Just because you can. . .

Sure, it’s possible to cut out your body shape with a handheld jigsaw.

Body rough cut

But it might not look too great.

not square

Or be quite square. Jigsaw blades aren’t that rigid, especially when you try to make them turn.

Router and template will be used to fix all that. Here’s the neck with position markers (MOP dots) inlaid.

neck with inlay

(I later realized that I’d purchased larger 1/4″ dots especially for this neck, but I’d forgotten about them until I’d already inlaid all these 5mm dots. Oh well.)

Slow going

Well, even with wedges to hold the saw kerf open, this is taking forever. . .

more resawing

 

. . . so I cut out a body template from some MDF I had.

bass body template

I still need to clean it up around the neck area, but I want to make the neck first so I know what size pocket to cut. But hey, progress!

Resaw the Hard Way

I know there must be better ways to do this, but they all seem to involve large bandsaws, which I don’t have.

Resawing the hard way

First you cut around the edges with the table saw (which really needs a tall fence to do it right) then use the resulting kerf as a guide for the handsaw. Simple, right? I figure if I take a few strokes every time I walk by, I’ll be done in a month or so.

In the future, I’ll try to remember to do this before gluing the halves together.

Doesn’t look like much…

…but buried somewhere in there is a short-scale electric bass. Probably.

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maple on top for the neck, African mahogany (probably Khaya) for the body.

Should be enough for at least two bodies, or a body and some necks. You have to leave at least six feet of length at the lumberyard, so I had to buy the whole thing. (I already had the maple.)

Not shiny

Wet sanded to P800 with soapy water. Not glossy, but no orange peel and really, really smooth.

Body wetsanded

More wet sanding next, at least to 2000 grit, then polishing. And if I polish with Micro-Mesh, which I might, then it’s not really any different from wet sanding.

Turkey Progress

Got a fair amount done over the Thanksgiving holidays.

Sanding the linings

Sanding the linings

Here’s the sides with kerfed lining installed, being sanded on our infinite-radius dish board. None of these wimpy fifteen- or twenty-foot radii for us.

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Back, with braces installed but not yet carved. You carve them after gluing them down, because if you carve them first, the clamps slip off when you try to glue them. Thre is a semi-cylindrical arch sanded into the back braces (I think it’s a B-spline, technically) that, along with the neck-to-tail arch in the sides, gives a complex dome that’s not quite spherical to the completed back. This helps reflect the sound out to the front of the instrument while stiffening the back, which allows it to be thinner, lighter and more responsive.

But mainly because it looks good. Hey, if I had a motorized dish board, I’d use it, but I don’t.

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Top, thinned to 0.070″ on average, marked with brace locations.

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Top, rosette bits, and a wrench

Playing with rosette designs. Going with a contemporary design here; that’s padauk from the piece that was going to be the top but it’s too thin.

Side bending! or maybe breaking.

Here’s the bending setup. There’s one side and a strip for binding in there. Is it still in one piece? I don’t know.

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I’ve got to get a more convenient clamping arrangement. I’d have some of the staff hold it down with their hands — they can’t feel anything, what with being technically dead and all — but the smell of sizzling rotten flesh just isn’t worth it.

Edited to add – Turned out okay. A couple of scorch marks, but that’s to be expected. Here’s the side clamped into a mold. (The mold just holds it in position.) The binding strip broke in two places, where the blue tape is, but since I may not even put binding on this one, not a big deal.

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Knock Your Block Out

No photo for this one. My maple Moeck Rottenburgh Alto recorder (which I bought in, let’s see, around 1987?) was clogging and getting stuffy-sounding, so it was time for a cleaning. It’s old and stable enough that a full revoicing wouldn’t do much, I think, and really ought to be replaced.

I popped out the cedar block (with a drumstick) and gently scrubbed with a damp toothbrush, like I was told to do. Noticed a greyish tint on the upper surface of the windway, and what felt like longitudinal ridges which I figure was caused by the grain of the wood absorbing moisture at different rates.

So I sanded it.

It’s not a drastic as it sounds. I used 320, 400, and 600 grit on a NWSL sanding stick. Didn’t completely remove the ridges, but smoothed them out a bit. It seems to play fine. I don’t recommend trying this at home, unless you’re prepared to accept the consequences. (I made a soprano recorder once, and while it isn’t great, I’m not totally ashamed of it. Hey, where’s the link to it? Darn Rhesus monkeys, getting into everything…)