Monthly Archives: November 2015



A good day. I’ve been making the bass guitar for Raven, the neck is nearly ready for the body wings. I carved the neck last night until midnight, my finger skin is thin from sanding.


I needed to sand down the back of the head a little more this morning to even out the thickness and remove a few plane snags using the lapidary sander. I like the way the tuning head turned out with the back flair, comfortable.


Today I cooked weekly lunches of chicken noodle soup and butternut squash with bacon from the farmers market. Tasty stuff.

I radiused the rosewood fingerboard later, tedious work with a curved sanding block sanded on the lapidary and glued 80 grit with Barges cement, but it’s ready for the finer grits. Purple floor and all vacuumed up. This pick is before the radius.


The fingerboard near the bridge is a lot wider so it took a lot more sanding to get the constant radius of the block. The fingerboard should be even as I got it all to clear the center arch about the same time.  I’ll need to sand it with finer grits but this stuff is hard enough to hold it’s shape without using the curve block and catching the edge radius smooth. I’ll also need to re cut the fret slots to allow for the curve using the existing slots carefully as guides. It’s going to be a fine guitar.



I met Raven this morning at the Santa Rosa Starbucks next to her FIMA covered motel. Good coffee, we’re off. I’d like to hit the farmers market in Healdsburg so we go straight there before they close at noon. Zucchini,  big portabella mushroom, a small cabbage and a couple burgundy pomegranates, good to go. Safeway for some Rocky chicken breasts and stew beef, a lemon, a few other things. Next stop Salvation Army, a blue velvet pouch, a lamp glass (too big for my lamp), a bunch of funky ties for Christmas tradition. Raven scored a perfect fitting pair of jeans and some good hiking boots needing shoe laces, easy to get. Home.

Raven cooks lunch, her Mom’s lemon chicken sort of, roasted potatoes, onions, garlic, thyme and oregano, broiled in a cast iron fry pan, very good served with steamed zucchini.  Meanwhile I’m out draining the olives I picked yesterday, soaked overnight in lye. I have two and a half gallons of olives, water black with neutralized acid, rinsed fresh, black again in a few hours.


It’ll take a few weeks to a month or more to get them edible choice with multiple rinsing, brining and flavoring. but they’ll be so good if it works out. Lunch was great out back with a view, a bit tart and tasty.

Raven needs to finish her bed extensions/ benches we prepped last week. I’m working on the bass guitar. I help her by setting the small tool bench with some blocks to match the height of the legs so she can drill, she gets it and takes over, needing two screws per leg to not swivel and provide sufficient strength. These will work great, but how to store them will be seen.


On the guitar, I need to reduce the head stock and cut it to the pattern I’ve selected from the Tinozza bass pattern. I measured the tuning peg, a 5/8″ thick head stock should work best. I set the tiny square and mark the line to 5/8″. Using the band saw open wide to fit the head stock with the bigger square to hold it, I make the cut, fair but a little wide. I true it with the lapidary and belt sander. I cut out the paper pattern , set to measured center of the middle 5/16 wood piece top and bottom. I trace the pattern down, vice the neck in the bench vice and cut the pattern using the hand power saber saw, just a little wide to sand it to on.  I true it again with the lapidary and belt sander, then go over it with 100 grit by hand to loose any burns and make it right. The sides are still wide to fit the fret board.


I cut the neck down on the band saw to match the wings width full length to the head stock as this will keep the neck square for clamping the fret board while reducing the neck closer to stock. Now the neck matches the body wings width.


I’ll need to glue the fret board down, so I trimmed it to 1/2″ beyond the last fret and curved it, then sanded the end in succession to a smooth 320 grit.  I trimmed the through neck on the table saw a half inch longer than 44″ to move the body tighter to the high frets. I postpone gluing the finger board as I need to secure the truss rod first, this will all wait so I get it right.

Clean up and drive Raven home to her last night in the motel. We stop at Walmart to look for boots, nothing that strikes her fancy, they will come.  I’m back home to write this. A fine day.



