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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    I also made myself a master neck template out of the bartlett plan and copied it for a working template. I'm going to try and get started on the neck and fingerboard later ..

    neck templates.jpg
     
  2. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    Good progress. The top looks nice and interesting now you have got the carve complete. I'm amazed even with builders how many see all the marks and only ever see 'flaw'.....rather than 'feature'.
    I have an ES 347 build I'm doing with the same type of maple - mine's a bit more advanced:
    DSC_0151.JPG

    I'd cut the neck after you have done your tenon cuts.
    So get the fretboard done, place it on your neck blank that already has the whole headstock with veneer complete and cut to shape. Then put the nut you are going to use against the veneer and place the fretboard on there. That way you know precisely where the 16th fret will be on this guitar. You make the tenon cuts from this marking
     
  3. bcguitars74

    bcguitars74 Member

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    Thanks! That ES 347 looks absolutely beautiful!! The more "flaws" the better I say; every time I sand a bit more of the body it changes it :)

    I've started on the fretboard and I'll get that finished before doing anything else:

    Thickness the fretboard to 3/16" and cut the initial fret slots - I say initial as I'm only cutting the correct depth in the center, I'll go over the rest with a depth stop after radiusing to make sure there's no space under the frets.

    1. recheck fretboard height.jpg 1. cut intial fret slots with mitre box.jpg

    Radius to 12"

    1. fretboard radius.jpg 1. check fretboard radius.jpg

    Set depth stop on the saw, cut the sides to correct depth and check.

    1. deepen fret slots where necessary.jpg

    So far so good except I haven't removed the material for the binding, another :doh: moment .. I need to route this with a a rebate bit so I'll have to do this from the back to make sure I have a flat surface for the router ..
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
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  4. bcguitars74

    bcguitars74 Member

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    Ok, so I double-side taped the fretboard to the neck taper upside down and wedged itso it was equal both sides and then routed it very gently indeed .. it looks like a lot but it's only 1.5mm each side :)

    1. remove material for binding.jpg

    Inlay next - I'm not going to do the traditional inlays on this one, I'll put some kind of marker in at the 12th fret (I have a couple of designs I'd like to try out) and side dots. Once that's done then I'll final sand it and put the binding on.

    One thing I'd like to ask - the top carve is nearly there but it still feels lumpy in places; I don't want to go at it with the orbital sander as it's not really accurate enough and puts unwanted dips in far too quickly .. does anyone have any tips for a good way to smooth this out?
     
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  5. Zeegler

    Zeegler Senior Member

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    Scraper?
     
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  6. emoney

    emoney Senior Member

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    You're doing great, keep up the good work and keep those updates coming.
     
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  7. trovador

    trovador Senior Member

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    looking good
     
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  8. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    That fretboard template looks like its long enough to have both dimensions on it.....as in you put the blank on at a thinner point for the wood sizing, then move it to the thicker part for the 'with binding' dimension. That way you can use it to trim down the binding too as its not often you get the material at the precise dimension you want.
     
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  9. bcguitars74

    bcguitars74 Member

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    Arghhh, I never thought of that!!! I actually finished the fretboard today, pictures to follow ..
     
  10. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

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    I have a few 'stall' moments in builds where I need extra motivation to keep going......one of those is the 'scraping the binding and making nibs'. Its just such a time consuming step.
     
  11. bcguitars74

    bcguitars74 Member

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    I totally get that now I've done my first LP fretboard, I think in all I've spent about 10 hours solid on it, 4 + of which was the binding scraping / nibs..

    I got faster towards the end, the process which worked best for me was:

    1. make a cut in the binding either side of the fret down to the fretboard
    2. Use a larger file to file down to about where the excess superglue squeezed into the fretboard from gluing the binding on
    3. Use a small flat diamond file to file up to the sides of the frets
    4. Scrape the last bit of superglue/binding flush to the fretboard with a blade
    5. Use a fret crowning file to round off the top of the nibs to the level of the fret
    6. Bevel the nibs with a file (haven't done the beveling yet)

    Anyway, photos or it never happened :)

    I kind of like the number 3, no idea why, no deep-seated reason and I tend to incorporate it whatever I'm doing; for this guitar I decided to go for one inlay at the 12th fret, the Chinese numeral 3 ..

