flamed wood??

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copachino
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Post by copachino »

may be not the best place to ask this, but the flamed woods, as flamed arse, or maple, are real natural, or have a process to get that way??

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Post by DrNomis »

copachino wrote:may be not the best place to ask this, but the flamed woods, as flamed arse, or maple, are real natural, or have a process to get that way??

There's a few ways I can think of that guitar builders use to achieve Flamed wood, note that I could be wrong, but anyway, one way is to Bookmatch the wood, another is to very lightly scorch the wood with a blowtorch, another way is to apply tinting to the wood.....hope that helps...... :thumbsup
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Post by karul »

it's natural thing, anomaly of the wood. I'm not aware of method to make them artificially.

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Post by copachino »

DrNomis wrote:
copachino wrote:may be not the best place to ask this, but the flamed woods, as flamed arse, or maple, are real natural, or have a process to get that way??

There's a few ways I can think of that guitar builders use to achieve Flamed wood, note that I could be wrong, but anyway, one way is to Bookmatch the wood, another is to very lightly scorch the wood with a blowtorch, another way is to apply tinting to the wood.....hope that helps...... :thumbsup

i just thoguht, cos i you look on luthiers shop flamed wood its hell expensive, and i dont think it sounds better, just look coll maybe, but im just guessing.

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Post by FiveseveN »

There's nothing wrong with wanting your instrument to look nice, as long as you understand that's what you're paying extra for.
The flamed look is a natural property of the wood and there are certain finishes and techniques that bring it out more (make the grain "pop"). There are also some attempts to simulate this look but they inevitably fall short. The most efficient way to do it IMO is to use a thin veneer for the pretty parts and a cheaper material for the bulk.
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Post by copachino »

FiveseveN wrote:There's nothing wrong with wanting your instrument to look nice, as long as you understand that's what you're paying extra for.
The flamed look is a natural property of the wood and there are certain finishes and techniques that bring it out more (make the grain "pop"). There are also some attempts to simulate this look but they inevitably fall short. The most efficient way to do it IMO is to use a thin veneer for the pretty parts and a cheaper material for the bulk.

i know, but i have been hunting some wood to make a telecaster, but i see maple normal at 50USD ready to build and flamed maple at 285 USD, and it do llok nice, but its way to expensive just to look nice

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Post by karul »

I'm no wood expert by any means. As far as I know there is no known method to grow a maple that would be flamed maple. Those trees are rather rare. So the price goes up. Also there are classes of beauty of the wood. Those ones with "prettier" flames would be more expensive then other ones.

It is not completely clear what environmental conditions (if any) cause this phenomenon, but there are different grades of curly maple, which greatly effect its price. Ideally, the criteria for determining value is based upon: color (both uniformity and lightness—whiter is preferred), frequency of the curls (tight, closely-spaced curls are preferred), and intensity (more depth is preferred). Prices can range from just slightly more expensive than regular soft maple for lower grades of curly maple, to triple, quadruple, or higher for prices of the highest grades. But in general, higher grades of curly maple tend to be less expensive than quilted maple, and offer an economical solution for a “figured” hardwood.
http://www.wood-database.com/lumber-ide ... rly-maple/

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Post by BAARON »

Yep. Figured wood is expensive due to scarcity and desirability (supply and demand).

What's going on in the wood to make it do that, though?

In flamed and quilted maple, the structure of the wood is not growing straight. It is wiggling around. There are a variety of hypotheses as to why it grows this way, but no firmly proven answer. If you split (rather than saw) a piece of figured maple, the break will usually follow this wiggling wood structure. (And if you try to carve it with a dull blade, the blade will tend to follow the wiggly structure instead of going where you want it to... oy.) On the other hand, when you do make a straight cut through the wood, the result is that the exposed surface alternates between end grain and side/face grain, due to the wiggly nature of the wood.

In wood, end grain absorbs liquid more readily than side/face grains do, so it will absorb more color when the instrument is finished. This color could be from a dye applied directly to the wood or from some sort of tinted finishing material that will sink into the wood a bit, such as a drying oil or varnish. Thus, finishing the piece of wood will enhance the appearance of the figure by granting deeper color the end grain bits than the side/face grain bits. It will also enhance the chatoyancy of the wood, which is what makes the figure seem to move when viewed from a variety of different angles.

