Firebird -"ish" build

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

  1. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    Actually I can see why they did it this way. If you think of how difficult it is to glue up and try and get those wings aligned properly at a different thickness, it kind of makes sense. They could have even tapered the wings and routed everything before gluing it up. The V groove ensures that the wings go on square and flush. They would just have to have a jig to make sure they were aligned front to back at the proper place. I believe the reason for most of the bursted paint jobs is to hide joint conditions. The same is true with the Firebirds. Those joints would be completely obscured by the dark burst, so I'm pretty sure it wasn't a feature.

    In a production environment it would be a pretty cheap prospect to make shaper tools to do that and it would save time in glue up and clamping. Unfortunately it is an expensive prospect to someone making one guitar. ;-) That bit was about $120. I'm hoping to make a few more. I'd like to make a replica of a '64 Firebird V with the correct wood at some point. This is just a hobby for me and I make guitars for friends and people I meet here as a way to get better at the craft and charge enough to pay for some cool tools etc. I'd never be able to afford the cool tools if I did this for a living but some day I may be able to retire into it as my products and production times improve. ;-) Thanks.

    Cheers Peter.
     
  2. TheHarleyMan2

    TheHarleyMan2 Senior Member

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    Now that looks about right on! Good job Peter! I just placed an order the same bit!
     
  3. BADMAN67

    BADMAN67 Member

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    Using a vee-joint creates a massively bigger surface area to apply glue. So much stronger than a butt joint. Awesome build!
     
  4. WezV

    WezV Member

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    The traditional V join helps ensure the alignment is spot on. Its kinda important when joining a wedge shaped wing to the through neck, all with a consistent step front and back.

    A simple butt join works fine, as do untapered wings. It’s just less authentic, not less functional. If both joins are done perfectly the v joint may be marginally stronger, but a butt join us strong enough and easier to get perfect. I doubt there is much in it

    It’s how I have done my Firebirds. and they still look and feel like Firebirds. You still have to be extra careful with alignment though if you want those steps consistent.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
  5. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    Do you mean the step between the neck through and the wings? The V groove should take care of that. I have about 3/32" step on the front and back. I'm going to do a 1/8" round over with a template bit before I put the wings on, which should make it a nice consistent round over. I've made this one a little thicker than vintage because I want it a little body heavy so I can try and minimize neck dive.

    Yeah - I do not think there is any difference to speak of between many different construction methods. I wanted to go full vintage correct and perfect the construction so I can make a few closer to vintage specs down the road.

    Cheers Peter.
     
  6. WezV

    WezV Member

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    I was referring to a butt join, it’s still a bit trickier than a normal butt join as you cant just level off any discrepancy after. It has to be bang on. I think I dowelled my last one... it was a while back.

    The V’s solve all that, even if it’s a sledgehammer/walnut scenario for the small workshop
     
  7. cain61

    cain61 Senior Member

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    Why not just use tongue and groove?
     
  8. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    Yeah - you could use anything. T&G, dowels, biscuits, or even butt joint and machine afterwards. I'm sure now or even the past 20 or 30 years they probably had a system that would be much quicker, probably CNC. It would be interesting to know when they changed from that V groove. I have no idea what they do now. Could be set neck and completely machined body. Like I said with the burst finish I doubt you could see whether there is or isn't a joint.

    Cheers Peter.
     
    cain61 likes this.
  9. TheHarleyMan2

    TheHarleyMan2 Senior Member

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    Well I got my router bit the 55* 110. Well I compared the bit with the V groove in my 1976 Firebird. I placed the but in center of the V groove and looking at the shaft of the bit compared to a straight edge on the mid body you can see from the picture that the shaft is not straight.

    Of course I am having to hold everything in one hand and take the picture with the other. I placed the bit blade straight with the wood that has not been touched from the clean break, (meaning no wood was damaged in that area from body or wing), and you can see the spacing between the lower bit shaft and upper bit shaft compared to the straight edge.

    Peter for what you are doing building a Firebird, no one would really care, because your V groove looks good enough for me or anyone else for that matter.

    I think maybe Gibson is using a metric V bit is what I am guessing.

    My 64 Firebird that I put off on resurrecting is packed up in storage as I am moving out of my domain and I can't compare it to that body yet unless I remove half my stuff in storage.

    Hopefully within a month I will compare it, cut out a scrap piece of mahogany and cut the V groove with this bit and do a comparison with the 64's V groove.

    Cheers

    Sorry the picture evidently rotated itself!

    IMG_1391.JPG
     
  10. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    Yep. Looks a little angled. It could be a 60 degree bit. Frankly it could be anything. If they sharpened the bits the angle could have varied without hindering constructibility. Tools today sells shapers for 45 degree male and female. That is probably what Gibson used, not that angle obviously but, 2 shapers that would require one pass to do each operation. It’s definitely close enough for my current build. Thanks for the update.

    Cheers Peter.
     
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