Condor - 5 and 6 String Bass Builds

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by geoffstgermaine, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. SeanHeffer

    SeanHeffer Senior Member

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    Beautiful work!
     
  2. jkes01

    jkes01 Senior Member

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    Really nice design and love those laminates.



    BTW, those covers are killer, mind telling us who did them?
     
  3. geoffstgermaine

    geoffstgermaine Senior Member

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    Thanks Sean and jkes01!

    The fellow is Christian Bove. He's in Brazil. The work is very well done. They're laser cut from drawing files I provided and they are perfect matches for the matching router templates I had a local company cut from acrylic on another laser cutter.

    These covers are a very basic example of some of the engraving work that he does. His prices are very reasonable. I learned of him through some work I saw of his for Ambler Guitars, which was much more ornate.

    https://www.facebook.com/christian.bove.9

    I also have a set of stainless steel ones for a guitar project I'm working on. I'll try to post them up later.
     
  4. jkes01

    jkes01 Senior Member

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    Cool man, thanks. He does some amazing work.
     
  5. geoffstgermaine

    geoffstgermaine Senior Member

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    I'm now working on the necks. I build my blanks to be around 930 mm x 100 mm x 44 mm (about 36.5" x 4" x 1.75"). This lets me get two necks out of a blank and I'm able to cut the headstock, that I attach with a scarf joint, off of the end of each neck.

    I had been using a table saw jig to cut my scarf joints prior to cleaning them up with a plane. I built a new jig to run the neck through my bandsaw and it also doubles to allow me to run the main beam of the neck through my jointer to clean up the joint.

    IMG_1381.JPG

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    With these jigs it took me about 40 minutes to cut a clean up scarf joints for 8 necks. Not too bad a certainly a lot quicker that my old method.

    Next up I have to glue the scarf joints. I'm going to use 1/4" locator pins to hold them up. I bought some plug cutters from Lee Valley to make some plugs that I may use. I'll see how they fit once I drill the 1/4" locator holes. Otherwise it will be poplar dowels.

    (Sorry this image is Sapele I'm using for two of the guitar necks)

    IMG_1384.JPG



    The lower piece is the headstock and the surface of it will be glued proud of the fretboard surface and machined flush when I do the entire fretboard gluing surface. I'm working on some fixtures for this so this is why some of my instrument progress has been a bit slower than normal.

    IMG_1387.JPG

    Now imagine I did that three more times with the other necks. Here are the four necks ready to be indexed and glued up.

    IMG_1393.JPG

    Thanks for looking!
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018
  6. geoffstgermaine

    geoffstgermaine Senior Member

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    I've got the necks and headstocks glued together and I'm working on levelling the headstocks to the rest of the neck beam.

    I clamped them with some 1/4" indexing pins that are about 8 mm long.

    IMG_1395.JPG

    Once complete I used my late Grandfather's Stanley No. 5 to match the end of the headstock up to the rest of the neck beam. I glued them up a little proud so that I didn't have to worry about tiny differences in the angles causing me to have to remove any material from the neck beam that I don't have to... this way it all comes from the headstock piece.

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    The neck laminates lined up pretty well. They're out by a bit, but it's pretty tiny. It doesn't make much difference anyway as the joints will be covered on one side by the fretboard and on the other by the veneers on the back of the headstock.

    IMG_1582.JPG
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018
  7. geoffstgermaine

    geoffstgermaine Senior Member

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    I got the rest of the scarf joints cleaned up. Next I'll level the fretboard surface and cut the truss rod slots on the table saw.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. geoffstgermaine

    geoffstgermaine Senior Member

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    I cut the truss rod slots on these. I had a jig that I used for tapering fretboards, but I needed to rebuild it, so I got out the math and reworked it as a multipurpose jig that I can use for cutting truss rod slots on my table saw, tapering fretboards and necks and a few other things.

    Here's one of the necks clamped in:

    IMG_1638.JPG

    I run the jig through with a dado-blade stack set for 1/4" to fit the truss rods I use. The slot comes out very clean:

    IMG_1654.JPG

    I use a filler strip to fill the headstock end of the slot. I use Maple for these. I glue them in slightly oversized and then plane them flush to the fretboard and headstock surfaces.

    IMG_1660.JPG

    IMG_1661.JPG

    I have the other two necks left to finish.

    I also had to thin my headstock veneers and heel caps to 1.6 mm to go on. My headstocks are at 12 mm without the veneers and with these veneers and my contrast layers I'll use the headstock will wind up at just over 15 mm, which is my final spec.

    I use my thickness sander for this, but it is limited to a minimum thickness of 1/8". I use an MDF sled with sandpaper glued on to run these veneers through.

    IMG_1635.JPG

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    I realized I'm all out of the Maple veneer I've been using for these basses, so I'm going to have to pick some up from Windsor Plywood before I can start gluing on the veneers.

