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Practice Build - Pine Prototype Content

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by knucklehead G, Nov 12, 2010.

  1. I've got quite a few rolled up plans for basses sitting around, so I picked my favorite currently and some 2x8's off the pine pile I had left after building the workbench you see here and decided to occupy myself today.

    I know this is crap wood for guitars, but I'm just doing this to get a better grip on my tools and techniques, and thus far my investment is $0.00 with the wood taken care of.

    The plans. Offset body ala J bass, but more SGish in the horns. Might bevel them, not sure yet. You can see the neck blank drying in the background.

    The pine!

    I don't work well unless I'm supervised to make sure I'm not slacking, so Safety Cat came out to make sure I was following the rules.

    Truing up the sides so I could glue them. While cleaning the garage last month I misplaced my favorite plane, so I was using this little dinky thing.. that ended up being amazing. I could read through the shavings.

    After I got the sides square, it was a bit too narrow for comfort, so I planed a 2x4 and stuck it on the side. Three-piece pine body? Boutique as hell.

    I still don't have a band saw, and until I get some cash to grab one off Craigslist or something I'm making due with a jig saw and table saw. Table saws don't cut curves, so I'm trusting the jig saw here.

    This is high quality wood! I had enough to avoid getting anything like this actually on the body itself.

    And the downside to using a jig saw to cut 1 1/2" thick lumber.. nasty angle on the outer cut. But I saw that on the contest bass so this time I left about 3/8" extra outside the lines to allow for correcting the problem.

    Kind of like a J's older cousin who beats him up on a regular basis.

    Creative clamping. Its 13" at the widest point so none of my Irwin clamps would reach, so I'm a bit worried how well it'll hold together at the fat end.

    Oh yeah, hair / safety check. The mask might seem like a bit much but its the only way to keep my allergies under control while doing this. My father works at a power plant that uses coal, so he gets access to the heavy duty 3M masks..

    The neck is flatsawn maple, the fretless board is going to be the leftover oak board I made for the contest build in case I FUBAR'd the first one. Four-string, passive V/T setup with one eBay special MM pickup at roughly the P bass position. The neck will get some satin poly and the body will likely be rattlecan'd black since I'm mainly doing this for tool experience. I'm also doing it to see how ergonomic this body shape is, as my contest build looked great on paper and dives like a basswood Thunderbird.

    That black bit around the outsides of every pic comes from the case on my phone.. I'd remove it, but I know as soon as I do I'll end up dropping it, so I guess it'll be staying there. I opened the camera hole a bit with a 1/4" bit today so its not so bad.

    Future pics will be lit much better instead of just the one fluorescent light on the bench. The lights in the garage haven't worked in months, despite changing the bulbs.. I bumped one with a broom handle tonight and they all came back on. Score.
  2. Safety cat FTW. I'd rock the headgear if I had it- new eyes must cost a LOT.
  3. I figure if it works good enough to keep coal dust out of your lungs, a little sawdust won't be a big deal. Also, I never realized just how bad the air in general smells until I spent a few hours with that thing on.. you get air. Just air. No smells. I love it.

    Looking at the photo again, I realize Safety Cat was perched on an ugly pink table with a hole in the top that I'm supposed to be patching and repainting to something less nauseating. I guess he was just reminding me. I'd been using it to prop up boards.
    just my $0.02, but pine is my favourite wood to build basses from - for the most part (depending on the individual piece, of course) it's got a great, mellow fretless tone - very woody.
    I love it.
    soft to work with, too.
  5. kuso


    Feb 25, 2010
    Plymouth, MA
    Weren't 50's telecasters made of pine?
  6. Yeah, there have been some nice Pinecasters in the past. This is really knotty pine, though. I got it off of someone's front porch. These are the scraps from the 2x8 supports.
  7. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    Jigsaw tip: if you go REALLY slowly, like 5-10 seconds per inch, or even slower, you can cut with a jigsaw and keep a vertical cutting surface. The faster you go, the more likely you are to force a bend into the blade as it cuts. If you go slowly and let the blade do almost all of the work, you might be surprised as to how accurately you can cut with a jigsaw.

    Cool idea BTW, I'll be following this one...
  8. Thanks! I'll see if I can clean it up with the jigsaw moving slower, otherwise I'll do like I did last time and clamp a belt sander to the bench like a redneck spindle sander to square things up.

    Headstock? Like the rest of it, Fender-inspired but meaner. Jazz-width on the neck, but thicker like a Warwick back profile as I like fatback necks.

    Ending point for today..
  9. Tommygunn


    Nov 8, 2008
    Houston, Tx
    Diggin it! I think it may take you longer as I'm taking the cheap way out and buying a stewmac neck.
  10. Thanks! You're making a Gibson-style bass with a Fender neck and I'm doing a Fender/Gibson body, both out of pine and spray paint.. amazing how things line up sometimes, right?

    StewMac might be the easy way out, but the cheap way is to do it out of scrap wood for zero dollars. Which happens to be just a few dollars more than my total budget for this thing, currently.

  11. A few more hours and it'll be late enough I can get back into the garage without an angry two-person lynch mob coming after me.. I've got to figure out some way to cut the taper on the neck with what I have, so I don't have to spend twenty hours with a surform trying to slim it down over 1" at the nut.
  12. Big B.

    Big B.

    Dec 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    I would agree that good, well dried pine will make a fine instrument. On the other hand, soaking wet, fast growth construction pine (often with the pith in the center)from your local hardware store is about as unsuitable for an instrument as anything you could find.
  13. And that's what I have. But, its wood. My other material at hand that is big enough for a body is particle board.

    I fell asleep earlier. Garage time!
  14. Combined slower cutting with a longer, slightly thicker jigsaw blade to square up the sides,


    Since I'm going all eBay knockoffs, I can't route anything until its in-hand since they usually don't adhere to industry standard shapes and sizes. I can't order the hardware or electronics until Friday, and I'm not cutting the neck until I have the nut and tuners in hand based off my experiences last time, so I decided to "custom contour" the body today.



    After trying it on I realized I needed some more contours..

    Lunch break.
  15. Spent the evening sanding and smoothing..

    ..under the close observation of Safety Cat, seen here working on getting up higher for a better view.

    Forearm cut, minus the surform scratches.

    One of the two cuts on the back, plus my crappy "Hey I'm 18 so let's do this!" tattoo.

    Sanded to 80-grit, where I'm stopping tonight.

    I'm incredibly frustrated at the moment with the softness of pine. I clamped it down to my bench earlier to hold it in place to sand a stubborn spot, and the corner of the bench left a dent in the flip side that I then had to try and sand out.. it took a long time.
  16. Tip, take a bit of water and put it on the dent. It should soak up and expand back out, then you don't have to try and sand it out. I have done this plenty of times when I have dinged unfinished wood and it works wonders. Although I have never tried it on pine.

  17. Right, thanks! Will try that once I made it back into the shop. I made a mistake earlier and went back in there without the mask on, before the dust settled, and I'm fighting down a sinus headache that's trying to gather its friends into a migraine party now as a result.
  18. tonejunkie


    Dec 11, 2006
    Cape Coral, FL
    Nice! I am looking forward to my own pinewood build so I will watch and learn...
  19. Well this is the last straw. I now have to build a bass. I've been wanting to for a while, but this has finally made me want to pull the trigger. I'll probably buy a neck though. I don't feel like going through with the neck process.

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