Winter Buildoff 2022: Still A Diva

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by TerribleTim68, Dec 22, 2021.

  1. dwizum


    Dec 21, 2018
    In my furniture building days I did a lot of staple method to pin parts together and keep them from moving. It works great and is very easy. The main reason I don't like it is that you're leaving a tiny piece of steel in the wood which doesn't sit right with me. These days I generally don't pin or dowel wings since I can just clamp them true with a caul for the actual glue up and not worry about it. For me, the pinning adds steps and doesn't add value.

    But if I did want to pin them for mockup purposes or any other reason, I'd probably get one of those self centering dowel jigs @Gilmourisgod has mentioned and use that with wood dowels.
  2. Well, I was specifically thinking of pinning the fretboard so I don't have to glue it until after the top goes on since it'll go over the top. Wasn't gonna use it for the wings, I'll probably dowel/pin those in some fashion, just not sure yet.
  3. Still Winging It -
    Cheesy puns aside, I woke up WAY too early today for some reason, so I used the extra couple hours to head out to the garage and rough cut some lumber. First task was to unclamp those body wings and flush cut the purpleheart strips I glued on last night. Then I grabbed my hand plane and shaved them down smooth and flush. I should have taken pics of the shavings all over the workbench, partly as proof that hand tools come in handy in certain applications and partly because it just looks good on Instagram. :roflmao:
    Anyways, wings rough cut -

    And yes, I'm aware that there's several different lines, some white chalk, some pencil. I've changed my mind on placement about 50 times so far. I think we are now committed.
    This also gives you a better view of what I was thinking on those purpleheart strips I glued on last night, hopefully it makes more sense now -



    And yes, that is the top laying under it. I placed it there just to hold the wings up more flush with the back of the neck blank so the pics looked better. The top will run all the way through, the neck blank won't divide it like the pic shows.

    Seriously Fretting Over This -
    No joke, this fretboard situation has me stressed out. But, we need to start making commitments, so let's send it through the bandsaw. I couldn't find my 3M spray adhesive, which is funny because every time I go to wash a window and reach for the glass cleaner I grab the spray adhesive and go "Nope. that's probably not gonna work very well!" But then, of course, when you want it, can't find it anywhere! :meh:
    Whatever, I cut out my drawing of the fretboard and taped it to my blank at each end, then commenced to sawing. We now have this -

    It's not pretty, none of my cuts are. I probably should have taken the 1/4" blade back off and put my happy happy 1/2" back on. I'm much better with a thicker blade that doesn't wander all over, but I didn't really feel like swapping back and forth a dozen times. I put the 1/4" on it to cut the body wings because of all the swoopy curves and what not. I was also going for bookmatching that crazy grain spiral at the pickup, it should look kinda cool with the Delano oval in there and the grain rippling out from each side like that. But man, the fretboard looks like a drunk driver cut it. :meh: I also tend to not get terribly close like some of you guys do. My bandsaw has some drift in it and I don't like getting too close on something this important.

    And I know, a bunch of you are gonna link to articles on how to fix bandsaw drift, let me stop you right there. It's a ShopSmith bandsaw, it doesn't work like all those other bandsaws. It's not built like that, it doesn't adjust like that, it doesn't track like that. What it WAS... was FREE! So it's what I use here at the house. I don't hate it, but I don't get too close. I'll clean it all up with the router and templates later anyways, so whatevz man.

    Okay, that's probably as far as I'm gonna get until at least Sunday. The rest of today will be spent getting ready for tonight. We're having family over for dinner and gifts. Then tomorrow is the rest of the family and more gifts. At some point I need to visit the Harbor of Freight and grab a few items, maybe Sunday, maybe not, we'll see. We've moved forward, I feel good about the time spent today. I can rest easy for now. #NoZeroDays :cool:
    Now all I gotta do is think of what my next step is. :cautious: :unsure: :confused: :nailbiting:
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2021
  4. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Oh damn that’s nice, like chocolate with plum filling or something. I haven’t tried wenge yet, people say it chips out a lot, how’s it been so far?
  5. It's basically made of concrete and hatred, it's clearly from the Devil. I hate working with it to be honest. But man it looks amazing. It splinters like crazy, it's super brittle so you really gotta watch what you're doing and which way you work your tools or it'll chip out like nobody's business. Every time you make a cut it basically shoots slivers into every surface of your skin it can reach, it's amazing how quickly it pokes you. But man does it look amazing! :roflmao:

