1st(technically 2nd) scratch Les Paul-build

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Windir, Oct 14, 2017.

  1. Windir

    Windir Member

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    Well, time to try again. My previous project was an epitome of failure and thus i have no will or interest to proceed with it. I'll start again and pray to all deities in existence that i can finally make it through without any big mistakes. I can't afford overpriced firewood, especially as i don't even own a fireplace.

    This time i ordered everything( except the neck) as raw sawn blanks that all need to be planed, jointed and glued before i get to do anything.
    I have purchased:
    - Flame maple top blank
    - Sapele body blank
    - Sapele neck blank
    - Rosewood fingerboard blank
    - Maple headstock veneer
    - Mother of pearl blanks for inlay

    This time i have an access to pretty much all power tools including band saw, joiner, planer, table saw, orbital sander, pillar drill, and whatnot. I have found that there's a workshop on this area maintained by the city where everyone can go do woodwork and whatnot so that's sexy. I am not sure if i have already mentioned this but now you know.

    I post pics of my woods later, and i really can't do anything yet as the workshop opens on Monday. I'll write a plan which i'll use in this project so i know what i am doing and won't screw anything up. Blunders that i had previously made my patience wear so thin it could only be observed with a electron microscope. Hopefully nothing crappy happens this time.

    Cheers.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. mangus

    mangus Senior Member

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    May the gods of guitar smile upon your endeavour!
     
  3. Skyjerk

    Skyjerk Meatbomb Silver Supporter

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    Just take your time. This isn't something to rush through. Think through each cut before you actually do it.

    Measure twice, cut once :)

    Make sure all templates are securely fastened before putting a router to your workpiece :)
     
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  4. fatdaddypreacher

    fatdaddypreacher V.I.P. Member

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    well don't be too hard on yourself. we all have a certain amount of expensive firewood. we all pay dues when we build...some more than others. you've already made a down payment. you already have learned a bunch, now just enjoy the ride. you'll do fine.
     
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  5. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    Take time and don't try and 'get through the job as quick as possible'. Also.....before starting each step in your case you should have it all planned out - and mentally rehearsed.
     
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  6. Windir

    Windir Member

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    Update
    Here's some pictures i took. My camera is pretty crappy so the images may be a bit blurry.

    Maple. I enhanced the image to reveal the grain. I purchased C-grade flame maple so it isn't aesthetically mind blowing(but damn it was cheap, i paid only 50 euros for this.
    [​IMG]

    And the rest:
    [​IMG]
    This time i bought light-weight Sapele mahogany. It's not nearly as heavy as the khaya i used previously which destroyed my arms. And unlike previously i purchased them raw sawn. The headstock angle was pre-cut since i don't have proper jig for that( will make in the future).

    While examining the woods after getting them i found that the neck blank is a bit convex in the middle. HORROR!!! It's planed to final thickness already. I guess it won't be problem after truss rod has bee installed, but i may be wrong.

    Today as i write this, i will plane everything, join body and top blanks. i will thickness the headstock piece and the piece for the tenon. However i don't know should i use planer or jointer for those. Last time i used a router which gave me disastrous results. Anyway, after planing and routing i'll glue them.

    I will also buy a fretting saw to cut the fret slots at some point. If i still have time left i may get to route the truss rod slot. I have built a proper jig this time so i should get a proper slot this time. I only need a jig for hex key access hole( or whatever it is called).

    Okay, that's it. Cheers.
     
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  7. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    A lot of the tasks can be made without specific jigs. I have a router mounted to a table......with the trussrod bit engaged all you need is any straight edge clamped at the right position. The neck blank is generally a rectangle....so you just run that down the straightedge - simple.
     
  8. Windir

    Windir Member

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    Update: No pics, yet.
    Planing and gluing of maple top and mahogany body= Done
    Planing the RW fingerboard= Done
    Planing the headstock and tenon piece=Done
    Fucking up the truss rod slot again= Done

    Yes, all of that is done. I must tell what i did with the headstock and tenon pieces before i go further. I attached them to a long piece of wood because they were too short for the planer. Used double sided tape and it worked perfectly.

