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Build #3, Thread #1: My New Thinline Bass Guitar

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Freekmagnet, Mar 13, 2017.

  1. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
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  2. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    216
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA

  3. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    216
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    A big haul of tools came in the mail today.

    [​IMG]

    At the request @sergiomajluf, I will post all the names of the tools.

    On the top is notched straight edge for measuring the straightness of a fretted neck. It’s pretty chimbo and flimsy. I don’t know how useful it will be - it came as part of a return. I ordered a leveling beam from here. The shipment was damaged, so I said, told them to send the straight edge instead.

    Next items are from left to right.

    Next is 6ft if Jescar stainless steel fret wire. It was about $20 shipped on eBay. It was a few bucks cheaper than StewMac. Sorry @guitarbuilder - I know you recommend nickel silver, but friend of my me convinced me to roll with stainless.

    Next are a pair of antique Starrett nippers I picked up on eBay for $30 shipped. They have the date 1899 stamped on them, but they work flawlessly. I have no doubt that they will make pretty quick work of that stainless wire. There’s a little chip on one of the blades, but it’s easily avoidable.

    Brass-headed dead blow hammer. Ebay - $11 shipped.

    The fretting caul I ordered from Philadelphia Luthier Supply via eBay. They were about $30 and some change shipped. Way cheaper than StewMac. The 10” radius brass insert I ordered from StewMac - they actually had one of the best prices I could find. I think it was like $4.60.

    I got the super expensive diamond crowning file from StewMac. Seems like a lot of people like this file, so I ordered it. They have a similar one on Antique Radio for about $20 less, but it’s not clear what size it is.

    That tiny little file is a fret end file from StewMac. $14.

    And lastly, I got some Hosco nut files for bass.

    I’m planning to use an oil stone to level the frets. I think I can pick one up at the local hardware store for a few bucks.

    I also need to build a fret wire radiusing tool, although the Jescar wire might be radiused enough already. I’ll take a closer look at this.

    I need to make a file to smooth and bevel the fret edges. I’ll prolly just use a little bastard file I have laying around and stick into a piece of slotted MDF.
     
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  4. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    216
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    So, here’s the fretted neck:

    [​IMG]

    Overall, it wasn’t too harrowing an experience. I made a couple of small blunders along the way, but none of them were tragic. The most irritating one was that I somehow scratched one of my aluminum fret markers. I can sand it out, but it going to be a PITA.

    Once again, I kind of did a bad job of recording the process, but I’ll recount it verbally as best I can.

    I started by cutting the wire and placing it in the slots. (The Starrett nippers worked great.) Then, I tapped the frets in with my hammer and followed by pressing them in with the press. I had to go back and hit them again with the hammer. I’m thinking that I just could get quite enough force with my little drill press, but I couldn’t have done it with the hammer alone. The press helped a lot.

    Here’s a photo. I used a sandbag as support while I worked on the neck.

    [​IMG]

    After trimming the frets with the clippers, I learned the rationale behind those little end nibblers. On some of the higher frets, I couldn’t quite get the clippers in there and a couple of the ends look a little funky in the slots. It’s a cosmetic issue, and it’s my first fret job on my first neck. I have plenty of other cosmetic issues with the neck as a whole, so I’ll chalk this one up as a learning experience. I’ll put the end nibblers on my shopping list for next time.

    After that, I made my little filing tool to bevel the frets. I basically took a piece fo scrap poplar, cut a slot and beveled one edge at a 20° angle. I made it so that I could file the trimmed fret ends at a flat 90° on one side, but I found that just using a bastard file to do the first clean up was faster and safer. As far as beveling the frets, it worked like a charm.

    [​IMG]

    After checking that the neck was straight, I leveled the frets with an oil stone and used the diamond file to reshape them. After that, I bonded with the little tiny file that and rounded the sides of the frets over. From there, it was just a matter of sanding and polishing the frets. I used this little sandpaper trick to sand 600, 800, 1200 finished up by buffing the frets with my Dremel tool and some white buffing compound.


    The fretting part itself didn’t take more than an hour. The filing and stuff took a little more time. Overall, it wasn’t too bad!

    Next, I gotta change gears and make a pickup.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
    guitarbuilder and LowThudd like this.

  5. magic smoke

    magic smoke Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    200
    May 28, 2017
    Quantum Entanglement
    Excellent build thread and a great design! If you want to try a new tape, I’ve been using something sold as “carpet tape.” It’s cheap, sold in my local hardware stores and sticks so well that you might want the acetone afterwards to remove it. Thanks for the new slang “Chimbo” After a quick visit to urban dictionary there is now a new color on my pallet of verbal expression. Keep up the good work!
     
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  6. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    216
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Thanks!

    Haha - the Lil’ Lady is a native Spanish speaker, so I’m privy to a whole bevy of colorful expressions. “Wango” is another one I find myself using now and again.

