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On 6/15/2021 at 12:45 AM, ScottR said:

That's some pretty dang clean jigsaw work!

SR

Why thank you!

 

Tragedy struck - found a big ol' crack in the neck. I was removing material to make neck thickness using standard hand saw, and I reckon I fudged it. Anyways, by calculation I figured all but 0.5mm of this will be removed in neck carving.

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I also did the truss rod slot at this point, just to make sure that there was still ample timber behind the rod.

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Onwards and upwards, prepared for the hidden neck-through top-to-neck join by routing a step into the body.

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Cavities! Doesn't walnut just smell great? 

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Spent far too long deliberating which end of my maple top blank had the best figure.

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Cut rough shape and f-holes, and arranged for a sneaky preview.

IMG20210519005203.thumb.jpg.856d8b85a9abbe4d07ad157f13fea3d5.jpg

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This looks phenomenal! -  yet another builder who makes me embarrassed of my (so called) skiils - can't wait to see this fully baked. 

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On 6/18/2021 at 7:03 AM, JayT said:

This looks phenomenal! -  yet another builder who makes me embarrassed of my (so called) skiils - can't wait to see this fully baked. 

Thanks mate! I have no skills, just trial and error. I didn't go to school!

 

Cut a cavity hole and cover from the back. Used an offcut of walnut to make the cover - used my router-thicknesser sled to take 32mm of walnut down to 4mm, cut to shape, then traced that to an MDF template with a marking knife, and routed it into the back of the bass. Using another template stepped in about 5mm from the edges, I routed that through to the hollow cavity.

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The underside of the top also got a slight cavity. The top maple is 10mm thick, which is roughly the same as what Warwick claim their top is. Having never seen or held an Infinity in real life, I had to do some guesswork - and I reckon their top is thinned. And then I realised that this isn't actually a Warwick Infinity build, this is my damn build, and I'll make it how I want. And I wanted a thinner top.

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Glue time! The top is in two bookmatched halves, which due to the camber of the body I couldn't reliably join together prior to gluing down. So I chamfered a 5' angle into each joining edge using sandpaper stuck to a ceramic tile and a very steady hand, then went for the idea that clamping both down and together (with F-clamps across the waist) would hold everything true and solid. Hence the long cauls either side of the centerline, had to make sure that join would match up invisibly.

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Next up, I'll be cracking out the terrifying large-radius router bits.

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On 6/15/2021 at 11:37 PM, Akula said:

Why thank you!

 

Tragedy struck - found a big ol' crack in the neck. I was removing material to make neck thickness using standard hand saw, and I reckon I fudged it. Anyways, by calculation I figured all but 0.5mm of this will be removed in neck carving.

IMG20210206191536.thumb.jpg.ff34e43661a186b7b6568126bee28cb6.jpg

 

I also did the truss rod slot at this point, just to make sure that there was still ample timber behind the rod.

IMG20210220125820.thumb.jpg.a274c986d1704cd5d657603c19c3e64d.jpg

 

Onwards and upwards, prepared for the hidden neck-through top-to-neck join by routing a step into the body.

IMG20210207200829.thumb.jpg.620dbad962aa5dffd01018a5634077ed.jpg

 

Cavities! Doesn't walnut just smell great? 

IMG20210518164350.thumb.jpg.e45c0cb5426b29ec40678326f50ea1ef.jpg

 

Spent far too long deliberating which end of my maple top blank had the best figure.

IMG20210518190047.thumb.jpg.5417fbd739827a70f1b396de5dc0d984.jpg

 

Cut rough shape and f-holes, and arranged for a sneaky preview.

IMG20210519005203.thumb.jpg.856d8b85a9abbe4d07ad157f13fea3d5.jpg

Nice!This beauty will play!

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13 hours ago, Bizman62 said:

There's a lot similar to one of my builds, but your build quality looks much tidier!

I doubt mine's tidier - in fact, are you posting that build of yours? I could definitely use the read and learn from you!

