My first build(s)

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by SlingBlader, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. pshupe

    pshupe Senior Member

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    Very nice and I don't just mean the headstock template! ;-) Spectacular build. I really like your neck jig. These are going to be awesome guitars. Keep up the stellar work.

    Cheers Peter.
     
  2. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    Truss rod, etc.

    All along I had planned to make and install a single action truss rod in these guitars. But being that these are my first builds, I wanted the safety net of a double action rod. I bought a few LMII rods and used them.

    I used my router table for this operation along with feather boards to keep things nice and straight.

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    After a couple of passes, I had the slots completed.

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    So, I know that this is completely not necessary, but I wanted to use a maple strip to lock the rods in the neck. I did rout the slots a little deeper to allow for this... But it's still not as deep as the single action rod slots would be.

    I also wanted the classic wrench clearance hole. Again, completely not necessary as the rod slot alone was large enough for Allen wrench access. BUT, I had already bought a spot facer a year ago... so why not? (aside from the obvious weakening of the neck issues. :D )

    I put some appropriate spacers in the slot and clamped them down with a filler strip.

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    Here's a closer shot of the spacer setup.

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    And here is the spot facer with the pilot bit just barely making it into the slot. (insert juvenile joke here...)

    If anyone knows where to get a 3/16" to 1/4" pilot that is longer than 2 1/2" please post a link. I could not find one to save my life. I guess I should have cobbled something together myself.

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    And a few seconds later, it's done.

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    With the rod in place.

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    Next I glued on the ears using hot hide glue. (I also glued in the maple fill strip with HHG at this time, but I didn't get a picture.)

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    Once the glue was dry, I cut off the excess filler strip on the band saw.

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    Then I used a block plane to bring the ears flush.

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    I also used the block plane, scraper and sanding block to bring the maple strips down flush.

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    I figured this was as good a time as any to prep some holly veneer for the face of the headstocks. I used my headstock template to size a chunk from a piece of holly stock and cut it out on the band saw.

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    Pick a veneer, any veneer. :thumb:

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    Thanks for looking,
    Gary
     
  3. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    Thanks, Peter. I appreciate it!
     
  4. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    Fitting the necks

    After laying out the tenons, I marked all the lines with a marking knife, but stayed away from the shoulder line with my knife line. This will allow some fine tuning to get this joint to fit correctly.

    I also marked a vertical line as a reference so that I would not cut past the shoulder when I took the neck to the band saw.

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    Here is another view.

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    I took the necks to the band saw and using the fence, cut the tenons leaving plenty of extra meat.

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    I then cut the shoulders using a back saw along my knife line that I made earlier.

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    Removing the waste.

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    I went back and forth from the band saw to the bodies, taking just a little bit at a time from both sides of the tenon until I could just barely fit the neck in to the body.

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    Once the necks went into the bodies, I cleared out more waste to allow the necks to fit up to the temporary shoulder line.

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    Closing the gap...

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    Next, I pared back to the real shoulder line taking several light passes with a chisel.

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    Little by little...

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    Final pass right on the knife line.

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    Completed shoulder with a little cleanup to go.

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    Almost there.

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    Now just for some final adjustments using the old sandpaper fitting trick.

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    That's the ticket right there. :thumb:

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    A shot of both guitars with the necks fitted.

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    I still need to do a little work to get the heel to the correct thickness and get the necks completely flush with the neck plane.

    At this point, that's it. That is where I am and you're as up to date as I am. I have spent the last couple of weeks framing up a rough opening for a new wall oven for my wife. Pics of that to follow, I'm sure.

    If anyone has any questions or comments, please post them; I'm all ears. :shock:

    [​IMG]

    That's my bench dog, Lola. And yes, she has enormous ears. :cool:

    Thanks for looking,
    Gary
     
  5. nuance97

    nuance97 Premium Member

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    Cute pup!

    And great progress!
     
  6. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    Thanks!
     
  7. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    The wall oven(s)

    Yeah, so I literally was not kidding. We went from an old 1976 single wall oven, to a new double convection KitchenAid wall oven. Had to re-frame the opening, move the microwave, upgrade from a 30A to 40A circuit, patch in the drywall and create a new storage cabinet in the dead space above the oven. (not pictured, but coming soon) :thumb:

    [​IMG]

    And what was for dinner?

    Chicken strips. :shock:

    ... and beer. :D



    Back to the project soon; I hope.
     
  8. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    Wow, I cannot believe that I have not updated this thread since February. Granted, I should be finished with these by now, but I'm still plugging away.

    Once the necks were roughly fitted, I got started on the fretboards. I had already purchased a Brazilian rosewood board that was slotted and routed and it came with a set of Dave Johnson inlays. I wanted to use that board for #1, but I still needed a board for #2. I had a nice piece of Madagascar rosewood, so I resawed and milled up a few boards.

