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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

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

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

  1. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    79
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Tonight was the first night in about a week that I've had a chance to work on this project. What happened was this: I drilled the jack hole in the wrong place. D'oh! Somehow along the way, it got moved on my body template. I'm a little baffled only because a big part of my day job is keeping track of graphic files and knowing what changes have been made on what file is pretty much what I do all day. Small mistakes are expensive. Somehow, I moved the moved the jack hole on the template and didn't realize it until after I drilled the hole. Anyway, I found some maple screw plugs at Woodcraft. I epoxied it in there and while I was at it, I spread a really thin layer of epoxy over the interior side to seal it. I used an old credit card. I was surprised by how much the maple soaked it in. I'll let it dry and sand tomorrow.

    [​IMG]

    OK, now the interesting part(s). First off, I bought this neck blank from Bruce for a very reasonable price. It had been unclaimed and had been laying around his shop for a while. It needed a home and I was more than happy to oblige. In addition, LMII now has Richlite and Rocklite fingerboards sized for bass. Bruce and I negotiated a little deal; he wanted to do some R&D using the Rocklite boards and I wanted a neck blank. I got the board and he's gonna radius it, cut the slots, mount it and cut the outline out. I'll carve the shape out of the blank.

    The LMII Rocklite fingerboards are actually for 5-string boards, but they can be cut down. They have 4-string Richlite boards. Works for me. I'll drop it off tomorrow.

    Here's a shot of the blank, the board and my headstock template.

    [​IMG]

    The Rocklite is pretty cool. It really looks and feels like a piece of wood. The color really knocks me out. Right now, I'm seeing this bass in a Sonic Blue with a medium brown mahogany back and sides. I'm trying to find a 3-ply Wildcat Orange pickguard blank, but I don't think that's going to happen.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017

  2. reddy2300

    reddy2300 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    48
    46
    Aug 25, 2017
    Dublin, Ohio
    As far as body thickness is concerned, why not add a 1/16"-1/8" thick strip of another piece/type of wood between the maple cap and mahogany body? That would be a perfect opportunity to dye it a bold color to make it look like colored binding. You could color coordinate it with whatever paint colors you decide to use on the front. It will look very intentional, then.

    I plan to do that on a build in the future.
     
    Freekmagnet likes this.

  3. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    79
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    That's a really good idea. My main concern with the thickness is that it needs to be deep enough to hold the pickup, height screws and all. If it ends up being a problem, I may do just that. If not, I'll just let it go. 1 7/16" is close enough.

    I've kind of been into thinner bodies lately. I've been looking at SGs and a couple of Rickenbacker basses, and I'm starting to like how easy they handle. I need to sit down and draw up a new cross section. If I can, I'd like to go even thinner on my next build.
     

  4. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    79
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Today was the big glue-up and cut-out day. First off, I epoxied a little reinforcement plate to the inside top. I cut it out of 28ga stainless steel.

    [​IMG]

    The chatter marks I strategically placed in such a way that they'd be in the waste area. I filled and sanded them for good measure.

    Next, I applied West Systems Epoxy to both boards, mated them and clamped them. I used those little steel dowel pins to register them.

    [​IMG]

    I allowed the epoxy to cure for twelve hours and took the clamps off. I'm going to have to do some epoxy clean-up, that's for sure!

    [​IMG]

    I rough-cut the body shape out with a coping saw. I pinned the template on to the front and used it as a guide. It took me 2.5-3 hours to cut the shape out by hand. I seriously need to think about getting a band saw.

    [​IMG]

    And here's the shape all cut out. I may or may not get to routing it tomorrow. It's 5:00 AM now, and I'd have to put my router back together. We'll see.

    [​IMG]

    And here's today's speed bump. I put a straight edge onto the top to check my work, and it looks to me that the hollow sections, especially near the cavities, are sagging a little. I don't know why and I'm not sure how to address it yet. It's only about 1/64", but I shot the picture at an angle that makes it look like there's a huge gap there. In the future, I suppose I should consider some kind of reinforcement, although such a small cavity doesn't seem to warrant much support. In the meantime, I'm thinking about busting out the router sled and run the mortising bit over it once or twice to try and clean it up. If anybody has any brilliant ideas, by all means let me know.

    [​IMG]
     

  5. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    79
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    [​IMG]

    Clothes iron pressing a damp washcloth them clamping the top with aluminum plates and a welding clamp small and long enough to fit in the cavity yet strong enough to make a difference? Seems to be working. I have to hit each cavity in small sections. I may have one side done by the end of the day. I still may have to re-level the top, but it won't be nearly as drastic.
     

