Firebird -"ish" build

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

  1. geoffstgermaine

    geoffstgermaine Senior Member

    Messages:
    378
    Likes Received:
    945
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2013
    Yeah, well done on the wing joint and tapering. Cool stuff right there and some well thought out ways of doing all of those non-standard operations!
     
  2. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    Likes Received:
    1,899
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2012
    Thanks Cain and Redking.

    Thanks Geoff - it's a strange build for sure. I'd love to know how Gibson built the original 63 /64s. I've used CAD for almost 30 years now and just find it the best way, for me, to figure stuff out. I probably could have used my CNC machine more for this build but frankly it's not much quicker than making templates. Sometimes it's better to make templates because you can do different processes and then get the template back on.

    I've moved on to the wiring channel, swith route, and control cavity and control cavity cover routes. I cut some templates out of 1/2" MDF and used my router for the routes. I hogged out some with the forstner bit first after marking with my templates.
    [​IMG]

    I also checked the control cavity and switch cavity for orientation and depth with some of the parts I have. Looks like it will work out fine. I think the Firebird control cavity is a bit snug and the Firebird pots / knobs are quite close together. I'm not sure why. There is room to space them out a bit more, although my wings are slightly thicker than the vintage Firebirds.

    [​IMG]

    I didn't need the shims for the template for the wire channel and swith cavity as I wanted them a consistent thickness from the top taper but I did for the contol cavity because I wanted the underside of the control cavoty to be parallel with the top taper so the knobs are parallel and have a consistent thickness.
    [​IMG]
    I cut two templates one for the wire channel and control cavity, and another for the switch cavity and the control cavity cover route. It worked out quite well. I have to buy a shorter 1/2" pattern bit as I only had a long"ish" one and ended up with some tearout in the wiring channel. It will be under the pick guard, so I'm not too concerned about it.

    Here is the back of the lower wing -
    [​IMG]

    and the front of the lower wing -
    [​IMG]

    Cheers Peter.
     
    archey, Frack, TheHarleyMan2 and 5 others like this.
  3. valvetoneman

    valvetoneman Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,145
    Likes Received:
    673
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2011
    I have the exact same experience with black limba and i can't use it unless it's chambered or thinned out
    It does look really good book matched for a body though

    I've got to go back through your posts about doing the body v shape for fitting the wings and use it my own build at some point

    Can't wait to see how this sounds too
     
    pshupe likes this.
  4. GreaseBox

    GreaseBox V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    4,594
    Likes Received:
    887
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2009
    This is cool :thumb:
     
    pshupe likes this.
  5. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    Likes Received:
    1,899
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2012
    I put a slight round over on the neck through section on all four corners and did a quick mock up of the fit for the wings. It looks pretty good but the angle is not perfect. It should be good enough once clamped tightly. Here is the front -
    [​IMG]

    and back -
    [​IMG]

    Mocked up and marked up with the overall body template. I will measure and line up the wings and pickup locations so everything is in the right spot then I can glue up. I am considering cutting the wings and doing a round over prior to glue up. It clamped quite well into the V groove, so shouldn't be a problem with the irregular surface and I could use the off cuts as a caul. Thoughts? Thanks.

    Regards Peter.
     
  6. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    Likes Received:
    1,899
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2012
    So I wanted to carve the neck before gluing on the wings. I had just planned on hand carving with the facet method but what the h@ll do I have a CNC machine for anyway! ;-) I adjusted some of the details to take into consideration some dimensions that exist on the guitar currently. For instance the body is a little thicker than in my drawing making the heel a little taller, so I drew up a 3d model of the neck for my machining software.

    I do this in AutoCAD for no other reason than it is quite simple. Just some linework then join the profiles together to get the 3d shape.
    [​IMG]
    I'm only going to carve from the heel to just under the nut, so I just take that piece and save it into my machining software.
    [​IMG]
    It also does a little animation of the rough and finish cuts and shows you the finished product.
    [​IMG]
    After making sure everything is good I can copy the toolpath onto a stick and load it up on the CNC machine. Next I just have to figure out the best way to hold the piece without cutting the clamps or having the piece move. I use a lot of double sided tape for this kind of stuff. I used a little block and some hold downs as well.
    [​IMG]

    It took about 20 mins to rough carve and finish carve the neck.
    [​IMG]

    When I created the scarf joint I was a little concerned about having any gaps but it looks really good, surprisingly. This was my first attempt at a scarf joint.
    [​IMG]

    So I still have quite a bit of sanding to do but that will wait until I put on the fret board and wings.

    Regards Peter.

    PS - thanks Andrew (KnightroExpress) - for making such cool necks for me to steal the idea! ;-)
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2018
  7. TheHarleyMan2

    TheHarleyMan2 Senior Member

    Messages:
    558
    Likes Received:
    164
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    WOW! that's coming along nicely!
     
  8. valvetoneman

    valvetoneman Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,145
    Likes Received:
    673
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2011
    I really like the look of this, damn that cnc works well, no good for me as I'm completely useless with computers and lack of money and space doesn't help either
     
  9. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    Likes Received:
    1,899
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2012
    Thanks guys. I was very happy with the neck carve on the CNC. You never really know what's going to happen. Everything worked out really well, almost freakishly well. Other than I drove my bit into the middle of the back of the guitar when I was setting up. I'll try and steam it out and I can sand a bit off the back as it is already a bit thick. Operator error is the biggest problem with the machine.

