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? filling voids in burl maple & progress pics:

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by JSPguitars, Apr 3, 2006.


  1. JSPguitars

    JSPguitars

    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    Well, the bass I'm building is finally starting to look like a bass so I thought I'd post some progress pics. It's been slow going, but I'm trying to keep my patience and do things the best I know how.
    ANyway, is epoxy the best thing to use to fill the voids in a maple burl top? THis thing is screaming for a gloss lacquer finish, which I don't know how to do! :mad:
    Guess I'll figure that out when I get there.

    The specs are:
    34" scale singlecut
    birdseye burl maple top & headstock veneer
    curly bubinga body w/black veneer accent between
    curly maple/macassar ebony neck
    ebony fingerboard w/ custom shark tooth inlay at 12th
    chrome hipshot A style bridge
    chrome gotoh tuners
    custom jazz pickups w/wood covers by local man Pete Biltoft of www.vintagevibeguitars.com

    2 more weeks and I'm out of a job, so this thing should get some serious working on pretty soon.
     
  2. JSPguitars

    JSPguitars

    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    Here is a pic from about a month ago:

    I started carving the body->neck transition today, so I'll get some pics up of the back up soon.
     
  3. Yep, epoxy. Maple burl has huge amounts of endgrain, so use a runny kind of epoxy that the wood will absorb a bit, like 60 min or 120 min. Heck, I use stuff from work that takes 24 hrs to cure, so....

    Make sure the wood is as level as you can get before you start. Mix it up and apply it with a cheap plastic paint scraper/trowel, so you can push it into the pores and scrape it back level, otherwise you'll be in for more sanding than you'll like. On the edges I use one of those foam paint brushes.
     
  4. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Nice headstock shape!
     
  5. burl voids look better when you fill them in black. What I've done in the past is seal the wood well and then put a black epoxy on the voids. It looks fantastic.
     
  6. I think that's a purely personal matter. I have never seen an opaque fill of voids that I've genuinely liked. The translucent fill lets you see what's going on with the wood and, to me at least, makes for a more organic look.

    I'm sure a few nice pics could sway me, though:eyebrow:
     
  7. Holmann

    Holmann

    Dec 23, 2005
    Ashland, WI
    ...sorry about the skinny little strings....

    I finished this last week- the burl top didn't have enough voids to justify epoxy filling it, but there were a few of them (circular marks near the neck pickup) . I packed them full of ebony dust & hit them with CA glue. It took a little more sand & sealer than usual to get a flat surface, but it wasn't that much extra work.

    120933074_cbb3c05e10.
     
  8. JSPguitars

    JSPguitars

    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    Hmm.....looks like I have some options :meh: Now that I look at the voids closer, they're really not that big. I think the titebond glue filled them in pretty well when I glued the top on. There's 2 little voids that will definitely need filling. I'll try doing some experimenting with black ebony dust and clear epoxy, as I don't wanna go search for black epoxy.
    Thanks for the suggestions, and that guitar looks fantastic by the way Holmann!
     
  9. cool bass!

    that will look very nice when its finished
     
  10. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    depending on the finish you are planning(dyed or natural) you can use just about any wood dust and have the burl retain it's gorgeous look. Personally I prefer to use a thinned paste filler mixed with rosewood or ebony dust. Its an easy fill job, and after a nice finish, it looks splendid. As for the high gloss finish, it is really easy to do, even with a spray can. Just remember ....thin coats, no more than 6 coats per day, wetsand between every 4 - 6 coats with 600 grit, allow to dry for a week before final wet sanding with 600 - 800 - and 1000 grit. Buff with #7 rubbing compound if doing it by hand then a good sealer, and carnauba wax. If you take your time, you will have a deep glassy finish.
     
  11. JSPguitars

    JSPguitars

    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    Started to fill in the voids with epoxy, and some ground turquoise in some places. And a slight mockup:
     
  12. Basschair

    Basschair .............. Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Stockton, Ca

    Nice!

    I've got some turquoise and some other stuff for the voids on a walnut burl top coming up. It's crazy how the eye picks up on it right away.
     
  13. JSPguitars

    JSPguitars

    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    And some pics of the back (still carving carving & scraping away):meh:
     
  14. JSPguitars

    JSPguitars

    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    YEah, hopefully once a glossy finish is on the turquois will pop out more......
    I have 2 very small side dots of turqois at the 12th and 24th frets that matches well with the little turquois in the body.:smug:
     
  15. tribal3140

    tribal3140 Banned

    Nov 9, 2004
    near detroit...uh
    Excellent job!
     
  16. teacherguy

    teacherguy

    Feb 21, 2004
    Cincinnati, OH
    That is turning out nicely!!

    Jon
     
  17. JSPguitars

    JSPguitars

    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    Thx for the nice comments, but I'm open to criticism as well:eyebrow:

    I'm dreading making the template for the pickup covers, I'm not sure my router bits are the right radius' for those tight corners, and I just plain suck at making templates. I've already had 2 attempts at making a nice-looking control cavity template.......
    So I'm off to the garage again.
     
  18. JSPguitars

    JSPguitars

    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    control cavity is now routed-
     
  19. Holmann

    Holmann

    Dec 23, 2005
    Ashland, WI
    Thats going to be a graet bass. It never occurred to me to use crushed stone to fill voids. I'll be stealing that idea now.
     
  20. JSPguitars

    JSPguitars

    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    I stole it from here! Somebody had posted a picture of it some time back, and they did a fantastic job. I believe a lot of vase/turners do the same thing.
     

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