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I've been spending a lot of time sitting around planning to build something again & try to make some improvements from my last attempt. I actually have a couple things midway progressed right now, but documentation has been really spotty and I feel that maybe making a build thread will help me stay on track.

Also who am I kidding, I have really missed this forum and getting to see everyone's projects for awhile. It has been especially nice to check in on build threads with all that is going on around us right now. But, before I derail myself even talking about any of that stuff, here is what I'm thinking for this project:

Going to be a neck through, fretless, headless 5 string bass.

I've slowly gathered some woods over the last couple years, mixed with some more standard hardwoods, with the intent of building so this is what I've come up with for the construction. These blanks were put together some time ago, so the pictures will start with what I have done at the moment. The neck is a 5 pc Mahogany (?) (Meranti?) (Have no idea as it was a reclaimed find) with Walnut.

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I think I added the shorter Walnut wings after realizing that it wouldn't be wide enough at the heel for 5 string spacing, whether or not it looks weird when the neck takes shape I will have to find out. The body wings, although I forgot to take a picture from the side are the same mystery-mahogany with a 1/4" piece of katalox on top & 1/4" of oak in between to give it some accent. I shaved a little of the top piece off on the upper right part of the top wing blank to see what it might look like.

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The fretboard is goncalo alves that I got a couple pieces of from this place near me that sells it as decking. I have read that it can be difficult to glue - same as with the katalox. I did the wings awhile ago and so far they are staying together - just gave the gluing surfaces a couple wipes with acetone before gluing & clamping up, one initial cleaning and then once immediately before applying glue.

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For whatever reason back when I cut these pieces out I thought it would be necessary to rough cut the fretboard blank to the tapered shape... Whether or not that is a mistake I suppose I'll find out when I get around to cutting the fret slots. Or rather the, line that's going to be filled in on the fretboard. It would probably look a lot classier with no slot cut at all, but I'm not really a bass wizard so I don't know how well I would be able to play it if I did that 😄

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 4/13/2020 at 7:32 AM, ScottR said:

Welcome back!

This is going to be fun.

SR

Thanks! I'm glad to be working on a project again 🙂

On 4/14/2020 at 12:17 PM, Norris said:

That's a lovely colour combination on the neck laminates 

I have always wanted to do one like this. I would also like to try the opposite configuration with the same woods.

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Posted (edited)

Some progress from the last couple weekends. Decided to grab some extra stuff when I got the truss rod for some guitar ideas that are kicking around.

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Making of some slot templates. I'm using these with a pin router setup I made last year. I've found it's better for some things than others - it's not fully calibrated/aligned so there is some compensation that needs to happen, but it does work.

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Then transfered to a thicker MDF piece for the actual template to be used:

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I had to attach the template slightly off of the center line on the neck blank, but was able to get it where it needed to be. 

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It is however, a lot more trustworthy when the guide pin is taken out and I can just use it with a bushing bit. The truss rod access is going to be at the heel area.

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Did the same on a guitar neck blank that has a purpose in mind. The guitar one somehow got botched a little bit as far as keeping things perfectly centered... will have to figure out some way down the road to fix the alignment issues on the router but I can live with it for now.

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Edited by djobson101
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Thankfully, by chance and not by design, the small walnut pieces won't live within the part of the neck that takes the tapered shape & I won't end up with weird little short walnut triangles at the heel.

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To my chagrin the thicknesses of the pieces in the body wings will not be identical because there is a little wormhole really close to the top of one of them, and I don't want to burn through it by sanding the top down. How I managed to get them this inconsistent is a mystery to me but I guess this happens with a fragmented work flow 😐 So before I glue the wings on I will have to run the thicker one through the drum sander to take material from the bottom. 

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Feel like it should have the ergonomic knee cut out thingy. Body template:

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Again lucked out with the neck blank, for now. When the neck profile has been done who knows what I'm going to have here.

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And rough cut the wings to get all the gluing surfaces next to each other. I kind of like the abstract look of it at this phase

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  • 2 weeks later...

Moving along with cutting the lines.

