BK40 build

Advice and tips on building a Carvin Guitars kit.

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jsiddall
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Re: BK40 build

Postby jsiddall » Sun Mar 18, 2018 7:36 pm

ilyti wrote:Very cool stuff. I gotta ask though: since you're putting a top on it, have you considered leaving the edges less rounded on the top? I've never liked the P-bassy rounded edges on the B40/50, so I was wondering if you felt the same. To be honest, that's really what's kept me from getting a fretless B40 kit thus far.


Thanks! Yes, I am definitely thinking about how much round to do on the top. Since I have pretty much decided to eliminate any forearm cut I need to do some rounding to avoid slicing my arm whenever I play! However, it seems like the earliest Fender basses used a less round 1/4" while later ones went with 1/2" or even 5/8" rounds. My original plan was 3/8" which is somewhere in the middle. I am also thinking about custom rounding the forearm area to make it a bit gentler in that one area than on the rest of the bass.

What radius were you looking for? FWIW I asked for a "flat top" and although they eliminated the forearm cut they still put a radius on the edge. Didn't matter much for my purpose but you could always call and ask specifically if they could eliminate the edge radius entirely.

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ilyti
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Re: BK40 build

Postby ilyti » Sun Mar 18, 2018 8:18 pm

jsiddall wrote:
Thanks! Yes, I am definitely thinking about how much round to do on the top. Since I have pretty much decided to eliminate any forearm cut I need to do some rounding to avoid slicing my arm whenever I play! However, it seems like the earliest Fender basses used a less round 1/4" while later ones went with 1/2" or even 5/8" rounds. My original plan was 3/8" which is somewhere in the middle. I am also thinking about custom rounding the forearm area to make it a bit gentler in that one area than on the rest of the bass.

What radius were you looking for? FWIW I asked for a "flat top" and although they eliminated the forearm cut they still put a radius on the edge. Didn't matter much for my purpose but you could always call and ask specifically if they could eliminate the edge radius entirely.

That's an interesting idea. I didn't think they'd be so flexible with the kits, but you never know. If it was me, I'd keep the forearm cut but keep the edges square.

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Re: BK40 build

Postby spudmunkey » Sun Mar 18, 2018 8:48 pm

I think I would to, but since he was adding his own top, that makes it much trickier!

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jsiddall
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Re: BK40 build

Postby jsiddall » Sun Mar 18, 2018 8:49 pm

ilyti wrote:That's an interesting idea. I didn't think they'd be so flexible with the kits, but you never know. If it was me, I'd keep the forearm cut but keep the edges square.


That is also a possibility. I don't know how deep the forearm cut on a J-bass is but I think it is normally pretty deep. Do you have one you can measure?

I am limited to making the forearm cut about 3/8" deep (relative to the rest of the top) because I don't want the walnut body wood to show through and I still need some round on it so it isn't sharp. Not sure if that is enough to make it worthwhile.

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Re: BK40 build

Postby jsiddall » Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:31 pm

I examined my other basses and discovered that an Ibanez TR body is close to what I am thinking for the BK40 build. The body has a very shallow forearm cut that is just 5/16" deep so it is clear that a nice looking traditional [read: Fender] body can be done with a minimal cut. It also has fairly minimal round-off of in the neighborhood of 3/16" to 1/4". Slightly less than the back of the B40 body. So I am now thinking I could do a 5/16" cut with a 1/8" round-off and still not go through the cap. Being gloss black it is very difficult to get a decent pic but here are some views of the round-off and one with some masking tape defining the start of the forearm cut.

