Bass of pieces (four string bolt on)

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Jisch, Dec 12, 2015.

  1. I spent an hour with it last night tuning up the shape, it's gained some curves. I'll edit even more as I cut it out, it looks like the holidays (and a bike ride) will get in the way of progress today, hopefully I'll get in the shop tomorrow to finalize the shape and get the neck mounted.

    It's probably a bit hard to see since it's just pencil, but here's the current shape:
  2. JayGunn

    JayGunn Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2010
    Chapel Hill NC
    Late to the voting party, I also like the rosewood better. And it ages better too. Subscribed...
    Jisch likes this.
  3. I procrastinated more holiday stuff and spent an hour and half in the shop this afternoon.

    I got the inserts for the neck done, I used beeswax and they did go in easily, but I'm having problems with them pulling out. I'm going to try to soak the holes with CA glue, not a big deal, but annoying after the first two sets of them I installed went in pretty flawlessly (I thought I had this skill nailed). I'll get it figured out.

    I cut the body close to the final shape and did a bunch of sanding with the oscillating drum sander (one of my favorite tools). I love the way the sides of the bass are constantly changing as you go around it, laminating this way adds a lot of interest to the sides.

    Lower body:

    Upper body 3/4's view:


    Top view:

    Next up I'll get the knobs located, get the headstock cut and do more carving of the body, then round over. It will be slow progress for the next few days though, this procrastination is going to catch up to me big time. I'll probably edit the shape a bit more too as I stare at it over the next few days.
    BoogieZK and Why Nautilus‽ like this.
  4. The problem with my inserts was as stupid as they come: I didn't make the holes deep enough for the screws I bought. They were bottoming out inside the neck and pushing the inserts out. Ugh. I got them reset with epoxy, I'll get some shorter screws.
  5. I resolved the insert issue by buying new screws. I ended up using CA glue to stabilize the inserts, all is good now.

    Santa was very good to me and I got a new router (my first), based on recommendations here and Amazon reviews I got a Porter Cable with both a fixed and plunge base. Given my limited experience with routers I didn't fully understand which base I really wanted. I could have gotten away with just the fixed base I think. My father's router that I've been using up until now has both in one (and doesn't do either great) so I didn't know which one I needed.

    I am extremely lucky that my wife supports me so much in everything I do, it's not just the router, but she helps me a lot with design ideas and my never ending discussions about the bass I'm working on and one's I'm planning.

    I rounded over the bass using a 1/2" roundover bit in my new router, it's so much smoother than my dad's, I think he deserves a new one at my next opportunity (he has also been extremely helpful along the way). I also drilled the holes for the controls.

    I love rounding over, it turns it from a plank into an instrument.

    I took another piece of firewood that had some spalting in it and made a cover. When I was cutting the hole for the control cavity a few days back the template base from my dad's router broke and the bit wandered into the side a bit, so this is not my best cover, but it still looks ok.

    I cut the headstock too:

    My ever supporting wife said this is her favorite bass I've made so far and is suggesting I load it with expensive hardware. I highly doubt I'll do that but we'll see.

    Next up: lots of sanding.
    ethikz, Photobassist and GKon like this.
  6. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom

    Feb 17, 2013
    Albuquerque, NM
    It's looking great! I agree about the roundover.
    Jisch likes this.
  7. I added the belly contour this afternoon - I wish I had planned for the laminates to land right where they did, it looks awesome. Lots more sanding, but I could be putting the first coat of oil on tomorrow depending on how things go.


    By the way - does anyone else find cutting the belly contour scary? I drew it on and it seemed like I was taking WAY too much off, in the end it looked good, but there were some moments of doubt for sure.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2015
  8. weather is crap today so no bike ride this morning, which meant I got a couple of hours to spend with the sandpaper and my new bass. I think I might have taken off more skin than wood, but it looks great. Tung oil this afternoon!



    Pretty happy with how it looks now!
  9. I used a flashlight and sun to find the rough spots and marked them with a pencil:

    ...and filled in a few worm holes with CA and sawdust:

    After making sure everything was good (it never is), I hit it with the first coat of tung oil. I usually use Formby's but I couldn't find any so I'm using Minwax this time around. So far so good. The body sucked up the tung oil pretty good.


    kkaarrll, zeegler and Why Nautilus‽ like this.
  10. Small update without pictures - I got four coats on yesterday and flattened it out with steel wool this morning. It's looking pretty good. I should be able to get another 3 or 4 coats on today, final coat maybe tonight, probably tomorrow morning. I'm hoping I can get a uniform look, but the different woods absorb the tung oil differently. As a bonus once I hit the neck with oil I can see that it's actually birdseye maple (very small "eyes", but it is birdseye).

    I got a nut blank cut out, I'll go drill it this afternoon.

    I should have it put together before the new year.
    GKon and Why Nautilus‽ like this.
  11. One more update: I've got probably 8-10 coats of Tung Oil on with a few sand backs with steel wool and one wet sand with tung oil in there for smoothness. I see some spots that should be sanded better, with all the different woods in this one it's hard to see before I put the finish on. I will adjust that for the fiver on the way. I guess looking at each piece of wood individually would be best. I just put on the final coat, I think, I'll give it a hard look in the morning. I guess in some ways I should just sand it all back and take care of those problems, I'll think about it overnight, but I'll probably just build as is.

    I'm going to get going on the fiver neck tomorrow.
  12. How is the Minwax tung oil working for you? I've only ever used Formby's, as well, but Minwax is easier to find for me.
  13. As far as I can tell it's pretty much the same stuff. I've decided to complete the build today, I'll post pictures of that as I go.
    eightyearsapril likes this.
  14. And so it begins 20151229_085804_zpszkn7vtbt.jpg
    Why Nautilus‽ and lbridenstine like this.
  15. I found the pickup cavities were a bit tight, while trying to rectify that I hit the top with the Dremel, sand back time. All good, part of the process sometimes
  16. Crusher47

    Crusher47 Tattoo'ed Freak

    Apr 12, 2014
    Fort Worth, TX
    Looks great!!
    Jisch likes this.
  17. Before "disaster" struck:

    Shielding the control cavity:

    Bridge mounted:

    I sanded it back and it's twice as smooth as it was the first time around, ultimately this is going to do good things for the finish, should delay me no more than 48 hours (not that I have any kind of deadline).
    kkaarrll likes this.
  18. I'm 3 coats in on the second round here, things are looking good, much better than the first time around. When I look REALLY close I still see some small areas that are not perfect, I need to figure out a way to look closer while sanding.
  19. Harry Cahyadi

    Harry Cahyadi Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2013
    Clayton, VIC, Australia
    C Basses Owner & Builder
    It is probably too late now, but for your next builds, you can spot those sanding imperfections by wiping mineral spirits. That way, you can fix those before putting the finish on.

    All the best.
  20. Yeah, that's a good idea. I guess I'd have to do that several times to find them all. I need to work harder at it for sure!
    kkaarrll likes this.
  21. Primary

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