1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)
  2. Because Photobucket has chosen to in effect "take down" everyone's photos (unless you pay them), we have extended post edit time in the Luthier's Corner to UNLIMITED.  If you used photobucket and happen to still have your images of builds, you can go back and fix as many of your posts as far back as you wish.

    Note that TalkBass will host unlimited attachments for you, all the time, for free ;)  Just hit that "Upload a File" button.  You are also free to use our Media Gallery if you want a place to create albums, organize photos, etc :)

Winter 2017 Build-Off: Project 2

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by rojo412, Dec 23, 2016.

  1. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    First off, gotta say, this is my first time entering into this. I just recently finished the one bass and was hooked on this process immediately. I love watching these build off threads, you all inspire and teach me, so it's really exciting for me to actually participate.

    So yeah, what timing! I was starting to plan my winter build anyway, so this is awesome.


    The name will likely change. I just keep calling it Project 2 because it's my second build ever. But there is a thought of trying to build 2 basses at once, so it may end up reflecting that.


    This bass will be much more complex than the first when it comes to construction.
    - Multi-laminate woods (maple, sapele, walnut)
    - Chambered body for lightweight
    - Headstock (my first was headless)
    - Much more tools!
    - 5 string
    - multi-wood neck

    So far, I have the following specs in mind:
    - Flame maple top and back over a sapele core, chambered
    - Birdseye neck, rosewood board
    - 5 String, 33.5" scale, 24 frets, bolt on
    - Hipshot hardware
    - Nordy pickups
    - 18mm spacing, passive, 1.75" nut width, zero fret
    - Nickel frets (stainless was hard!)
    - Passive, Nordy 2B or Audere, not sure yet

    Here's a rough sketch (with ideas for chamber areas):


    And I just got a band saw big enough to do resaw work with, so I've started splitting some tops. Here's one that came out pretty nice:


    I'm not going to be able to officially kick things into high gear until after the holidays (gift cards will be crucial in providing some needed supplies), but I'm still working out the plans.

    WOOHOO! WINTER 2017!!!!

    So here's what I've done differently, listed out:
    - 5 String
    - Headed
    - Chambered
    - Multi wood body
    - Multi wood neck
    - Rosewood board
    - 33.5" scale
    - Nickel shielding paint
    - Wood control cover with neo magnets
    - Cutting all of my own woods to thickness
    - Working with sapele
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
  2. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Victoria, BC
    That maple is the shiznit. Gorgeous... :)
    rojo412 likes this.
  3. handofseven

    handofseven Soaking up the cathode rays... Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2010
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Super cool. Loved your first build. Can't wait to see you get started on this one! Dig the headstock. :)
    rojo412 likes this.
  4. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Dang I love flame maple! That's gonna be sweet.
    SLivinghouse and rojo412 like this.
  5. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    Love the design and specs!

    handofseven likes this.
  6. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Thanks all, looking forward to getting covered in sawdust and glue.
    rogerbmiller and handofseven like this.
  7. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Great wood. I'm in
    rojo412 likes this.
  8. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Okay, happy new year! I finally got a chance to hit the wood.
    First off, I cut the sapele to size, then jointered the edges.

    (yeah, I have enough for 2)

    With that done, I stuck some "pins" into the wood to give the top and back a place to anchor back to. This is in areas that will be cut off for the final shape. They did get cut down as well.



    I added some more pins top the middle to make sure the top would line up correctly as well.


    And then I made a 1/4" template for the body shape, as well as the chamber holes. Ran out of time for the cutting today, but you get the idea...


    Hope to have some more time soon! Once the chambers are cut, I can glue up the "wings", then clamp the body blank together.
    I'll have to work the neck template next, I assume.
  9. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Okay, so I managed to cut out the cavities...

    And I also started the body glue-up (no pics yet).

    On the neck side of things, I started drawing on the template, getting all of the basics laid out. And I drew up a plan for the headstock as well...

    I'll be cutting and shaping that, as well as making a thicker template for the body when I next get a chance.
    There's an order of new router bits heading my way, as well! Replacing my old 1/2" pattern bit (MLCS Katana bits are AMAZING!!!), as well as adding a 3/4" bit, an 1/8" spiral upcut for the neck rods, and a dual-bearing 2" long 1/2" bit. It's like christmas all over again! (Without the insipid music, of course.)
  10. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Really like that body and headstock shape, flows nicely and looks comfortable. Are the Katana pattern bits shear cut? I got some nasty tear out on maple using Freud straight pattern bits, I got away with it on painted finish, but next build will be natural finish walnut, so I can't afford any tearout. I realize my router technique sucks, never sure where I need to climb cut along a curve. I'd appreciate some description in your thread about how you handle this if you feel like it. My other alternative is to sand up to line with my Robosander, but it's s..l..o..w!
  11. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    @Gilmourisgod , here's the page on their site.
    Katana® Rabbeting Router Bit Kits, Round Nose / Core Box Router Bits, Flush Trim Router Bits
    I believe the ones I got are straight cut.
    And thanks for the kudos on the shape!