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Re: BK40 build

Postby jsiddall » Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:50 pm

I had some time to do a bit more work on the build this weekend. I finished routing and rough sanding the neck pocket:

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I also double checked that the bridge screws are long enough to make it solidly into the walnut. The center section of the spalt where the bridge mounts is amongst the softest on the top so I wanted to make sure the screws would make it through most of the body. String-through would give plenty of coupling to the body but I think either way it should be fine:

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Again, did not feel like starting another big job so decided to apply some veneer to the rear cavity cover. Since the back is all plain maple and walnut I decided to use plain maple for the cover:

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I think I will try to put some CA on the end of the neck pocket to reinforce it a bit. As I was routing and sanding some of the spalt wood flaked away leaving an uneven gap along the neck joint. Not sure how successful fixing that will be but I will give it a go.

I am also thinking I will go ahead and dye the fretboard black to give the birdseye some "pop" and to add some contrast to the all-maple face of the bass. No going back on that one though so I am taking my timer pondering it!

After that it will be much sanding to get the forearm cut and round-off done, plus the final sand before starting spraying the poly once the weather warms up a bit in the garage. It never got above freezing today.

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Re: BK40 build

Postby jsiddall » Sun Mar 25, 2018 8:19 pm

I managed to do a bit more finishing work plus added the forearm cut. Turned out exactly like I planned and was pretty quick and easy on the belt sander. First step was to tape off the area so I could see where to stop sanding:

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Then setup on the belt sander:

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Finished:

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spudmunkey
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Re: BK40 build

Postby spudmunkey » Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:03 pm

Is that a pedestal belt sander, or a hand-held? Nice job!

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Re: BK40 build

Postby jsiddall » Mon Mar 26, 2018 5:48 am

spudmunkey wrote:Is that a pedestal belt sander, or a hand-held? Nice job!


Thanks! That's a bench sander, 4"x36" belt IIRC. That way all I had to do was hold the body at the right angle and let gravity do the reset. Took about 5 minutes.

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Re: BK40 build

Postby jsiddall » Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:00 pm

Not much new to report. Mainly finishing now and pictures don't really show how smooth feels!

I finished sanding the neck with 220 grit on the fingerboard, 320 grit everywhere else. Then masked off the fingerboard in preparation for the first few coats of clear. The masking on the fingerboard will keep the clear off it so I can dye it later without having to worry about any leaking off the fingerboard and getting dye on any of the rest of the neck. I also wanted to get some clear down on the headstock before applying the vinyl logo:

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I also finished sanding the round-off around the top, I would guess about a 1/8" radius:

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The entire body is now finish sanded to 220 grit. I will go to 320 before applying the satin clear:

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If things go well I might get the first coats on this weekend.

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Re: BK40 build

Postby ilyti » Sat Mar 31, 2018 8:17 pm

Niiiice. That looks amazing, man. :applause:

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jsiddall
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Re: BK40 build

Postby jsiddall » Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:09 pm

Finishing means slow progress but a few more hours today got the first two coats of poly on, and everything has it's first sand and rub down with #0000 steel wool. Looking good and feeling silky so pretty happy with the progress so far. The only problem was when I dropped the neck while putting it on the hanger after the first coat of poly. Fortunately it landed on some rags so no damage to the wood. Just needed to sand it down and apply another coat.

Anyway, one more coat of poly and another round of rubbing and the body should be done. It will need another coat on the headstock to bury the vinyl but only enough to give it a full coating. I intend to keep the embossed effect as part of my overall goal to make the bass feel like it is made out of real stuff. Now onto the pics...

Straining the satin poly into the HVLP pot:

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I need lots of bright light to see while spraying:

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Result after 2 coats of poly and sanding/rubbing:

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It's a lot more noticeable now how much grain the walnut has compared to the maple and even with a satin finish there is a noticeable amount of chatoyance on the walnut. Such a nice piece of wood!

Next step is to cut and apply the headstock logo and give it another spray.

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Re: BK40 build

Postby jsiddall » Mon Apr 02, 2018 11:22 am

ilyti wrote:Niiiice. That looks amazing, man. :applause:


Thanks!

It's turning out even better than I had hoped so far. Neck dye coming up so hopefully it doesn't go all wrong there!

