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Your ideas about building a chambered eucalyptus body

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Your ideas about building a chambered eucalyptus body

Postby Mike Stier » Thu Jun 16, 2016 11:42 am

Hello wood working gurus! I’m a woodworking neophyte and would like to do a project with my Dad- I’ve built lots of parts instruments, so hoping that a bass body won’t be too hard= Long scale, 34 inch bolt on- Buying everything except the body

I could use input on a wide range of topics- Concept follows and totally open to ideas!

1. Wood- I have a eucaliptus trunk that has been drying for a few years and would like to cut into planks, join and make a bass body from it and wonder if this makes sense?

a. Eucalyptus Trunk is roughly 12’ long * 5”circumfrance
b. Cut into strips
i. Maybe 2”*2”*2’
ii. End up with a solid hunk of wood that is 2 inches thick
iii. Band saw shape and rout as if we were making a solid body
iv. My Dad has a lot of joining and non-guitar woodworking experience
v. Does this make sense so far?

2. Design-I understand that eucalyptus has great tone, but is very heavy, so we were thinking
a. Bass sized, L5 shape with a flat top (would look something like a Rumblecat)
b. Rout out the wings from the backside
c. Keep the complete center section from neck pocket to end pin intact to support neck, bridge, pups
d. Will end up with 2 symmetrical, routed sections on either side of the center
i. Bevel those edges and cover with plastic covers that are significantly larger than the average back plates
e. Does this make sense?

3. What would it Sound like?
a. Technically it won’t be a hallow body, but I image it will have more thump and less sustain- like a chambered electric?

b. I imagine eucalyptus is bright

c. I imagine that this design might do well with 3 passive pups
i. Neck mini-humbucker, maybe get a somewhat thin thump similar to a 60s hollow body
1. The size would be nice
2. Or alternatively, a big Gibson EB3 L neck pickup that would be less bright?

ii. Pbass center, normal placement for somewhat traditional Pbass thick sound
1. I’m a jbass nut and could imagine J pup in the center could work- But trying to make up for the ‘hollow’ nature and image the pbass pup would be the only ‘heavy bottom’ pup

iii. Jbass bridge pup-
1. As I said, I’m a J nut and Joco rules, but if eucalyptus is bright, this might be rather bright

iv. Probably a standard Jbass bridge

v. 3 vol and master tone

vi. Will probably go with a 5 position blade
1. Jbass bridge
2. Jbass + Pbass
3. Pbass
4. Pbass + Neck
5. Neck

d. Does this make sense and what would it probably sound like?

4. Questions
a. Appreciate feedback on all question above

b. How deep should we rout the wings?
i. Leave ¼ inch of top?
ii. Is this strong enough and the top isn’t really acoustic, so no reason to go thinner? Any reason to go thicker

c. Controls- Would have to route controls sections much farther to allow pots and switches to make it through the top- I guess these are standard thickness, and we are depending on the strength of the rest of the top to keep control cavities from collapsing

d. How wide should the sides be?
i. I image that we would route the wing cavities to leave ½ sides?
ii. Would this be strong enough, considering that the center section will be solid?

e. Ideas on a free design app?
i. Google markup?
ii. Something better?

Appreciate any additional ideas, thoughts-
Mike Stier
 
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Re: Your ideas about building a chambered eucalyptus body

Postby Jason Rodgers » Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:18 am

Sounds like fun. With regards to weight, see how heavy things feel once you start milling the wood, but have a plan for the chambering. If you really want to have those open-back chambers, go for it. If you're already planning a body made with lots of laminating, then you might consider a "clamshell": a front and back, each half the thickness of the body, with all the chambering done inside. If the grain of the eucalyptus is fairly homogeneous, then just block it all together. Or, highlight the laminate construction with contrasting veneers. Either way, it might look a bit busy, but the point is you're using found wood, and I can get behind that.

Good luck!
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
Jason Rodgers
 
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Re: Your ideas about building a chambered eucalyptus body

Postby Dan Hehnke » Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:33 am

I love your numbering system. It's very freeform. I hope the guitar is too.

As far as weight, I have found that having a body weight around 6-7.5 lbs. before adding hardware is a good goal, and often sounds good, but others may have a different preference.

I have always heard that eucalyptus was way too unstable to work with, but I'd be interested to hear how this turns out, since it seems to grow like weeds where I'm from.

Cheers,

Dan
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Re: Your ideas about building a chambered eucalyptus body

Postby Mike Stier » Fri Jun 17, 2016 9:59 am

Dan,
Thanks for input- The few small pieces I cut first cracked when they dried out- maybe you have confirmed it's not worth the effort
And numbering is a WORD template gone out of control;)
Mike Stier
 
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Re: Your ideas about building a chambered eucalyptus body

Postby Dan Hehnke » Fri Jun 24, 2016 12:02 am

You never know with any given piece of wood, but it could be pretty hard to work with. You could always do lots of filling with epoxy or Solarez!
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Re: Your ideas about building a chambered eucalyptus body

Postby Matthew Lau » Fri Jul 22, 2016 6:44 pm

I would recommend against using Eucalyptus from such a small tree.
The shrinkage from air drying will mean cracks galore.
Also, Eucalyptus will be very different in California vs the stuff in Australia.

Where are you located?

You may want to try some stable lumber from the lumberyard for your first build.
Depending on where you are, you may find some great wood cheap.
I find fruitwoods, white woods (cedar, cypress, pine, even basswood and paulownia), maple, cherry, butternut, pecan have made great sounding guitars.

More importantly, find wood that is properly dried and stable--no bugs, no splits, try to get quartersawn or riftsawn wood. Laminating should have no adverse effect on the sound if done right. I personally like hide glue/fish glue, however people have good results with Titebond.

Have fun, and post pics!
Matthew Lau
 
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