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"the Kewel" plywood trial - second build

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by MARCOvdBoogert, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. While finishing the EMBEE project I saw the bundle of leftover strips of ply standing in the way. I thought to myself. What the heck, let's try an other model also! One of the models I particularly like is Steve Wishnevsky's Kewel bass:
    So after asking him for permission here's a journal of the build so far!
    Again I started with a fullsize template together with a lot of strips of plywood. 27mm thick, 40mm wide. Because of the nice curves and stripiness of ply I decided to add some strips of hardwood in the body itself. I found a nice piece of 8mm meranti in the local DIY for just a tenner. Just enough for one bass.
    Again I glued the complete neck and bodywings seperately first, saw the wings to shape (roughly) and glued the pieces together.
    Mind you. I don't have any fancy tools at all like a thicknessing machine of something. Everything is done by hand with the help of some handheld powertools like a orbital sander or sanding tools for the normal drill and a jigsaw.
    After gluing and planing the extended pieces of hardwood this was the result:
    Because of the model I decided to go for the signature Wishbass headstock. After drilling some large holes and some rounding off the base of this model is ready:
  2. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Please PLEASE tell me that on your version of this, you will at least center the strings on the centerline of the neck laminations.
  3. Hi.

    It wouldn't be true to the original then, would it ;).

    Great approach.

    Your tools won't like the phenolics one bit (;)), but at least it'll teach you how to sharpen 'em right.

  4. Beautiful!! Is it all Baltic birch plywood,I've got a bunch left over that you're giving me ideas for!! What are your plans for the fingerboard? As a dedicated do-it-yourselfer I salute you sir!!
  5. Yes it is! Rest of the answers will follow!

    What I forgot to shoot were shots of me thinning down and tailer the neck.
    I used the same jig I used for the embee. I used the router to thin the neck to 20mm.
    Then the real creativity started. Without a plan in mind I started with the transition between the neck and the body. After grinding with a laminated drillsander for a while I came up with this.
    This gave me really the inspiration and guts to really attack the body heavily with the drillsander. First I started with thinning down the back.
    After the rough shaping this is what I came up with (rub of alcohol to check the flow)
    The next day: after a bumpy night thinking how to tackle the angle on the headstock I still had no idea. I don't have a portable beltsander or a sawtable and planing ply isn't an option. The only thing I could think of was to build a very complicated jig to route out the angle or go nuts and cut it with the handsaw.
    I'm nuts.....
    but smart enough to use a guide, trust my skills and check, double check and triplecheck.
    But with just .5 of a mm difference between top and bottom, the angle is there :)
    I had no idea for the fingerboard at first. I thought to go for a color of wood like the stringers but Meranti wasn't my choice. So I went to my favorite lumberstore (Arnhemse Fijnhouthandel - Teak Eiken + 120 andere houtsoorten, plaatmateriaal en fineer.) in Arnhem and took some time rummage around the partsattic.
    One of the workers there mentioned a nice piece of timber lying in the luthierssection which he has never seen before. Curly bubinga!
    It's a gamble but I fell in love with the pieces available.
    That's it for now!
  6. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    Awesome work so far.

    Excellent choice on the bubinga, great stuff for fretboards.
  7. Great progress Marco! I like the fact that you use your intuition and skills, it's a very different approach then mine but I admire it. The results are nice and the body shape really is fluent.

    Great choice on the fingerboard! Never been to the Arnhemse Fijnhouthandel, I envy you for living so close to that place ;)... there aren't many hardwood suppliers in the Netherlands and apart from that one, I only now the Amsterdamse Fijnhouthandel.

    Keep up the good work :D
  8. It has some disadvantages, my style of work. It's not the top quality of work, more like a piece of art. But thank's for the nice complements.
    You're always welcome for a cup of coffee and a good talk about basses overhere. Always nice to go with someone to the AF.

    Here's the progress on the fingerboard. It sure is a stunning piece. Even a bit over the top for this bass. I messed up the FB a bit while sealing. On this pic it isn't shown but I have to sand it down again to bare wood. I sealed it with PFA and that didn't work at all. There's a white shine on some places. The holes were filled with liquid wood/dust and that didn't do it also.
    Anyway, this FB really pops and I thought about it for a while.
    I have decided to go bubinga all the way!
    Bubinga bridge and nut, bubinga knobs and bubinga pupcovers!
    I think that will look awesome!
  9. Jumblehead


    Sep 30, 2011
    Bubinga can be left without a finish if you like the feel of it. Sand smooth and let it be.
  10. Darkstrike

    Darkstrike Return Of The King!

    Sep 14, 2007
    That is gorgeous.
  11. I was able to borrow a portable beltsander. This gave me the possibility to make the headstock a bit smaller. I liked the chuncky look but it was way to heavy. A real nosediver and I don't like that.
    Now the headstock is smaller I like it even more. I don't even round off the edge again. I like that sharp look.
    Not it's time to buy some hardware I guess before I can continue. That will take some time probably. Wife's birthday is coming up!
    Two pics of the complete bass as far:
  12. That looks awesome!! Especially the last shot :D.
    I also like the new headstock shape, it's an enhancement indeed.
  13. JonahTheAmazing


    Dec 19, 2010
    Loving the look of this bass. The Kewel isn't my favorite Wish shape, but this is definitely looking to turn out excellently.
  14. Very very nice!! You won't ever have to worry about seeing another instrument just like yours!! I can't wait to see the next update.
    Seeing that Sandvik handsaw made me really miss the one I had 40 yrs ago with the dragon carved into the handle.
  15. jumbodbassman

    jumbodbassman Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Stuck in traffic -NY & CT
    Born Again Tubey
    nice work Steve, i mean Marco
  16. Gee wizz. Somehow I never managed to finish this treat! Maybe because it took me ages to finish it due to sickness and other priorities.
    Anyway. A lot has happened with this instrument. Finished it. Ripped it apart again because the tension was a bit to much for the neck. Installed a trussrod. Redid the headstock because of weight. Tried to balance out the body. Refitted strapbuttons!
    Now after the last refin I can only conclude: the sound of this bass is awesome! Really good, better as aspected! The shape is funny. Pretty comfortable in a certain way but not ideal in balance. Strap now fitted on the top of the neck. Doesn't look right but plays well. The combination of ply with hardwood really works well. Easy to work with for an average DIY skilled person. (i.e. I don't consider myself a luthier).
    Would do it again but with a different bodystyle!
  17. Triad

    Triad Commercial User

    Jul 4, 2006
    Luthier - Prometeus Guitars
    There's a huge mistake here: the pickups are correctly lined with the strings... shame on you! :mad:

  18. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    Cool bass! I'm working on a limited series of guitars with the same plywood style body and a salvaged ply top with crazy graphics on it... I thought I was being innovative! Just goes to show....