    Thanks for looking!
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018
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  9. geoffstgermaine

    geoffstgermaine Senior Member

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    I've unfortunately been away a lot for work over the past couple of months, but I'm back trying to make some more progress before I'm ultimately going to be away for a very extended period this fall and then for the first half of 2018.

    I got the front and back headstock veneers and accents onto three of the necks. The walnut neck for the Cocobolo 5 string is in clamps now.

    I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. I'm showing the backs here because the fronts have paper templates on them.

    IMG_2007.JPG

    Here they are with their corresponding bodies to get an idea of how all the accents/laminates line up.

    Edit: Since all my photobucket third party stuff seems to have ended overnight, I have only the one image to load up right now... I'll get the other bodies/necks up later.

    IMG_2004.JPG

    I'll taper the necks and drill the tuner holes before starting on the fretboards.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2017
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  10. geoffstgermaine

    geoffstgermaine Senior Member

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    Ok, the other neck is done and here are the other bodies/necks.

    6/3 Cocobolo:

    IMG_2002.JPG

    5/2 Cocobolo:

    IMG_2010.JPG

    6/2 Redwood Burl

    IMG_2006.JPG

    All necks lined up:

    IMG_2009.JPG

    Silly photobucket. I'll try to go through and add the images back in.

    Thanks for looking!
     
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  11. geoffstgermaine

    geoffstgermaine Senior Member

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    I got a fair bit of work done on the necks - tuner holes, heel cap veneers and truss rod access.

    I used a template to drill the tuner holes... just a simple pattern held on with two sided tape. I really like the Lee Valley brad point bits for drilling tuner holes. I have the 10 mm for most guitar stuff I use and the 9/16" which fits the smaller 3/8" Hipshot Ultralights I use.

    IMG_2056.JPG

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    Then I got something looking like these:

    IMG_2066.JPG

    Then I needed to glue on he heel caps. I cut the neck pocket area out of the body top laminates before I glued them to the body cores so I could use grain matched pieces for this. I routed a step on the end of the neck 7mm below the fretboard surface so that when the 1.5 mm and 0.6 mm laminates go on the end it will sit flush with the body.

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  12. geoffstgermaine

    geoffstgermaine Senior Member

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    I used a round nose router bit to cut the truss rod adjustment slots.

    IMG_2125.JPG

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    I scraped off the paper on the fronts of the headstocks and here's what we've got:

    IMG_2149.JPG

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    IMG_2151.JPG

    IMG_2152.JPG

    I'm waiting on some laser cut templates that I dropped at a local shop on Friday before I do the headstock logo inlay. I'll be working on the fretboards and getting the neck tapers cut in the meantime.

    Thanks for looking!
     
  13. geoffstgermaine

    geoffstgermaine Senior Member

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    A bit more progress.

    I installed the logos on the headstocks. They're Ebony ovals with either Paua Abalone or Black MOP.

    IMG_2205.JPG

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    I inlaid the Ebony, cut the inlay recess for the shell and then installed with CA and bunch of Ebony dust to ensure I have no small gaps.

    IMG_2220.JPG

    fullsizeoutput_f63.jpeg

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    I tapered the necks first cutting them out roughly on the band saw and then finishing them up with a template bit on my router table.

    IMG_2223.JPG

    After this we're here:

    IMG_2237.JPG

    IMG_2238.JPG

    Now I'm moving onto the fretboards. All I've done so far are the nut slots. I'll be doing the conical surface (compound radius) next and then slotting them before I taper them and fit them to the necks. I'm using Cocobolo and Birdseye Maple.

    IMG_2239.JPG

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  14. geoffstgermaine

    geoffstgermaine Senior Member

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    A bit of an update. Using my compound radius jig on my jointer was a mix of success and failure. Unfortunately these fretboards are so long relative to my jointer outfield table length that I couldn't get the boards tapered all the way to both the heel and nut ends. This meant I had to do the last 2" on each end of the fretboard with a hand plane. The outfeed table is around 28" and the fretboards are close to the same, so when you add the two ends of the jig that are 3/4" thick and define the two radii you run out of room on the table. I am planning the purchase of a mid size CNC machine, so this should solve this problem for future builds.

    IMG_2313.JPG

    I taper both the necks and fretboards before gluing them up. I use locating pins in the nut channel and in the location of one of the 12th fret dot markers to keep the fretboard in place while it goes in the vacuum bag. I used West System 105 with the slow hardener, so I left them in the bag for about 12 hours before removing them.

    IMG_2383.JPG

    IMG_2378.JPG

    Then I cut the neck pockets and fit the necks. Two of the neck heels run right into the pickup routes on the 3 pickup basses, so those are a bit easier to fit. Nothing really interesting here. The pockets are cut with a 1/2" top bearing template bit with a template.

