Cain's Final "How not to build a guitar thread."

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by cain61, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. cain61

    cain61 Senior Member

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    GUITAR1.jpg Whilst hanging around in the shadows, I read a thread a few weeks ago by someone who had given up building because of a few mistakes he'd made. Although I gave up my thread for different reasons (no room), "
    It made me think of my old abandoned Les Paul doublecut thread that no longer has photos, although I'm not sure of the reason for that unless it hadn't been touched for too long.

    Anyway, that thread had every possible error a luthier could make, along with good advice from forum member on how to fix or throw away the offending error. I realized nearly all of my errors were made from not thinking ahead (much like my life errors). I have started a shop in my attic and intend to finish this Les Paul for good this time. It started out with horse inlays on the fretboard, but I'm changing them to dolphins because my daughter has claimed this guitar. I'm wondering, with an odd shape like dolphins, how do you center them on the fretboard? I mean like keeping the nose and tail in the same place on each fret space. I've included a photo of the board and inlays for guidance. I'll soon put up guitar photos as well.

    Thanks, Cain
     
  2. cain61

    cain61 Senior Member

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    Here's a picture of the guitar and neck in case someone is interested. GUIT2.JPG
     
  3. cain61

    cain61 Senior Member

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    Better photos of body and neck. Really, I'm going to finish it this time, then on to a Firebird non-reverse.

    By the way, the neck is a laminated mahogany maple mahogany sandwich. GUIT3.jpg GUIT4.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

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  4. jkes01

    jkes01 Senior Member

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    Man, there ain't nothing wrong with that. Nice flame! Glad to see you haven't given up on it.

    Orient the inlay the way you want, then draw a box around it. Find the center and place it on the fretboard aligning the centers. At least that's the way I would approach it.

    BTW, still have the sharpening jig you generously sent me. It is awesome and gets used frequently.

    Thank you! :cheers2:
     
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  5. chasenblues

    chasenblues Senior Member

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    They probably got lost in the shuffle of the forum software upgrade..
     
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  6. cain61

    cain61 Senior Member

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  7. cmjohnson

    cmjohnson Senior Member

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    Who says the inlays even have to be centered? Ever seen a 20th anniversary PRS fingerboard? It looks great but the inlays are neither symmetrical patterns nor centered.

    Your dolphin inlays (I like it, BTW) also aren't symmetrical so there's no visual need for them to be centered. Put them where you think they'll look good and don't sweat the details.
     
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  8. fumblefinger

    fumblefinger Senior Member

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    What about having them alternately come in from the side of the neck? Or go from the center out? You could do some really cool stuff here!
     
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  9. cain61

    cain61 Senior Member

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    Those are great ideas! I've been sweating this way too much for my own good.
     
  10. fatdaddypreacher

    fatdaddypreacher V.I.P. Member

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    glad to see you re engage. i too, think there are many more merits to seeing this through. I think you're a bit hard on yourself. you'll do just fine.
     
  11. cmjohnson

    cmjohnson Senior Member

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    They're dolphins, they should be swimming and leaping and NOT just stuck dead center in the fingerboard between the frets. Positioning them to imply motion would be very cool.
     
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  12. cain61

    cain61 Senior Member

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    I wonder, since the fretboard is unradiused, how placing the dolphins in different areas might affect the depth of the inlay rout. Any ideas?
     
  13. fatdaddypreacher

    fatdaddypreacher V.I.P. Member

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    i would cut the inlay pockets a tad deeper in those areas.
     
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  14. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    As with all inlay, you need to make sure that once radiused you don't want to have sanded through. If you have them off centre then maybe setting them in on an angle or slope so that you sand into the top roughly evenly. I also tend to set any shell or pearly just slightly lower than the top in the centre if the inlay is mirrored around the centreline. That way you have extra depth on the edge and you can sand more than just barely getting the block to touch the very centre.
     
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  15. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    How thick is the inlay? How wide is the inlay? Here is a pic of the thickness of the radius of a 12" fret board at the end of the board.
    [​IMG]
    As long as your inlay is thicker or as thick as noted it should be fine. Keep in mind this thickness dimension is to the edge of the board.

    Regards Peter.
     
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  16. cain61

    cain61 Senior Member

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    There's some ideas. I also have a radiused board, which may be easier. Time to do some measuring.
     
  17. cain61

    cain61 Senior Member

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    OK, so these are just under .060. So if I rout about .070 I should be fine anywhere, right?
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2017
  18. fatdaddypreacher

    fatdaddypreacher V.I.P. Member

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    don't have a clue, but it's easy enough to draw out the radius on a piece of paper, locate where the inlays will fall, and measure it. closer than guessing, anyway. anything is a help.
     
  19. cain61

    cain61 Senior Member

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    OK, I finally got brave and just routed out the dolphins centered as best as I could. It turned out much better than the running horses inlays I tried to do a few years ago and ended up ruining a fretboard and the hand-cut inlays.
    I ruined it with two things: 1, I did a lousy job on the routs; I should have practiced more. 2, I made an awful combination of sawdust and glue for the filler around the inlays.
    This is an ebony board that's fairly black, and I'll dye it to smooth the color out.
    Can I use black epoxy to fill in the gaps, or should I still mix it with a little sawdust? The fretboard I ruined looked awful with the sawdust, kind of like a sand painting for texture. Can I use Cyano glue and color it? Which thickness of glue should I use?

    Thanks, Cain FRETBOARD.jpg
     
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  20. Skyjerk

    Skyjerk Meatbomb Silver Supporter

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    If you have not glued them in yet, you can do it the way I do. Mix clear epoxy with sanding dust from the board till it's dark enough.

    Fill the pockets with the epoxy and then push the inlays down into it. The excess epoxy squeezes up around the sides and fills all the gaps. After the epoxy cures sand as usual.

    This method has worked perfectly for me 100% of the times I've used it.
     
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