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Re: BK40 build

Postby jsiddall » Mon Apr 02, 2018 11:46 am

Not much new to report. I cut and applied the headstock logo. First time using vinyl logos and they turned out great. Far sharper looking than waterslide logos I have used in the past, and no outline like you get with waterslides.

After generating an SVG I sent it to the cutter, weeded it and applied transfer tape:

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Kiesel logos, which seem to be applied perpendicular to the headstock curvature, end up looking crooked to me, probably because I expect them to be aligned to the strings. I installed mine to be parallel to the bottom [G] string instead, which should look better once all strung up. To find that angle I temporarily installed a tuner machine and used a clear straightedge to align the logo:

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I removed the fretboard tape but found some areas that the tape covered a bit over the edge so I re-masked and resprayed the edge again. Once that is setup I will head on to the dye.

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skully13a
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Re: BK40 build

Postby skully13a » Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:07 pm

That's very cool. :mrgreen:
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jsiddall
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Re: BK40 build

Postby jsiddall » Fri Apr 06, 2018 8:55 am

There have been a few days now of working on the fretboard. I did some test samples of black and brown dye application on a test board and found the best results were from a heavy black, followed by a sand back, then a dilute coat of brown.

All prepped and ready:

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First black coat, still wet. Some serious sweat was shed putting that first coat of black on. No turning back...

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Starting the sandback. I found steel wool actually works better than sandpaper:

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Many hours went into getting it looking nice but I am happy with the end result. Colors aren't captured well from my phone pics but the black on its own came across as kind of purple, which really did not blend with the other colors on the bass:

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A dilute brown cut the purple and turned it to a warm black. The side effect of the sand back is that the black and brown dyes take slightly different which really brings out the figure. The colors fade back when the dye dries, as in the picture below, but the color should pop significantly when the clear goes on. This shot next to a white window frame has decent white balance which reflects the colors better:

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Hope to get the final clear coats on this weekend, then final finishing and on to assembly!

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Re: BK40 build

Postby apedrape » Sat Apr 07, 2018 4:37 pm

looking good. I like the colored board! :applause: :applause: :applause:

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jsiddall
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Re: BK40 build

Postby jsiddall » Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:10 pm

Today was another productive day on the bass. Got the final coat of poly on the body and the final two coats on the neck. The fretboard darkened up nicely with the application of the poly and the color is exactly what I was looking for. The color in phone cameras with indoor light is never right but I like the tone with the rest of the bass and am really pleased with how nice the birdseye shows up:

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When it's done I will take some proper pictures with a better camera.

I also rubbed it all down with #0000 steel wool and rubbing compound. That gave it a silky feel and close to semi-gloss sheen:

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I like that you can still see and feel the woodgrain, especially the walnut. I guess the Kiesel term would be "raw tone".

I managed to install the copper shielding, mount the pickups and loosely set the pots and tuning machines in place.

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I'll do the wiring next since that can be done while the poly still isn't fully hardened. The final mounting and setup will probably need to wait until next weekend. I also need to countersink the screw holes in the rear cavity cover as the screws are sticking out too far.

It is starting to seem like there is light at the end of the tunnel.

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jsiddall
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Re: BK40 build

Postby jsiddall » Sat Apr 07, 2018 9:07 pm

skully13a wrote:That's very cool. :mrgreen:


Thanks, I appreciate the encouragement!

apedrape wrote:looking good. I like the colored board! :applause: :applause: :applause:


Thanks! I was rather worried about the outcome but it went better than I had even hoped. I was tempted to leave it plain but deep down I really wanted something a bit crazier. This build was never about minimal or subtle!

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skully13a
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Re: BK40 build

Postby skully13a » Sun Apr 08, 2018 4:53 am

jsiddall wrote:
Thanks! I was rather worried about the outcome but it went better than I had even hoped. I was tempted to leave it plain but deep down I really wanted something a bit crazier. This build was never about minimal or subtle!


Well, you've already achieved that. That bass will be neither minimal or subtle. It's coming together nicely. I'm digging the intricacies. 8)
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