Bar top Les Paul project

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Steve Blackdog, Apr 16, 2017.

  1. Steve Blackdog

    Steve Blackdog Junior Member

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    Hi folks

    This is post number one, so apologies if I break with etiquette. No harm intended.

    So when a bar down the road (The Lamb Inn, Grasmere) was being refurbished, they pulled out the old mahogany bar and put it in the skip. Home I went, got the car and took it home with me.

    Now this is a bar that has seen its fair share of beer spills, broken glasses and wear and tear.

    I have dismantled it and got about some reasonable 7.5" x 1.25" long boards.

    I've had a nice book matched AA maple cap stored away for several years, always meaning to build an LP. So the plan is to build a single cut using the mahogany bar.

    After a lot of thought, I have decided to build the body a bit thinner than the standard Gibson spec, just using a two piece back using the dimensions presented to me by the bar top. The alternative would be to make a ply back from multiple boards. I don't like the idea of that, although it would work well.

    Anyway, I have made the body blank. It will have built in character- I'm not going to smooth out all of the marks. What I hadn't expected was the smell.

    This wood is impregnated with old beer. It smells like a pub the morning after a wild drunken session. Every pass of the plane releases a whole new beery stink!

    So I thought I would share. When I get the hang of things, I might even take a few photos. Shame we don't have scratch and sniff.

    All the best,

    Steve
     
  2. guidothepimmp

    guidothepimmp Senior Member

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    Haaha, awesome

    Welcome, and please post pics
     
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  3. mux164

    mux164 Senior Member

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    Haha. You will be drunk off the fumes before you paint/stain/oil it. Keep on posting, everyone loves build threads. And good luck
     
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  4. Ripthorn

    Ripthorn Senior Member

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    Shellac should help keep the smell in...
     
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  5. jkes01

    jkes01 Senior Member

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    A Jr with the original finish on top with all the wear and beer bottle circles on it would be cool.
     
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  6. Steve Blackdog

    Steve Blackdog Junior Member

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    Ooh, I do like a nice French Polish!
     
  7. GrouchyDog

    GrouchyDog Senior Member

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    My wife is French-Polish, with some German in the mix. Oh wait, different topic...

    I think this is a great idea, but I concur that we need pics of the build!
     
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  8. Steve Blackdog

    Steve Blackdog Junior Member

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    IMG_0191.JPG IMG_0192.JPG I promised some piccies. I'm always a bit embarrassed about my rather random approach to guitar making. I have a couple here. The body, on its way and the neck as a lamination awaiting my saw.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2017
  9. Steve Blackdog

    Steve Blackdog Junior Member

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    In the end I decided against letting the bar marks show. It just looked a mess with thick varnish and was about as flat as a non-flat thing!

    I have ended up laminating the boards to ensure stability and using them planed all round and thicknessed. You still get odd marks, so someone might say "why has he done it like that?", but that's half the fun.

    So here is the spec...

    It is going to be a parts-bin special, approximating a '59, but very approximate.

    I am not using a template or printed plan, but made up some templates from scratch. So the body shape isn't a replica, but has a massive nod to the Gibson LP. Mine is a little more curvy.

    I am using a rosewood headstock veneer and a rosewood 'shim' and cap at the heel - which I had in my last acoustic build. The shim and cap gives me precise neck adjustment and enhances the uniqueness. I don't want folks saying that it's a failed replica, rather that it is a take on the LP singlecut.

    Hardware is all stuff I have had lying around, except I have bought CTS pots (push-pulls for volume pot to allow coil splits etc) and Switchcraft toggle.

    I have a Seymour Duncan Screamin Demon for the bridge, and a s/h Tokai Love Rock neck pup which will need work to make it a splittable pup.

    The t-o-m bridge is a Sung -il. I'm using Wlikinson open back machine heads - so no expense spent there then!

    I have also bought some Jescar 57110 n/s fretwire - the medium high I have in stock wouldn't look the part, but maybe I am wrong.

    I have put in MOP trapezoids in a nice piece of rosewood for the fingerboard. Although I have made a pigs breakfast of the inlay work, but the epoxy/rosewood dust filler seems to do a reasonable job.

    If it plays any good, I can upgrade anything that lets it down.

    I am trying to use hand tools wherever I can. I have a slightly short finger from a router incident on a previous guitar build. I need all my remaining fingers to play the guitar when I build it!

    More pics to come. If anyone is interested to see what a router does to a finger I can post a picture of that too!
     
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  10. Steve Blackdog

    Steve Blackdog Junior Member

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    IMG_0134.JPG This is the end cap on the acoustic build. I will use a thicker shim on the LP to give a more defined line.
     
  11. Steve Blackdog

    Steve Blackdog Junior Member

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    IMG_0355.JPG IMG_0354.JPG And some more pictures..here's the state of the bar top and you will see why I couldn't just use it as it came.
     
  12. Steve Blackdog

    Steve Blackdog Junior Member

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  13. Steve Blackdog

    Steve Blackdog Junior Member

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    Not sure if the carve is too severe. I am thinking of making the side carve a little more gradual.
     
  14. Steve Blackdog

    Steve Blackdog Junior Member

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    IMG_0343.JPG IMG_0344.JPG IMG_0345.JPG IMG_0346.JPG IMG_0347.JPG IMG_0348.JPG IMG_0349.JPG

    And the last photos for today are of the neck. Not too proud of the awful inlay work or the recutting if some of the fret slots. I figure it is more important to play in tune than to be pretty.

    Lessons here are
    1) stop working when you get tired
    2) measure twice cut once; and
    3) learn from your errors!

    More when I have done the fret job and fitted the neck.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  15. I Break Things

    I Break Things Senior Member

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    Very cool. Looking forward to seeing more. :dude:
     
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  16. GitFiddle

    GitFiddle Premium Member

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    Steve, welcome to MLP and thanks for sharing your project. Cool idea. Looking forward to the progress. :thumb:
     
  17. Wood Butcher

    Wood Butcher Junior Member

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    Looking great Steve,

    I love the idea of you using the reclaimed wood, any idea how long the bar had been in place before they scrapped it?

    My old senior school got knocked down a few years ago and apparently they were selling off all the old wooden science benches, from memory they were mahogany, would have been cool to buy some up and use them in a build for sure.
     
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  18. Steve Blackdog

    Steve Blackdog Junior Member

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    My guess is that the bar was there since the 1970's, but it could be more recent than that. Pub bars get a lot of wear and this was in the "public bar" rather than the "lounge bar". As you can guess it is just one big room now - no dart board, no fruit machines and no pool table. Instead they are family oriented and concentrate on food. Sad really as the true locals used to meet there to have fun.

    The best thing about my wood was that it was free to anyone who wanted it. I have a couple of boards left, but there are so many screw holes (and broken rusty screws hidden waiting to bugger up your favourite hand plane) that there are limits on how much use it will be!
     
  19. bhmcintosh

    bhmcintosh Les Pauls, Telcasters, and 12strings Premium Member

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    Welcome aboard, brave traveler! You have found your country and your people! :dude:

    If you've got enough of that bar top after you finish the LP, build a Tele as well, and dub it The Beercaster! :fingersx:
     
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  20. WhatLiesBeyondWall

    WhatLiesBeyondWall Member

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    love the idea, good story and a lot of fun. you are knocking this out in no time...amazing.
     
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