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New guy here with a couple of questions.

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by SirBass, Jan 3, 2007.

  1. SirBass


    Jan 1, 2007
    Sweet home...
    First, let me say Hello!

    This is my first post here on Talkbass. I am an aspiring guitar builder (among other things). I have a couple of questions before I start my first build.

    1) I will be gluing on a book matched top an am not exactly sure what kind of clamps would work the best.

    I like the clamping system one the best. But, would it work for gluing multiple layers and gluing together the book matched joint at the same time?

    “C” clamps - http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?familyid=4876
    Clamping System - http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?familyid=321
    Handscrews - http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?familyid=318

    2) Which way should the grain direction flow?


    Thank you very much for your help!
  2. I'd go with the top picture.
  3. Dean N

    Dean N

    Jul 4, 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Top pic. I'd try to save a usable piece for the headstock.

    Some guys on here have said good things about the #2 clamping system. I'm interested in hearing a consensus about the clamps (though pipe clamps are also popular around here).
  4. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    never seen #2 is it strong enough? I use #3 and pipe clamps.....t
  5. Dusty G

    Dusty G

    May 30, 2006
  6. eleonn


    Aug 24, 2006
    Lima - PerĂº
  7. Nelson Guitars

    Nelson Guitars

    Aug 14, 2006
    Novato California
    Custom builder
    Or go old school and use something like this.
    You don't need a whole lot of pressure when edge gluing. If it's held "tight enough" and has the proper amount of glue you are good. Too much pressure and you will squeeze out the glue causing what is known as a glue starved joint.

    Pressing the laminations together is a whole other matter. The number of square inches of area you need to put pressure on distributes the force considerably. Clamping down the edge is no problem. Use a 3/4" clamping block top and bottom to spread out the clamp force and use lot's of clamps. Getting the right amount of pressure to the middle of the lamination is difficult. You will need a few deep throat clamps to reach the middle and then you need to distribute the load across the entire surface.

    This is an argument for laminating the two halves first so that your clamps will reach and then jointing and gluing the two halves together. You need half the number of clamps and half the pressure that way.

    Here is another idea that might help. Trace the shape of your body on the blank. Then, drill clearance holes through all of the laminations just outside of the body line and "clamp" the edge with 1/4" machine bolts. You will cut this wood away later so don't worry about the holes. You will still need to use real clamps for the center but I'll bet you the bolts are one heck of a lot cheaper than clamps. Drill the first hole and then insert a bolt. Then insert bolts in every hole you drill before drilling another. That way you don't get just slightly off and not be able to get them all in. These will also keep the laminations from slipping around on the wet glue as you clamp up.

  8. +1 on the top one. I also use #3 and bar clamps. Good Luck :)
  9. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    The Panel Clamping System is for rather thick material, such as body core. It will not be good for bookmatching thin tops. That you do with rails, wedges and a (not too heavy but long enough) weight.

    Gluing on the top to the core is another business. You need very deep throat clamps and good clamping cauls to get a good force on the middle section. Several of them, too! I prefer to use the wood cam clamps, the same kind that Scott French uses.
    Around the edge, you can use the same kind of clamps, or less deep throat. If you pre-shape the top, the "violin rim clamps" are very good, being sort of specialized in edge clamping. I'd use either that, or normal throat cam clamps with nice cauls.

    The Panel Clamping system could, possibly, be good as a base tool for top-on-core lamination, but it has to be combined with something else.
    Now, if you want to be seriously laminating, like industrially, then you should look into the possibilities of the Plano System. That...is amazing.
  10. Musiclogic

    Musiclogic Commercial User

    Aug 6, 2005
    Southwest Michigan
    Owner/Builder: HJC Customs USA, The Cool Lute, C G O
    One of the best things I ever learned from Melvyn Hiscocks book was the nail board for joining bookmatched tops. It's simple, easy, and works every time.

    If anyone can post a pic of this, it might be a big help to SirBass.
  11. The Craw

    The Craw

    Jul 31, 2006
    Right. I have the Woodcraft clamps and they're great for clamping up table tops (or bass bodies). But the clamp portion is on the edges. The top portion -- the caul --holds down your panel so it doesn't buckle, but IMO it doesn't exert enough pressure by itself for a proper glueup of a bookmatched top. For that you need clamps exerting downward pressure on cauls.
  12. beejomatic


    Sep 29, 2006
    Exerting pressure across the entire width of a body blank is pretty easy when you pursue the following method:
    Take a straight piece of 2X4 stock long enough to span the width of the body blank, plus enough length to get the clamps on it. On one edge of the stock, find and mark the center. Plane away from the centerline toward each end until you achieve a slight convex profile. Sand any rough spots . Clamp up the body blank with the convex side of the 2X stock against the blank, tightening the clamps sufficiently to bring the caul into contact with the blank across it's entire width.
    Use three or four of these things over the length of the blank. You can exert a surprising amount of pressure distributed evenly across the entire width of the blank, while not having to utilize a whole lot of clamps...
    Hope this is a bit of help. Good luck with your bass!
  13. Bryan316

    Bryan316 Banned

    Dec 20, 2006
    I was gonna use curved bars of spring steel, to exert even pressure all the way across the boards. As the curved bar flattens out, it creates pressure everywhere the bar contacts the wood. Just a few rags between the top board and the bars, and some duct tape across the bars to protect from accidentally scratching, and it should work nicely. Same way we do industrial-grade adhesives between plate steel and urethane liners:


    Just go to Home Depot, get pieces of 1/4" x 2" bar steel, put a bow in them with a really long clamp, then heat the whole thing up with a torch, and there's your curve.

    Although, Beejomatic's idea of using a curved board is probably cheaper, mine is more METAL!
  14. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    That much overhang is going to get you some hangover... The ends of the bar will bend down, and the pressure in the middle be released.
    It will work if you place the clamps right by the edges of the body.

    And if you have a double-curved surface, a.k.a. arched, this method is not feasible.

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