I really wanted to work on the bass, but Raven needs the bed in the vardo to have an extension into the aisle for length. We headed to town for coffee, stopped at the farmers market for carrots and a pomegranate, don’t need much else as I have plenty of veggies.  We need some 3/4 plywood to make the bed extension, off to Healdsburg Lumber. A half sheet of AC costs nearly a full sheet of CD, we’ll take the full sheet, cut it in half, done. We stopped at Salvation Army as Raven is looking for boots, no luck. I didn’t get anything as the garage is full of stuff from Lori to go through. She’s moving to Oregon and we loaded a truck full last week.

Back home, I cooked up a stir fry with chicken breast, a huge carrot from Moreen, chayote, frozen O green beans, cabbage, broccoli, onion, garlic, garden herbs and ginger served with rice. I attempted to make a chicken soup with O frozen mixed veggies, onions, garlic and some rice.

Out in the vardo, we measured different ways to make the extension, finally agreeing that two small benches 17 1/4″ high by 33″ long and 17 1/2″ wide would make a good extension or seats. I laid out the plywood and cut it using the skill saw for the main panels, then used the table saw to cut the legs. I cut 2 1/2″ sections 17 1/4″ long and screwed them together double to make the legs. Meanwhile Raven went through the stuff from Lori. Wow, a real crystal ball, full set of china, art supplies, Pots and pans, so many cool things. To bad the shoes don’t fit, somebody will. Wow, wow.

Back inside, oh no, I forgot the soup, burnt on the bottom and mushy over cooked. I put it in plastic containers but it’s really cat food at best. Oh well. I cut the parts for a miter box and clean up. Raven is off to town for a Winter Fest as I stay home to check out more guitar build videos on YouTube.

This morning, Raven’s made her rice and stuff, back to bed. It rained. I cook up a poached egg in the new big pan with the egg tray I got at Sally’s, sour dough toast and nuked bacon, tasty. I’m off to town as I need a new idler pulley to fix my truck steering pump. They don’t have it but it’ll be in at 3:00, order it. An O zucchini and a couple potatoes from Shelton’s. Home. I make a new batch of chicken soup with the other carrot, a frozen chicken breast, green beans, onion, garlic, garden herbs, zuke and a potato. Lunch and plenty for the week.

I work on assembling the miter jig, centering the wide long piece with the square marked, mark the two narrow long pieces center and each side. Align and clamp in place, drill and screw, repeat for the other side. Align the upper short squares clamped and screwed missing the lower marked screws. The Japanese flush cut saw is perfect for the frets at .024, glued will cover it. Used to cut the miter slots square and true. I use the paper scroll folded in half I laid out using the milling machine at work, dead on less the ink line. Marked with the Exacto knife to center each line with a nick. Find the nick with the knife and slide in the square, scored to a square line all the frets.

Enter the miter frame. I need to hold the wood true. I cut a pair of wedges to hold the fret board to the square edge. Two clamps hold the aligned work as I make the cuts. I use a piece of tape to gauge the depth of cut. It works, though I may need to deepen and contour the cuts after the fret board is compound curved.


Raven needs to go to claim the FIMA hotel room, I need to get the car part, we head out separately as I pass her.

I get the pulley and bearings, but the mount is not included. Luis and I spend a couple hours getting the old bearing off and finding the right parts to make it work. I should have gone to Pick and Pull for the whole assembly. But we get it to work well, my steering pump works.

Back home, I finished cutting the fret board using the miter jig, 24 frets. I’ll need to cut the excess off the high end and finish it smooth. But I have it, a fret board ready to glue on the neck. A major accomplishment.


