Sunday, October 28, 2007

Curly Maple Bass Back

The most unusual task I do at work is preparing stock for an acoustic bass maker. He brings in amazing pieces of old lumber which I resaw, joint, glue, and sand. Most shops don't have a band saw as large as ours to accommodate such wide boards for resawing. Likewise, there aren't many places in town with digitally calibrated belt sanders. When this bass maker says he wants his lumber to be 2.5 mm thick, he really means it. So he brings his lumber to us, and I get to enjoy working with it. Here are some photos detailing the procedure I recently used for gluing up a beautiful curly maple bass back.

I began by attaching straight boards to my work table spaced apart one inch wider than the two pieces to be glued. The pieces were irregularly shaped at the top which accounts for the blocks at the far side of the table. I place pairs of wedges along the perimeter of the blocking. The combined thickness of the wedges is greater than the gap between the blocking and the workpiece.

Next I place a piece of Tyvek tape down the center line of the board. This will prevent the glue from adhering the bass back to my work table. Packing tape would work equally well.

After the two boards to be joined have been jointed, the first piece is laid into the clamping form. The two boards were resawn from one piece, resulting in a bookmatched set.

Glue is applied to the second piece, and it goes into the clamping form. I put a weight in the center to prevent the blank from buckling when I drive the wedges home around the perimeter.

Here you see the wedges holding the two sides together. Once I'm satisfied that no buckling is occurring, I remove the weight from the center.

This photo shows a detail of the bass back. This was some of the most beautiful curly maple I'd ever seen.

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