 

I spent a fair amount of time researching the best way to do a roundover. The two things I'm looking for are consistency, and more importantly, safety. The safest way would be hand tools, the most consistent way would be a router bit. I've heard some scary things about large radius router bits, but in the end I went with a 19mm roundover bit. This thing weighs about half a kilo!

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First up, I went around the edge with a 45' chamfer bit. Took a bit of mathematics to work out how large a chamfer I could cut, but the idea was to remove as much material using a safer bit as I possibly could.

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Sharp eyes will notice I made a new base for my router. That was because my gigantic roundover bit was a bees-dick too large to fit in my standard router base! At this point, alarm bell should ring loud and clear - a bit this size is most certainly designed for a shaper table, not a handheld plunge router. 

 

I carried on, however, and it went okay! Climb-cutting was necessary at points, which was nothing short of absolutely terrifying, but lots of clamps and heavy hands got the job done. Low RPM's are essential for a large radius bit, so I took many passes to remove as little material per pass. I would not recommend doing it this way unless you have a firm and personal connection with your router - every slight vibration and change in rpm got me backing off from the cut, lest I blow the work piece, the bit, or myself to oblivion. 

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Still got a little tear-out, though. Ah well, I'll sand it out. I'm just happy I still have my fingers.

IMG20210528141557.thumb.jpg.128e5478ba8c98cf26142eb0784def96.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Ended up working pretty nuts for the last month, which denied me the chance to work on this. Not that I'm complaining too much - I was very lucky to still have an income when pretty much the entire of Sydney is locked down, and now I'm left with a decent savings account and the foreseeable future at home. I've built a shed in my garden (and thrown that godforsaken trestle table in the bin), and tomorrow I'll get going with finishing off this build! Which means I'd better play catch-up and post up all my previous progress...

 

I glued up some spare bookmatched maple leftover from the top, and routered(sic) it to thickness for use as a headstock veneer. This is another reason why I'd love to have a band saw, because I basically turned 10mm stock into 2mm stock by transforming 8mm of it into pulverized dust format. With a bandsaw, I'm sure I could've gotten at least two or three useable pieces out of the stock. Problem being, I would only have the space for small bandsaw in my new workshop, probably one too small to be of much use with resawing. Might have to just practice more with my hand saw.

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Did the same trick on the very end of my oversized fretboard blank, so I'd have some nice thin cocobolo for a truss rod cover.

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Righto, it's been a looong time since I slotted a fretboard! My board wasn't exactly square, and I only noticed that fact halfway through marking up. After a fair amount of swearing, I flipped it over and starting again, this time using two parallel lines and a centerline instead of using the side of the board and a set square. One thing I picked up recently through some Instagram video was the idea to mark up using a knife instead of a pencil, reason being the saw will easily follow the scored lines and result in some nice tidy work. Never done it before, but I found it really useful.

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I'd forgotten how much fun it was, measuring everything five times and holding my breath on each draw of the saw. I don't find it to be the most relaxing part of the job, but it's definitely satisfying to compare the fret distance table to the digital calipers and find you're bloody spot-on.

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Glued and trimmed the headstock veneer - oh dear god, how that glue line shows up! I know exactly what the reason is: pure shoddy craftsmanship on my part, and no excuse. As for how to fix it... well, I could remove it and put another veneer on, but as previously mentioned I turned the rest of my maple to router-dust. Another option would be to paint the headstock black like how Warwick do, but I've always found that to be the most unattractive part of their basses. 

IMG20210602160843.thumb.jpg.fefcd84773aaed0d456929d2fa3c4c99.jpg

 

Anybody got some hot tips on how to fix an awful glue-line in situ? 

 

Last thing before glue-up, I cut a curve into the back end of the fretboard. This curve is part of the infamous Infinity hidden neck-through join, so I should've really used a router and template and gotten the neck, fretboard, and maple top all perfectly cut and fitted.... But instead, I went freehand with my jigsaw.

