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Tales from my workbench


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11 hours ago, slingblader said:

No way! That's very cool, thanks man! 

It was an easy decision:

1. Your Buckaroo Tele build project (x 3) finished just in time for your Dad's 80th was just too damn cool.

2. Our keys player is originally from Indiana. 

3. One of my bandmates and I look for any opportunity to play a Buck tune. 

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This was on my bench this evening. My Dad's 1961(ish) Harmony Rocket. I disassembled it as far as I could. I cleaned everything and gave it the first fretjob that it ever had... like it literally never had anything done at the factory aside from beveling the fret ends... and decades of playing cowboy chords pretty much decimated everything below the 5th fret. :D Restrung it with flats just like it had when he bought it. Plays and sounds great. 
 
fM7RYE9.jpg
 
 
0wdNDLv.jpg
 
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On 5/26/2022 at 8:38 PM, slingblader said:
This was on my bench this evening. My Dad's 1961(ish) Harmony Rocket. I disassembled it as far as I could. I cleaned everything and gave it the first fretjob that it ever had... like it literally never had anything done at the factory aside from beveling the fret ends... and decades of playing cowboy chords pretty much decimated everything below the 5th fret. :D Restrung it with flats just like it had when he bought it. Plays and sounds great. 
 
fM7RYE9.jpg
 
 
0wdNDLv.jpg
 

Now that takes me back to when I was around 16......

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  • 1 month later...

I've started to build a 12 string bass as my next project. I've done a fair amount of research on the details, but there is a lot that can go wrong/be screwed up. So, I'm hoping this comes out well. I've been planning to do one of these ever since I started building (2016 or so), and I've been collecting some of the parts since that time.

Here are the initial specs (subject to change of course)

  • 34" neck through, multi-lam with a tapered core
  • Dual truss rods
  • Padauk and maple neck lams
  • Cocobolo heart and sap fretboard
  • Alder body core with claro walnut burl top and katalox back
  • Assorted Gotoh tuners
  • Sung Il bridge and tail piece(similar to the Hamer 12 bridge)
  • Lace 3.5" bass bar pickups
  • Aguilar OBP-3 preamp (maybe...)

Here are a few pics of the progress to this point. 

Pile o' wood.

okV4Syb.jpg

 

Beginning to process the wood

52KaCAe.jpg


Claro walnut burl top with some denatured alcohol thrown on. That should be a killer top. 
FRpxjnh.jpg

 

Drum sanding some neck laminates. Never mind that peeling label on my drum sander.... that is a victim of the "great shellac spill of 2022"... let us never speak of it again. :D
eWKTTtD.jpg

 

Neck lams getting closer to final size, hoping to glue up the neck beam later today. 
XfQFzJd.jpg

 

More soon. :)

 

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This is SUPER cool!  Great idea…

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6 hours ago, Travis said:

Looking forward to seeing the progress on this one 

Me too! I've been wanting to do this for years!!!

5 hours ago, cmatthes said:

This is SUPER cool!  Great idea…

Thanks, Chris. Not sure if it's a great idea or not, but I've wanted one of these forever. I've never even held one, so hopefully I can make this thing playable. :D

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2 hours ago, topekatj said:

Dang, dude, that neck scale looks longer than 34”. I’d need to capo at the 5th fret to play it. Better extend that top horn as you did on your other bass build!

Well, it is a neck-through... so there's that... plus the headstock on a 12er is pretty dang gigantic!

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1 hour ago, Steve Haynie said:

Tell us more!

Oh man, a  couple days before July 4th, I noticed something all over the top of my drum sander. I found that a can of Zinsser shellac (located in the cabinet above the sander) had sprung a leak and dripped about a pint or more of shellac over an extended period of time. It made a sticky shellac shell which had to be removed with denatured alcohol and acetone... which lead to the demise of the dust hood sticker on the sander. I used a lot of colorful language during that cleanup. 

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Tonight I got the neck beam glued up. This is my clamping jig that I use for tapered neck beams. I use spacer blocks to hold my clamps, with riser blocks at each end to hold a pair of tapered cauls.

l0kEqzh.jpg

 

And there it is after about a 40 minute glue-up process. 13 pieces in total (7 main lams, plus 6 black poplar veneers) That was a marathon!
haRwZh0.jpg

 

That assembly will sit for a few days before I do anything with it. I want to be sure it's good and dry before I start working on it.

 

More soon. :)

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Not a lot to report on progress of the 12 string bass. We had a severe storm come through last week which threw a big wrench in the plans. Anyway, here is what I've been up to.

The neck glue-up came out great. I let the neck set for 4 or 5 days after coming out of the clamps. I cleaned up one side and used the drum sander to true up the opposite face. Then I flipped it over to hit the other side. 

wHYYEL8.jpg

 

Yesh, tight like tiger. 
4jZfiit.jpg

 

Nice and square.
5a0bozo.jpg

 

Resawed a couple pieces of alder to use as body wing cores. 
z1SRF2i.jpg

 

Roughly tapered, slotted and radiused the heart and sap cocobolo fretboard. That's gonna look cool! :D
09KMn0B.jpg

 

I also have gotten a lot of measurements and calculations completed for upcoming steps. That stuff is boring and tedious, but it needs to be done. It should make next steps faster. 

