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About Bearclaw

TOPBearclawSitkaJudyThreetZOOM TOPBearclawWaterfallKoaRosetteKit2ZOOM
Judy Threet guitar
bearclaw Sitka top
Cocobolo back & sides
Christian Schmid guitar
bearclaw Sitka top
waterfall Bubinga back & sides
Bearclaw, also known as hazelfichte is only found in softwoods. It is unusual in that the figure is very random. The pattern does not typically run deep into the billet, so it is common that the figure on one half of a top is not mirrored in the other (bookmatched) half. There are two basic kinds of bearclaw. The most common looks as if the wood were scratched, with long, squiggling "claw marks". The marks often run perpendicular to the grain. The second type shows shorter "striations", where the "claw marks" run in the general direction of the grain, are thinner and more numerous than the first type resulting in a fantastic shimmer.
Because each occurrence of bearclaw is unique, it can add to the individuality of the instrument. Many feel that this figure adds a small measure of added stiffness, so the guitar may have the potential for a stronger sound.

All of our bearclaw tops are quartersawn and stiff. They are graded out into three grades - High Figure, Medium Figure and Low Figure based mostly on the amount of bearclaw figure in the top. The high figure grade will exhibit the most bearclaw figure. The low figure grade will show more grain or color variation, or may be a clear top with less figuring than is expected in the higher grade. All are excellent top woods but, as would be expected, the higher grades have a slight visual/cosmetic edge.