    The technology is tricky and I have been using computers and CAD for 30 years or so. I am amazed at guitar builders who have no experience with computers and purchase CNC machines and figure it all out. I struggle with some aspects and I have loads of experience with computers. Maybe I'm just getting old. ;-)

    Next up is fret board machining. I've been working on a new software called Fusion 360 for my CAM solution. It works really well for 2d and also generical 3d, like radiusing a fret board or a neck carve. I've been struggling with curved inlay pockets. I've figured out the curved fret slots, which is great and have a strategy for the curved inlay pockets. I'm going to be testing today, so hopefully I do not have any mishaps with this.

    Here is my 3d model with toolpaths set up. I can do a lot of processes in one setup. First thing I do is radius the fretboard, then cut out the shape, then cut inlay pockets, and fret slots. It's not real quick but it's all in the testing phase right now, so I should be able to do it a lot faster once I get the optimal speeds and feeds going.
    [​IMG]

    Cheers Peter.
     
  10. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    Likes Received:
    1,899
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2012
    Fret board work. Lots of futzing around with this but it's getting there.

    before -
    [​IMG]
    after -
    [​IMG]

    The fret slots and the outline of the inlays are cut with a 0.024" diameter bit. It's teeny tiny and recently I have found bits that are about 1/5th the price. I have to go slower but they seem to be holding up quite nicely. I have yet to break a bit.

    [​IMG]

    Cleaned the board up a bit and a quick mock up. I think I have to start making the boards a little thinner and the binding a little thicker the vintage binding is quite thin. You have to be very precise when placing your board on the neck. That's probably why some shape the neck after glue up! :hmm: Maybe next time.
    [​IMG]

    Cheers Peter.
     
  11. cain61

    cain61 Senior Member

    Messages:
    829
    Likes Received:
    220
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2009
    This is an interesting thread, Peter. Have your traditional methods for building rusted even slightly?
     
  12. TheHarleyMan2

    TheHarleyMan2 Senior Member

    Messages:
    558
    Likes Received:
    164
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    I love the hell out of that fret board! What kind of wood is that?
     
  13. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    Likes Received:
    1,899
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2012
    Thanks Cain - I'm definitely having fun with this one. Not as nerve wracking when I'm using my own wood for my own guitar. If I screw something up I just go grab another piece. My traditional methods were not very good and I'm a computer geek at heart, so CNC is the way to go for me. There will still be lots of shaping and sanding later on.

    TheHarleyMan2 - that is Ziricote. I really like the colours in this board. I was looking for something dark and something with grey tones to go with the black limba. I think it should look really nice. I planed about 6 boards trying to find a board for one of my other builds. They were all rosewoods but they are all a little purple pinkish. They may age to be a brown colour, so may be a non-issue. I have struggled lately to find a nice brown fret board wood. I might have to try Kingwood or Cocobolo. I have yet to try those. I think I've looked at most other woods that would work for fret boards.

    I cut a piece off of some of the black limba I had left over from the wings. I will be making a veneer for the headstock and it should match the wings quite nicely.
    headstock_veneer01.jpg

    headstock_veneer02.jpg

    Cheers Peter.
     
    TheHarleyMan2 likes this.
  14. valvetoneman

    valvetoneman Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,145
    Likes Received:
    673
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2011
    wenge would possibly be a nice choice of fretboard too

    I've got one to try, it's dark and has nice grain patterns, I'd like to try zirocote too btw, great watching how you build this
     
  15. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    Likes Received:
    1,899
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2012
    I have a bunch of wenge actually. My dad gave me a big chunk and I cut it into fret boards but haven't used it on anything yet. Thanks. This is definitely a fun one. Progress is slow between work, and work, and family etc etc.

    Cheers Peter.
     
  16. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    Likes Received:
    1,899
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2012
    CNC'd the headstock veneer -
    [​IMG]

    Glued up -
    [​IMG]

    out of the clamps -
    [​IMG]

    Time to put the wings on. The nice thing about the V groove is the joint is quite stable. Once I put one or two clamps on with light pressure and made sure the wings were straight it was easy to put on a couple more and up the clamp pressure. Lots of room to remove squeeze out as well.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'll let that set up over night and thought I'd work a little bit on the fret board. I got some budget cellulose nitrate inlays and have to file and fit each one individually. It seems they are all a bit oversized. I guess that is better than undersized. I put my nut vise in my guitar vise to file and modify the inlays. Shouldn't take long to finish these up.

    [​IMG]
    The chisel is for getting the inlays out of the pockets. They are quite snug and should make for a nice seamless fit.

    Regards Peter.
     
  17. redking

    redking Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,953
    Likes Received:
    1,111
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2010
    That is just outstanding woodworking Peter!!!
     
  18. KnightroExpress

    KnightroExpress Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,372
    Likes Received:
    1,323
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2013
    This is really great to watch! I'm not a Firebird fan, but you've sort of inspired me to try my hand at designing something in that vein.
     
  19. TheHarleyMan2

    TheHarleyMan2 Senior Member

    Messages:
    558
    Likes Received:
    164
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    You do know I am jealous right? ;) Really nice work you are doing!
     
  20. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    Likes Received:
    1,899
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2012
    Thanks a lot guys I appreciate the comments. Andrew, glad I could inspire you. It was your scarf joints that got me to do a similar thing in this build. I have seen some pretty cool Firebirdesque designs.

    Cheers Peter.
     

Share This Page