    And the truss rod slot. I used a routing guide that came with the router( two metal rods that are attached to a metal plate that's touches the side of the neck blank, i don't know what it's called". Somehow i still managed to mess up. The slot is crooked under the nut area and it's hard to fit it. I left wood on the nut area but as i as i drilled the hex key hole i realized i used too large bit and tore that area to shreds( Inserts Darth Vader quote "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!".) so now i have no glue wood on top the truss rod to fix my blunder. I also need to widen the area on the right side so i can actually fit the truss rod.

    And the good stuff next.
    Surprisingly, i managed to plane and join the wood blanks without ruining them. The joints are good and there was no gaps. I have glued both maple and mahogany and i will plane them to their final dimensions today.
    I have to make copy of some of my templates because some of them were ruined by my shitty template cutter( That is on a holiday in a land called " Metal waste"). After i have done that i get(hopefully) to cut the body and top and route the body. Everything is going as planned( i wrote all the steps on paper in advance).
    I will also try to glue the headstock( using a jig) and i am honestly scared if doing it. If i don't get it right the first time, the neck is ruined.

    Anyway, i will post some pics later. Cheers.
     
  9. Windir

    Windir Member

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    Update:
    I have planed cut and routed the mahogany. Planed and cut the maple. I have routed the pickup switch cavity glued maple and mahogany together and sanded them flush. I have rounded over the edges and routed the backplate rebates.
    I got an idea to carve the top using a pillar drill( forstner bits) and i used it for the first step. Little did i know that it would leave 3 mm deep holes to the body. I had kept that in mind so i did not drill all the way through so i left about 2-3 mm material. There's still holes and i am praying that the holes aren't there once i have routed the step.

    A month ago i built a routing jig for the steps but there's problem. I can't keep the router on( pressing the switch) and holding the workpiece. I do not have 3 hands so i need to figure out how to keep the switch on without me pressing it. Any ideas?. Or should i just build a router box and just that instead.

    I have also measured the fret slots using a triangular ruler, regular ruler and a scalpel but i have a feeling that the slots aren't accurate enough and if i cut them as they're now, i will never be able to get the guitar play in tune. Should i use an another fretboard blank as a template or something?

    Oh, i just realized i have forgot to add pics. Okay, the next post will be an overload of pictures, i'll promise you.
    Cheers.
     
  10. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    No jig needed for the steps really. You can quite literally draw the lines on the top or glue the paper with the steps on to the maple. Then simply rout the top close to the line.
    And you use clamps to hold the work.
     
  11. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    SLOW DOWN!

    My recommendation is to do one process at a time and post pics and questions at each step. The last build seemed to go off the rails because you went ahead with things that were quite obviously not a good idea without asking the forum. It's even hard to follow what you have already done on this build. You say you've cut the switch cavity but haven't mentioned the control cavity. It is easier to route the back cavities before you carve the top because it's a flat surface. I hope you are not serious when you say about routing the body holding it in one had and routing one handed with the other?? Best case scenario is you destroy wood, worse case you take off a few fingers.

    Again my recommendation, do nothing until you post pics of where you are and ask what the logical next step may be. We are here to help but if you do not ask or wait for reply you are destined for the 1st (technically 3rd) Les Paul build.

    Cheers Peter.
     
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  12. failsafe306

    failsafe306 Junior Member

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    Yeah man it sounds like you have way too much going on. Concentrate on one step and don’t move on until it is complete. You can’t be halfway through routing the body and be thinking about frets!

    As far as the router situation, the way I’m reading it is that the on-off switch won’t stay engaged unless you manually hold it down, is that correct? What type of router do you have?