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Did I remember to put the truss rod in? 

IMG20210602170831.thumb.jpg.194eaaaad299bdb38a0b22965aa649a6.jpg

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20 hours ago, Akula said:

Anybody got some hot tips on how to fix an awful glue-line in situ?

The only trick I know of is an inlay. It can be something as simple as a strip of 0.55 mm contrasting veneer (like the Queensland maple of walnut) in a cavity you can make with your fret slot saw. Or route a bit wider slot for something fancier like a strip of something shiny like abalone or texturous like a piece of cord... Having seen your gaffa tape build I know you have quite some imagination!

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On 8/1/2021 at 5:50 PM, Bizman62 said:

The only trick I know of is an inlay.

Of all the skills involved in luthiery, this is one of the many that I have little experience in. That doesn't mean I can't give it a shot though! I am rather hesitant of taking tools to this headstock to try and solve a problem, and creating one much worse, but then nothing is gained without calculated risk. I'll think upon it! 

 

Anyways, luckily I did remember to put that truss rod inside (although I sat bolt upright in the middle of the night wondering whether I had or not).

Next job was all about getting the neck ready for carving, namely, thicknessing properly. A sled constructed of an MDF base and two pine rails cut to the correct angle provided a base for my router to ride along. Because of the size of the router base, I could only get to within about 60mm of that all-important heel transition, but I'll get the rest of that later with the grinder.

IMG20210603132850.thumb.jpg.8c5d3eb2497bd1671cf81ea06208b9f9.jpg

 

So it's time to radius the board, using my homemade sanding block. Mask and gloves on - I don't want to end up allergic to my own cocobolo fretboard!

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Fret bending, with another homemade DIY abomination I call my fret bender. The paper clips are simply there as spacers to allow the fret tang to ride between the washers, which I could've made look a lot better by simply putting a smaller washer between the two bigger ones - but I forgot to pick up some smaller washers that day at Bunnings. Excuse my punk-ass looking device, but it works!

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Gave the slots a quick flick of the ol' saw to get the edges back to proper depth after radiusing, and starting whacking frets in. One part of this process I must convey - I cut the fretwire down to frets, drilled 24 holes in a block of scrap, numbered them, and then foolishly placed the block on top of the guitar body. When I gave the first fret a solid hit with the hammer, and all the frets flew out of the block and went all over the garden floor! Bollocks, guess it has been a while...

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Right onto neck carving. I tend to use rasps on sections at the nut and close to the heel, and try to get a solid profile. Then, I'll hold the rasp with a hand at either end, and push the rasp sideways down the neck. Not sure if this is a generally orthodox approach, but it does remove enough material to call it a very basic neck within about half an hour by hand.

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This shot shows the very trapezoidal look that I ended up taking. As much as I know I can remove material to "shape" a neck in a short period of time, I know that I have ample time to re-visit the shape. Besides, there will be a lot of sandpaper to see before this thing gets strings, so I call it a day on shaping.

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2 hours ago, Akula said:

Of all the skills involved in luthiery, this is one of the many that I have little experience in.

You're not alone! The only inlays I've done so far are round dots on the fretboard. And side dots, of course.

2 hours ago, Akula said:

The paper clips are simply there as spacers to allow the fret tang to ride between the washers

As I already said, you've got some imagination. Adding to that a good amount of perseverance! -Have you asked your mother or grandmothers if they ever knew some guy named McGyver?

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1 minute ago, Bizman62 said:

You're not alone! The only inlays I've done so far are round dots on the fretboard. And side dots, of course.

Side dots are the bane of my existence... Why must a brad-point bit wander, on an uneven surface at an awkward angle? Why??

