ISLAND - First Bass(es) build.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by sargebaker, Jan 6, 2013.


  1. sargebaker

    sargebaker

    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal QC CA
    Disclosures:
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    Hello everyone! I was once a pretty regular poster on here. I've fallen somewhat out of the bass community in recent years and have been building a number of extra short scale piccolo basses over the last bit. Finally, it's time to get back to bassics (a huge part of my interest in lutherie came from right here)!

    I'm currently working on 3. Two are going to be in the style of The Fodera Garrison (Thanks to AJ Brown for helping with the guideline dimensions). The third is still up in the air, but it will be a more "traditional" design possibly based off of my baritone guitar shape. For now, the focus will be on the other two.

    Bass1
    Walnut body
    Mystery (Camphor or Thuya) burl top
    1pc Ash neck
    Birdseye Maple Fingerboard
    5 Strings, E-C
    Delano Soapbars (1 or 2, TBD)
    Hipshot Hardware

    Bass 2 (this will be my personal instrument)
    1 pc. Poplar (with some burl) Body.
    1pc. Ash neck
    Bloodwood Fretboard
    Hipshot Hardware
    5 String, tune E-C with drop tuner on the E
    2 Delano dual coil Soapbars.

    So far, I've drawn out the shape and made the template. Today I spent the day pushing wood through the bandsaw.
    The burl is the strangest smelling wood I've ever cut... some strange mix of Flowers, Cleaning products and Fennel... If anyone can somehow confirm what this stuff is, I'm all eyes.

    I think for this thread to be OK, this has to be a tutorial. If anyone has questions about my process I'll be happy to inform. At this stage there's not much I can say... pencil, bandsaw...

    So for now, enjoy the wood pron.

    The drawing
    [​IMG]

    The Poplar/Bloodwood
    [​IMG]

    Ash neck, Burl top, Birdseye board. Unfortunately I shook the cam and none of the figure shows on the birdseye. It's a pretty crazy board though!

    [​IMG]

    And here are 3 ash necks. one is a 1-piece headstock, the other 2 will be scarf jointed.

    [​IMG]

    Hope you guys enjoy! It feels great and somewhat odd to be posting here after lurking so much all those years ago. I never thought I'd make it!
  2. Splods

    Splods

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2012
    Location:
    Adelaide, SA
    Looking good, I'm along for the ride.
  3. ctmullins

    ctmullins Registered 8er Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    Location:
    MS Gulf Coast
    Very cool, and congratulations! I'll be watching these. :)
  4. sargebaker

    sargebaker

    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal QC CA
    Disclosures:
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    Thanks, all.
    I forgot to mention they will be 33" scale, and bolt-on construction.
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  6. sargebaker

    sargebaker

    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal QC CA
    Disclosures:
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    I've been out of the shop all week, helping a fellow mate get his orders out on time, which means I've made VERY little progress on the bass.

    The (still mysterious, still stinky - seriously, a week later my dust room still smells) burl is drying under weight.

    I scarf joined the 2 necks that required it. To do this I simply draw the cut, cut it on the bandsaw, and 9 out of 10 times, I tune it with a block plane (I've gotten pretty fast at it). I have a toothed blade for tricky woods, like birdseye. On occasion I'll use the belt sander. I use hot hide glue for this joint, because if the joint is well prepped (and I make sure they always are!), it saves me having to fuss around with the setup to prevent the pieces from sliding, the joint holds itself together. This is my first time doing the scarf joint under the fretboard, I've always done it at the head.
    [​IMG]

    I also ordered a 6 string 33" scale bloodwood FB from LMI. the thin slice I cut off will serve as a template for the others. I use a fence on the table saw, with a "pin" (xacto blade cutoff) that references off the fretslots.

    You can also see what will be a 3-piece walnut body in the background.
    [​IMG]
  7. roberthabraken

    roberthabraken

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Subscribed, nice choice of woods. Looks promising.
  8. skeels

    skeels

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2013
    I concur. Must try blood wood one of these days. ..
  9. sargebaker

    sargebaker

    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal QC CA
    Disclosures:
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    I try to use domestic and reclaimed woods and as much as possible, but despite that, Bloodwood is a favorite of mine. It's stiff, hard, and beautiful (and from not TOO far away and not particularly endangered to my knowledge, so...)! It can be quite brittle though, so you need to be careful with it sometimes.

    This is an electric tiple I finished earlier this year. To my knowledge it is only the 2nd electric tiple in existence! Dig that bound bloodwood board.

    [​IMG]
  10. RedMoses

    RedMoses Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
    Location:
    NYC
    Very Cool! Sub'd
  11. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD

    Joined:
    May 20, 2005
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    Bloodwood is sexy stuff. Smells great when worked too.

