Five string fretless build starting

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

  1. Fat Freddy

    Fat Freddy Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    Albany NY
  2. I have a decision to make on this build - I have this beautiful piece of walnut. I paid a lot for it in a fit of retail therapy after the fire. I planned on using it for the back of this instrument. It's wide enough to be wings on either side of the through neck and thick enough to end up with a 1 5/8" thick body when glued to the maple for the front. It's such a nice piece of wood that I am now hesitant to use it as a back. I'd like some input on what you guys/gals think about this as a back - I'm sure it will look amazing, but it will be on the back.
  3. Fat Freddy

    Fat Freddy Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    Albany NY
    I personally like to see both the front AND back looking great.....

    My 2 cents would be to use the walnut on the back but......Well....It's ultimately your call...:)
    HEADLE and Will_White like this.
  4. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    A large number of acoustic instruments have much nicer wood for back and sides than for the top.
    My $0.02 would be to shoot the moon on the Phoenix.

    You got involuntarily sidelined, so why not ride tall on your return to building, screaming for vengeance?
    Will_White and Fat Freddy like this.
  5. Aye, but for those that don't know this is much less to do with aesthetics and more to do with sonic qualities. Spruce and Cedar are tried and true timbers to use on an acoustic instrument and are selected more for the fact they make a good, light soundboard than any aesthetic reasons. The back and sides aren't quite as important, but still are selected predominantly for tonal reasons.

    On an electric instrument, of course, this is significantly less important, and so just about anything can be used.

    In my opinion, that walnut is far too beautiful to be used on the back. I'd save it for a front on another build.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
    JustForSport and BritFunk like this.
  6. Thanks, I'm leaning toward using it. I theoretically used money sent to me via a work Go Fund Me, so I think using it in this build is the right thing to do.

    By the way - what wood is is most orange in color once finished?
  7. Fat Freddy

    Fat Freddy Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    Albany NY
  8. nice, thanks.
  9. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    I've seen some vivid orange cocobolo


    But I imagine it is pretty spendy.
  10. yeah, I only need a 2"x2" square. I work for Orange Business Services and our logo is a square orange, I'd like to incorporate that into the headstock somehow.
  11. lbridenstine


    Jun 25, 2012
    Chakte Viga:

    Jisch likes this.
  12. I was just thinking I have a piece of that cocobolo leftover from the fire, it's pretty burnt, but might be the right color (and would be totally appropriate!).
    ctmullins and Duder like this.
  13. Scoops

    Scoops Why do we use base 10 when we only have 8 fingers Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2013
    Sugar Creek, Wisc
    I agree with Fat Freddy's idea of both sides
    Will_White and Fat Freddy like this.
  14. I glued up the front and cut the wood for the back - I'm going with the awesome wood for the back (no pics of the back wood).
  15. I got a bit of time in the shop today.

    I got the drop for the top routed out - I didn't take any pics, but basically clamped two sacrificial pieces of pine to the neck blank and just routed in four steps to get down to the correct depth for the top. By the time I was done the edges of the pine were pretty hacked up, but the surface of the drop is perfect. This top is thick at 1/2" so it's a pretty good drop.

    I worked on the shape of the body - not quite there yet, but close - I'll do more with the oscillating sander, this also shows the drop - the fingerboard is pretty thick as well:

    And here are the three parts together - I trimmed the fingerboard down, more work to be done there, but I'll get the neck taper done, then use a bearing bit to bring it in perfect. I laid this up crooked on the board I had so it took a bit of work to get a straight cut for the nut, basically I drew a centerline and worked of that to get that cut perfect. The fingerboard is about an inch longer than it will be, but I left room there just in case:
  16. I was thinking this morning that with a fingerboard as thick as this is, I should put a truss rod slot in it so the truss rod wouldn't need to sit as far down in the neck, that way I can make the neck thinner (I like thin necks). I think the slot would be about 3/32" deep on the fingerboard. Has anyone ever done that before?
  17. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Nice to see you back on the tools. Looking good.

    I can't help with the fingerboard slotting question.
    Jisch likes this.
  18. I got some more time in the shop today (two days in a row!).

    I got the front cutout where it will connect to the neck blank, I cut it out freehand with the bandsaw then cleaned it up with a sanding block. Looks good, it is tight all the way around.

    I also used the router table to cut the truss rod slot. I spent a lot of time getting it lined up perfectly then carelessly forgot to tighten one of the knobs on the fence. Argh. I carved up a piece of wenge to fit in the mistake. I don't think it would be very visible (if it wasn't getting covered by the fingerboard). Not a big deal, but when you're cranking along in the shop it stinks to have to spend time fixing mistakes.

    And lastly I cut the back wood to the right width - I want the outside of the horns and the body to be white so I had to line this up.

    Next up is routing the edges of the neck blank for the taper, then I can start cutting the blank to the right thicknesses.
    BritFunk and Fat Freddy like this.
  19. I went and retrieved the neck blank - sanded down the patch and re-slotted that part - looks good. I may need to add a patch up by the truss rod adjuster, another slip. I hate router tables, you can't see what's happening, makes me nervous (with reason apparently).

    Means2nEnd likes this.
  20. I-Am-The-Slime


    Jan 8, 2010
    SW VA
    good recovery, nice clock ;):thumbsup:
  21. Primary

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    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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