    I cut out the pieces ..
    IMG_20180223_213116-864x1152.jpg

    And tidied them up a bit ..
    IMG_20180223_215126-864x1152.jpg

    Drew round them, routed out with a Dremel and tested the fit ..

    IMG_20180223_225541-1152x864.jpg

    Mixed some rosewood dust with epoxy and set them in .. IMG_20180223_235040-1152x864.jpg
     
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  12. bcguitars74

    bcguitars74 Member

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    Another note to self: must get a coping saw with the fine blades, hacksaw and sandpaper are a bit of a brutal way to do it ..

    Anyways, sand off the epoxy back down to the fretboard ..

    IMG_20180226_131435-1152x864.jpg

    Cut the fret slots back in and hammer frets in ..

    IMG_20180226_145743-1152x864.jpg

    I snipped and sanded flush to the sides then glued the binding on ..

    IMG_20180226_172948-1152x864.jpg

    And that's where the fun started! This are a few steps in my 'nibbing' process:

    IMG_20180227_130808-1152x864.jpg

    IMG_20180227_150740-1152x864.jpg

    IMG_20180227_152658-1152x864.jpg

    This is after being 'fret crowned' - a little bit hard to see but should be good after the beveling is done ..
    IMG_20180227_162759-1152x864.jpg

    And the final piece!

    IMG_20180227_171326_crop_1152x377.jpg
     
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  13. nuance97

    nuance97 Premium Member

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    I will always use my router table with a flush trim bit to hog out the bulk of the excess binding between the frets. Do in 10 second what would take hours by hand
     
  14. nuance97

    nuance97 Premium Member

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    But your results are fantastic!
     
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  15. fatdaddypreacher

    fatdaddypreacher V.I.P. Member

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    nice work. you have a nice fretboard. nice inlay work, too. I actually rather enjoy doing the nibs, as if they are done properly, they add a touch of class to a fretboard, and knowing that while i'm doing it makes me a bit more diligent, as nasty nibs are welll.....they're just nasty. nobody wants nasty nibs.
     
  16. bcguitars74

    bcguitars74 Member

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    How do you do that? Just wondering if there's a radiused fretboard, what does the bearing run against? I'd be scared of wrecking the whole thing ..

    Nasty nibs lol :) I did actually enjoy it after I'd done the first half of them once I got a little bit of the hang of it, I mainly sweated the first half in case I was doing it all wrong.

    I went back today to carry on but had to leave as it started to snow a blizzard and I wanted to make sure I got home before the roads were undriveable ..

    One thing I want to ask - if I do a standard fretboard then I use two small locator nails through the 3rd and 10th fret to make sure the board doesn't slip once I clamp it up - I can't do that here because the frets are already in place - does anyone have any particular method for this? I guess before tapering the neck I could glue it on and use the excess wood at the side to hammer in some locator nails which would stop it slipping but that doesn't seem very precise to me ..
     
  17. emoney

    emoney Senior Member

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    As Nuance mentioned, Flush trim bit usually works for me. Saves a lot of time having to chop out that excess.
     
  18. bcguitars74

    bcguitars74 Member

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    Thank you very much indeed!
     
  19. nuance97

    nuance97 Premium Member

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    To flush trim excess binding you simply raise the flush trim bit up to where the cutter is literally 1mm (or whatever the thickness of your binding is) above the table, and the bearing above the cutter will ride on the fretboard itself and obviously bump right along the tops of the frets. I’ve seen people two-way tape the board to a piece of wood to hold it perpendicular to the table, but I found that unnecessary, and I actually deliberately held mine at a very slight angle to take the maximum amount of excess.

    All that sounds so much harder than it is. It’s super simple
     
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  20. fatdaddypreacher

    fatdaddypreacher V.I.P. Member

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    i do exactly that with the 'dowels' i make them from round toothpicks. the first thing i do is start with a square, parallel fretboard blank, and a square neck blank, already dry fitted to the body. I then clamp the fretboard in proper position on the neck blank, making sure the 16th fret is at the body joint., then drill the dowel locating holes. after everything is tapered and the fb is ready to glue down, it won't scoot.
     

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