I had a fun day today, I headed to town, Bucky’s for coffee. Up at the Farmers Market I scored more pineapple guavas, an egg plant and butternut squash from Moreen, Duncan’s crimini mushrooms, a zucchini, some lemons and a cucumber.
Off to the huge Salvation Army, they sell boats and cars, five stores. I found a good coffee grinder I need as the old one is in pieces to switch on. I also found a round 3 lb weight good for making baskets to hold the base flat. As I was coming out of one of the stores, my friend Joe was there with step daughter Haden, excellent. We went through the cheap bins together, he bought crutches, I bought my stuff for $2, score. We all headed home.
I’ve been working on an electric bass guitar as Raven lost hers in the Valley fire, she lost everything, her house, truck and job as she worked at Harbin hot springs. Esalen offered her two weeks free, she’ll be at Elliot’s tomorrow where I’ll pick her up. Fortunately she has the vardo gypsy wagon here.
So back home, Joe and Haden went out back to toss a football as I cut out the card stock pattern I received of a Fender Stratocaster traced by my boss’ husband.
Meanwhile Joe comes in, his wedding ring has slipped off, do I have a magnet? That won’t work, but I have a cheap metal detector I bought at the same Sally’s. It works and beeps as we find his ring. It’s bent out of round from his working, we get out the ring mandrel, plastic mallet and wedge to knock it straight.
I keep working on the guitar body. I have a body plan I printed to scale at work using the CAD tools available, but it’s a five string. I prefer Barry’s strat, but transfer the last fret to position on my laminated through body neck I glued last week. Finding the center of Barry’s pattern I transferred the neck to the pattern. Then laid out the pattern to the wings on the hickory, using the negative open pattern to find the best wood grain. Draw the line.
Joe and Haden want to check on the river, I’m good with that. We walk down as they pass the football on the way. The river is up a bit from last weeks rain. We make the circuit around, coming out the rough road back to the grape vines. Joe’s considering taking his truck down, it’s rough, four wheel drive would be best. The buckeye tree is there, big inedible nuts unless you leach them like acorns, the stuff in them stupefies fish for an easy catch. Fish and Game wouldn’t approve.
Back home, Joe makes sandwiches of rolls, smoked Gouda, avocado, salami, mayo and cabbage, excellent. Cookies for desert. Time they went home with plans for a PVC greenhouse raising at Joe’s place in a couple weeks.
I cut out the hickory wings using the new 1/2″ band saw blade. I need to use relief cuts to make the tight curves, but this new blade tracks a straight line well, with a wide curve. As I’m sanding the cuts on the lapidary drum sander the neighbor’s grandson Jamin shows up.
He’s a good kid, wants to make something. The scrap wood is there. “Can I have some nails?”, “Here.” He makes a strange ninja pointy thing, good fun.
I finish out the guitar wings using a small drum sander attached to the drill to get the neck tight curves smooth. It’s still square blocked out, but the shape is mostly there. I lay it out on the leaf covered lawn for a picture in the dimming light.
I’ll need to get the precisely laid out frets cut into place and glue the fret board on the neck before I can shape the neck as I need a square form to clamp the glued boards together. This is a fun project, all the pieces have arrived from China and domestic. frets, tuners, bridge, pots for volume and tone. I’m building a bass electric guitar.



I woke up late this Sunday, oh maybe not as the clocks all need rolling back. Chili for breakfast I made last week. It’s raining, that’s good, we need it.

Out in the garage I cut the head stock angle back flush with the band saw set wide. This is tricky as I have a narrow blade mounted. Plenty of wood, I use the belt sander to smooth it. I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to install the truss rod into the neck. I have a router table, but the fences won’t go back that far, and the head will be in the way. If I remove the fences and clamp a board to the center line, I’ll be able to get a good cut. I have a 1/4 inch round router that just matches the truss rod shape I’ll use. I remove the fences, find a piece of redwood flat, but the clamps won’t reach. I break out the yellow deep throated clamp, it fits, and the ribs in the table form into the soft redwood so it doesn’t move with just the one clamp, cool. I use the square to set a line to the center of the bit, measure the neck at 2 5/8, half that 1 5/16 lines up with a table rib, marked. I clamp the redwood in line with the center line and back along the rib quarter so the neck head will stop the cut, but push it to the end of the rod, marked around with the square. A bit hard to put in words, but it works. I cut a shallow line to see, it’s a bit off center. I loosen the clamp and adjust it with a few short cuts to dial it in to center. I make several passes each deeper to depth of the truss rod. The top end is bigger. I nudge the redwood over each way and cut a deeper slot, not perfect but it will be covered by the fret board and the rod glued with epoxy will fill the errors. I nudge the board back to cut a way into the head for an Allen wrench to fit, a shallow cut, right on center, a few passes deeper, we’re good. I break out the old Foredom flex shaft with a round bit and trim up the head stock, deepen the end rod and clean it up. This will be fine once the fret board is attached with a cover over the truss port.


