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Drop Top Using Burls.

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Burls are so extremely different from one to another, it's basically impossible to catagorize them, tonally or otherwise.

Just take your shot and see what happens.

PS, burls do not come exclusively from the root section of a tree, that simply isn't true, and they come in -all- densities, from spalted burls as light as balsa wood, to intensly dense burls as hard as iron, to burls where 1/2 is firm and the other half is falling apart on you if you barely touch it, and everything in between. And they come from all different kinds of trees.

Burls are also cut all kinds of ways, they can be cut so the grain of the wood is making absolutely no sense to a guitarbuilder.

If you want to use burl, don't expect a lot of answers before you try it, you just 'do it' and see where it leads you, because your piece will be like no other piece of wood out there, burls are individualistic.

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You could always mark your line where the forearm contour will be located, and then cut a small "V" shaped groove in the underside of the burl, almost all the way through to the top. Then you'd only be bending about 1/8". The forearm cut on the back wood would have to be a sharp angle, not rounded like the final contour will be on the top.

So it's like the top is actually bent in a hard line, rather than curved over the elbow cut. I'm not sure what you'd use to cut the "V" groove, maybe a bandsaw, because I doubt you'd get a router bit that shape. You could also get it close with the bandsaw, and then wrap sandpaper around a custom made piece of wood. You'd see where your partial cut came together on the sides, but the top would have continuous grain unless you accidentally sanded through to the groove joint.

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It's funny you mention that method, because that's exactly the way I did my first drop tops, and I used to catch hell from guys saying that you'd see the 'v' shape at the 2 ends or whatever, it seemed to be a generally unpopular and unliked idea although it worked fine for me.

I believe I used a Dremel tool bit actually, the bits are very small and it allows you to close the v up. I have the Stew-Mac router baseplate and would just draw it out and then double-tape a steel ruler down to the underside of the top to use as a slide-guide for the baseplate to follow.

I usually just wet them and bend them now, but anything over 3/16" will probably need such a treatment or it'll probably split in a few places on top, at least that's been my experience.

When you do it the 'v' way, you have to be pretty precise when gluing the top down that you get your 'cut' precisely over the bend point. I would also glue the drop section down afterwards, allowing me to concentrate on getting the top on right and not having to worry about gluing the 'drop' down at the same time, I would put a piece of tape down on the fold section of the body so if any glue dripped over the edge it would drip onto the tape and I always removed the tape about 10 minutes after I glued the top down, so when I glued the drop-top section there was no glue blobs interfering with a good flat surface. :D

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