Friday, December 28, 2007

Carving Luke’s Bass Guitar Neck

Like most woodworkers I always prefer to use edge tools: planes, chisels etc. These tools cut the waste wood away, unlike using abrasive papers, files, rasps etc which turn your wood into expensive dust. However, there comes a time when the rasp has to come out of its drawer!

The maple that I used for the neck of this bass guitar is so hard and the grain so figured, that carving it with a spoke-shave proved virtually impossible. When the going gets too tough, these are the rasps that I use.

The two on the left have hand-cut teeth, this means that the teeth are in a random pattern so when you use them, they do not leave any grooves in the wood. I’ve had the small one for about 30 years (Swiss made) and it still works well, the rosewood handled (Indian made) one is only a year or so old and is already getting blunt! I’ve just bought myself a “Shinto” saw-rasp, made in Japan, and what an excellent tool it is! It ripped through the maple in no time and made the shaping of this neck a real joy. I can’t believe how good the saw-rasp is and it cost less than £9 from Axminster. At that price it’s almost disposable and thoroughly recommended! One word of warning; the teeth are sharp and when I had finished shaping the neck, I had lots of tiny holes in my finger tips! Particularly painful when playing a guitar!

All the wood work on the bass is completed and it has had its first coat of finish. I’m using Tru-oil on this. My son, Luke prefers an oil finish on the neck. Oil produces a very silky “fast” neck, the only problem is that it gets grubby and has be re-done form time to time; but when your Dad is a luthier it’s not a problem!
I’ve not used Tru-oil before; it’s used in the USA for gun-stocks so it should be hard wearing. More on the bass later...