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It was at this point that I made an ill fated decision to just fill the lines with dust from the fretboard and try to wick superglue down into them. It looked nice initially, but as I got along to radiusing the fretboard there were a large number of areas where it did not penetrate very well at all and chunks of dust came right back out. An important lesson learned on that.IMG_4519.thumb.jpg.69a8dc31161173477b59e815ec0af66f.jpgIMG_4529.thumb.jpg.6ac12037d7983c3809570e646b6176eb.jpgOne other unfortunate happening was that when I trimmed the fretboard to size, it threw a little piece off the treble side bottom corner, so I just sanded round ends. You can see in this next picture one of the culprits of the ill fated fret line filling job:

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Gluing fretboard on, after a quick cleaning of the gluing surfaces.

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Cut some thickness from the back of the neck, moving toward shaping..

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I had really wanted to try this approach to shaping the neck after watching a couple fellows on YouTube use a handrail bit to profile a neck. All that was done was just copying the template that the neck was originally shaped with to a slab & add some little ramps to ease the bit into the cut. It went pretty quickly - a fair amount of TLC will be given to the heel once the wings are glued on, as well as up by the headpiece, but it was fun. 

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This is how it looks once initially done. The center of the neck will also get a little bit of smoothing out as the bit leaves a ridge:

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Which brought it to getting the wings glued on. Now I'm just looking forward to cutting the body shape so it will feel like it's (approaching) a further state of completion.

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The acetone was used only to wipe the gluing surfaces of the wings before applying glue - don't want to take any chances with the joining area between the katalox & the neck. I did the same to the fretboard beforehand. I don't have any other experience with gluing these woods where a listed characteristic is "gluing can be tricky". Are there any other approaches that can or should be taken for gluing them?

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Man you've built some nice looking jigs!

15 hours ago, djobson101 said:

The acetone was used only to wipe the gluing surfaces of the wings before applying glue - don't want to take any chances with the joining area between the katalox & the neck. I did the same to the fretboard beforehand. I don't have any other experience with gluing these woods where a listed characteristic is "gluing can be tricky". Are there any other approaches that can or should be taken for gluing them?

I've done the acetone wipe with success. The most success and best advice I can give is to sand your gluing surfaces again just prior to glue up. Katalox has never given me a problem if I've done that. Cocobolo has never given me a problem after doing that....and if anything will give you a problem it's cocobolo.

SR

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On 5/2/2020 at 2:34 PM, djobson101 said:

Feel like it should have the ergonomic knee cut out thingy. Body template:

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This shape is very cool and interesting. Maybe it's just me but I vaguely see the continental USA there...if I squint a little :)

17 hours ago, djobson101 said:

It was at this point that I made an ill fated decision to just fill the lines with dust from the fretboard and try to wick superglue down into them.

Curious as to why you did this at all ... educated me! 

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13 minutes ago, JayT said:

Maybe it's just me but I vaguely see the continental USA there

Now that you mention it, yes! Kudos to you recognizing it as according to some videos it can be a challenging task for many Americans.

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27 minutes ago, Bizman62 said:

it can be a challenging task for many Americans.

Good one, wish I had a zinger comeback -- but as an American I don't know much about Finland...unless the 'Helsinki Formula' counts?

Kind of related funny anecdote (geographically I guess) until recently my wife didn't believe that Estonia was real country...she thought it was made up for the movie 'Encino Man'

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As I had never heard about it I had to google for the Helsinki Formula and to my not so big surprise found out that it's a purely American product! Somehow the naming seems to me similar to printed clothing here: University of <a place in America> plus a year like '67 is always a good choice, or a couple of octagonal numbers with a name of some even imaginary American sports team like "Duckburg Flippers 81"

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I know I'm coming to this late, but I'm completely in awe of your router setup.. That looks like it could be a worthy addition to the man-cave! ..and I do have some plywood lying around... 🤔

Also love the fretboard. I'm toying with a similar idea for a "binding" line between the woods of my body lams.. interested to know how it stabilises(?). Given your troubles I don't know if epoxy rather than wenge dust/resin mix is a better idea..

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