Making a control cavity cover

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by kirbywrx, Jul 29, 2004.

  1. kirbywrx

    kirbywrx formerly James Hetfield

    Jul 27, 2000
    Melbourne, Australia.
    hey all, how do you all go about making control cavity covers? matching the grain, and getting the thickness just right. i kno its not the most complex part of bass-making, but im jsut curious as to how to do it right.

    Thanks all
  2. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    I'm assuming you're referring to a wood control cavity cover, right?

    In that case, if you want the grain to come close to matching up, you need to resaw a thin piece off of the body blank from the back. You'll need a body blank that is thick enough to do this. Then you cut the control cavity cover from the same area and get the grain to match up as close as you can.

    If it is figured wood, you'll have to use a thickness sander to get it down to the proper thickness, as a planer will give you tear out and most won't go that thin anyway.

    I usually cut mine really thin and laminate it to a plastic cover to keep the wood from splitting, etc., which is easier to have happen at that thickness.

  3. To make a control cavity backing the Jon Shuker way he uses a thin piece of wood cut from the back wood... sands it down to about 2-3mm then mounts it on a copper line aluminium base.. He then binds the outedge to avoid splitting and bobs ur uncle a control cavity..

    GB on the other hand do not use wood as their control cavity they use a smoked grey see through fiberglass cover...looks great too... and i do not think a plastic cover degrades a bass at all :)...
  4. As sort of my building philosophy, I've taken to using as much of my wood raw material as I can so I really like wood covers. Pretty much what the Kahuna said - When I made my templates I sized one to fit my regular control cavity. Then I use my binding ledge cutter to put a nice lip on the cavity. I cut the cover with the thinned blank attached to the template with double sided tape and shaped on the router table.
  5. Where does one purchase the wood for making such control cavity covers? Is there an online source?

    Thank you.
  6. Bass Kahuna

    Bass Kahuna

    Dec 3, 2002
    West Lafayette, Indiana
    Luthier, Custom Builder
    THere are many stores that sell wood veneers. WoodCraft might have a location near you... or you could try Constantines Lumber at

    I would suggest that you order / buy a veneer that is actually 1/16", not the 1/40" that is a standard veneer. That way the 1/16" will give you a bit of a "fudge factor" for sanding... etc.
  7. RyanHelms


    Sep 20, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    I used the 3/32" thick ebony headstock veneer from StewMac. Stout enough for a cover plate and practically the exact thickness I needed for a pre-routed control cavity. At a glance it looks like the usual black plastic, then you realize it's not. Kinda cool. (they have rosewood too)
  8. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    Good idea Ryan! ..t
  9. Thank you for all of the help. I will let you know how things turn out. That rosewood veneer idea sounds good.