I've been wanting to build a Les Paul for the longest time and I've had this chunk of 8/4 flamed maple sitting around my house just waiting to become a guitar so it's finally time. I know to you purists, CNC doesn't count as built by hand, but CNC is what I do so I want to utilize the machine as much as possible with this build. To those who drop in and take a look, please be aware...I have about a million questions so please be patient with me as I ask them and seek answers! I am pretty close to done with modeling the body. Everything is roughly based off the '59 Les Paul drawings that around floating around. I imported a lot of DXF files and retraced all the contours to hopefully get smoother machining. Lots of the DXF files appear to have curves that aren't all that curved...just a bunch of lines. Which is what a curve really is, but these lines are all 1/4" long, which will make for pretty ragged contours. The top carve isn't perfect and will require some hand sanding to fine tune, but the bulk of it should be taken care of by the machine. So for those CAD and 3D modeling junkies out there, here are a few pics: This next pic is interesting, and all credit goes to @pshupe for the idea. I took the top carve, offset it by 7/32" and made the bottom of the control cavity match the curvature of the top carve: Clearly, this isn't going to be a 59' replica...but I'm not interested in the replica build, I just want to build something rad. So onto some specs...I'm planning on using a 4.4 degree neck angle, which supposedly equates to a 1.2 degree pickup plane angle. The problem I'm having here is that when I draw a line representing the pickup plane, it terminates right around the bridge pickup area, not where the bridge is. From what I've read, the bridge region is supposed to be where that angled plane ends. I guess this is my first question...should I increase that pickup plane angle or decrease the neck angle, or is it OK? When I draw a line representing the top of the fretboard, I'm getting a height somewhere between 5/8" and 7/8" above where the bridge should sit on the body. Here's a picture to show what I'm talking about, it's actually a really bad drawing and will probably confuse you more. But the pickup plane angle is represented by the line right about the bridge pickup pocket. (The line up above is just to close a profile to allow for 3D manipulation): I went down to Tropical Exotic Hardwoods last week and bought some African Mahogany (not interested in spending 3x as much for Honduran) and unfortunately, I'm having some problems. They sell it really rough sawn, but their 8/4 stuff is closer to 2.175" instead of 1.75" and I figured I'd leave a bit of stock on it so after I planed it, if it moved, I could get it flat without issue. After cutting a neck blank and two pieces for the body, I planed them up and was pretty disappointed to see some fractures that were not visible before planing. First off, the neck blank is almost perfectly quartersawn: But here you can see the fractures that go fairly deep into the wood: This is the headstock end of the board, flipped on it's side. I think I will be able to pull off a one piece neck from this one, with a 12-14 degree headstock angle. It looks like those fractures will be carved out, and only good wood will remain. But if I want to do a 17 degree headstock, I wouldn't have enough wood. Which leads me to my next question...could I just glue a piece of mahogany onto the headstock area (much like the construction of the heel of a classical guitar neck) to get the extra depth I'd need? I know a scarf joint makes more sense, but I get a kick out of the CNC doing everything. Would that be an acceptable method to make the neck blank thick enough in the headstock region? OK, onto the body wood...same piece as the neck blank, but I only managed to get one half that doesn't have fractures in it. Check these out: What you're seeing is the front and back of one of the sides for the guitar back. Obviously those fractures go all the way through, and it's pretty obvious that isn't OK for guitar use. So, next question...is there something I can do about these cracks that will make this wood acceptable for guitar use, or should I just bite the bullet and buy another piece? I was pretty upset when I saw the fractures but since it's already been milled, I can't return it. And while we're on the topic of wood, take a look at the maple top to be: This was a fairly easy bookmatch...sometimes I have a hard time with the saw blade wavering, but not this time. Very happy about it. I have no idea what kind of maple this even is...it was sold as rock maple. Which could mean any number of things, I guess. I know you guys are all against this, but my plan is to use yellow and brown leather dyes to get a honeyburst-ish color eventually. We'll see. I'm planning on using rattle can lacquer (the good stuff, not the home depot special) or maybe some 2K. I don't care about checking, so maybe the 2K would be better because it would cure faster. That's a ways off so we'll discuss that later. Anyways, any advice and patience regarding my questions would be greatly appreciated...there will surely be more questions so stay tuned!