CT inspired bass

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by beuford23, May 1, 2016.

  1. beuford23

    beuford23 Senior Member

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    It's been a very long time since I last built. My life in the military has taken away much of my free time until recently (and even now, I have until the beginning of July before I'm gone for another 6 months)
    I've always been an admirer of Carl Thompson's bass designs. I became an even bigger fan of his after watching a number of his Youtube videos and saw a remarkable similarity between him and my late grandfather, Gunnar (a true rennasaince man).
    My 15 year old son's birthday is August 22nd and I had originally planned on having this done for him. While he sees me working on it he has no idea that it is intended for him. Now I'm on a time constraint and I'll see how far I can get things done.
    The end goal is a 36" scale, 5 string frettless. The neck and body is made up of laminates using eastern curly maple, black walnut, western big leaf burl and eventually, either a ziricote or African ebony fretboard - I'm still sourcing that out as it's a bit trickier finding a 29" fingerboard blank.
    Anyways, I'm not the greatest at documenting "how" I build as I build solo and I don't think my wife really wants to stand around taking pictures as I work. Instead, I more or less photograph the progress but I'll try and provide description as to my methods. So, here we go.......

    The beginning of the neck laminate.
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    The taper jig to cut the scarf joint and taper the neck
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    Scarf joint glued up.
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    After the scarf joint is glued up, I true up the sides by cutting the taper of the neck all the way to the end of the headstock (something I saw CT does) then glue up the last two side laminates of the black walnut. All measurements taken into consideration this gives me the final dimension from the heel to the nut/headstock transition area. I use my grandfathers trusty stanley plane to take down the highs on the top of the neck, place it in my planer sled and send it through my thickness planer giving me a perfect top surface.
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    Some walnut curlies.
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    I glue up some 1/2" thick pieces of Burl (tapered on my jig), black walnut and hard maple strips. I'll thin this down to 1/16' on the planer...
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    A couple strips glued down on a sacrificial piece of mdf to serve as a planer sled.
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    High spots hand planed down
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    Soon to be headstock veneer is wedged into position and ready to go through the planer. Fingers crossed...
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    The veneer was a success! After glueing up the headstock with multiples laminates of BW, Maple and a couple slices of White birch on the outsides for fun, it's glue time!
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    A little bit of tung oil to see how the burl looks.
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    Boring shot but this is the start of laminating the body.
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    "How do you make a hole without making a hole?"
    This is CT's answer to mortis and tenon construction,
    You build the mortise around the tenon.
    Doing this I was able to keep within what I would say are some decent tolerances.
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    I match the taper of the neck to the taper of the body block and then glue up the "sides" of the mortis
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    Surely pure luck but this 15/10000's makes it fit like a glove!
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    Some nice straight lines
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    Headstock taking shape
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    Further development
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    Just working on the headstock logo and will update in a few days.
     
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  2. Bruiser74

    Bruiser74 Senior Member

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    Dude, wow this is looking awesome!!
     
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  3. KnightroExpress

    KnightroExpress Senior Member

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    Wow, this is great! I'm a big Carl Thompson fan myself, he's a massive inspiration to me.
     
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  4. HEADKNOCKER

    HEADKNOCKER Senior Member

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    NICE!!
    Nice laminates happening in your CT inspired build!!
    Watching YOU!!
     
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  5. beuford23

    beuford23 Senior Member

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    I love his YT videos! I can help but admire his humbleness and willingness to share his insights and gifts. There's one in particular where he gifts an old, old guitar to one of his departing luthiers. He welled right up with tears as he spoke so eloquently about his friend. He wins my respect more for the decent man he is than is skills.
     
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  6. beuford23

    beuford23 Senior Member

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    I'm using this as a reference for the rest of the body layout. I built the center block around the idea and measurements that the joint between the small piece of black walnut and burl represents the the line at which I'll route the pup cavity. I'm still farting around with ideas as to how i'll approach getting the wires to the control cavity; whether i'll route a channel a la Les Paul builds or whether i'll get even more creative....along with hidden r.e magnets holding the cover plate in place...

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    I'm very fortunate that some of the guys I work with are extremely talented in photo editing etc. They also have HUGE printers are able to print to scale. I've been able to use that so my reference image is drawn to match a 36" scale


    The CT headstock logo plate is almost finished
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    This is an old photo I had uploaded on my LP build a number of years ago. It was a piece of burl given to me and I kept it all this time until the right build came along. Its now being used in this build.
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  7. beuford23

    beuford23 Senior Member

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    Not too much to report. Body pieces have, for the most part, been planed and cut on the taper jig. This is my shop helper banging some nails into his box project.
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    I was looking at getting a jointer a few months back but had a hard time justifying the money on a new one and used ones were a bit tricky to come by. This is my table saw jointing jig that I made until such time that I do get my hands on one.
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  8. emoney

    emoney Senior Member

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    Great work thus far. Can't wait to see the finished project and glad to see you back.
     