As far as sound goes, though?

For an electric guitar top, the wood figure will almost certainly have no audible effect on the tone... but the thickness of the maple top definitely will. The less maple there is, the less it impacts the tone. I would reckon that anything less than 1/4" thick of maple is going to have practically no valuable tonal impact on the instrument: it will contribute almost nothing structurally to a solid guitar body compared to a body of the same thickness made from a single species of wood, the bridge and tailpiece will effectively be anchored to the core wood (either by studs or screws) because most of the anchor's depth will be buried in the core wood rather than the thin top, and the strings will either be anchored to the aforementioned bridge or tailpiece or to string ferrules in the back of the instrument... i.e., the core wood again. Thin maple tops on solid body guitars are usually vanity pieces, from a functional perspective.

The takeaway? There's no good reason to add a thin, unfigured maple top to an instrument, because it will add almost nothing structurally, tonally, or visually. If you want a maple top to distinctly sound like a maple top (instead of just making a subtle or maybe even inaudible contribution) and not just look fancy, you will probably want your bridge anchored in 3/8" - 5/8" of maple. I think most PRS and Les Paul style guitars have about 1/2" - 5/8" of maple under the bridge (plus a lot of core wood behind that!), depending on the model and manufacturer. Keep that in mind while you're shopping for wood.


Edit: on the subject of veneers over cheaper wood...
Back when I used to repair guitars for a living, I got to take a pretty good look at a lot of instruments. A popular Japanese company that sells a lot of heavy-metal guitars has a habit of putting very nice figured maple veneers (about 1/20" thick) over plain maple tops (about 5/8" thick) on their LP style guitars. They then market the instrument as having a mahogany body and a thick maple top, which is absolutely true. They just don't mention that there is a thin maple veneer glued on top of that thick maple top. It is plainly visible as soon as bridge posts are removed from the instrument, because you can see the various layers of wood with no finish.

They do a very good job of it, and it shows that they know that the tonally important thing isn't the maple's figure: it's the maple's thickness.

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Post by BAARON »

I saw a violin a couple years ago with a faux flamed maple back. (It was just a cheap instrument with a formed plywood body, much the same way that most electric arch-top guitars are built.) The builder used a stencil to simulate the "flames" and held it a small distance from the instrument when spraying a tinted finish. (Probably 1/2" - 1" gap between stencil and instrument.) This let the tint feather out a bit past the stencil so that it wouldn't have crisp, sharp lines.

From 10 feet away, it looked decent, but a little bit suspicious to the trained eye. As soon as the instrument was in your hands, you could see that the flames didn't line up with the wood grain, and there was obviously no chatoyancy at all. Any fine woodworker could spot what had been done.

On something as large and conspicuous as a guitar, I don't think one would have much luck trying to apply faux flames in this manner. On something smaller like a violin, where the back of the instrument is rarely seen from up close by anybody except the player, it was convincing enough that people bought it (literally).

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Post by CHEEZOR »

I'm not sure how they do the flamed maple, but I know that some guitar manufactures make their guitars less expensive by using inexpensive wood for the body and then gluing a photo of flamed maple to the top and then covering that with lacquer. I have seen some guitars with the photo that looked pretty nice. There must be info on Google about how to make a flamed maple top though.

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Post by Groovenut »

In the mid 90s Ibanez and others started using a photo of wood grain, flame curly whatever, printed on a transparency and then laid under the finish of the top. It pretty convincing if its done right and it doesn't increase the cost of the instrument. They were selling instruments in the sub $500 range with beautifully figured tops. If I remember correctly they weren't shy about how they achieved the finish either.

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Post by Blitz Krieg »

schecter as well? that makes a lot of sense

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Post by CHEEZOR »

Yeah, I think Schecter does that too, and I have always thought they looked really nice.

