Five string fretless build starting

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Jisch, Nov 2, 2016.

  1. This will be a slow build I suspect, lots of other things vying for my time at this point in my life, but I figured I might as well start a thread.

    Double cut 34" scale through neck five string unlined fretless
    Body: Black walnut back with a thick figured maple front.
    Neck: Wenge with maple and black walnut stringers
    Fingerboard: ziricote with both sap and core woods (wavy brown/white)
    Electronics: Lace Alumnitone pickups with Audere preamp

    In some ways this will be a re-build of my wave bass, improving on a few things here and there:
    • I may or may not do a CA coating on the fingerboard - the ziricote is really dense and I don't think it necessarily needs a coating on it if I stick with flatwounds, but I did like how those roundwounds sounded
    • I didn't like how the red cocobolo on the wave bass contrasted with the other woods in the bass, so using ziricote gives me the same wave, but it's brown, not red
    • I was 50/50 on the "single cut" aspect of that other bass, it took a lot of time to make and really not worth the time.
    I've got some of the neck stringers cut, and have had to work a warp out of the board I'm going to be cutting the fingerboard from. Hopefully I'll get that taken care of this weekend.

    I'll get some more pictures as I go, but here's the top I'll use - I haven't decided how exactly I'll lay out the body on this:
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2016
  2. Remyd


    Apr 2, 2014
    St. Louis, MO
    Neat wood! Sub'd
  3. I just recognized the figuring in the wood looks a lot like an ostrich. Of course by the time I get the body laid out I doubt you'll be able to see much of it.
    5below and Fat Freddy like this.
  4. This seems to be the best orientation - this picture is a bit darker than the actual wood, but probably close to what it will look like with oil on it.

    Duder and Will_White like this.
  5. michaelwayneharwood

    michaelwayneharwood Builder of the Wastelands Commercial User

    May 1, 2014
    Owner Melodious Resonance Constructs
    I see a duck. I am sub'd deeper than a World War II U Boat.
    HEADLE, Remyd, mapleglo and 1 other person like this.
  6. Great to see you back in the game!
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  7. mapleglo

    mapleglo Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2013
    phoenix, az
    Most creative pun of the day!
    michaelwayneharwood likes this.
  8. Thanks, I feel like I'm dabbling right now, I have to rely completely on my dad's shop, it feels a bit weird after getting used to doing stuff at my house.
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  9. Fat Freddy

    Fat Freddy Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    Albany NY
    A big plus one to that the Phoenix rises....:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
    Will_White and reverendrally like this.
  10. Fat Freddy

    Fat Freddy Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    Albany NY
    Thought it looked like Disney's 'Tigger'......

    I'm not the most reliable after 9 pm though.....:)
    Jisch likes this.
  11. I got 30 minutes in the shop today, and was happy to get that time. Hopefully things will slow down a bit now that we have our contents list in and builder selected (of course there are a thousand more things that need to get decided upon, honestly more like a million).

    I got some maple strips for the neck cut and planed and the ziricote for the fingerboard cut. The ziricote is super hard - I had a really hard time getting it through the sanding planer. I can usually take a 1/4 turn on the planer and be fine. With the ziricote I had to take 1/16 turn and turn the feed up as fast as I could even then I made a lot of smoke, jeepers.

    The neck will be a center of wenge, maple stringers and walnut on the outside.

    The fingerboard looks good, but I think a cut deeper into the wood would be more variety in it, we'll see (the one on the right is the one that is the proper thickness):
    mapleglo, rwkeating and Fat Freddy like this.
  12. rudy4444


    Mar 13, 2012
    Central Illinois
    That top wood has some serious chatoyance going on!
  13. Fat Freddy

    Fat Freddy Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    Albany NY
    Yep!....I had to look it up :whistle:....

    In case anybody else does...

    Chatoyancy - Wikipedia
  14. I can't wait to get some oil on it and see how it pops. Realistically probably 6 months from now.
    Fat Freddy likes this.
  15. I spent some time today planing down the two possible fingerboards, I'll do a lot more staring before I decide, I'm not sure if I'll go with a little white (left) or a lot of white (right). I don't even have a "leader" in my head right now. This wood continues to be difficult to plane using the sanding planer, it burns easily. I'd send it through the regular planer, but I fear for tear outs. One of these is 5/16" thick the other is closer to 3/8", so I have a bit more to take off.

    All the pieces in a pile. I should get the neck blank glued up next week.
  16. I finally got some time to glue up the neck blank. All went well. I meant to trim off the ends on the outer woods, but without a chop saw here, I glued everything up long. I hate wasting wood like that, but I can clean it up if I need to.

    I need to cut the top and get it glued up. I noticed yesterday that it has a bit of a warp to it, I'll have to see how bad it is once I get it roughed out. Then I'll have to get the back wood figured out.
    Means2nEnd, mapleglo and Fat Freddy like this.
  17. Neck blank out of the clamps and dimensioned:

    And I worked with my wife on the placement on the front wood, different than what I posted above. I worked out the shape a bit, it will evolve a bit more as I go along, but it will be something like this - my cardboard cutout was off a bit on the important dimensions.

    The joint between the two pieces of the front is close, I'll need to work on that a bit, the right side has a bit of a warp to it, I'm going to try and heat it up and get some of the warp out, but I'll probably have to do a bit of planing too.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2016
    Fat Freddy likes this.
  18. The top had a bit of a bow in it, basically a radius across the short side. On my last one I straightened the board out by wrapping it in a wet t-shirt and heating it up with a plumbing torch. I don't have a torch here, so I used a steam iron instead. It seemed to work out well, I'll let these boards sit for a week or so (traveling for work this week) then plane them and recut the joint between the two places.

    I put the board on two 2x3s then used a ratchet strap to pull the board a bit below flat, steamed it with an iron for 5 or 10 minutes then let it sit with the ratchet strap on for 3-4 hours. I'll clamp them up while they dry out.
    BritFunk and Fat Freddy like this.
  19. Radio


    Jan 8, 2010
    New Haven, CT
    Nice! I hope you bought your own iron. ;)
    Fat Freddy likes this.
  20. Actually that's a rental iron, if you can believe it. The insurance pays for a "fully furnished" house, including an iron apparently :-D
    Fat Freddy likes this.
  21. Primary

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