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matching control cavity cover

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Tommy Gunz, Aug 24, 2003.

  1. I'm almost ready to route out the control cavity of my first ever home made bass. Originally I didn't plan to make a matching cover, but I just saw some pictures of basses with those kind of cover and it motivated my to try making one myself. The problem is, after some doing some thinking about the process, I realized I'm too dumb to figure out a way to do it. Can someone here share some insight as do how to get it started and how to make it as tight as possible? My body is a one piece solid ash with no laminted top. Thanks for any help guys!
  2. mslatter


    Apr 8, 2003
    You could do it like doing traditional inlay. Cut and sand the cover to the desired shape. Double-sided tape it in the desired position and scribe a line around it. Route inside that line to the depth of the cover, minus a hair, coming as close as you're comfortable to the scribe line, then clean up with chisels. Then route to the desired depth and shape of the cavity, remembering to leave mounting locations for screws.

    Done carefully, you'll have a cover that'll fit so tight it's hard to get out. You'll want to sand a little around the edges, and put a slight inside bevel on it, to help removal.
  3. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    hey tommy! be sure to post some pics when you get done :) i want to see it.
  4. Thanks.
    But I'm still not clear as to how to cut out the cover in the first place. I draw the outline on the body, then I assume I need to scribe the line to the depth equal to the thickness of the cover? With what tool? and after that, how to I 'lift' the entire 'cover' out of the body without destroying it? I'm so confuse??

    And John, I'll post pic for sure when it is done. I've already posted some at H-C, under the "today's progress pic of my bass" thread.
  5. mikgag

    mikgag Guest

    Mar 25, 2002

    You can't do it on a solid body, only if you glued a laminate on the back.
  6. I had a feeling that's the case.
    Oh well. :meh:
  7. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    Just look at F Bass...;)

    pic from accessbass, that's Adrian's BN5 (hope this is not a problem Adrian?)

    George does it on solid bodies. He even matches the pickup cover veeners...

    Don't know his technique though. I can think of the way he does it but I'm not sure really.Maybe Adrian knows something.

    Peace, JP
  8. Zon Bass

    Zon Bass

    Jan 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX
    Does that F Bass have a front laminate, if so it can be done pretty easily, but on a one piece body I just can't think of any way to do it.
  9. mikgag

    mikgag Guest

    Mar 25, 2002

    It's easy to do on that bass if you look at the glue-line(it's a 2 piece body). I'm talking about 1 piece bodies....:p :p ;)
  10. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    This one has a separate top but george does it with all ash bodies too.

  11. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    Sorry but i don't see how the glue line helps...

    mind to explain?

    Peace, JP
  12. mikgag

    mikgag Guest

    Mar 25, 2002
    Sorry JP, the more I thought about my theory, I'm not sure. I think I have an idea, but I'm not 100% sure. I may go to shop tonight and test it out.

  13. mslatter


    Apr 8, 2003
    Oh, oh, I see... not just a somewhat-matching cover (relatively easy to accomplish on woods that don't show a lot of figuring) but actually cut from the same piece of wood.

    Agreed doing it on a two-piece body is doable. Remove a deep groove from the edge of one piece, then just cut out the cover. The cavity won't be in the shape of the cover, of course, but that's not important. Just call it a chambered body. :)

    Here's an F Bass with a somewhat matching control cover.

    You might get an even closer match if you start with an over-thick billet and resaw to size, making the cover out of the waste from the resaw.

    Cutting the cover out of a one-piece would be a challenge. If you came in at a steep enough angle, with a long bit, I suppose you could cut it like taking the top off a jack-o-lantern. Compound angle cuts using long, thin bits scare me, though.

    Maybe it could be done milling the edge at an angle, but not deep enough to connect, then sliding a wire saw under to finish the cut. I'm guessing that would abuse the nice edge, and the wire saw is going to want to cut up, not across.

    My last guess would be to drill one of the holes for the electronics, then bring the bit in through that hole from the front. Not sure you could get enough angle on that, and you run the risk of damaging the hole.

    Beyond that, I'm at a loss. I could do it with nanorouters, but they haven't been invented yet.
  14. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Great idea! Just drill a small entrance hole, drop in the pre-programmed nanorouters, they could hollow the cavity, throw out the sawdust, part off the cover, extend tunnels to the pickup routs... well, its a dream, anyway. :)

    Ok, trying to be a little more useful here...

    The method where you cut the cover from the body before glueing it up is used by Pedulla. I also saw recently that it was used by one of the newer luthiers, I thought maybe Brubaker or Benevente, but maybe someone else. I can't locate it right now. Here's how it looks on a Pedulla:


    When you do this method, you hollow out both the main body, and the "cover."

    My old 1981ish Pedulla used the same method, except that he added a thin black veneer to "line" the cover interface.
  15. wow. Lots of interesting ideas. But I guess it is something beyond the scope of a beginner bass builder. Anyway, I'm planning to start another project after the completion of this one, and it'll have laminated body. May be I'll try the matching cover until then.
  16. mikgag

    mikgag Guest

    Mar 25, 2002
    Here's a coupla pics of ours.......we cut it out before gluing


  17. mslatter


    Apr 8, 2003
    How thick are the covers, and do you finish both sides? Any concern for stability over time?
  18. mikgag

    mikgag Guest

    Mar 25, 2002
    1/4".......No,copper shielding tape......see answer #1:D
  19. I'm just looking at that picturea again and I must say that's a pretty darn good grain match for a 2 piece body. Do you think they were both originally belong to a same piece but then George cut it into two for whatever reason? ie: to have access for making that matching cover?
  20. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    And how, exactly, do you cut?

    Another way, that is not quite as exact, but easier, is to cut off some 6mm from the thickness of the body. From that you cut your cover as if it had been any material. The intriguing part with this method is to actually use the proper part of the sheet, to align as good as possible...

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