Camphor Burl as tone wood???

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Barry Dudley
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Camphor Burl as tone wood???

Post by Barry Dudley »

I don't come here much any more but I thought that the guitar makers here would probably know something about this wood. I was wondering if any of you have ever tried using Camphor Burl as the tonewood for your back and sides? I have read a few things that says it is used for musical instruments...
If you have any experience with this wood I would appreciate any information.
Barry Dudley

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Mark Swanson
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Re: Camphor Burl as tone wood???

Post by Mark Swanson »

I would never use it myself. I have worked with it for decorative things, and found it to be easily broken, and even crumbly in places because the grain direction is all over the place. In pieces thin enough for backs and sides, it wouldn't even hold together much less enjoy being bent.
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Chuck Tweedy
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Re: Camphor Burl as tone wood???

Post by Chuck Tweedy »

Hey Barry - long time no see.
When you saw that it is used in musical instruments, I'm pretty sure that they are referring to it being used as a cap on a solid body electric.
As Mark says, it has very little structure on its own because the grain goes every-which-way.
Likes to drink Rosewood Juice

Barry Dudley
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Location: Monroe, GA
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Re: Camphor Burl as tone wood???

Post by Barry Dudley »

You must be right...I don't recall ever hearing or seeing anyone using camphor as they main tonewood.
Thanks for the input.
Barry Dudley

Jason Rodgers
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Re: Camphor Burl as tone wood???

Post by Jason Rodgers »

Gilmer Hardwoods in Portland, OR sells camphor in all sorts of dimensions, including solidbody billets. I've never used it myself, but the description on their website says, "It is easy to work and has a very pungent, spicy scent. For a burl it is remarkably stable." Perhaps, as with most burls, you have to judge each piece on an individual basis.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.

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Mark Swanson
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Re: Camphor Burl as tone wood???

Post by Mark Swanson »

Electric guitar bodies and tops, yes- acoustic backs and sides- nah.
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Jason Rodgers
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Re: Camphor Burl as tone wood???

Post by Jason Rodgers »

Ah, reading the OP (completely) would help.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.

Alan Carruth
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Re: Camphor Burl as tone wood???

Post by Alan Carruth »

I've never tested any camphor burl, but a mesquite burl back that I ran stiffness and damping tests on has properties that are probably a little worse as a tone wood than Masonite. Straight grained mesquite is fine; more like a rosewood, iirc. If the parallel holds (and I think it would), I'd expect the burl to have very low stiffness in either direction and high density and damping. Translation: heavy, floppy, and dead....

Alan Carruth / Luthier

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