I actually had a close look at the headstock glue line today, and it appears that my veneer is thicker on one side than the other, just by a fraction of a mil. I'm not denying the fact that there is a glue line, and if anything this proves I'm even worse a craftsman than I was before, but now my plan is to double-sided tape a square of sandpaper to a ceramic tile and sand that headstock totally flat, and see what it looks like. If an even surface makes the glue line acceptable, I may just let it slide. If not, I'll take a crash course in inlay work and grab the Dremel!

Thanks again for the advice mate.

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Everything in this post was done on the last day I had off before starting that big run of work. Six weeks ago. I was definitely rushing, definitely trying to just get it done, before the onslaught of sleep deprivation and stress and maniacal stage crew. 

I had a really, really good feeling about this part of the build. I'd overcome most of the "difficult" bits, and all I had to really do before finishing was the bridge, tailpiece and pickup routing, a ton of sanding, then job's a good'un, right?

 

Well, got most of it right.

IMG20210605184013.thumb.jpg.e0b7eeda0db8dd13368ef7eab3c044e4.jpg

 

And then, I had just one clamp on the template for the last one, and the whole thing slipped and went sideways by about 3 or 4mm. 

IMG20210605174047.thumb.jpg.50988243fcbed6f2faf2d9db673b7b84.jpg

 

Honestly, the photo makes it looks a lot worse than it was. Funny how they do that. I was lucky in the fact that I noticed pretty quickly - another few mil and it would've blown sideways through to the chambering. I cut a piece of maple to size and glued it in with wood glue mixed with dust. Worked pretty well. 

Tried getting the corners of the pickup routes to size with a 6mm bit, but of course that bit lacks a bearing, and I was conscious of the risk of burning the template. It didn't come close radius of the pickups, anyway, so I cracked out the chisel.

 IMG20210609163343.thumb.jpg.d3f6216ede3c0a1d4427bde0d348aa06.jpg

 

And with that, I packed up my tools, definitely did not sweep up quite all of the sawdust, and put the project upstairs for a month. 

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Smaller lip and spur drill bits can be problematic as there's not much meat to make a good centred point and concentric brads. I centrepunch mind and just use a fine twist drill bit. I'd recommend trying out a pin vise which is a small finger drilling tool. Most of the work is in centring the punch.

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22 hours ago, Bizman62 said:

Have you tried drilling backwards at least to start with? That way the drill doesn't chew in.

That's a great idea! I'll be giving that one a go tomorrow.

 

22 hours ago, Prostheta said:

Smaller lip and spur drill bits can be problematic as there's not much meat to make a good centred point and concentric brads. I centrepunch mind and just use a fine twist drill bit. I'd recommend trying out a pin vise which is a small finger drilling tool. Most of the work is in centring the punch.

Also a solid idea. I guess, in the grand scheme of things, using a high-powered electric drill to excavate a few cubic millimeters of material can be quite the overkill. I'll add a pin vise to my list of goodies to buy with the next shopping run! Incidentally, I remember my father had a collection of those when I was a teenager running amok in his garage - he spent his professional life designing PCB's for microelectronics companies, and I understand the pin vise is also used for drilling out holes in circuit boards. 

 

Drilled the headstock for tuner holes using a 13mm spade bit, with sacrificial ply clamped to the underside. My spade bits are fairly new and thus still mostly sharp, but it's always a mission stopping vibrations from causing an oval hole. 

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Now, Warwick's tuners seem to measure in at 13.8mm. I don't have a 14mm spade bit, and, more to the point, I don't yet have a drill press to ensure a non-oval hole. So I went with the safe option - drill a smaller hole, and ream it just a touch. 

Rolled up a sheet of 120 grit around a pencil.....

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Stuff it through the tuner-hole, and then remove the pencil. The roll of sandpaper now wants to unravel, and that keeps the paper perpendicular to the surface of the headstock, and making contact all around the inside of the hole. A coupla good strokes up and down and all around the place, and I've got a neat 13.9mm hole. The tuners now "click" into place.

IMG20210802112830.thumb.jpg.1af3ecf0ffeef23308102c856a13d53b.jpg

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