Walnut Bass - Headstock Veneers & Fingerboard

With the scarf joint completed, it's time to attach the headstock veneers. I'm using English Walnut on both the front and rear of the headstock, with some thinner (0.5mm) dyed black Tulipwood veneer in between.

Before I start gluing anything, the sharp angle at the rear of the headstock is sanded to a nice smooth curve. I used to do this on my spindle sander, until I discovered that opening the top of my Jet drum sander and using it like a giant vertical sanding drum worked far better, with much more control.  

I start with the front veneer. Before it's sanded to thickness, I use a block plane to square off the edge that will be closest to the nut. Once both veneers are sanded to the correct thickness, I temporally clamp a scrap piece of plywood at the position of the nut, this gives me a square edge to butt the veneers up against, ensuring that they're going on straight. I attach a few spring clamps and then drill some dowel holes, which will keep everything lined up once the glue is applied.

Once the glue is dry, I use my block plane to bring the ends of the veneers flush with the neck and then move on to fitting the rear veneers. The process for the rear veneers is the same, apart from the fact that I use a shaped mdf clamping caul to match the curve of the headstock, instead of the flat one I use for the front.


Moving on to the fingerboard...

After selecting a piece of Ebony, I use a hand plane to remove the saw marks and to get it close to the final thickness, before taking a few final passes with the drum sander. Dense woods like Ebony have a nasty habit of burning drum sander belts, so I try to do as little sanding as possible.

In this case the Ebony is much wider than I need, so I slice off the excess, which will saved to be cut into binding at a later date. The fingerboard is now ready for slotting, which I'll cover in the next blog post.