    As far as tape, somebody on another forum hipped me to this most excellent trick. In turn, I have wholeheartedly adopted it. The video is good - when the narrator says, “my apprentice,” he reminds me of Emperor Palpatine.

     
    magic smoke likes this.

  7. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    216
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    It been a pretty slow couple of weeks as far as bass building goes. Last week, I went to make a pick up for this bass and realized I was out of epoxy. I took a couple of days for me to get out to the marine supply store. I managed to get it done.

    This week, I needed to make templates and cut cavities in the body. Most of my woodworking is done outdoors. It rained here every day this week, so that kinda shot a hole in that plan. Today it finally cleared up long enough for me to make templates and cut holes.

    [​IMG]

    I’m pretty much on to prepping for finishing now. I have a few little spots to fill, and then I’ll give the body and neck a good sanding and sealing with epoxy. I do have to drill the pickguard holes, so maybe I’ll do that this weekend as well. Once I get it sanded and sealed, I’ll cut a nut and do a dry assembly run to make sure everything fits together. It’s a pretty straightforward build and I don’t foresee any major problems.
     
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  8. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    216
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Oh, and by the way, I’m thinking that this is going to be my color scheme, except with a sprayed silver pickguard and I’ll probably paint the neck black. I may feel motivated and attempt a layer of frost over the pink and give it a white PG instead. I think the shell pink will offset that orangy fretboard nicely.

    [​IMG]
     

  9. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    216
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Got a bit of prep work done this week. First I had to fix the neck bolt holes. The problem was two-fold: I had a lot of tear out I had to patch and the counter bore was too small. I figured it’d be easier to just fill them with sawdust and epoxy and redrill ‘em. That way, the extra epoxy would give the wood a little extra support.

    [​IMG]

    I used some packing tape to hold it a bit once I sanded it down. The holes came out pretty good.

    [​IMG]

    Once I finished that, I sanded the bass down to 220 and applied a coat of epoxy. I spread it on with an old credit card. Under the fluorescent light, the greenish poplar almost looks pretty.

    [​IMG]

    The poplar soaks that epoxy up like a sponge. Once I sand this coat back, I’ll give it another coat. Then I really got to think about painting it. A huge storm system just blew into Southern California, so I won’t be getting to that for a while.

    On a side note, I finally figured out what to do with those AARP cards...

    [​IMG]

     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2018

  10. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    216
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Now I gotta start contemplating the next phase.

    [​IMG]

    I’ve spent the last couple of days applying epoxy and sanding. The drill has been spread the glue with a credit card, wait 24 hours, shave the high spots with a scraper and sand. I took it down to 320 and it feels pretty smooth. I’ve found a couple of really tiny spots here and there, so I’ve been filling those with CA glue.

    Gluing the aluminum block was tricky. I drilled a hole for the ground wire that went from the bridge to the control cavity. The epoxy started to drain through the hole and into the body, so I stopped up the hole with silicone caulk. Next time I’ll have to remember to do that beforehand.

    I kinda made a little mess inside of the sound hole - a few spots of epoxy leaked underneath. It’s not visible, but you can feel it if you reach into the sound hole and feel around. I can’t think of an effective way to go inside and clean it up, so I’ll have to come up with a better masking strategy next time.

    On a side note, I bought a set of those scraper cards at Woodcraft for $20. At first I felt like I was burning myself since those are something I could probably make pretty easily provided I have the time. However, they’ve proven to be pretty invaluable throughout this phase.

    [​IMG]

    This week I have to build a booth and buy some finishing supplies. The kids “borrowed” my little box fan, I’ll have to get one of those as well. I also have to convert my work area from a woodworking area to a finishing area. That’ll prolly involve a lot of cleaning up and vacuuming. I gotta make sure that there’s no metal filings floating around as well.
     
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  11. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    216
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    This week I was busy setting up for the big spray. I built a little frame out of wood and covered it with plastic sheeting. I put a little exhaust fan in back.

    But first, I had to retrieve my painting stand from the Li’l Lady’s niece. I built it a couple years back for another guitar finish I did. Every year since, her niece has borrowed it around Christmas time to use in her church’s Nativity. I guess they use it as a well for olde Bethlehem. It took me a few days to get it back from her niece. Oh, the indignity - having to relinquish my paint stand from a bunch of Mormons! On the plus side, they painted primer gray.

    [​IMG]

    I sprayed my base coat today. I did about 5 coats of Profinisher Waterborne Polyurethane mixed with 20% Floetrol. So far it looks pretty good. Using my Harbor Freight Turbine Spray Rig, it went on pretty spotty, but it seems to level out on its own OK. Each coat dries in about 15 minutes, so I re-coated every 25.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I gotta set up my bench for finishing. I’ll let this dry overnight, sand 220-400 and hit it with color tomorrow. I’ll report back in with any significant progress or problems.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2018
    Arch Stanton likes this.

