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Pallet Bass, No.0507. 5-sting fretless

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Wil_Couch, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. Wil_Couch


    Mar 12, 2013
    I've always liked the idea of reusing, re-purposing, and reclaiming items and materials to give them new life. Think steam-punk, rat-rods, shabby-chic etc.

    So, the new project is to take this:


    and turn it into this:


    I've had a selection of pallets "seasoning" in my basement for a few years. The wife finally got tired of seeing them, so said burn them, trash them, use them, do something with them as long as they disappear. I started tearing the first one down to use as bonfire tinder and was shocked to discover that it was made with a bunch of [DEL]cherry wood[/DEL] Oak! The slats are all pallet grade pine, but the rest is [DEL]cherry[/DEL] Oak!

    So, here it is:


    It's pretty terrible wood, really. It's dirty, ratty, water stained, knotty, warped, gouged, filled with nails, holes, and staples. Nothing is straight, the grain sucks, it's everything good instrument quality wood isn't.

    It's perfect.

    Here's the expected build, which, overall, will be kept very raw and rough. I want to showcase this wood's character, not hide it:

    [DEL]Cherry[/DEL]Oak body wings. 4 piece body, left "raw"

    5 or 7 piece [DEL]cherry[/DEL]oak and pallet pine through neck.

    [DEL]Cherry[/DEL]Oak fingerboard.

    Single pup. Probably passive, minimal electronics.

    I plan to make everything except the electronics, strings, and tuners from as many "found" materials as possible.

    Don't expect a quick build, but it should be interesting!
  2. shporsche


    Mar 7, 2011
    Ha thats cool.

    Nice design, cherry pallets, all the right stuff to build a bass.

    My first instrument used fencing post and pallets.
    I wouldn't worry about the defects in the wood, It gives it character.



    Hope it all goes well, will look forward to seeing it finished.
    seang15 likes this.
  3. tdogg


    Jan 17, 2001
    Brooklyn Park, MN
  4. Wil_Couch


    Mar 12, 2013
  5. crazygtr


    Mar 4, 2011
    Puerto Rico
    This looks very interesting, I'll follow this one.
  6. Liam76


    Dec 28, 2012
    This going to be fun build to watch, can't wait to see it!

    At my old job, we used to have 1000's of empty pallets at any given time. I always thought it would be funny to sneak one away, sand, grain fill, stain and finish it and see if anybody would notice. Then there was one pallet I found that had two purple heart slats, I set it aside but somebody else grabbed it and used it.
  7. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    That looks cool I'll follow this one also.
  8. Sharknose79

    Sharknose79 UNPAID greenboy/fEARful endorser Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2011
    South Cackalacky
    I have nothing to disclose at this time.
    I'm in.

    You, Sir, are wise for keeping those palets for that exact reason.


    This one's gonna be good !!!
  9. NickTej22


    Feb 17, 2013
    Largo FL
  10. wraub


    Apr 9, 2004
    ennui, az
    previated devert
    Watching also...

  11. FiskFisk33


    Oct 3, 2011
    Makes me think of this
  12. Great idea! And I love the body shape!!! I immediately liked it when I scrolled down. Is it a lefty by the way? The shape wouldn't suggest that but your bridge saddle seems to sit in the other way around..
  13. Wil_Couch


    Mar 12, 2013
    Yeah, I definitely had that Taylor in mind when coming up with this idea. Originally (before i found the cherry) I was going to make this an electric guitar as I didn't think the pine would be strong enough for a bass neck.

    Yes, this will be a righty bass. The backward bridge is simply the result of me being an idiot while doing the sketches... Haha!

    The body shape was first designed to be a thin-line acoustic bass, which I will eventually do, but I thought it would also look really nice as a solid body. I have 15-20 really nice bookmatched acoustic body sets of Koa, mahogany, and maple from my grandfather. Enough to keep me building for quite a while!

    A sampling... The Koa (on top) has a particularly stunning flame. I'm saving that for a special build. Just not sure what yet.

    More updates as progress allows. This is a before/after work, in between band practice and real life sort of project.
  14. HaMMerHeD


    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    If you intend to use pine in the neck, I'd recommend some carbon stiffening rods.
  15. Wil_Couch


    Mar 12, 2013

    Yeah, I was actually planning on using carbon. I work for a high-end bike company, so I'm hoping I can get a good deal through one of our carbon suppliers... :)

    Use of the pine will be pretty minimal, more of an accent to break up all of the [DEL]cherry[/DEL] oak.
  16. Pretty cool idea. I'm in to watch.

    Similar to a Strat I'm in the middle of building, where I glued together a bunch of walnut scraps into a slab then cut the pieces from it.

    The origin of my scrap pieces differ a bit though. They came from the scraps left over from the cremation urn I made for my father's ashes. The wood was from a tree he played on as a boy, then later cut down himself once it started threatening to fall on the old farm house.
  17. Wil_Couch


    Mar 12, 2013
    A. So many nails... they're everywhere! I'm fine with leaving them (that whole character thing) as long as they aren't in the way of any blades. Which seems to be every single nail.

    B. This wood looks pretty awesome. I'm getting really excited about this build. This iPhone pic doesn't really do it justice, but there are some amazing colors and figures hidden under all those years of dirt and abuse.

  18. deepestend

    deepestend Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 21, 2003
    Brooklyn via Austin and NOLA
    Guitar/Bass Builder and Social Media at Sadowsky
    signing on...
  19. all_sixes


    Mar 15, 2013
    Really cool idea. Sub'd!
  20. Five String

    Five String Supporting Member

    Cherry pallets. Who knew? This looks like it's going to be fun to watch. Your other basses are really nice. I'm in.

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