    The purpleheart isn't much better to be honest. :meh:
    Gilmourisgod likes this.
  6. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    I hear you expressing concern and I don't think I understand the main quandary. Can't you glue the fingerboard on last?
  7. I'm not gonna say I can't, because honestly I'm not experienced enough to answer that. I have only ever carved a single neck, so I'm not sure how it would react to being carved without a fretboard glued on it. I'm also puzzled as to how you would handle smoothing out the sides of the neck and blending into the fretboard. I guess that could also be done last? I dunno, does that method work? Who has done it? How did it go? I'd love to hear some examples and feedback on simply doing that, and how to handle blending the sides of the neck into the fretboard. I feel like I could radius the fretboard and even tackle the side dots/markers with it off the neck, I've seen lots of people do that. But then you really have to be precise when you glue it on.
  8. Bent77

    Bent77 Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2013
    Desert, Colorado
    Just had to point out the awesome accidental band name located a few posts back
    Max Bogosity and Beej like this.

  9. I think some talcum powder helps with the mean, green monster butt… :laugh::thumbsup:
  10. HaMMerHeD


    May 20, 2005
    I would have loved to see some maple veneers between the wenge and ph layers. It really sets them off.
    TerribleTim68 likes this.
  11. Yeah, I glued up this neck blank about a year ago and at the time I didn't have anything to do that with. Now, I don't want to do it to the body wings because it would make the neck look sort of wrong. Live and learn I guess.

    The fact that I glued this neck up a year ago is also why I didn't enter the scratch build portion.
    HaMMerHeD likes this.
  12. Dashing Through The Snow -
    So Christmas breakfast went off without a hitch. We opened much presents and then had a bit of a lull between the breakfast gathering and when we head off to the brother-in-law's house for dinner/dessert later. Thus, I snuck out to the garage for some "me time". Okay, really it was all about my Diva. :smug:

    Enough with the small talk, we both know why we're here, let's get down to business. I needed to trim the back of the neck to thickness as well as the headstock thickness. I did resaw my headstock maple cap down to a reasonable thickness, roughly 3/8. Do some maths, and then mark out a line to trim the headstock down and the back of the neck. We now have something that looks like this -

    Again, I err'd on the side of caution, leaving plenty of meat up to the line. I'll bring it to the line with the shinto before we start carving. I left a volute, because they look cool, so it's still kinda rough cut up there. Don't judge me. I had the 1/2" resaw blade on it, which, on my bandsaw doesn't like to turn corners very well. So yeah, it ain't pretty, just gimme some time. But, this puts my neck blank rough cut to thickness on the back and rough tapered down the length. It's time to start shaping! :cool:

    Capping Off The Day -
    So then I figured it might be a good idea to get the top glued up so it has time to dry while I'm off finishing up Christmas duties. I want to rough cut it to shape, so it needs to be glued up. Mostly I just wanna look at as a whole top, instead of two halves. :woot: Sooo......gab the ol' #5 out of the till (shameless humble brag of my plane till) -
    The astute among you will notice that my #6 don't fit. Pro Tip, don't build your plane till until you actually have all your planes. :meh:

    Get the edges squared up and in the end vice on that rickety old Harbor Freight workbench and start jointing these up -

    Small aside here. I bought this #5 a while back for like $50 plus shipping. It was in "user, unrestored condition", so it fit my budget. I'm not against restoring a hand plane myself to save a few (or several) dollar. This meant that since this was actually the first time I was using it since I got it, some of that resto needed to be done. I had, upon receiving it, cleaned it up and done some resto on it to get it to a state where it looked decent in pictures, the body was cleaned up to a state of my approval and everything worked. What I had NOT done was fiddle with the iron, the chip breaker or the lever cap. You know, the business end of it. :meh: Sooo......45 minutes with sandpaper on my jointer bed (because smooth, level, dead flat surface) and then some more time running through the "scary sharp" method to get it to a point where (in the words of Doug Marcaida...) "It will cut!" :D

