Les Paul-esque Build - First one, please go easy on me ..

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by bcguitars74, Feb 6, 2018.

  1. bcguitars74

    bcguitars74 Member

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    Hi all,

    Having lurked for literally years on the luthier forum, I've worked myself up to doing a LP-esque build! I say "-esque" as I'm sure a bunch of stuff will go wrong and it'll end up looking like something else so better to keep the goalposts flexible :)

    I would say the fatal doses of inspiration came from Ex-Nihilo, Preeb and Nuance's build threads which I recently went over again ..

    I've built a couple of electrics in the past but nothing close to what is going on in this awesome corner of the forum so it'll be a steep learning curve!

    Wood-wise I have collected a couple of pieces and set them aside in wait for this day, I hope they're going to be OK:

    * a piece of african mahogany (sapele?) for the body
    * a rosewood fretboard blank
    * a piece of what looks like iroko for the neck
    * a piece of book-matched spalted maple for the top

    I went looking for a flamed maple top but the prices were so high (£80 - £150) that I opted for some spalted maple - I got three sets for £60! So even if I wreck the first one I've still got some fallback options :)

    Anyway, here it is:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018

  2. dickjonesify

    dickjonesify Senior Member

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    Man, you’re naming some “golden oldies” haha. You HAVE been around a while!

    Good luck. One step at a time :cheers2:
     
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  3. bcguitars74

    bcguitars74 Member

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    OK, haven't quite worked out the photo embedding yet .. is there a trick to getting the flickr photos to embed?

    Anyway hopefully this will show jointing the cap and clamping it up ..

    I clamped the boards together and ran them over the (cheap) jointer, little bit of sanding and they glued up fine :)



    I meant to add above, I bought a set of the Bartlett' 59 plans and made a set of the body templates so used these to:

    * draw on the body


    * rough cut it out on the bandsaw


    * route the wiring channel

     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
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  4. bcguitars74

    bcguitars74 Member

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  5. nuance97

    nuance97 Premium Member

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    Best of luck. If you run into any snags we will be here to offer advice
     

  6. bcguitars74

    bcguitars74 Member

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    Thank you! I'm sure there will be plenty of snags .. :)
     

  7. bcguitars74

    bcguitars74 Member

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    My cutter bearing popped off the top off the template (wasn't quite low enough) and routed a neat hole into the side of the template and the switch recess :/ I thought I'd patch it up with a bit of epoxy and dust but then realised it was a terrible idea ..


    I had a bit of wiggle room with a few mm extra thickness on the body so I sanded it back and re-routed the cover recesses:


    Then on to a rough cut of the cap on the bandsaw. There's a little worm hole in there but it may disappear in the carve or otherwise I'll fill it.


    Then I went to glue the cap on - I drew the pickup locations on to the top and then drilled a couple of holes in each one - one for a locator drill bit and one for a screw to hold the cap down in the middle while the glue dries, I don't have any "deep-throat" clamps ..


    I'll leave this overnight and make some templates in the meantime, courtesy of Ex Nihilo!


    Hopefully I'll get some time tomorrow and start the top carve.
     

  8. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Senior Member

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    WOW! :wow:
    That seam on the top is great, almost invisible, at least for now! There's a straight part of the grain near the bottom that looks like a seam, but when you follow it up it kinda disappears! Fantastic spalt. :naughty: Have you got another pic of the other side of the top, just for poops and grins?
    VERY Nice! Good Work! Love It!
    Gene
     

  9. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    Very nice build so far. BTW I believe this is ambrosia maple not spalted maple. Do you know if it is hard maple? ambrosia maple is like spalted maple in that it is a fungus that infects the wood and affects the wood. Ambrosia maple results from the ambrosia beetle boring into the wood and introduces a fungus that discolours the wood. I really like ambrosia maple. I do not mind the holes being visible. They are easily filled. I have drop filled them before finish with CA glue with some success.

    Cheers Peter.
     

  10. bcguitars74

    bcguitars74 Member

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    Hi Gene, thank you very much! I don't have a photo of the underside but the reason was that it was really boring looking .. I bought 3 sets together, here they are:
     

  11. bcguitars74

    bcguitars74 Member

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    Hi Peter,

    Thank you! I hope it continues that way ... I think you are totally right - the guy I bought the sets from mentioned something about a beetle; I like the holes as well, they add to the character :)

    I'm not sure what constitutes "hard" maple, I do know thought that it was much easier to route and cut than my previous (limited) experience with a piece of flamed maple ..

