark. I thought so about the "thickness sanding" now to find someone in Amarillo who does that......huh....

    Thanks for the advice so far.

    The thickness is 1-1/8" How thin should I go? would it cause problems to go with the 1-1/8" and like a 3/4" Ash? Would arch top be possible?

    thanks for advance.....
     
  7. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    Well, if it is a big enough piece to do as a one-piece, instead of avoiding the "problem" of the bark inclusions, you COULD "go with" them...

    We have some very interesting and beautiful results at Roscoe by either using extra bark and epoxy to fill the voids, or we have even done a good bit of filling voids with just clear epoxy! If you do an epoxy fill, you have to GO SLOWLY, do a little at a time to allow the bubbles that will inevitably form to get out so you get a good clear fill.

    The advice about going slowly while working the wood and watching for tear-outs is also spot-on. High bit speeds and slow work is key to getting a clean job with it.
     
  8. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    I am guessing you are stating that it is 1-1/8" now. When you book matc it and then sand it to thickness you might end up with 3/8-5/16" at most for a top?
     
  9. Bassic83

    Bassic83

    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    Vernon Porter's original 5 comes to mind as a great example of this.

    One of my friends suggested a DNA sample could be put into one of the inclusions by having a mosquito bite you, then taking a can of air and turning it upside down, squirting the propellant on the mosquito before it gets away to freeze it, and putting it in the epoxy as the void is filled in. Kind of like modern-day amber. But if the bass is stolen, you could prove it was yours by drilling down to the mosquito and taking a blood sample, and having it analyzed at a DNA lab. A bit macabre, don't you think?

    He probably smoked a little too much ganja in high school.:ninja:
     
  10. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    VP's got a killer 6 with a buckeye top now, but no voids. However there are several bark "fills" on it.

    I think your HS friend needs to put the pipe down and back away from the pipe...

    :eek:

    ...wow, that's just...er...wow....

    ...too weird! ;)
     
  11. Bassic83

    Bassic83

    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
  12. KAOSBass

    KAOSBass

    Mar 10, 2005
    Amarillo Texas
    This something I'm debating, I have been thinking of just spliting it and just mounting it to the wings and running the wenge neck through the middle for a "skunk-stripe" look. Havent decided fully yet. When I get time on Monday I'll get down there with all of it and see what my options will look like. I'll keep you guys posted...Thank you all very much for the advice.....

    One last question, what epoxy do you suggest for filling the voids, and what process?
     
  13. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    "One last question, what epoxy do you suggest for filling the voids, and what process?"

    Mirror coat Gard?

    .t