Beginning the Neck

Beginning the Neck and Scroll

Laminating the Neck-billet

All of the Big Leaf maple portions of this bass are made from a log I was given, years ago, by the late Terry Howell. The fellow I hired to mill it up said he did not know how to do quarter-sawing or flitch-sawing, so I settled for plane-sawing, which means that all I have is slabs. That is OK, because I like using slab-sawn wood, especially for backs; but it also meant I had no pieces thick enough for a neck on a bass. So…I chose to glue-laminate the neck billet, and produce a piece thick enough to use.

Contrary to my usual rule of “nothing but hot hide-glue,” I chose to use Titebond on this, reasoning that it is not supposedĀ to ever come apart. One of the reasons we usually stick with hot hide glue is that it is always reversible. Titebond is not.) My son Brian lent me about a dozen clamps to make the job easier. He makes exquisite guitars, and learned early the value of having lots of clamps available.

Neck billet bookmatched, glued and clamped for the five-string double bass.
Neck billet bookmatched, glued and clamped.

 

The resulting billet was still about 3/4″ too narrow to accommodate the “ears” of the scroll, so I added a layer on each side, carefully chosen from nearby grain, so they would match (hopefully), and not be too obtrusive.

Extra wood glued on for
Extra wood glued on for “ears.”

Carving the scroll

Finally, I drew in the planned shape of the entire scroll and pegbox, and proceeded to cut away as much waste-wood as possible, using a saw.

 

scroll and pegbox from a five-string cello.
I forgot to photograph the initial carving portion, so this is from a five-string cello I made earlier. The same process is followed.

 

Saw-work on a viola scroll.
Saw-work on a viola scroll…I forgot to photograph this step on this bass.

 

Removing waste wood using gouges.
Removing waste wood using gouges. (Again, this is a viola scroll; but the same principle applies.)

 

All saw-work is done on the five-string bass scroll.
All saw-work is done on the scroll…time to remove wood using gouges and planes.

 

Removing waste wood from the 5-string double bass scroll, using a gouge.
Removing waste wood using a gouge.

 

Removing waste wood from the 5-string double bass scroll using a palm-plane.
Removing waste wood using a palm-plane.

 

Waste wood has mostly been removed from the 5-string double bass scroll.
Waste wood has mostly been removed. Time to begin the pegbox and volute.

Carving the Pegbox

Pegbox drawn and ready to carve, for the 5-string double bass.
Pegbox has been drawn and is ready to carve.

 

Beginning the interior of the pegbox for the 5-string double bass.
Beginning the interior of the pegbox.

 

Pegbox carving is complete for the 5-string double bass.
Pegbox carving is complete.

Carving the Volute

Beginning the volute for the 5-string double bass scroll.
Beginning the volute for the 5-string double bass scroll.

Bass Scrolls are BIG!

Large viola scroll inside the five-string double bass scroll.
That large viola scroll fits easily…loosely…inside the bass pegbox. Reminds me of a mother monkey cuddling her baby. The bass scroll is simply huge, compared to any other instrument I build. (No, I will never build an octobass.)

As you can see, there is a lot that goes into carving a scroll…and this thing is really big! So, though I’m not done, I will go ahead and post this, and share the rest as it gets done. (The turns of the scroll will be more deeply undercut, and all surfaces more refined.)

 

Thanks for looking