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Anyone Have Experience Finishing Camphor Burl?


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09-13-05W7399.jpg

anyone have any experience working with this type of wood?

i am considering using it for a top and doing it trans-black

how will this turn out?.....good or bad?

will it be transblack or will it be like "dark pink"?....eugh

cuz my second choice for a top was bubinga/sapele/quilt maple, which i already know would finish nicely in trans-black....so i just wanna know if i should re-change my mind

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What exactly do you mean by trans-black?

Trans black implies that you are going to add black dye into your clearcoats and shade it black.

Is that what you have in mind or something different?

PS, I looked that wood up at Gilmer, and it's advertised as semi-green wood.

Do you really want to throw that money into the toilet by using the wood and having it shrink and crack on your guitar, or are you willing to let it sit in your house for over a year before you use it?

If neither of these options sounds good to you, keep looking, and pass this wood by, it is no good for guitar use (yet).

PPS, Gilmer ehhhh, 'flavors' their pictures. Most of the wood you buy, although nice, is not as nice as those pics make it look.

I have Camphor burl right here within 10 feet of me and it looks nothing like that picture. They do that on purpose, and it works, I have a hard time denying those pics myself, but I know what wood looks like, and it usually doesn't as colorful as a flower, it looks like wood. They use a LOT of flash and some judicious editing to make their wood look as good as it does. Not to the point where you could call it fraudulous or illegal, but damn near misrepresentative. They walk a fine line with those pics.

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ok, this isn't the question that you asked but in my less than humble opinion that wood doesn't need any stain..you send me that and i'll buy you a good bubinga top and i'll just put a good old natural oil finish on it. :D

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The Limba and Cocobolo I've gotten from Gilmer have something (shellac? Something) on the show face to 'pop' the grain. I mean, one side of each of the Coco neck blanks? Beautiful, reds, blacks, etc. The back? Boring 'ol roughsawn rosewood colour. It's just something to be aware of, nothing bad, per se. The photographs on the site, by and large, show you roughly what the pieces will look like after they're finished clear, and in ideal light.

Honestly, if you get wood like that, with that kind of colour to it, don't wreck it by tinting it black. If you want to stain something, get a nice, white as possible maple top, which will stain something lovely. Trans black would, IMO, absolutely ruin the subtelties of colour present in that wood.

Also, if it's vaguely green, like Drak said, be prepared to let it cure for a while. How long depends on how thick it is, and the species, but I'd say a bare minimum of 6 months, probably longer, and since it's burl, you'll have to sticker and weight it. You should do that with most anything initially, but doubly so with burl or crotchwood, which has a ton of built-in stresses.

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after my post last night i looked around their webbsite and found that that wood was still available. if my band saw had a deeper throat on it so that i could re-saw it i'd buy it in a heartbeat. there's enough there for two sets of tops that would run about $60.00 per guitar.

very tempting stuff.

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It IS tempting tho, isn't it?

That's how they sell the wood, those pics are like porn.  :D

Of course it's not. And of course I don't have enough wood to last me another decade or two. And I certainly don't have more in the mail, and on the way. Nor do I still trawl various websites and lumber yards for more beautiful bits of wood.

Nuh uh.

Not at all.

Ahem.

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IF you're willing to sit on it for a year.

AND it will not look as nice in person as that pic makes it out to be.

It IS tempting tho, isn't it?

That's how they sell the wood, those pics are like porn.  :D

well that would explain why i caught a little wood while looking at that wood..ok, ok, i'll just go ahead and slap myself in the back of the head. i know that you're all busy. :D

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I bought some camphor burl from Gilmer back around the first of the year. It's true, the pictures are WAY more light and pinkish in color than the real thing. The wood is actually more of a dark reddish/almost magenta color. But the freshly cut wood is lighter in color, but still not as light as the pics. It sure makes your shop smell like a medicine cabinet. :D

I got some advice on this board about glue up. Use acetone to wipe down the areas to be glued, and the joint should hold better. I glued up my bookmatch several months ago with titebond and it's holding with no problems. I set it aside since then while doing other projects, so that's as far as I've got with the camphor.

I have alot of wood in reserve, waiting for me to get around to doing something with it. :D

Something else to consider, this wood is supposed to be corrosive to ferrous metals. Might want to use stainless steel screws or find some other way around that issue. Also, watch out for splinters. Could cause a nasty reaction.

My piece was dry, so I had no moisture issues. Although it has ended up sitting in my garage for around 10 months regardless.

No experience finishing it yet. Although I saw some pics of camphor finished with danish oil. My own opinion was that the danish oil darkened it too much, but it could have been the pics, too. I am considering some kind of clear finish on mine with no stain. The color is just too beautiful in it's natural state to change.

Best of luck and keep everyone posted.

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I ahve used camphor burl before and it finished great with nitrocellulose lacquer. The color is a bit dark until you sand it then it is like the pictures. The finish will darken it a bit too. The wood I used was a veneer over spruce. The sides are finished in Tru-Oil. Just the top is finished in nitro.

Here's a pic:

019-11.jpg

Here are more pics.

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I have actually seen that wood in person. They have some great Camphor Burl. Gilmer shellacs most all the wood you see in the pictures. I know other companys that use Paint thinner, Naptha, water, etc... I don't know if that is intended as misleading, or just trying to show the wood off as most other dealers do. I can tell you that if they didn't do something and everyone else was "wetting" the wood, they would look like they had lesser quality material to most people. Gilmer is a top notch dealer. If green and you want to re-saw it just make sure you plan to deal with it until it dries properly (don't cut it too close!). As Drak mentioned, be ready to let it dry and stabalize (which takes time), or buy dry wood.

Peace,Rich

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Yes, and I was not implying in any way that Gilmer is anything but a top-notch company, it's just part of the on-line retail business of selling (and moving) wood. Ya gotta make it look really great, so wood junkies like me are slobbering all over their screens over those wood pics, hehehe.

But I have simply bought enough wood from many many different buyers over the years to know what wood looks like when it gets to your door, and oftentimes it really doesn't look like their pictures. ANYBODY'S pictures, not just Gilmer, as statedabove, everybody does it to some extent. It's the 'extent' that can get a little out of hand sometimes. Same piece of wood? Yes Indeed. It just doesn't look like a 'painting', it looks like a real piece of wood. :D

I don't blame them, they have to move that stuff to stay in business to offer us more exotic wood! :D

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Yes I agree with all of the above. Overall I'm very happy with the wood I got from Gilmer.

The finish on the Myka guitar is similar to, and IMHO actually better than, the Gilmer pics, so the advertisement is not that far off. That is one awesome guitar, by the way! :D

Rich, you're so lucky to live close enough to see that stuff in person. Where I am, we have a couple of places that stock some exotic wood like cocobolo, padouk, etc.; but no camphor, no limba, no myrtle, and not many burls. At least not that I've found anyway. Gilmer was the place to buy exotic wood until you started selling yours. :D

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David, that is another seriously beautiful guitar. I really like the headstock laminates. I recently laminated ebony on either side of a mahogany headstock including extending the ebony on the back of the headstock down the neck as you did on this guitar. Trouble is that I went too deep and cut into my truss rod slot. Oh well, another learning.

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