Speed Racer Bass
Not all of my basses get named right away but after gluing up the neck it seemed obvious to me. After the sale of my last build I went to my trust wood store "Highland Hardwoods of Brentwood, NH" and bought a few different boards. Padauk, Walnut, Maple, Tigerwood, and Purpleheart. Then with a sandwich style body I mind I set about slicing some layers. I'll describe how I go about this using my 3 different power tools to obtain book matched top and back plates. But first a picture to start things off.
I start with 6" wide boards planed on both side. (tool #1, a 12.5 in delta planer). I then set by tablesaw (tool #2, an old Rockwell 10") to cut along the center width of the board. I start by making about a 3/4" cut one each side. Careful to keep the same side against the fence. I continue to increase the depth of the cut until I'm left with a web in the center of the board about an 1" or less. A word of safety here. If you cut to deep the board will warp and pinch the blade and send the wood back your way. Also its a general good idea not to extend the height of the blade above the top of the fence. Once I've cut what I can on the table saw I move to the band saw (tool #3 an old 10" Rockwell). Using a thin blade 3/16" blade I cut the web. Care must be taken to keep the board vertical and only allow the bandsaw blade to cut the web. You'll know pretty quick if you go from cutting an inch of wood to cutting 6 inches. After I have my 2 pieces in hand it back to the planer to clean up the cuts and admire the book matched slices of wood. A 7/8" board yields for me 2 bookmatched 1/4" boards after surface planning and the table saw. Not the most efficient but low cost (resaw bandsaws are very expensive)
Not sure if it's just me, but I can't see your picture.
My apologies, I've been making more sawdust than BITS. I think I've figure it out now. :bassist:
Next step was to cut the neck blank. I'm going with woods to match the body. I like to stick to the rule of 3. I try not to use more than 3 different major types of wood. So for the neck I cut five layers, 2 each of birdseye maple, 2 of black walnut, and the center is a wide strip of padauk. The 2 maple pieces have there grains symmetric to each other.
Now for the glue up, For both the body and the neck I guide pin holes so that once things are glued up and in my clamps they won't slide out of alignment.
I have similar clamp for the body. I use an old machinists equation for clamping force based on a dry nut and bolt. I'll look it up and provide some details in the next post. I use a torque wrench to apply even pressure for gluing.
So lots of gluing. I went back and forth on sanding versus planning for glued surfaces. I came across a number of articles on a study performed by the plywood industry. They did a nice job of investigating exactly this question.
The thing that convinced me to go with planed surfaces was a set of photos and descriptions at the wood cellular level. Basically sanding rips and tears the wood cells at the gluing surface. This creates a weak layer at the glue joint. The planed surface left more cell walls intact. I use titebond III and it works at the cellular level.
In reality both work well with good clean flat surfaces and proper clamping pressure. The bottle says 250 psi clamping pressure. So interestingly enough you get about 1200 psi from a 6 to 8 " clamp or pipe clamps. So if you divide up 1200 by 250 to 300 you need to place clamps every couple of inches to get the clamping pressure.
So again, using planed gluing surfaces I glued the 2 body halves together.
So now you can see the racing stripe neck blank that has caused me to call this build the speed racer bass.
After gluing I planed both front and back of the body.
and the back....
I'm catching up with my post here. I'm currently at the stage of cutting the neck. I've cut and routed the edges of the body. I'll post those soon.
I've decided to go with morado for a fret board. So here are some pics of were I'm currently at with the build. The body was cut using a bandsaw. cleaned up on the belt sander and for the tight spots a half round rasp then multiple passes on the router table with a 1/2" radius bit for nice round edges.
Next step is choose a scale and measure out fret positions.
I'm still deciding between 32" or 34" scale. This bass will be a 4 string.
It really reminds me of my set-in construction and I also like the body shape and wood combo... great stuff! :)
Thanks. I recognize your stuff. From ebay I think. Very nice. Balanced shapes. Well proportioned.
So. What does everyone think. 32, 33, or 34" scale. i'm thinking 33 with 5/8" string spacing at the bridge and a nut width of 1 & 1/2".
Very nice so far.
I'm actually building a multiscale at the mo with a 33" B string and a 31" C string.
I'm expecting it to be as comfy as the 32" basses if not more.
Ok. I'm almost convinced. A multiscale 33/31 sounds nice. How do you space the strings. I measure string spacing edge to edge.
So... I'm I . I've done a little reading up. Looks like the 7th fret could be straight.
So Its been slow with the holidays but I rough cut the neck blank. Here are a few pics. The headstock angle is 14 degrees if anyone is curious.
Here's a picture of the grain orientation:
I'm still thinking about what scale. I had myself convinced to go with a multi-scale but I'm thinking a narrow thin neck with a 34" scale would play nice.
Finally got back to building after getting slightly sidetracked with this.....
.....hummm, maybe by summer I'll have it complete and won't be cutting frets by hand.
So to catch up on the build, I've slotted the fretboard ... went traditional with a 34" scale... zero fret out to 31. So when cut off this will be a 30 fret bass like the others I've built.
Slotted the neck for a dual action truss rod. And using pieces left over from the body cut book matched padauk/walnut headstock wings.
After that I glued the fretboard onto the neck blank and clamped it down, with nice and even straight and flat pressure. I'm very glad I took the time to make this clamp.
Moving along, after unclamping and some stock removal and belt sanding.....I took the end that was cut off of the neck and did a little stress testing to test my glue strength...
placed on the floor and struck with a hammer .... here are 2 after hammer picks.
This photo shows were the various woods snapped apart. None of the breaks were at the glue line or at the wood surface. and for the final picture of my destruction testing...yup, had to hit it again with the hammer.....
Anyway back to the build.
So here are a couple pics of were the build is at currently. I'm ready to square up the back of the neck and sides.
So....That's were I'm at. Enjoy.
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