  6. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    Do you know anybody with a thickness sander? I find flat sawn maple ( If that is what it is) to be pretty unstable when it is thinned out.
     

  7. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    79
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    I do know someone with a thickness sander. I may be walking down to his shop pretty soon here.

    And yes, it is flat sawn maple and yes, it seems to be pretty unstable.

    At this point, I'm beginning to think that I may have to consider some other options. I'm not sure what those options will look like yet. I was actually thinking about the suggestion that @reddy2300 made earlier and making some sort of laminated wood sandwich. I'm investigating some options, but I don't have any solid leads yet. For instance, for a laminate to work, does the grain in each layer of wood have to be going in different directions?
     

  8. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    79
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    After a few days of hemming and hawing, I came to the conclusion that I machined that maple top too thin and just wasn't going to be stable enough. I kept coming back to it and just kept moving around. I decided that for the time being I would put that body away and come back to it at another time, possibly replacing the top. I also decided that I had to keep moving forward, so I took some poplar lumber I'd been saving for another project and cut it down in to blanks.

    I figured I'd take the clamshell approach. These are the two halves laid on the floor after I cut them.

    [​IMG]

    Next, I put together a little jig to joint the edges. I used aluminum L-brackets and a mortising bit. I made sure that the runners were parallel by clamping the whole thing together while it was upside-down and placed on a level surface. It seemed to do the trick.

    [​IMG]

    And here's the halves being glued up. Once again, I used West Systems Epoxy.

    [​IMG]

    I used the same L-brackets to improve my router sled. Once again, I made sure the runners were parallel. This time I used a combination square to measure the heights at all four corners.

    [​IMG]

    Then, I drilled my registration holes and planned out my little routing schedule.

    [​IMG]

    Here I am, hogging out the holes on with my drill press.

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    Cavities routed out and then sanded. Again, I used a 3/4" tray and bowl bit.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And then I cut the holes in front. I still have to do the hole for the battery box in back and clean up the holes a little more.

    [​IMG]

    So I'm almost ready to epoxy the inside and glue this bad boy together.

    My question for you all in TDPRI is this: The front and back are 1/4" thick. I'd like it if the area around the sound hole was maybe 3/16" or 1/8" thick. If I routed the back, just around sound hole, would the poplar be too weak and split around that edge? This poplar seems kinda soft.
     

  9. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    I think if you just do around the sound hole you should be fine. You could even do it with the bowl bit and that way it would taper to the soundhole. I may go 3/16 though and not 1/8 without some reinforcement...but that's me.
     
    Freekmagnet likes this.

  10. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    79
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Cool. 3/16" sounds good to me. Thx!

    I guess it all boils down to weather or not I want to make another template.
     

  11. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    79
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    A buddy of mine convinced me to attack it freehand and to take it down to 1/8". I guess he takes it down to 1/8" all the time and hasn't had any problems with it yet.

    [​IMG]

    Came out OK. It's a little short on the upper right-hand corner. I left it 'cuz it was hard to eyeball that spot and once the guitar is glued together it will be virtually impossible to see.
     

  12. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    79
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    Aw yeah. I’m going to trim it on the router this weekend. I also have to start making decisions; I want to put trim on it and I have to decide on a color. I’m thinking a Sonic Blue body with either white or cream trim. I may color the back and sides a dark brown color.

    I also gotta buy a bridge. Overall I’m happy with this.

    [​IMG]

    Now that’s what I’m talking about...

    [​IMG]
     

  13. Freekmagnet

    Freekmagnet TDPRI Member

    79
    Dec 7, 2015
    Ventura County, CA
    I got her all cut out today. I got home from work, set up my li’l router table and went at it...

    [​IMG]

    I’m happy with it. The body has a nice, loud and bold tap tone. The only slight bummer is I had a little tear-out.

    [​IMG]

    My base instinct tells me to just fill it with epoxy putty and sand it down on the OSS. I couldn’t find the chip and I assume that it’s been disintegrated. I was planning on painting it a solid color anyways. If anyone out there thinks puttying it is a terrible idea, you’d better speak up quick! I’ll probably do this operation in the morning before I roundover the back edge.

    Speaking of finishing, I take a look at some tortoise binding. I pulled out some strips of celluloid my buddy gave me.

    [​IMG]

    They’re really thin. Maybe too thin, but it’d be one less thing to buy. I was picturing a Frost or Sonic Blue body with a light binding and a gold pick-guard, but maybe the tortoise trim on a warm white bass with a tort guard? Would the blue with the tort trim and a gold guard be too much? I was also thinking of painting the back another color, like black or white.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2017 at 1:57 AM

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