  12. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Aug 3, 2010
    Loganville, Ga.
    Nice work. I have a bad taste in my mouth for Floetrol, due mainly to several of those worthless Wagner paint buzzers, so I guess it’s not really the Floetrol’s fault. I was hoping for a better report on the Harbor Freight HVLP units, but if the Floetrol lets the finish flow and level out smoothly, it’s all good.
    Maybe next time you’ve got a couple of hours to spend in your shop on miscellaneous projects, you can whip up another paint stand/Nativity to gift your niece’s church. Save you time and aggravation borrowing it back, and never hurts to score some Brownie points. ;)
     
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  13. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    216
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    On a side note, I just though I'd share this video. My cover band had a gig in Oxnard last night. Sal Rodriguez - the drummer from WAR, filled in on drums. Sal is on vocals as well.

     
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  14. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    216
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Ha-ha!

    The Harbor Freight rig is what it is. It's cheap and really basic, but I've seen guys on Talkbass get good finishes out of them. I've gotten a decent finish or two out of mine, but it always involves a lot of sanding. The waterbourne finish process is finicky at best - this is my first time using the Profinisher, and so far, so good. I used the Varathane last time and it was pretty tough to use. The nice thing about WB is that you can get your colors from just regular old house paint! There's a mega-thread about waterbourne finishes over on Talkbass that's worth checking out.
     

  15. Muzikp

    Muzikp Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Nov 5, 2010
    Sacramento
    Love the shape. I built a similar shaped bass a while back, it's one of my favorites.

    [​IMG]
     

  16. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    216
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    So the primer coat came pretty orange peely. It sands pretty easily, so I’m not hating it too bad. I just gotta figure out if I should be hitting it with a heavier coat or a lighter one. I only say that because the WB doesn’t flow together the same way as a solvent-based paint does. Yesterday, I started out spraying pretty light and I think the paint was drying before it flowed together. We’ll see.

    [​IMG]
     

  17. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    216
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Weeellll...

    So far not so good with the Profinisher. It’s not sticking to the epoxy. I’m not sure how I’m going to get it all off at this point. I guess I gotta sand the whole thing down and start again.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018

  18. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    216
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Planning ahead here - does clear polycarbonate make a good pickguard? Does it machine as easily as cast acrylic?

    I’m thinking about something I can just get over at Home Depot
     

  19. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    216
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    BTW, Mr. Bruce suggested that I lightly sand the body with 220 and gave it few more coats, so I did just that. I spent a good amount of time scraping the flaky spots with a razor just to make sure that I removed all of the paint that didn't bond with the epoxy. Then, I sanded the first two new coats with 150 where the finish stayed the first time, and then the whole body again with 220. I'm sort of hoping make the layers as even as possible. I gave it another two coats today and will probably repeat the same sanding schedule tomorrow. Hopefully, I'll be laying color down tomorrow.

    So far so good. Now that I gotten hip to heavier coats, I'm digging the Profinisher. The paint flows and flattens out pretty good. It starts turning into a game of how much paint you can spray on there without overdoing it, 'cuz you can lay down a lot. I've had one drip so far and it really wasn't a big deal at all. It's pretty easy to get them out with a razor blade and sandpaper. The only thing I've noticed is that if you're doing several coats, you really have to make sure the previous coat is pretty well set up before you lay another coat down - otherwise, the poly seems to reactivate. I've been waiting about 45 minutes between coats and really feel like that's pushing it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018

  20. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet Tele-Meister

    216
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Here’s the body drying in my garage with a few color coats. It looks kind of orange in this photo - it’s a good color - it’s neither pink nor orange yet it’s both at the same time. When I finish the guitar, I’ll shoot a good photo of it. I use one of these and it really helps with accurate color rendition - provided the image is being viewed on a well calibrated screen.

    [​IMG]

    The big challenge was getting the right balance of Floetrol, Profinisher and color while achieving full coverage. The house paint was really viscous, so I was worried about it spraying properly. The first time I had too much flow and a cooler ambient temperature. I had a few spots where the finish seeped away from the edges of the various cavities in the body. I sanded it back and applied second coat and I didn’t get enough flow - the finish dried too quickly and I got a lot of orange peel. I sanded that back and with the third coat, I was pretty happy with my mixture of 25% color, 25% Floetrol and 50% Profinisher. By the third coat, I also got full coverage - in other words, I don’t see any dark spots of wood through the light-colored paint. I’ll take a closer look in the light and touch-up if necessary.

    I’m going to let the paint harden up for a few days and then I’ll get to filing the edges to expose the binding. From there, I’m on to clear coats.

    I’m also going to paint the neck black pretty soon. I read in another thread that Mr. Bruce had some luck with the General Finishes Black Milk Paint. I think they sell pints at Woodcraft, so I’ll check that out this week.
     
    robinn likes this.

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