More soon. :)

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A little more progress to report. 

I cut the headstock angle from the blank and cleaned up the top face. Of course this will still need some wings attached. I'm still finalizing the headstock shape... having that many tuners limits the options a bit. :D
U0gjFDq.jpg

This is the step that is always a little scary for me. Calculating the amount to route away to allow for the drop top, the neck angle, as well as a little extra "wing" angle. The wing angle accounts for the point (closest to the nut) at which the longest body wing meets the neck (usually on the bass side of the neck). This allows for a small angle that falls away toward the end of the fretboard. If you forget this, your drop top can end up covering part of the edge of the fretboard and you will need to do some creative carving to correct this. Ask me how I know.

Normally, I can calculate the additional amount of "drop" needed at the scale line to accommodate the bridge height. (By the way, by "drop" I mean how much lower from the original "top" of the neck beam) But in this case, I'm not going to allow the full amount. The bridge is a full 19mm tall. I'd have a ridiculous amount of neck angle and the strings would be a mile off the body. So, this one will be a compromise. I'll account for a normal neck angle and then recess the bridge into the top of the body to arrive at what I hope is a happy medium. 

If anyone was able to follow that narrative, you deserve an award. OK, on with more pictures; which, in the end, are fairly boring. 

I perform this routing operation on my inverted pin router. So, I attach blocks to the rear of the neck beam. I set these so that I am not cutting into the final point at the end of the neck. I'll clean that up later by hand. You can see some guidelines that I've drawn on the side of the neck. These represent the end of the fretboard plane, the neck angle and the drop top thickness. 
8ouTVZM.jpg

I start with the drop top thickness. This is a straight route that removes the bulk of the waste and is around 5.5mm deep. 
cuOIJdB.jpg

Now, to accommodate the neck angle, I remove material from the "foot" that I left at the end of the beam.
bdZUQZY.jpg

Here is the same shot, but now I'm pushing the neck beam down to the table on that shorter foot... 
ASz2YQr.jpg

Close up of the shorter foot... I have to hold this down firmly as I make my final pass. I leave the router depth set exactly the same for the next step. 
pey4q75.jpg

And there it is. You can now see that the material removed matches that angled line on the side of the neck. 
KixbYQD.jpg

Side view
ZIlSKNi.jpg

Top view
JvTjqvM.jpg

Now I can remove the foot completely, but I'll leave the excess at the end to help hold the top when I glue it. 


More soon. :)

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Tonight I glued up the wing sammiches. These are composed of alder, black dyed poplar, mahogany and katolox on the rear. I used UF glue for this operation and used the vacuum bag for clamping duties. I use tape to keep the bundles together until the vacuum can take over. The treble side wing will get the katalox plate later, after I've cut the control cavity cover from that laminate. 

EztbQa8.jpg

J0GOxda.jpg

lEA9WjE.jpg

SegYlNW.jpg

More soon. :)

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I spent some time cleaning up the garage today. Things were getting a little messy out there, and someone noted that I may or may not have been dragging wood chips into the house. 

Next, I buckled down and finalized my headstock shape. I wanted to keep as many of the aspects of the original design as possible that I had used on my previous bass builds. Here's the one that I'm talking about.
NjPbdBH.jpg

6aGDpXn.jpg

I had laid out the tuners and string paths previously sometime back in June, which was a major undertaking. The problem that I ran into was that I couldn't keep the "wing" curves in the same orientation as the original because of the way I had laid out the tuners. So, here is what I came up with. I pretty much just reversed the design on the treble side of the headstock. It's growing on me and I think that it will work. (Apparently, I thought that today was August 8...)

ZY2xAwt.jpg

I cut the templates from hardboard at the band saw, then cleaned them up with files.
p2CSUjj.jpg

Here are both templates stacked up. Still need a little tweaking, but you get the idea.
WNtAuCj.jpg

And here it is next the the one used on the 5 string. Obviously the 12er headstock is yuuuge, but I feel like it is in keeping with the aesthetic.  
G92GTDy.jpg

Thoughts?

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8 hours ago, hamerhead said:

That looks great. Managing to keep it small (relatively speaking) with all that's going on is impressive as hell. Can't wait to see the end product.

Thank you, sir!

 

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Time for (headstock) wings.
maxresdefault.jpg

Got all pieces prepped, glue mixed and neck in position.
sI7Rq2t.jpg

Gluing in progress.
VWyzV3o.jpg

Clamping.
HqJivnx.jpg

And more clamps. I had to straighten up that clamp on the end after I took this picture. I couldn't take it. :D
UJ0o3dM.jpg

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