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Burl Woods, Give Me Some Advice Please..


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Hi, I'm new here, I've built several basses over the last couple of years, a friend of mine a guitar builder turned me on to this forum. You guys are great full of all kinds of great advice. I did a search for burls and didnt really come up with the answers I needed, So here's my questions.

1. How hard is it to work with Burl woods? particularly Maple burl and Buckeye?

2. How hard is the "gluing" process? as far as pressure, and time?

3. What are the "processes" for filling pores and holes, even bark?

4. What about sealing it? sanding? etc...???

I have ordered 2 pieces of Maple Burl, I got for a "steal" of a price, one is 1-1/8 thick, the other 1-1/4 thick. They will both be going (hopefully) on 2 ash body basses. Any advice for this will be greatly appreciated.

I guess what I'm asking for is a small tutorial on working with these types of woods.

Thanks...

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Hi, I'm new here, I've built several basses over the last couple of years, a friend of mine a guitar builder turned me on to this forum. You guys are great full of all kinds of great advice. I did a search for burls and didnt really come up with the answers I needed, So here's my questions.

1. How hard is it to work with Burl woods? particularly Maple burl and Buckeye?

2. How hard is the "gluing" process? as far as pressure, and time?

3. What are the "processes" for filling pores and holes, even bark?

4. What about sealing it? sanding? etc...???

I have ordered 2 pieces of Maple Burl, I got for a "steal" of a price, one is 1-1/8 thick, the other 1-1/4 thick. They will both be going (hopefully) on 2 ash body basses. Any advice for this will be greatly appreciated.

It's wood, just with crazy grain going every which-way, endgrain all over the place, so just remember that when working with it. As a rule, remember that burls are likely to want to move around with humidity swings, and if they do move, they'll do it unpredictably, and possibly in nasty ways. Keep the pieces stickered and weighted until the last possible moment. You're also fairly likely to get burls sealed in wax, which needs to be scraped off; heating it will force it deeper into the wood, and you don't want that happening. You also don't want to rely on burls for structural integrity/

If you're gluing clean surface to clean surface (not wax!), oridnary titebond should do just fine, apply as normal, clamp as normal, maybe leave it clamped for the full 24 hours to prevent any movement (for unstressed joints I tend to unclamp after an hour or two, and then not stress the joint for a further 24 to let it cure fully).

In terms of working...depends on the burl. You're probably best off using abrasives over edge tools, since the crazy grain will probably want to cause tearout with whatever you use. If it's spalted a little as well, be aware of softer/harder areas, so use backed sanding blocks at all time.

Sealing and filling holes, well, endgrain. Absorbs stuff. Might take a bit more sealing. I'd probably use epoxy for sealing and pore filling in one shot, as well as for filling any gaps or holes left.

It's wood, after all. Just has some insane stuff happening with grain direction.

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I would AVOID trying to plane burl at all cost. Sounds like a perfect recipe for massive tearout and the associated heartbreak. Resaw if you want a lot off of there, then get it thickness sanded.

Power planing wildly figured (quilt, flamed) maple can already be problematic (although I hear helical cutters help somewhat), and burl can be in a whole other dimension in terms of difficulty.

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I made this with a maple burl bookmatched top. The top was glued together and then to the body just like a quilt top. I used superglue to fill all the holes and cracks. I just searched this site for the procedure. I finish sanded, then laquered the top. Filling the holes took a while since there was so many and some were deep, but it finished as smooth as a baby's behind.

T_60_body.jpg

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CA (superglue) or epoxy will work, I've used both on spalted maple. The epoxy will definitely impart an amber tint though....it would look darker than the guitar above that was sealed with CA.

Some CA has the habit of yellowing quite visibly, and not necessarily in a great way.

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