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Radiating Wood Grain..!!!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by ZenBass, May 17, 2004.

  1. Just a bit of a query really..!!!,

    For my new bass I want a top wood that has the grain radiating from the Center to the outer edge..!!!.... so0o it ends up either darker or light in the center...

    Although I am obviosuly not gonna be making it myself...want to go with a firm idea of what i want...

    Is thew wood cut in a certain way to achieve this effect (see pic) or is it a reverse of a bookmatched Set...??...

    Here an example of a Sei with a Radiated Buckeye Burl Front.!!!....


    Cheers :)....
  2. I would imagine it comes from slicing thru a tree's trunk and showing the growth rings, getting this effect. Would have to be a mighty big tree trunk (@ 25" circumference), tho this looks like a bookmatch. Same thing tho.
  3. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    It does have to do with the way the wood is cut. Sometimes you find stuff with figure like this on Ebay. That particular bass has a buckeye burl top. It's going to be luck of the draw as much as anything to find a top like this.
  4. My observation would be to not believe everything you see on the top of a bass. Quite a lot of it isn't what it appears.

    For instance, slicing through a tree perpendicular to the heart will produce all end grain wood. That wouldn't be usable as a very thin veneer - it wouldn't stay together well. It would also be the most difficult to sand and smooth and would absorb finish like a sponge. Not exactly the best attributes for a top.

    My opinion comes from seeing several examples of Alembics down at Bass Central courtesy of Gard. There were about 3 basses - a Mark King, a Triple Omega, and another wild shape that had buckeye burl tops. On close inspection, the wonderful bookmatched patterns were contrived in the factory. They took pieces of burl and assembled them into the pattern before resawing. You could easily see the seams where different woods were put together. They looked good but weren't EXACTLY what they were advertised to be in the general undertanding of the word "bookmatched"

    I'm skeptical that this a wholly natural pattern. It would be easy enough to create this effect, by assembly, if you had the right wood at the start. I don't know...I've got to see and hear some more about this grain pattern before I'm convinced.
  5. Lookin around on the net somemore it appears this type of cutting is called the "Buffalo Cut" and is commonly found in buckeye, Swirl Ambonia and Walnut.....

    I think it lo0oks greats.. and gives the front of the bass another dimension as apposed to the AAAA 3D flames we see....also..I think a nice piec of cocobola would lo0ok amazing..:).....
  6. Could you give me some links for researching this? I've looked all over google and can't find a single reference to "Buffalo" in regard to wood cutting - other than every sawmill located in Buffalo :rolleyes:

  7. Thanx,

    As I suspected, it IS an end cut to make the radiating pattern. There is one good pic of it on the end of a burl slab. So I imagine all burl has something like it but since it's in the opposite orientation of where we usually look, it's not too visible. I guess that it also isn't "end grain" in the traditional sense since it's found in burls. And, since it is found in the lower yield cross grain orientation, I bet it's a king's ransom in cost.

    Probably worth every penny though. :D
  8. JSPguitars


    Jan 12, 2004
    Grass Valley
    I just checked out that link and it was my assumption that they called it a "Buffalo Cut" because the whole slab ITSELF is cut into the shape of a buffalo.............or is it just me?
  9. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I've never heard of "buffalo cut". People make up names for figure all the time.

    Amboyna and buckeye burls are both cut from root balls. The fibers there can be tangled and swirly, so often times you don't see organized patterns like the one you want. The radiant figure tends to come from rounded sections of the burl, quartersawn, I believe. The amboyna burls tend to be more well defined, hence I think you see it there a little more than buckeye, which really are tangled messes when the pull them out of the ground. So, you'll see this type of figure with any kind of burl that takes the shape of a roundish blob hanging off of the trunk. This includes above-the-ground clusters that you sometimes see hanging off maples or willows or cherry trees, but the above-ground versions don't tend to get very large.

    Search, search, search. I have seen slabs like this on ebay.
  10. Thank you FBB for u great response and all the others to0o.. :)....

    Jon Shuker who will be making my new bass says he might be able to find a similar grain pattern in thr 40kg of Buckeye and Ambonia he's just recieved...

    Being in the UK there isnt a great wood trade on Ebay...a wood company does advertise but they are based in american...christ knows wot the shipping cost would be.!! although theyt dont state it in the add..

    On average...how large does a block be to make a full facing of back and front (i know all basses are different) but a rough estimate would be great.!!!....most of them are few 16" which in two makes it 30" which still surely isnt large enough once waste and and stuff is taken into account!!...

    Cheers everyone so0o far :)
  11. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Depends on the shape of the chunk, but you generally need 6" wide x 20" long to get a top out of it (if you bookmatch it).
  12. schuyler


    Aug 5, 2003
    Atlanta, GA
    lord knows it's possible to find any grain pattern you want, given enough trees and patience. i tend to agree with hambone on this one, and would suggest that many of these sort of tops would be more accurately described as marquetery than bookmatching. a top that had that sort of figure in a single cut or a bookmatch would be worth much more to me than one which had been pieced together from multiple cuts.

    either way though, they're very beautiful tops!
  13. timearling


    Jun 2, 2004
    Just to clarify a bit of the confusion on the "Buffalo Cut". It was named after it's unique natural shape of a buffalo. This pc of Amboyna was cut parallel to the amboyna burl swirl, thus giving it a "Flame look". When the burl is cut perpendicular to the amboyna burl swirl pattern, you will get a "Flower/Swirl" pattern - normally the way you see Amboyna.

    The flame pattern in the Buffalo Cut is extremely tight - if you were to cut perpendicular, you would see a very small tight swirl - Grade A Amboyna Burl.

    If you are interested in any of my other burl, let me know and I can give you more info. My email is ulikewood@yahoo.com and website is www.woodulike.homestead.com

  14. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    Know what drives me nuts?

    I live in Ohio, just about the only place Buckeye trees grow indigenously. You'd think there'd be all sorts of places to get that stuff here, but I'm having a helluva time finding any...

    BTW, I'm REALLY curious about something. How DOES buckeye burl response to the tung oil, sand/slurry/fill finishing technique?
  15. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    The burls come almost exclusively from the west coast.

    Buckeye burl drinks oil. You can see it disappear from the surface of the buckeye after repeated applications. The stuff is very soft and with enough patience it takes a modest lustre with the wet-oil-sanding procedure. The depth of the figure comes through fine with oil.