I cooked up a meat loaf and a batch of cauliflower unexpected cheddar soup. The soup turned out fantastic, two bins for lunches. The meat loaf, cooked in a glass pan, I was draining the grease and it got away from me, all over the floor. I’m lucky I didn’t get burned, a total loss, but the cat likes it.

Back out in the garage, laundry folded and away. I attempted to cut the back side of the head. This narrow blade is uncontrollable with such a wide cut. The belt sander put it back to flat. I’ll need a wider blade installed to control the band saw, Fortunately I have plenty of wood, it will be a good bass.


A productive day, looking forward to the Macassar Ebony fret board Wayne is cutting. I’ll need to cut the fret slots before gluing it on.


Saturday, yea. I got up late, showered, picked a few tomatillos and headed for town for coffee, then off to the farmers market. Pineapple guavas, oh yea, a cauliflower from Moreen, a chayote, a wee melon and a head of garlic as mine are running low. Mind, my garden onions and garlic are doing great with the new gopher wired bed.
A stop at Sally’s, I found a nice Jansen back pack in the bins along with glue sticks and a nice leather pouch that would make a good rune pouch.
That and an egg steamer pan not pictured as I was thinking of one as I was waking up. Mom had one, crack the eggs in the small cups and steam in a water pan to poach them even. Good scores and a dollar hot dog for Halloween. Home.
Break out the printed bass plans for measurements as I’m making an electric bass guitar. Last week I received the tuners, pickups and truss rod. By the plans I’ll need 44 inches, I’ll cut 45 1/2. Maximum depth with the head stock is 2 1/2. I have a 1 inch maple board and its warped. If I glue the two boards opposing together the warp will cancel out. I’ll need a third board to make the neck thickness. OK, I cut the board into 2 1/2 inch pieces. That was a mistake. I found another board, not sure what it is, hardwood 2 1/2 inches thick. I cut it down to 7/16 and added it to the other two. This will work well. I set all my clamps to fit this width, found a scrap trimmed for a glue spreader. Titebond alphetic resin even on, parchment paper down, clamps on tight. Wash it down to remove the excess glue, we’re good let it dry.
Time to cook something for lunches. A full TJ’s chicken breast, freeze the other two, onion, carrots, a stick of celery, some of the cauliflower with leaves, bouquet garni herbs from the garden and tiny orzo noodles. Great soup with chicken broth and a dash of white wine boiled down to perfection. Late lunch, three containers and another bite I just tasted, yum.
As the glue was mostly dry I cut the seven inch left over piece in half, sanded the cut face on the lapidary to book match it and glued it to the neck at an angle that fit, double clamped. We have a lot of material here, plenty to carve down to a beautiful neck, head piece and central body. My mistake was to cut half the board into 2 1/2 inch pieces, Now I’ll have to get another board for the wings, oh well. The walnut I have is too short to fit. I could use an old piece of ash I have, better to just get another piece of maple. It’s just wood.
The neck is clamped and glued up.
The head is glued on at an angle.
I’m looking at a few designs for the body to fit. I have a large excess of neck stock to carve down, this is good. I’ll use the band saw next to carve major parts down to close to size, then whittle it in to right on as the other parts join.
A good beginning, I pulled out the new parts to see how they will fit, the truss rod and tuner.
They will need to be fitted in, we will do this.
My friend Wayne Johnson is making a couple fret board blanks of Macassar ebony from wood I provided, an old 20 year stash. I’ll need to cut in the frets on order using the pattern I laid out on the milling machine using the digital read out, very accurate, the pen is the fudge factor and this is wood, it’ll be right.. A good day, more tomorrow

This is becoming a fun project.