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Figured Basswood..?


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I'm just getting started on my Non-Reverse Firebird.. which.. because I gave up on that style.. is going to look a lot like a Tele..lol... and well, anyway.. I planed the lumber for the body today.. and wow.

First, the history of the board. My grandfather who died a year before I was born had a large, unusual basswood tree on the woodline of one of his corn fields.. and he eventually had my father (who has been a furniture guru for 40 years) cut it down to use 'on something' well.. 30 or so years later.. here I am..

After planing the roughness of the top and bottom of the board I was confuzzled to see 'flame'.. I looked again.. and again.. and sure enough.. there's flame in this board. Very nice because the wood itself is rather pale with no real grain lines.. just some decent (not quite PRS) flame that really shows through.

Anyone else ever heard of such a thing? Another thing about this board.. since it was so fat a tree..I found a 8/4" piece large enough for a 1 piece body. Very nice.

My father said he's seen flame in a lot of different lumbers, but never basswood (that he recalls). So stupid me was like.. "Well, sucks ya didn't give this board a shot, eh?".. to which he replied.. "That tree was the only thing Dad ever really gave me.. I haven't used any of it for anything." eek. sorta obligates me to finish this one. lol

Oh, I guess I might as well shed the negative thing about the flame.. the heaviest is all on the outter sides of the board and very little will make it into my guitar :-( I think maybe some decent stain will bring it out really good through the rest of the body though.

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I've seen it plenty of times, most recently on stripped Ibanez bodies. On the Ibanez bodies you don't get so lucky, though, because many times they are 3-piece bodies and only one of the pieces has the flame.

If there's more figure on the outsides, I would cut it in half down the center, then split it and bookmatch it so the heartwood ends up on the outside, and you get two tops out of it. Better yet, split it and bookmatch it as I said, but have a top and back that you can hollow out before you laminate it. Then the figure will be in the center, bookmatched with a center line, and the grain should line up fairly well front to back too. (see the recent Maxxas thread about how cool a clamshell hollowbody can be)

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  • 2 years later...

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