    When I first got the bit I'm replacing, I didn't know anything. And I still don't know a ton, but what I do know is, this is a very well made bit. It's outlasted every other bit I owned, I use it all the time. And even though my current one has seen better days, it still works well, even with chips and dullness.

    My method for the body cutting is as follows:
    1) Rough cut with the band saw, leaving less than 1/4" of wood to rout, if possible
    2) Use the router by hand to gradually "machine" the edge with the template attached, lowering the bit by 1/4" or so on every lap
    3) Detach the template and go as far down as I can with the same bit
    4) Finish the last remaining level of body wood on the table, using a different pattern bit with the bearing (and hopefully avoid tearout by going slowly
    5) Use the spindle sander to clean up any edges that look bad
    6) Hand sand the rest smooth
    7) Do any roundover cuts after that

    It worked well on the last few efforts, so I'm hoping the streak continues. As for changing directions with the router, I still have no clue what I'm doing there. I just wing it and hope for the best. (Should probably read up on that)

    I'll post pics when I get further into the process.
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
  12. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    There must be some happy medium between feed rate to avoid chipping, and burning the wood going too slow. If so, I haven't found it yet. I tried the kind of partial cuts and climb cuts I've seen on tutorials, but it didn't work too well. I think part, maybe all, of my problem is cheap bits and Crapsman router with 1/4" collet. Seems to vibrate a lot under load, which can't be good.
  13. [QUOTE="rojo412,]
    It worked well on the last few efforts, so I'm hoping the streak continues. As for changing directions with the router, I still have no clue what I'm doing there. I just wing it and hope for the best.[/QUOTE]

    That's how I do mine as well - if I end up with too much wood outside of the template I might take two passes - on the first pass the bearing doesn't touch the template. Oh and I don't normally do templates, I use my top as my template. So I make the top perfect on the spindle sander and hand sanding then I transfer that down onto the back using a bearing bit. I got my bearing bits from Stew Mac. I bought three, I've only used one on all my basses. They work great, I'm surprised it's still cutting as well as it is.
  14. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    It's a bit late to set up the router and shave the sides of the neck template to a flat edge, but I could run the band saw and sander quietly enough. So here's the first full-size mockup:

    Gilmourisgod and handofseven like this.
  15. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    That's going to be a damn good looking bass. I see you have wisely extended the neck blank taper all the way through the body. Not doing that was a major blunder on my build, it will haunt me right through paint as I try to clean up those joints. Live and learn.
  16. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Thanks! I hope it dresses to impress.

    I always liked the simplicity of keeping the neck line straight, it just seems way easier. And it's elegant! And I can wedge it into the pocket for a perfect fit.

    Although cutting a perfectly straight line is a PITA, but I am hedging my bets with that today. Pics when I get home, but I made an aluminum guide rail that can be bolted to MDF and I can use the guide bearing bit to get it all straight.
  17. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I love days off. That gives me time in the shop.

    Today's mission was to make 1/2" templates for the body and neck:

    With that done, I decided to chop the excess off of the body blank:

    And since I was on a roll, I figured "What the hell? Let's just cut the body out!"
    Before I could do that, I did all kinds of math on pickup positioning, just so I could figure out where to drill holes to mount the template to the body. After a few measurements and sketches, I found some ideal locales and attached it.

    Of course, I wanted to try out the new Katana bits. And in the process of taking the protective cover off of the 1/2" inch pattern bit, that razor sharp mofo cut me. But a bandage and a rubber glove and I was off and running.

    Unfortunately, I forgot to take gradual pics (sorry @Gilmourisgod), but I just basically went around the template, taking 1/4" off every time. No tearout! Thank you, Porter Cable and Katana bits!

    It was a dirty and noisy job:

    But totally worth it!

    I'll be hand sanding the edges perfectly smooth (or as close as I can get) before doing the edge rounding.
    - The chambers make this body LIGHT! I'm so excited to see how things turn out.
    - Up next is the neck blank. I have a piece of birdseye that I believe is quartersawn. Either that or flamed maple, either is awesome.
    - Placed an order with Allparts for truss rod, frets, carbon rods, as well as some other stuff. Once that shows up, I'll be able to dive into the neck more.
    - I also ordered the saw blade for fret slotting, as recommended by @rudy4444. I have the saw, should probably practice with that a little first.

    For now though, I'm celebrating the body cutting with a Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA. Mmmmmmmmmmm!
  18. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Okay, so I got restless and couldn't help but hitting the "scraps" with some finishes to test...


    So first off, WOW! I didn't realize the sapele would be that dark! I love it. It's like a chocolate bar.
    - The TruOil pops the grain a little
    - The Minwax stain made it really stand out
    - the Helmsman Spar popped it really well. The better looking grain on that... is the BACK wood.

    I'm now like 1000x more excited about this bass.
    And I'm thinking my next project will be the reverse: Sapele top over chambered maple core. I have the wood...
  19. PDX Rich

    PDX Rich

    Dec 19, 2014
    Portland, OR
    Glad to see more builds for this challenge. I dig your wood selection and design. Nice work so far!
    rojo412 likes this.
  20. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Thanks! It's definitely a labor of love.