    Dig that SC bass design.
  12. sargebaker

    sargebaker

    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal QC CA
    Disclosures:
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    Thanks. I may need to re-work the slope at the back of the neck, I'm not sure it'll give enough access as is.
  13. sargebaker

    sargebaker

    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal QC CA
    Disclosures:
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    This is the pretty boring part of the build. Necks are processed, truss rod slots routed. Next task is to shape the rear swoop (I use a fence and the belt sander), glue on head veneers, route, slot fretboards and glue them on...

    [​IMG]

    The body that's being clamped up is 3-pc Cherry/Ash/Cherry with bloodwood accents between each piece. The shape will more traditional/vintage, a modification/re-scaling of my baritone guitar shape (which is pretty much a slimmed down Dano) [​IMG]

    Specs for this bass will be:
    Bloodwood fretboard,
    5-string B-G, 35" (unless he decides on 33") scale.
    2 Delano Soapbars SBC5HE/S w/ passive vol/vol/tone config.
    Hipshot B bridge and Ultralight tuners in satin chrome.
  14. sargebaker

    sargebaker

    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal QC CA
    Disclosures:
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    So, this is the first and last time I use this stuff (Camphor Burl) My shop has perma-stink from processing it (really, it just wont go away!). And it was murder on the thickness sander.

    Also, putting it in the vac bag next time.

    [​IMG]


    Here's the more "traditional" shaped build. Cherry/Bloodwood/Ash/Bloodwood/Cherry
    [​IMG]
  15. sargebaker

    sargebaker

    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal QC CA
    Disclosures:
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    Head veneers. This is my first time routing them to shape BEFORE gluing them on. I see alot of guys do this... after doing it, I gotta say, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense (at least for the way I build).

    [​IMG]

    I also slotted fretboards. I slot on the table saw, where I have a fence that registers off a template.I use an offcut of fretboard as the template. Usually I taper the fretboard first, using a plane and use a fence with a corresponding taper (so that the blade cuts perpendicular to the board's axis). Because it's a little different on my bass, I use a straight fence and will plane in the taper tomorrow.

    [​IMG]

    The template sits a mm or 2 in from the edge of the fretboard, that way the table saw fence registers the fret slots but references the fretboard itself.

    ...And voila.

    [​IMG]
  16. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2005
    Location:
    Southwest Michigan
    Disclosures:
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    Well you are sure returning with a Bang Sarge.....Awsome stuff, and glad to see ya back:cool:
  17. sargebaker

    sargebaker

    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal QC CA
    Disclosures:
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    So once my fretboard is tapered, I align it on the neck, clamp it where it needs to be and glue on those little wood nubbins to register its place. I use a dab of medium CA on the outer edge (so as to not come in contact w/ the fretboard) They pop right off with a knock once it's time to remove them.

    [​IMG]
    You can (just barely) see the aluminium tube side-dots.

    Spread glue, slide on fretboard clamp and....
    [​IMG]
  18. sargebaker

    sargebaker

    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal QC CA
    Disclosures:
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    Rough carved all the (3) necks today. I use a spokeshave to quite aggressively hog out the primary facets/bulk of the material. I then refine it all with rasps, files and a long sanding block.

    Note the shiny aluminium position markers.

    Also, you can't really see it clearly in the picture, but I use a drill bit to define the "volute" or thumb stop. It leaves a very crisp, sharp transition to the neck. I believe this trick comes from Somogyi. It is my first time trying it.

    [​IMG]

    QUESTION: This is also my first time NOT binding fretboards... what do you guys use to fill the slots on the sides? I really dislike working with epoxy and try to avoid it. I was thinking tinted Timber Mate may work well...
  19. reverendrally

    reverendrally

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Location:
    Sydney Australia
    You can use CA glue to fill if you like, but I've found by the time the CA is in for the frets, it's all filled. Then oiling or laquering tends to fill whatever gap is left.
  20. sargebaker

    sargebaker

    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal QC CA
    Disclosures:
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    ...WOW! I'M still here and still working. I got caught up in a wood-buying binge, and other contract work and as a result, bass work was slow and almost without photo documentation. All the holes and cavities are cut, this one is about a day away from having the body into finish.

    [​IMG]

    To cut the neck pocket, I align the neck on the body. Check it over like 79 times, clamp it in place, check it some more, score around the neck with a chisel or knife, then tape/clamp on 2 straight boards of wood" Remove the neck, triple check the fit and alignment, put 2 layers of tape on the inside edge of the boards and then it's off to the routers

    ... and voila!

    [​IMG]

    And the pickups showed up. They're expensive. They're the best.
    [​IMG]
  21. sargebaker

    sargebaker

    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
    Location:
    Montreal QC CA
    Disclosures:
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    Here's another:

    1-pc Poplar burl body. Bloodwood on Ash. This one is mine.

    [​IMG]

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