    Now, I know some of you are gonna ask "If you have a jointer, why not just use that?" And...that's a valid question. So here's the thing, I knew this top was just barely wide enough for the body shape I'm shooting for here. I don't have a lot of extra meat to be fiddling with and I know that my jointer will probably take too much. I have it set to just take a tiny bit off, probably like an 1/8" or something like that. But still, that's a lot when you're stressed about it. Plus, this is one of those things where I try to blend power tools and hand tools in my work. There's just some things, such as this, where I want to be removing tiny bits of material and really focusing on "feeling" what I'm doing on a level that the power tools just simply can not offer. When you run a hand plane over that joint and then feel it with your fingers, you understand. The plane takes off this paper thin amount of wood, so you can really dial it in like nothing else. I went until I saw the plane take one continual, non-stop shaving from end to end on both boards and then I knew it was perfect. The power tools simply won't take a paper thin amount off. Thus, I reached for the hand plane and made shavings. Also, there's something satisfying about looking down at a hand plane as you push it forward and seeing quality shavings coming off the iron. It's not something you can describe, you just have to experience it. It's the definition of "wood working". Power tools are fine, and I use them. But there's a feeling in these hand planes that the jointer, screaming bloody murder throwing dust flying all over the place, simply doesn't offer. Also, that joint came together so perfectly. :cool:

    So we need to glue this bad boy up now! I try to run through a dry clamp of everything just so I know I have "all my crap" in order. Good thing I did, because all my clamps are 12" and this thing....isn't. :meh: Okay, audible. A good woodworker knows that his most important tool is his bench. Now, me and my bench don't get along like I wish we did, but that don't make it all bad! Let's put down some packing tape at the right spot, grab the bench dogs and use the end vice to clamp this top! -

    I'll let you judge my squeeze out there as to how well that joint came together. And luckily, it looks like the bench dog clamp method is gonna work! But, for good measure, let's plop this big ol' bowl blank on it just to hold it down so it don't cup! -

    I put some packing tape on the bowl blank too. ;)
    I'm sure some of you will notice that I have not glued the fretboard on yet. I think I have decided to just wait until last to glue it on. The plan on this one is for the top to run across the neck blank and be flush with the neck at the fretboard (if that makes sense), then the fretboard sit on top of So I can't glue it on yet because I still need to flush out the top. I'm thinking there will be a router sled in my future to do that, I'll also need to use the same router sled to flush out the back of the neck blank with the body wings too. I'm also debating some weight relief cavities in the wings since we're gonna cap this one with that top, but I haven't decided yet. Lucifer doesn't really weigh that much and this one is made of the same wood as he is and this one is a shorter scale, so I dunno yet. This one does have wenge wings tho, where Lucifer used mostly ash (because I knew it would save some weight). Another bridge I'll cross when I get there. ;)

    I also want to go off track a bit and brag about this new saw I picked up too -

    I haven't had an opportunity to put it to use yet, but I'm happy adding it to my collection. This is a Sandvik dovetail saw that I snagged for $50 after shipping. The only real issues with it are a couple very small paint spots on the "other" side of the handle and someone put the hole in it to hang it (which seems stupid because the handle has a rather it). I'll most likely just leave the tiny paint spots alone rather than do more damage trying to remove them. I'm okay with a tool having some history.

    Now, I'm gonna let that top dry until tomorrow because the rest of my day is booked for one last Christmas gathering. I turned a really cool little resin blank pen for my brother-in-law and am really hoping he likes it! This was a blank that his grandpa purchased probably 30 years ago and had planned on turning a pen for him and just never got to it before he eventually passed away. So I finished grandpa's pen for him and will be giving it to him tonight. That's all I got for today. Merry Christmas everyone! :cool:
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2021
  13. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    Ive been watching Marleaux Diva fretless videos all day, I blame YOU Tim! The Sweetness Unfolds.
    dwizum and TerribleTim68 like this.
  14. Relieving Stress -
    Yes, I need cheesy titles, it's part of my charm. :smug:
    I took the top out of my bench dog clamping setup. Did a quick scrape of the squeeze out. It looks like this -

    Yeah, I'm happy with this. I'll hit it with a hand plane at some point just to smooth out that joint down the middle. It's not super awesome fancy highly figured and mega-symmetrical bookmatched, but I'm going with it.