    Cheers
    Ben
     

  12. bcguitars74

    bcguitars74 Member

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  13. bcguitars74

    bcguitars74 Member

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    OK, well I realised the pictures in the first 2 posts were waaaay too big so i've redone those, hopefully a little easier to load now!

    Today I think I may have gotten a little bit too excited / impatient ..

    I started looking at options for the binding channel. As I only have a large router and even the simplest of the routing jigs seem to require something lightweight which will ride up and down the edges I though I would pre-route the channel so I aimed to go about 1 - 1.5 mm into the mahogany - looking at the plans the depth of the maple "lip" should be around 4mm so with a 6mm deep binding I should be OK. Well, this has already come back to bite me .. but hey sometimes learning has to be done the hard way :(


    So the binding route went fine and then I did the carve step routing:


    Which is where I ran into issues ..

    Note to self: the largest of the templates is still not large enough (for me) to keep a router flat so next time I'll make another slightly larger template for the outer edges ..

    I guess it could have been much worse but I have a few places where the router tipped slightly and cut into the maple at the outer edge :oops::oops:


    This is obviously going to scupper my well-intentioned binding channel entirely and "Doh 1" is too deep just to sand out. Do you think I can fill this or would it be better to put another piece of wood in here? I'm going to try and apply a burst so this edge might be a little darker than the rest!!
     
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  14. Chakalawaka

    Chakalawaka Senior Member

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    Nice one mate! I reckon you should fill this with another piece of wood, potentially one that matches the colour (as much as possible...) and go with a Darkburst or Tobacco Burst? That's what Gibson used to do, cover up mistakes with heavy paint ;)
     
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  15. nuance97

    nuance97 Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    The solution to this issue is an outrigger for your router base. The outrigger should be the same thickness as the body you’re working on, and attached to the base or if you need more depth (which you probably will) attach a piece of plexiglass or something that’s offset from your base by a few inches that extends the base off to one side, and add your outrigger to that
     
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  16. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    What did you do with the binding rout in the cutaway........because it will be thicker than 6mm if you have simply routed the same depth all the way around.
    The 'floating' router jig means of course you cut the same height from the carved top all the way around.....and this step of course is done once the carve is complete. Otherwise simply cutting to the mahogany all the way around gives you the thick 70's style binding in the cutaway.

    Look at the first reply in this thread to see the difference:
    https://www.lespaulforum.com/forum/showthread.php?109975-Pics-of-binding-at-cutaway-and-at-frets
     

  17. bcguitars74

    bcguitars74 Member

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    Thanks @nuance97 !! That is indeed the perfect solution ..
     
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  18. bcguitars74

    bcguitars74 Member

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    Yep, you're absolutely right of course, I now accept that I will be buying thicker binding and will be using that this time around .. :doh:

    Ah well, mistakes are there for learning I guess, this is all good stuff for my next build, I'm making copious notes! I will be investing in a laminate trimmer or lightweight router though and building myself a proper binding channel jig I prefer the look of the uniform binding height ..

    Yesterday I built an angle routing jig and today I routed the neck plane, pickup plane, neck mortise and pickup slots, I'm away for a week but photos will be forthcoming if I can get to a PC :)

    Thanks for all the tips and comments so far ..

    B
     
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  19. guitarmods

    guitarmods Junior Member

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    looks good so far, and you DID say this is your 1st build right,Im not saying don't sweat the small stuff, because youre going to sweat it ,and that's whats going to make yougod as quickly as it can!
     
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  20. bcguitars74

    bcguitars74 Member

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    Ok, so here's the angle routing box, just knocked together from 18mm MDF; hinge on one end and a guide piece either side to keep it straight ..


    I have this digital spirit level so adjusted it to 4.4; they are +/- 0.5 degrees accuracy so I checked it afterwards with a protractor and it looked good :)


    There's the neck plane done, I'll give it a quick sand quick with a flat block to get rid of any unevenness before sticking the neck mortise template on.


    And off we go!


    Finally the pickup rout:
     

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