Firebird -"ish" build

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by pshupe, Nov 5, 2016.

  1. valvetoneman

    valvetoneman Senior Member

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    Is that 11 degree headstock angle vintage or do you mean the build you're doing now is 11 degrees
     
  2. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    Both. Should be interesting because the tuners are very long and are banjo style. Firebirds have notorious issues with headstocks breaking in the cases because the cases weren't specifically designed for that guitar. The guitar would rest on the tuners in the case and any bump would flex the neck. I think the new Firebird cases have this design flaw solved but I have yet to source a case.

    Cheers Peter.
     
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  3. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    Thanks - 14" resaw capability. I've resawed just over 10" without issue. I've got a lot of black walnut in 30" long logs that will be about 12" - 14" wide, so that will put it to the test. I really liked this saw for it's small foot print but high power. It's got a 3 hp motor and pulls almost 30amps on startup.

    Cheers Peter.
     
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  4. bhmcintosh

    bhmcintosh Les Pauls, Telcasters, and 12strings Premium Member

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    30 amps? You do know you're not supposed to feed the wood to be cut until after the saw is up to speed, right? :D
     
  5. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    Yup. I was trying to make the point that it is a powerful motor. It has a 30 amp breaker to take the start up load. It actually gets up to speed quite quickly. I've had some issues with tensioning the blade, which Laguna's tensioner seems a little ridiculous.

    Cheers Peter.
     
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  6. bhmcintosh

    bhmcintosh Les Pauls, Telcasters, and 12strings Premium Member

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    That does seem to be a sticky wicket with a lot of otherwise quite nice bandsaws.
     
  7. BADMAN67

    BADMAN67 Member

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    Have you ever held a Firebird upside down then looked in the mirror? It looks right apart from the scratchplate been on the 'wrong' side. I've always thought a 'reverse reversed' Firebird would be cool!
     
  8. TheHarleyMan2

    TheHarleyMan2 Senior Member

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    I have a question. On the Firebird Switch Control Cavity, (being the wings are tapered), would the routed cavity Gibson did, would the inside sides and bottom cut be level to match a level surface so to speak, or would the insides sides and bottom cut of the cavity be at an angle because the wing surface is slanted/tapered? If you know what I mean.
     
  9. TheHarleyMan2

    TheHarleyMan2 Senior Member

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    I had to go back and find my notes, they were packed away. On Firebirds, (the 64 I am resurrecting, my 76 and 91 Firebirds) the depth of the groove for the body is is .422 inches, pretty much 13/32 of an inch deep.

    As you can see in the picture I am showing, the 1 1/2" V-groove bit will not be correct, if you are wanting to go correct on the angle.
    Body Angle Cut.JPG

    The angle of the groove should be about 56 degrees for each cut making sure you don't go past the center so you get a nice V cut in the end. You will definitely have to cut the angles on the wings before to shape the taper on the wings.

    The option if you decided to use the 1 1/2" V bit, you definitely would have to build a jig to angle the body and wings right to make the cuts for the right angles.

    I definitely like to know what Gibson uses because it seems they would use a router bit, but the angle of bits would not be common to what you would find in any suppliers that I have looked for.
     
  10. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    Yeah - I noticed that the angle seemed different but I was hoping it was just a camera issue. DANG! that kinda sucks. I'm sure they used a shaper but seems strange that it is a weird angle? I'd love to also know why and what they actually used. I do not have any problem doing the wings with the correct angle as I can adjust my jointer fence to the appropriate angle. I might have to create a jig for the body though, which may not be that difficult. Luckily the angle is larger than 90 degrees. I should be able to make an angled fence and use that same bit cutting from the centre making two cuts, one for each side. Or if I get an order for 20 or so, I'll have a shaper blade custom made! ;-)

    Thanks for the update.

    Cheers Peter.
     
  11. TheHarleyMan2

    TheHarleyMan2 Senior Member

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    I actually had made a lower wing for my 76 Firebird, and before I tapered the lower wing. I set the angle right on the table saw and made the exact cut where it fits perfectly with the body groove.

    Here are pictures of the lower wing I made. The last photo as it fits in the groove of the body. I have the lower wing tapered, (long after I did these pictures and the 3rd photo shows pencil lines where the wing has to be tapered to), I just need to route of the cavities is all that is left.

    Now one thing that you could do to get the right angle cut for the body, is set your table saw fence on the opposite side of the blade, (from where the fence normally is), and place the body on that side to get the right cut, that way no jigs would have to be made. But with that said, you would have to make sure the angle of the neck doesn't interfere with the body being flat on the table saw for you to make the cuts.