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Post by sinner »

Yeah, foto flame. Used on some Japanese Fenders as well

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Post by BAARON »

Hints on how to distinguish photo-flame from a thin veneer of real wood:

- Photo-flame, when closely examined, has clearly been printed. It will exhibit the same kinds of ink halftone patterns you would see in the pages of a magazine. They don't print those things with particularly good printers. I've even seen one photo-flame top that was made from a digital photo, and you could clearly see the individual pixels from the photo.
- Wood veneer will show at least a tiny bit of chatoyancy when you view it from different angles - i.e., the appearance of the flames will shift very slightly when viewed from different angles. Note that if the wood has been deeply dyed to try to enhance the appearance of the figure (which it frequently is), the flames will not shift as much as if it has just been sprayed with tinted lacquer (which does less to enhance the figure, so you need a better piece of wood to make it look good). Plus, with a veneer, you will find no evidence that makes it look like it came off of a cheap inkjet printer.

Photo-flame pissed so many people off in the '90s that I actually don't think it's very common any more, especially now that figured wood veneers have become more affordable to guitar companies. Out of the thousands of guitars I serviced when I was still a repair tech (just a few years ago), the vast majority of cheap guitars with figured wood tops were veneers. I probably saw less than ten actual photo-flame guitars, and when they came across my workbench they really stood out as looking exceptionally fake. It's like the difference between solid wood furniture and MDF furniture with wood-patterned melamine surface coverings: one looks like wood, and one looks like a shitty picture of wood.

That said, most of the salesmen I knew (especially the ones who had been selling since the '90s) were under the impression that those thin-veneered guitars were actually still photo-flame; they just assumed that the sales literature was lying to them when it said "flame maple top." The sales literature was right: it was a flame maple top... about a millimeter thick.

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Post by biliousfrog »

Foto-flame looks like crap in real life. Woods with natural flame, quilt, birdseye etc. have a depth and sheen that changes with the light, just like mother of pearl, granite, etc. It's the deep, pearlescent effect that makes these woods so desirable, not just the grain. Veneers also don't have quite the same impact because it's carving and shaping of the wood that adds to the 3D effect of the flame - you could use the same piece of flame on a Tele body and a PRS, one would look quite pretty, the other would look amazing.

To get the most out of flame, birdseye or quilt you ideally want to "wash" the finished wood with a darker tint, sand back gently (leaving the dark tint in the deep pores), then wash again with the finished tint (or leave it natural). The real magic happens when the laquer goes on - the whole thing with "pop".

I'm not a big fan of fancy wood guitars personally but they can look stunning in the flesh when the light highlights the natural ripples and curls of the wood. I'm very lucky to be good friends with an amazing luthier who has worked with some incredible exotic woods - it is certainly worth the extra money if it's going to be worked and finished correctly. This one was mind-blowing to look at, it almost made your eyes water: http://www.guytonguitars.com/rosewood-n ... lecut.html

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Post by copachino »

biliousfrog wrote:Foto-flame looks like crap in real life. Woods with natural flame, quilt, birdseye etc. have a depth and sheen that changes with the light, just like mother of pearl, granite, etc. It's the deep, pearlescent effect that makes these woods so desirable, not just the grain. Veneers also don't have quite the same impact because it's carving and shaping of the wood that adds to the 3D effect of the flame - you could use the same piece of flame on a Tele body and a PRS, one would look quite pretty, the other would look amazing.

To get the most out of flame, birdseye or quilt you ideally want to "wash" the finished wood with a darker tint, sand back gently (leaving the dark tint in the deep pores), then wash again with the finished tint (or leave it natural). The real magic happens when the laquer goes on - the whole thing with "pop".

I'm not a big fan of fancy wood guitars personally but they can look stunning in the flesh when the light highlights the natural ripples and curls of the wood. I'm very lucky to be good friends with an amazing luthier who has worked with some incredible exotic woods - it is certainly worth the extra money if it's going to be worked and finished correctly. This one was mind-blowing to look at, it almost made your eyes water: http://www.guytonguitars.com/rosewood-n ... lecut.html

are those guitars for real flamed??, its looks like the painting its flamed, but im so noob on that.

i got this beautiful Honduran mahogany, but its quite difficult to get pictured, somehow the flash of the camera changes the color, if you look from other angle you when differen color, its said that Honduras Mahagony show that always, but not so sure, it doesnt look like flamed, but its a real pink amazing color, but on the photo, shows a bit of flames(or what i thinks are flames), but im not so sure if its the light, or i have to make the grains pop out, since its real tight grain timber
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