    As others have said, slow the heck down! I’m still on my first build that i started almost a year ago, :laugh2:
     
  13. rockgod212

    rockgod212 Senior Member

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    when I bought my first router- it was a trigger plunge type, so I thought to my self- this isn't going to fit in my router table, how to keep it on and so on......long story short I had the wrong router for the wrong type job, you need to do some investigating before hand and get the right type of tools for the right type of job. I didn't know any better because I didn't do any research...........

    SLOW DOWN and do your homework. plenty of you tube info on building guitars and the tools needed or involved in the process.
     
  14. Windir

    Windir Member

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    Update:
    Quick question. I have carved the top by now but i made a couple mistakes.
    - while routing the bottom step for the carve, my router tore out a 2 cm wide piece of wood from one spot on one corner. It's not too bad and it might go away when i route the binding rebates but i wouldn't be so sure about that.
    - While sanding the top ( using an orbital sander) i sanded too long from one spot and it left a huge "dent" next to pickup switch. It goes all the way to where binding would be and the thickness of the top on the binding area is around 3,5-4 mm.

    My question is, how do i fill these dents, I can't sand them away. I have tried water to raise the grain but it is not enough. I am planning to stain the top so i cannot use wood filler. I am planning to make a burst finish so that area would be hidden under dark stain(water based) but if i use filler, epoxy etc the patch will be visible.What should i do and what are my options? If can't do anything about it, i could of course wood filler and paint the entire thing but considering how beautiful the flame top is, painting it is absolutely haram.
     
  15. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    Without pictures, it's hard to say what the best fix should be. Depending on how bad the "dents" are, I would try to blend them into the surrounding areas as best as possible.

    If you think your burst edges will be dark enough, you can certainly fill them first, then sand and scrape to blend. Assuming that the finish is opaque enough around the edges, the filler won't really show. And, by the way, I would not recommend using stain to create the burst if you use filler. The filled area will almost certainly show no matter how careful you are. Use tinted lacquer over a sealer coat instead.

    But again, man... slow down.

    You're like a bull in a china shop here. People have been nice enough to give you a lot of advice and 90% of those people are telling you to slow down.

    Post pictures of your progress and ask for advice before you dive in to the next step, not after disaster strikes.

    Take it for what it's worth. :)

    Gary
     
  16. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    Oh dear.....its a case of same old, same old.
     
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  17. rockgod212

    rockgod212 Senior Member

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    pics please
     
  18. dcomiskey

    dcomiskey Member

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    I still haven't finished my FIRST build that I started in December. SLOW. DOWN. I'm exhausted just reading this thread!
     
  19. Windir

    Windir Member

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    Update:
    Here we go.
    [​IMG]

    Here's my progress thus far. Routed the neck angle, routed pickup cavities and the neck pocket. However i didn't finish the job because

    1. I ran out of time.
    2. I accidentally hit the template after i stopped routing and it caused a lot of damage. I don't even know how this is even possible. The template was in a bad shape already and there was a small dent in one spot. I figured it would be invisible after i glue the neck so " ei ongelmaa". But yeah, now there's multiple bumps on one side. Time to make a whole new template.

    Also i found that the pickup cavities have bumps and the depth is not consistent. I do not know what went wrong because i secured the template with 2-sided tape and a clamp. And as it can be seen. My router bits are dull as english classes. The cavities look terrible.

    Routing the neck angle on other hand went just fine. It was straightforward and i had no problems with it.

    Next horror awaits.
    [​IMG]
    Btw here's some older pics.
    [​IMG]
    The jig i made for the carve steps/binding. I didn't use it because i could not hold the work piece and the router simultaneously.
    [​IMG]
    But here's the dent i talked about in the previous post. It's next to the pickup switch. What i should do with this? Any ideas.

    Till' the next post.
     
  20. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    Buy new router bits. There is no excuse for using poor quality.

    The neck tenon rout needs to be perfect. Quite frankly the base looks like a dogs breakfast.
    Have you even bothered to read the reams of good advice we've given you......because either those English classes were so dull you didn't learn, or you have ignored every piece of advice given about routing. And it was not just one person giving out tips either so its come from multiple sources.
     
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