    IMG_2425.JPG

    IMG_2476.JPG

    I've also cut all of the pickup cavities. Again, nothing fancy, but I use a 3/8" diameter top bearing template bit for this. It works well with the Bartolini pickups I'm using that have corner radii that seem to be somewhere between 1/8" and 3/16". It's an Amana bit on a 1/2" shank and it's a very nice bit. I also have a 1/4" bit that's the same but works well with EMG pickups that tend to have sharper corners.

    IMG_2504.JPG

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    I still have to cut an inset recess in the bottom of all of the pickup cavities for the wiring and foam I use to aid in height adjustment. Not a lot left on these bodies.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 25, 2017
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  15. geoffstgermaine

    geoffstgermaine Senior Member

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    A bit of an update. I've been away for much of the past two months for work, so not a ton has progressed.

    I installed the brass inserts into the neck for the 1/4-20 bolts I'll be using. I'm using what are generally referred to as furniture connector bolts that have rather large heads. I've recessed them about 6 mm using a 20 mm Forstner bit. The heads on the bolts are right around 19 mm, so this will give me clearance for finish.

    I use a neck jig in order to hold the neck with the shaped fretboard perpendicular to the drill bit. I also use this jig for a number of other neck operations including cutting the final neck depth and taper prior to final carving of the neck. It's a pretty slick jig for neck work.

    I install the inserts with the EZ Lock tool. The instructions say to drill a 3/8" hole for these, though I believe that is likely for softwood use. I drilled the holes slight larger at 10 mm, which worked well on the Walnut necks, but not so much on the Maple. Fortunately I tested on both and new this in advance. I believe about a .5 mm larger hold would have worked well for the Maple, but I didn't have such a bit, so unfortunately I revered to some sandpaper wrapped around a dowel to slightly enlarge the holes to make driving the inserts work.

    fullsizeoutput_110b.jpeg

    I've tried driving these inserts without the tool before and the brass is pretty terrible. There are other ways using a couple of nuts installed on a threaded rod that I've seen, but the tool worked really well in a drill.

    fullsizeoutput_1108.jpeg

    fullsizeoutput_1115.jpeg

    I've got the arm and tummy bevels more or less complete... just a little bit of tweaking to get them all to look as close to exactly the same as I can.

    fullsizeoutput_1116.jpeg

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    Thanks for looking!
     
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  16. dickjonesify

    dickjonesify Senior Member

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    Amazing :applause:

    Too bad Photobucket stole a bunch of our pics. Glad you’ve changed that. They look fantastic!
     
  17. geoffstgermaine

    geoffstgermaine Senior Member

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    Thanks! Each time I update the thread I'm replacing a couple of posts worth of pictures, so hopefully after the next few posts all the pictures will be back.
     
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  18. geoffstgermaine

    geoffstgermaine Senior Member

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    I'm working on the position markers. The sequence to finish the necks is to get these installed and then machine the final thickness taper, carve the neck, final level the fretboard and then install the frets.

    The dots I'm installing are shell inside of metal tubes. I'm using Paua Abalone and Brass on the Cocobolo boards and Black MOP and Aluminum on the Maple boards. The shell selection matches the headstock logos.

    I use the HSS Brad Point bits available from Lee Valley for drilling all of these holes. They cut extremely clean and a brad point allows me to align things easily and accurately. I drill the face dots in the drill press but I use a hand drill with a binocular visor to do the side dots.

    The tube is 4mm OD on the side dots and 6 mm OD on the face dots. The wall thickness is 0.45mm on all of the tube, so shell dots that are 1 mm under the OD of the tube work very well.

    The aluminum tube can be easily cut by hand, but the brass requires a Dremel with a cut-off wheel to be done efficiently. For the aluminum I use a small handsaw to cut it off after I push the large tube down into the hole, but I install individually cut pieces of brass. In order to keep things aligned and to install them easily into the snug holes I place a 1 mm undersized tube inside the longer tube and attach the section of tube I'm installing on the end. This way I can apply enough force to get the tube in without distorting the tube or the hole in the wood. A picture is probably worth many words here.

    IMG_3079.JPG

    A drop of CA glue and everything's installed.

    IMG_3081.JPG

    After I get all of the tube in and roughly levelled I install the shell dots.

    IMG_3083.JPG

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    Here's how things look after the install and rough levelling of the inlays. Not the best photos of this out of a phone camera. I should use my wife's pro setup but then downloading images and all that...

    FE4CE9F9-AD3D-49C7-A9D8-B2BC6D0E24D6.jpeg

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    That's about it. I'll get the two 5 string necks done later today. I'll try to get one more update in this week. I'm off for a 6 month deployment next week, so this thread will be on hiatus until the summer.

    Thanks for looking!
     
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  19. dickjonesify

    dickjonesify Senior Member

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    Those inlays are awesome
     
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  20. geoffstgermaine

    geoffstgermaine Senior Member

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    Thanks Dick!
     

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