Step 1: Tools and Materials
- Mitre saw
- Band saw
- Belt and disk sander
- C clamps( I used about ten 2 inch clamps and two 4 inch clamps but the more the better)
- F clamps( I used a good 8 of them)
- Drill Press
- Drill bit set
- Table saw
- Heat gun
Materials I used:
- One 1/4 sheet of plywood(for the top and back), can be any kind you want. I believe I used maple.
- One 1/8 sheet of plywood(for the ribs), I used lauan plywood though I highly recommend you use really bendable plywood like bendyply. I tried looking everywhere in town but I couldn't find anything so I had to go with the lauan plywood.
- One 3/4 sheet of plywood(for the mould), you can use any kind you want, it doesn't really matter it could even be MDF.
- One 2 x 2 x 8(for the corner blocks)
- One 2 x 10 x 10(for the neck, can also be used for the tailpiece)
- One 2 x 6 x 10(for the neck block, end pin block, can also be used for the bass bar)
- One 1-1/4 x 4 x 33(for the fingerboard). To get this, I cut a stock of oak that my teacher gave me, unfortunately it was short by about 2 inches so I added on to it, I will make it clearer on the fingerboard step.
- One 3/4 hardwood dowel(for the soundpost, can also be used for the end pin)
- Very thick string(to connect the tailpiece to the end pin)
- A strong wood glue(when making string instruments like the violin, cello, upright bass, etc. it is essential to use hide glue to make them but I chose not to and I will explain later on in the steps)
- One 1 x 10 x 1'(for the bridge)
- Tuning gears
- Upright bass strings
Step 2: The Mould
In order to make the neck block, I assembled one out of 6 pieces that I cut out of the 2 x 10 x 12 and glued together(the last piece to be glued was thinned down by about 1/4 of an inch). I used the mitre saw to perform a dado cut on each neck block piece, I found it to be much more precise than cutting out the slot on top with a jigsaw. As for the corner blocks, I cut out four pieces measuring 8-3/4" long out of the 2 x 2 x 8. The end pin block was simply a piece of 2 x 6 that was cut to 8-3/4" in length.
Step 3: The Ribs
I first cut out some strips with the width of 8-3/4" out of the sheet of plywood, these were the ribs. To get the length of each individual rib, I ran a string along the edge of the mould. Since the corner blocks all had 90 degree corners, each rib was cut with a 45 degree angle where they were to be glued together in order to have a clean joint. I then started the tedious process of bending the ribs. The trick to this was to wet the strip of plywood with a spray bottle and heat it with a heat gun all while applying pressure with the clamps. Small strips of wood were used along with the clamps to evenly bend the ribs while also preventing them from leaving indents on the ribs. When the ribs finally dried I unclamped them only to find that the ribs did not retain their shape all that well, so to fix this I traced the sides of the mould on what was left of the 3/4 plywood to make the linings. The plan was to make the linings of the ribs thick enough to force the ribs back into shape once they were glued on. I was a bit unsure if it would work but it did and they retained their shape without a problem.
Step 4: The Body
Once I was finished with the f-holes, I proceeded to the soundpost. Normally, the sound post is added at the very end and installed with a tool specifically for that but I did not have the tool or the time so I decided to install it prior to installing the front plate. The trick to this was to place the soundpost on top of the strip of wood that was glued on the back plate, measure how much the soundpost needed to reach the front plate, and then add about 1/16 of an inch to have a secure fit. I put a drop of wood glue at the bottom of the soundpost so that it wouldn't move or fall.
Finally, I cut out a the bass bar from what was left of the 2 x 6, sanded it with the belt sander and glued it on to the front plate. I then glued the front plate on to the body.
Once the body was finished, I proceeded to stain it with a red mahogany wood stain.
Step 5: The Neck, Scroll, and Fingerboard
After I finished working on the neck, I began to work on the scroll and pegbox. Sadly, I didn't have enough time to carve out the pegbox and scroll with a chisel as competition was in two days so I used a dremel with a sanding bit. It didn't come out great but for the time being, it was more than good enough.
As for the fingerboard. I took the 1-1/4 x 4 piece of oak that my teacher had given me and began to plane it until it fit perfectly on to the neck. The only problem that came up when working on the fingerboard was the fact that it was short by 2 inches not counting the nut. To fix this, I decided to make a ut with a two inch extension at the bottom of it. To make the nut, I cut out a small rectangular out of the oak that remained and sanded it down with the disk and belt sander until it fit perfectly into the neck and fingerboard.
Step 6: The Bridge
Step 7: The Tailpiece and Endpin
The final part of the upright bass was the end pin. I drilled a hole 3/4" deep and 3/4" wide for the end pin. The end pin itself was a 3/4 dowel I had cut to about 8" which I simply glued in. I managed to tie the tailpiece to the end pin. I then I looped the remainder of the string around the end pin.
Also, all the photos in this step were taken after I finished the bass, I kind of had to hurry because competition was going to be held in two days.
Step 8: Finishing and Putting All the Parts Together
Overall It came out to be a successful project and I was extremely happy with it. I owe a huge thanks to my carpentry teacher Mr. R. Miranda because I know that if it weren't for him, I would never have been able to make a project like this and I would never have been able to take part in SKillsUSA . Now that I graduated I'm going to miss the class but I managed to make a lot of memories there and a lot of projects too, so thank you sir for all the help and support you gave me throughout the years, I cant thank you enough!
Thank you for taking a look at my instructable I hope you enjoyed it :)