Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by arther daily, Jun 27, 2001.

  1. Not sure if this is the right place, please move it if not...

    Single cut (single sawn) and Bi-cut (bi-sawn) necks - what's the difference and what difference does it make to the feel of the neck, shape, strength or whatever?

    thanks dudes...
  2. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    arther - This may be one of numerous instances where we Yanks have taken the mother language and tweaked it. The terms often used in the US for how wood is cut, at least for our TB purposes, are quarter sawn/quartersawn and plain sawn.

    Bottomline, quartersawn is the wood we're after for necks and plain sawn is not. The reasons being that quartersawn is far less likely to twist or warp, checking is less, holds finishes better, and is smoother.

    So, why not quarter saw all wood? The usual suspects - the process is more expensive, more time consuming, and requires more handling. Some in the biz say it is an art that isn't easily found any longer.

    Quartersawn allows the tree growth rings to be 60-90 degrees perpendicular to the surface of the board. Because you're cutting from a piece that contains part of every growth ring perpendicular to the surface, the wood is more stable and more visually attractive.

    I think your "bi-sawn" is the equivalent of quartersawn because of how the wood is cut. Although I'm sure there are variations, generally a log is first cut into quarters lengthwise to produce quartersawn, that is, the log is first cut in half down the middle and then each half is cut down the middle. So, you have two flat surfaces and a rounded side (the bark side) on each quarter. Each of these flat surfaces is cut alternately, (one board from one side/surface then another board from the other side or surface). This is repeated as far as possible. Sounds like "bi-cutting" to me.

    However, we're looking for 60-90 degree perpendicularity and as we know, tree growth rings are circular. So, some of the boards will show end grain that is only 30-60 degrees perpendicular to the surface. This is sold as "rift" or rift sawn.

    With the plain sawn/single sawn, boards just start getting cut on one side of the log till the log is gone. Obviously, you're not getting many growth rrings per board, relative to quarter sawing. The end product doesn't stand up to the quartersawn qualities - more resistant to warping/twisting, holding a finish better, more grain character.

    A luthier like Dave Pushic might find errors in that, but based on the research I did for a custom, that's what my investigating found to be true.
  3. mikezimmerman

    mikezimmerman Supporting Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Omaha, Nebraska
    1) I've never heard of "single cut/single sawn".
    2) "Bi-cut", as I recall, is the term a few manufacturers (I think Peavey and G & L?) use to describe the technique of splitting the neck wood blank in half, then routing out a channel to install the truss rod, then glueing the 2 sides back together. They may rotate one of the sides so the grain is symmetrical on both sides, ideally cancellign out any tendency to twist or warp. I don't think it's an actual woodworking term, but I could be mistaken.

    3) "Quarter-sawn" and "flatsawn" refer to the way the wood is cut from the log and the orientation of the grain within the board, as rickbass describes.

  4. Urethra!!! ...or should that be Ureka?!!

    I've got it, the 2nd description was correct, but it is specific to GandL, here's the gumph from their site:



    Another revolutionary patent granted to Leo and G&L was the Bi-Cut Neck design. The old method involved routing out the back side of the neck, installing the truss rod and covering the route with a rosewood stripe commonly referred to as a "skunk stripe". The new method involved cutting the neck blank in half longitudinally, making a rout on the inside, inserting the truss rod then gluing the two halves together. The new completed neck blank is then put in a Taylor press with approximately 350 pounds of pressure, assuring a nearly invisible truss rod installation. Although this method was more visually appealing than either the old "skunk stripe" method or using a separate maple or rosewood "cap" to cover the truss rod, more importantly there was an important design goal that this method achieved. The glue joint in the center of the neck was stronger than the wood on either side, giving the new design exceptional resistance to warping and twisting, making G&L necks much more reliable than his older designs.

    Cheers dudes, especially for the 1st description, cause I'd never have known that otherwise.
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Good enough, arther. When you start up Seafire Basses, Ltd, and actually find that info practical, I take a nice 5-string made from one of your 600 year old walnut trees, maybe with some Burns of London pickups and an Evans preamp. :D
  6. Peavey did the same thing as G&L earlier, only they called their necks Bi-Laminate rather than Bi-Cut.