    Wing Shaped.JPG Wing Outline 3.JPG Wing Outline 2.JPG Wing Outline 4.JPG V Cut On Blank.JPG
     
  12. TheHarleyMan2

    TheHarleyMan2 Senior Member

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    I forgot to tell you also, I have measured the thickness at all 4 points of the lower wings, (as well as upper wings), on many Firebirds, 1991, 1990, 1976, 1977, 1964, and 1965 models, and ALL 4 corners of the wings have different thicknesses. Not much by much. The wings at the body seems to be about the same thickness, but may be off like a 1,000th of an inch, but the lower corners, they have varied between 1,000th-1,500th of an inch.

    So I am thinking the worker most likely at the final sanding probably removed that much material to make the difference in thicknesses.
     
  13. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    That's a good idea about the table saw. It should be able to make all the cuts. I'll have to test that method. I'll keep the wings rectangular until the cuts are made. I can taper them easy enough on the CNC machine. They should just be a consistent angle for the taper, no?? Thanks.
     
  14. TheHarleyMan2

    TheHarleyMan2 Senior Member

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    Just remember, if you try it out on a table saw, keep in mind that the neck angle may not allow you to do that, unless you have the body on top of a block to allow the neck angle not to hit the table as you are making the cuts.

    Yeah the angle on the wings should be consistent. But you have to realize also that you must keep the center line, (edge of the wing), level when you are doing the taper because you have to flip the wing over and do the other side as well, so that means putting the piece on angled shims.
     
  15. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    I was thinking I could run the body through on it's edge with the blade set to angle and depth. The neck would pass over top. I haven't cut the taper so I could cut farther down and have more of the guitar sitting on the table top. The fence would have to be almost at the blade though.

    Yes I would expect to taper both sides the same. I would create a cradle with the proper angle to get the taper and just run a surfacing tool path. It's all hypothetical right now. I have to finish up 3 other builds before I can spend anytime on this one. Lots of food for thought though.

    Cheers Peter.
     
  16. TheHarleyMan2

    TheHarleyMan2 Senior Member

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    Yeah RIGHT pshupe! I don't know what I was thinking, but yeah cutting the v-groove with the body on the side works!
     
  17. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    OK I'm back thinking about this build and trying to work out an easy way to cut the groove in the body portion. I bet Gibson used a shaper cutting tool for this.

    I've been trying to work out a way to do it on the table saw. I think TheHarleyMan2 is right about the neck angle getting in the way. If I stand it up on the side to cut the groove taking the neck out of the equation the blade will not get to 30 degrees to cut such a shallow notch. So I would have to lay it flat and tilt the blade to 60 degrees. I can make the 3 cuts this way because the neck angle only gets in the way on the cut I have to start from the neck end on the one side. I may be able to get it to work on a different table saw, one that doesn't have a table at the end of the saw table top.

    Here is a CAD drawing of how much space I have until I would hit the neck.
    [​IMG]

    This doesn't work. I couldn't even block it up high enough to miss the headstock end. Damn neck throughs. ;-)

    I might have found another solution. I found a V-bit that should fit in my router table that would do the trick. They make options for 55 degrees, and 60 degrees. Here is the bit -
    groove bit.JPG

    It is just wide enough to cut the groove. Unfortunately it is quite pricey but seems like it would be perfect for this procedure. I think I will move onto the fret board and other things while I contemplate raiding the piggy bank.

    Cheers Peter.
     
  18. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    So I bought the 55 degree V groove bit for this build. I guess I better build a few more of these! ;-) It worked quite well. I notched each side of the neck through just above the wings so I had a stop of sorts for the V groove operation.
    notched.jpg

    Here is a picture of the end result at the end of the body with the bit I purchased.
    V-bit.jpg

    I test cut a couple of pieces on my table saw with the blade set to the correct angle and it seemed to work really well, so I do not forsee any problems getting a nice tight joint for the wings.

    Here is a CAD dwg of the design
    [​IMG]
    Cheers Peter.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2017
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  19. cain61

    cain61 Senior Member

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    Your attention to detail is amazing, Peter. Gibson should give you a call!
     
  20. WhiteEpiLP

    WhiteEpiLP Senior Member

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    Awesome job Peter. Seems like such a complicated joint for no real reason, makes me wonder why they did it in the first place. Straight butt jointa would have done the job, i guess its a visual thing on the butt end of the guitar but thats about it.
    Im sure its a stronger joint then a butt joint but there are many guitars made of multiple pieces that are just butt joints and they are fine.
    None the less thats a fune solution you found for vintage correctness, how much did that bit set you back?
     

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