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Short Scale Fenderbird Build

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by jtrom, Oct 4, 2019.


  1. jtrom

    jtrom

    Nov 22, 2008
    Kelowna BC
    Hi everyone!
    I thought I would showcase my "Fenderbird" build! Just a heads up: this build is going to take a while. I'm living in an apartment in Vancouver and won't be able to work on it unless I'm visiting my parents' place (in another city). BUT I should be able to work on it slowly over the next little while. I'm looking for some kind of a co-op shop too.

    Anyway, I started off by going to this website: Schablonen und Zeichnungen - GitarreBassBau.de

    and they had a FULL SCALE Thunderbird PDF! Amazing. I went to Staples and printed it off at 88% (30/34) and everything lines up perfectly! Which I was super excited about. It took me a really long time to find this resource and I'm really happy I did.

    I'm using the neck and bridge from an old Squier VM Jaguar short scale. And I have a set of Bill Lawrence P/J pups that I'll be putting in.

    I was able to source some local American Chestnut (off Bowen Island) for the body. I'm kinda excited about this because I heard that this species took a big hit from some kind of worm and hasn't been that usable for the last few decades. Anyway, I was able to get it at $10/board foot, which is a pretty good deal. The guy even planed and jointed it for me so that's also taken care of, which was the #1 thing that wanted done. American Chestnut scores a 540 on the Janka Hardness scale which makes it a little harder than Basswood (410) and softer than Alder (590 depending on species). So I think this wood will work out fine for the type of project I'm doing. I plan on painting it semi-transparent so the grain won't matter TOO to much.

    Here is the drawing and some renderings.

    IMG_6214.jpeg IMG_6215.jpeg
     
    Matt Liebenau and Will_White like this.
  2. Beej

    Beej

    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    American Chestnut sounds cool! Every time I've connected with someone locally who's selling chestnut, it turns out to be Horse Chestnut (aesculus - Buckeye)... :(
     
  3. Huw Phillips

    Huw Phillips Life is like TV if the channel sucks change it Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2019
    Hoboken
    Sounds like an awesome project getting the plan was a good omen, chestnuts a really nice wood, I have used it a fair amount in Europe for floors and roof beams etc it takes stain well, glad you found it, good luck with the project
     
  4. jtrom

    jtrom

    Nov 22, 2008
    Kelowna BC
    oh lame haha. Ya if you're ever on the mainland let me know... this guy had a bunch that he was selling
     
  5. jtrom

    jtrom

    Nov 22, 2008
    Kelowna BC
    Hey thanks! Glad chestnut works well. It's not the most common wood species for instruments so I'm excited to see what working with it is like. It was about $15/board food cheaper than the maple he had which was my #1 choice. But given my lack of experience I thought this would be a good ultimatum.
     
  6. Huw Phillips

    Huw Phillips Life is like TV if the channel sucks change it Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2019
    Hoboken
    It behaves similar to oak more or less, but I think it’s more interesting to look at, there was a blight similar to Dutch elm disease I understood and they had to burn the trees to stop contamination, it’s a fairly cheap wood in Europe my brother just bought 20 1.5 meter x 20 planks for 85€ for a balcony uprights, it’s fairly hard to sand, meaning don’t go to super fine paper too early, I am sure you will be impressed
     
    jtrom likes this.
  7. jtrom

    jtrom

    Nov 22, 2008
    Kelowna BC
    FB4A4887-C38E-47EF-BD78-B07CFC0D1D86.jpeg Hey I haven’t posted on here for a while but I recently was able to plane and glue the pieces together. I’m a little disappointed because the board wasn’t wide enough to fully align the center of the bass with the grain but I’m not too worried about it. There were some other things i was factoring as well like knots and not wanting to fill of the bass with a skunk stripe or anything

    the dotted line in the top right is the original template contour. I’m playing around with making it a little longer and having it cut more. I’m not sure what I think yet
     
    Beej and Matt Liebenau like this.
  8. jtrom

    jtrom

    Nov 22, 2008
    Kelowna BC
    I’m going to play with the layout a little more and see what I can some up with
     
  9. jtrom

    jtrom

    Nov 22, 2008
    Kelowna BC
    0285BFA8-50CB-4859-80D0-4604D567A5EC.jpeg AE32C092-13D7-44B5-A1D5-1EEE0046496D.jpeg Back at my parents’ for Christmas. Spending most of today and tomorrow getting the neck template right. Trying the wood filler method... I really jammed it in there. I’ll either use this as a template FOR a template. Or if it’s solid enough just use it as the final template. I’ll let you know how it goes.
     
    tbrannon, Beej and Matt Liebenau like this.
  10. jtrom

    jtrom

    Nov 22, 2008
    Kelowna BC
    Ugh...
    The wood filler flakes out so I’m trying the same technique with epoxy... I hope it works. This neck joint thing is a pain :/
     
  11. Jon Clegg

    Jon Clegg Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2015
    Northern Virginia
    I usually use Bondo.
     
    Beej likes this.
  12. I didn’t look at your pictures earlier. I have used epoxy several times to fix templates in exactly that way. Just wax the snot out of the end of the neck. Don’t forget the bottom of the heel and lay out waxed paper on the bench. Then file or sand smooth. I’m not so sure the filler would hold up that well to even just the bearing on a template bit.

    C20D309F-DA65-4C9C-9468-A3009579164F.jpeg
     
  13. jtrom

    jtrom

    Nov 22, 2008
    Kelowna BC
    Nice. Good to know the method works. I'm going to check it out tomorrow am. and see how it's cured. I put a good layer of tuck tape around it ... completely forgot to cover the heel :banghead: so hopefully that isn't a huge mess. I clamped it down pretty tight so I'm hoping, worst case, it isn't tooooo much filing/sanding :bag:
     
    Beej and Matt Liebenau like this.
  14. jtrom

    jtrom

    Nov 22, 2008
    Kelowna BC
    Epoxy pour worked out perfectly! Didn't stick to the neck or anything

    I'm going to buy a Boxing Day drill press tomorrow. There's an 8" for sale for $85CAD which is pretty decent for a new machine that will be lightly used. I'm also going to buy a spindle setup for the drill press.

    I'm going to try to drill out and route the neck pocket tomorrow and make sure that everything is snug as a bug. Testing on scrap first of course!
     
    wraub likes this.
  15. jtrom

    jtrom

    Nov 22, 2008
    Kelowna BC
    Sooooooo ya. Not bad for my first build but not perfect. So many silly errors and things I didn’t think of until I was in the middle of routing. Anyway, I think the pocket will work. It’s tight but there are some gaps. And it’s bang on center which is a plus.

    Any suggestions to clean up the pocket / bottom heel?

    up next is cutting out the shape.
     

    Attached Files:

    Matt Liebenau and Beej like this.
  16. jtrom

    jtrom

    Nov 22, 2008
    Kelowna BC
    Finished cutting out the body.

    definitely going to need that spindle sander haha
     

    Attached Files:

    BishopJP and Beej like this.
  17. jtrom

    jtrom

    Nov 22, 2008
    Kelowna BC
    Plugged the screw holes with dowels.

    A) there's no way I would be able to confidently match up the existing holes.
    B) the existing holes are much to close to the end of the body.

    New holes will be best!

    Hopefully I can grab that drill press tomorrow am and get going with the templates for the J and P pups
    59910184311__F833544D-D37D-44EF-AF48-635E59FC8521.jpeg
     

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