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"Bungee" bass progress

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Don Harris, Jul 18, 2007.

  1. I bent the c-bouts on a bending form with a heat blanket and then did an upper bout today on the pipe. They are dry clamped to lock in the shape.

    One of the "C"s shifted in the mold and set up a little crooked. I checked it several times but while tightening the clamps it moved. I didn't see it under the heat blanket and aluminum bending straps until after it had cooled, so that took a little time on the bending iron to straighten out and clamp into the mold. Also, I build some extra curve into the bending form to account for spring-back, but it didn't spring back much at all. So I also had to touch that up. I'm clamping using bungee, oak dowels and fitted clamping cauls. Seems to work ok. If the bungee on one side slips out of my hand while the other side is tight, it can crack the ribs where they overhang the mold. That happened on some practice wood, but I've kind of got a system now. I enjoyed bending on the pipe, but I think I'm using too much water, as I'm getting some cross grain wavyness. It's not too bad though. I put the bend at the neck block a little off at first, and unbending and re-bending is a pain to get smooth. Now I'm a lot more careful to mark the bends first.

    Getting the ribs to thickness has been frustrating. They're starting at a little over 3mm. If I plane aggressively, it can tend to "bite" and leave some deep blade marks. If I'm conservative, I can plane forever and not seem to make any progress. I measured the shavings and they were .04mm. No wonder it was taking so long. I think it's just a matter of figuring out when to switch from going after it with a #4 to using a scraper plane (a regular block plane with a 45 degree bevel on the blade) and then a regular scraper. What I wouldn't give for a drum sander right now.

    It seems like I've been working on this forever but I'm only now really starting on the actual bass. I suppose the second one would go much more quickly. -don
  2. Here's the top roughed out and way oversized. The asymmetry at the neck is from the jig saw. When cutting a curve through thick wood, the blade seems to have a mind of its own. I'm not liking my jig saw right now but have decided to wait on buying more and bigger power tools until I finish this bass to make sure I still love the process.

    You can see my bending iron and a bent "C" in the background.
  3. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    Looks good! I've done quite a bit of woodworking over the past few years, but making a bass just seems impossibly tough. I have a lot of respect for anyone attempting it. Why don't I come out and stay with you guys for a few weeks and we can make number two; after you've developed a system, of course.;)

    BTW, I think Bosch makes the best jigsaws. Well worth the money.
  4. Here are some curved sole planes I made from the cracked end of one of the maple boards I cut into ribs. They made quick work of shaping the blocks and worked pretty well roughing out the top.
  5. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    Looks good ... that's a monster of a neck block you have in there!
  6. I wanted to have enough neck block to create a really smooth interior outline. No sharp "corners". -don
  7. Thanks! There sure are a lot of steps, each one requiring certain skills that I don't currently have. I've spent MANY nights lying in bed working it through in my head, trying to figure out the best way to approach the different tasks. Now I'm trying to have tunnel vision and only think about what's right in front of me. I get more sleep that way. What's cool is that I'm learning SO much. Last night at our luthiers group we got a father/son team that has started on a bass. It's fun to see how other people work it out.

    Come on out clink, but I think I'll let you have the first one and I'll take the second one after I've worked out some of the kinks! And by the way, plan on staying more than "a few weeks".:) -don
  8. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    I do need a vacation. You may want to revise your offer with a careful examination of the exact wording.;)

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