    Next Steps -
    Well, Washington is being stupid and we're snowed in today. I wanted to take a drive down to the harbor of freight, but I'll probably pass. The wife isn't a fan of this and she especially dislikes the roads in this condition. So we will most likely just hunker down today.
    The garage is freakin' cold. I bumped the space heater up to high and I'm watching YouTube videos for a bit in the hopes it warms up in there. :meh:
    I'd really like to rough cut the top, maybe even run the router around it to bring it to the template. I dunno. I have concerns about it warping or cupping if I cut it to shape. But I guess it would have done that already after I resawed it, right? I just don't want it to move a bunch and be unusable.
    I need to figure out a way to dowel the wings too so I can start working on the neck as well. I'd like to start carving the profile if I can. I feel the time crunch already.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2021
    Bent77, Reedt2000 and dwizum like this.
  15. Boxing Day Update -
    It took a lot to get motivated today, I'm just feeling really rundown and tired from a long weekend of going pretty hard. I tried to just rest today, but it's hard for me to let a day slip without having done...something. You only get so many sunrises before it's over, so I have this inner fire to not waste one. Sometimes It's a struggle, like today, because I wanted to just rest. But I just can't let myself do that.

    I knew I had that top out of the clamp and really wanted to see it cut to rough shape. So, I did that. Here's a shot of all the "parts" I've rough shaped thus far, sort of laid out so I can get a visual of what we've got here -

    The top wasn't wide enough to keep my seem dead center. But ultimately I'm not gonna stress about it. The fretboard is gonna run pretty much to the bottom end, so it'll cover 95% of the seam anyways. Let's not let the perfect get in the way of the good here. :cool:
    Yeah man, I can visualize it, it's not horrible.

    I decided I wanted to just carve the right now...with no fretboard glued on. :eek:
    This means I'm gonna need to think through some of my process here. I might make a template to use the router to bring the fretboard to final shape, so that I can just drop it on when I'm ready. We'll see.
    Anyways, let's carve a neck! Here's a shot of my "implements of destruction" -

    We have a quality engineer's straight edge that I got from my brother who works at a machine shop. My handy dandy Shinto. A course half round file. A fine round file that I rarely use, but I pull it out anyways, just in case. A couple three measuring devices and a pencil. Let's do this! LEEEEROOOOY!!!!! :roflmao: :laugh: :roflmao: -

    I had to put a few extra screws in my neck carving jig thingy. I made this when I carved the neck on Lucifer, and just set it aside. It had gotten kind of wobbly by the end of that, so I needed to stiffen it up a bit. It ain't great, but it'll do. I struggled to find the right position on my bench and kept moving it around here and there. There's a part of me that likes it right where a typical Ruobo bench leg vice would be, but I don't have one of those. Part of my struggle was also the clamp bars sticking up...right in my way. There's just no way to get that one clamp bar facing down. Anyways, I ended up over on the end of my bench so that I could get the clamps outside of the bench and get the bars facing down. I don't know if I was totally happy over there, but at least the clamps weren't bugging me. I carved the initial two facets -

    ...and then called it a day. I'm tired, my body is telling me to stop, I'm done for now. :(

    A couple things though. It's always cool to see that first facet and the grain starts revealing itself and you can really start to see what you made way back when you glued up those pieces of wood. Also, on this one I did my first ever scarf joint. It's super cool to see that start revealing itself too. It looks like I got my stripes lined up pretty dang good too, at least so far. :cool:
    Long way to go on this one, it's gonna be a slow grind. Hopefully I feel more energetic tomorrow, because I'm beat. :sorry:
    lbridenstine, BishopJP, Beej and 7 others like this.
  16. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    I did more or less the same thing today, put in a couple hours today just to see some progress, sometimes thats enough, and glue-ups are always a little stressful for me. Neck carving is weirdly satisfying and tense for me, with neck through the consequences of an eff-up are pretty dire. Gilmour Says: you are killing it, put your feet up and watch some Netflix, or whatever you do that dumps the stress. You gotta be sharp and all there for a neck carve. Love this bass, gonna have to build eventually.
    dwizum and TerribleTim68 like this.
  17. RichterScale


    Feb 21, 2021
    Tim, when you get a minute, can you do me a solid and tell me what these 2 measurements are? I wanna see if I'm in the ballpark. Both my foam mockups turned out much different in size.
  18. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    Those Delano XTenders are basically 4" long.

  19. dwizum


    Dec 21, 2018
    I'm going to start talking about dimensions in terms of XTenders.

    "Yeah, my new bass design has a 8.5 XTenders scale length"
  20. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    I'm sure Bruce could quickly whip up an Xtender-to-imperial conversion ruler for shop use.
    lbridenstine and Mickey666 like this.
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