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  9. larryguitar

    larryguitar Senior Member

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    Lucky kid-that's gorgeous!


    Larry
     
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  10. beuford23

    beuford23 Senior Member

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    Like I said, I go away for 6 months on July 4th and so time is of the essence in this build. That, coupled with the fact that I'm not too good at photographing my "process" results in a thread like this.....

    Anyways, here's where things are at:

    After deciding on which re-sawn burl planks I would use i finished gluing up the top (upper half-ish) piece of the body.
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    Skipping through the bandsaw I ended up with the blank ready to have the saw marks sanded out.
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    Anybody seen my 9 year old? He was here, somewhere....
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    No glue-up yet, just a quick setup to see how things are looking.
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    I should have more done but I've also had to split the time between the build, family, work AND I've been building a small jewellery type box for my wife for mother's day.

    More pics to follow in the next day or two.

    I'm still working on sourcing out the perfect Ziricote fingerboard. Finding a length at 29 1/4" is a bit tricky. Once I have that in my hands, then I'll tackle the trussrod placement. I should mention that it's been a good 6 weeks since I started work on the neck. It has not shifted nor settled out of perfect square since and so I'm absolutely thrilled by that little detail.

    Even the wife is impressed.....
     
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  11. beuford23

    beuford23 Senior Member

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    In no particular order: Beer, chisel, gouge, spoke shave, rasp, sand, cuss and swear, beer, coffee, another beer, more swearing....
    Burl can be a real bitch to work with. Razor sharp spoke shave and it comes out looking like blonde marble. Use the rasp on it and well, looks like ****e.

    Anyways, I started to carve the scroll before glue-up so I avoid any chance of nicking the neck.
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  12. KnightroExpress

    KnightroExpress Senior Member

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    I really love watching this one. It's going to be a beauty, for sure!
     
  13. beuford23

    beuford23 Senior Member

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    A little more progress,

    Burl takes forever to carve. I have to keep my gouges beyond razor sharp or I just end up crushing the grain

    Backside carved scroll
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    Front is a little closer
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    I was originally going to have everything "rounded" but really liked how the facets were looking as I worked on the carve (the shadows show it off a bit I think) so I decided to stay with this.

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    I carved most of the top "wing" of the bass as I knew that if I did it after installing the neck that there was a damn good chance that I'd slip once or twice and end up stabbing the neck.

    So, here's 2/3's of the body glued up.

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    I doubt I'll do anything tomorrow if I know whats good for me.....
     
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  14. beuford23

    beuford23 Senior Member

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    I guess I could have mentioned that, since I don't have any long bar clamps I have to come up with a solution: enter the scrap of counter from my bathroom renovation. The piece of birch up against the belly is held down by 6 screws on the back. Then, the clamping block is set up against the body and a couple birch wedges are tapped into place squeezing everything together. It actually worked so well that I had a hell of a time getting the body out afterwards.
     
  15. poro78

    poro78 Noble savage Premium Member

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    Stunning, just stunning. :drool:
     
  16. emoney

    emoney Senior Member

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    Clamps are clamps, so kudos on "using what you got".
     
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  17. HEADKNOCKER

    HEADKNOCKER Senior Member

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    Looks very nice..
    You'll get it figured out when the time comes to clamp the other wing on.
    Bottle jack, car jack or just like you did the other.. Thinking?? Thread all & some nuts..

    I should give Carl Thomson Inc. the link to this thread.. They would be Proud of your Build!
     
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  18. beuford23

    beuford23 Senior Member

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    I'd love to hear what he thinks!

    On with the updates

    Drew up lines for cable routing and control cavity. Used my trusty pull saw to cut the sides of the channel first
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    I hate using my router and so I always try to do without
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    looks good....
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    not so good. Thats okay though, iw as planning on doing something a little different here anyways....you can see the lines marked and scored for some inlay
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    voila!
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    The idea is so that when you remove the control cover, there's a cool little detail there as well.

    Lastly, the headstock name plate will have the same shape as a Carl Thompson, this here is my signature (stylized) and will be in place of the classic burned in CT signature. That said, a local trophy shop can laser burn it onto the wood as soon as I convert the image to a vector file (only cost about $3)
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  19. DRF

    DRF Senior Member

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    Nice. If yer gonna do a bass that's a good choice. I mean if something is like 10 grand to buy it puts a little more "oomph" into the project if you know what I mean.

    I like the end grain set up on the neck. You must be in Canada, I have those same calipers.:thumb:
     
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  20. beuford23

    beuford23 Senior Member

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    Haha, trusty Mastercraft. I've always wondered who their power tools manufacturer is.

    So yes, we currently live in southern Ontario (Trenton) and will hopefully do so for another 4 years before the big green machine moves us somewhere else (3 times in 4 years has worn my wife and children's patience)

    I had originally planned on laminating a thin veneer of birch on the back of the headstock but I decided afterwards that I really liked the look of it without.
     
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