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    I slotted a board on my table saw.
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    Sanded a 12" radius which took forever. This Mad rosewood is hard!
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    Next, I masked the board and drew a center line as well as perpendicular center lines for the inlays. I used an inlay template from PShupe to mark the inlay locations. I really need to make a fixture to hold the template and use it for routing, but at the time I didn't have the right combination of bits, etc.
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    Here it is all drawn out.
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    Once the inlays were marked, I cut the tape away and heavily scored the outline with a marking knife.
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    I clamped the board to the bench and used a couple pieces of plywood as stops for the router base. I used these to rout the parallel lines of the traps, then freehanded the rest.
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    I used a variety of chisels to clean up the corners. I have a fishtail chisel that was particularly helpful for getting into the corners.
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    I used medium CA to glue the inlays to the board. The inlays on this board are from RetroSpec.
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    I masked around all the inlays for the next step.
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    I filled all gaps with Madagascar rosewood dust, then hit them with thin CA. I did this repeatedly until I built up the fill proud of the surface.
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    I removed the masking and sanded everything flush.
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    This board shined up really well!
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    Next up was the Brazilian rosewood board with Dave Johnson inlays.
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    Pretty much the same routine here. Glued with medium CA , etc.
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    And here are both boards side by side.
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    Thanks for looking! :D

    Gary
     
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  9. Sunburstman

    Sunburstman Senior Member

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    Again from one Hoosier to another great job!!! Can't wait to see the final completion.
     
  10. fti

    fti Member

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    Wow. Amazing build. Clean and professionally executed. Your first builds make my second builds look primitive :). I'm working myself up to building a 59; and you make it look easy. Thanks for sharing.
     
  11. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    Thanks guys! :)
     
  12. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    Sorry if these posts are picture heavy, but I'll be making a few quick posts to catch up to my current status.

    Up next was fretting the boards. I built my own fret bender from some sliding door bearings, a window crank and some miscellaneous nuts and bolts. It works OK, but it's a little finicky to get it adjusted properly.
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    The Madagascar rosewood board for #2 is getting jumbo stainless frets. I picked up the StewMac fret press a while back when they went on sale. I was going to modify a cheap press, but for my time, it just wasn't worth the effort. The caul assembly is from Philladelphia Luthier Supply.
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    #2 Fretted
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    #1 Fretted with size-appropriate nickel silver frets
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    I clamped the boards and frets down with the radius beam while nipping the excess fret wire off.
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    I used a large file to begin flushing the fret ends to the board.
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    I used a jointed piece of maple as a sort of shooting board to finish the fret end leveling.
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    I then used the maple as a fence and fastened sandpaper to the bench. This finished the edges very nicely.
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    That's it for tonight. I'll post pics of the binding process tomorrow.

    Gary
     
  13. fordmugg

    fordmugg Senior Member

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    Wow super awesome builds.......
     
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  14. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    Binding the fretboards

    I started by gluing binding the body end of the fretboard with medium CA. Once this was dry I trimmed the overhang and filed it flush with the sides of the board.
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    I applied medium CA to each fret end, then ran a bead of CA down the length of the fretboard. I aligned the binding so that it hung over the top and the bottom of the board. I flipped the board on its edge and pressed the binding side down on my bench and held it until the CA set up.
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    Both boards roughly bound.
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    I scraped the binding flush with the bottom of the boards.
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    I used a pattern bit in the router table to roughly remove the bulk of the binding between the frets.
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    I used a scraper to roughly bring the binding down in thickness.
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    I picked up a nice fret end beveling tool on eBay from a guy in Greece, so I used that to start beveling the binding and fret ends to establish the nibs.
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    Roughly beveled here, now I need to remove the little ridge of binding that still sticks up proud of the edge of the fretboard. It's not easily seen in this picture.
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    Filing down the little ridge with a triangular file
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    Here you can see where I have removed the ridge of excess binding between frets.
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    Once the binding was filed, I marked the centerline of each fret, then marked the center between for the fret dots.
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    I work for an orthopedic product company that makes all sorts of joint replacements, trauma products, etc... So, being a team player, I use one of our bone nails as a punch to mark the fret locations. :naughty:
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    I drilled the holes for some tort dots that I got from LMII. I put a drop of binding glue in to hold them. The dots are a little too big for spec, but oh well. Unfortunately the dots mostly look black instead of tort once they are glued.:hmm:
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    I sanded the dots flush with the binding. The bindings need to be thinned down quite a bit after this, but we're getting there.
    [​IMG]

    More soon.

    Gary
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2017
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  15. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    The headstock

    Next, I aligned a holly veneer and clamped it in place on the headstock, but pulled it up across the nut line so that the edge was sticking up in the air. I put down some tape to protect the neck, then I used a file with a safe edge to file the edge of the holly veneer. This was a simple way to bevel this edge for a nice fit against the nut.
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    I squared up a nut blank and lightly tacked it in place using CA so that the veneer could be aligned precisely.
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    Here you can see where the truss rod nut was sanded down a bit. Next time I'll judge the positioning a little better. :doh:
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    I glued the veneer to the headstock using hot hide glue. I used my nifty headstock template that I got from PShupe as a clamping caul. The neck in the background got a boring piece of plywood for a caul.
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    I let the veneers dry over night. I attached the headstock template again and taped a spacer block to the back of the headstock. I then drilled pilot holes for the tuners at the drill press.
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    I moved to the band saw and used a taller block on the back of the headstock to hold everything square to the table. I cut just outside the template in preparation for pattern routing.
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    Here it is just off the band saw. In this picture, you can see the Popsicle stick pieces that I used as alignment blocks for the fretboard. This should make the glue-up a little easier.
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    I wanted to try out my new Whiteside Ultimate Flush Trim bit. It's a compression pattern bit with a top and bottom bearing. It worked really well. :)
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    Here is one neck after routing and I'm in the process of trimming the truss rod access hole.
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    Back to the drill press to drill the tuner holes with a brad point bit. I attached tape to the front and back. I drilled about halfway from the front, flipped the neck over, and finished drilling from the back for nice clean holes.
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    Thanks for looking. :)
    Gary
     
  16. Sunburstman

    Sunburstman Senior Member

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    Man your skills and attention to detail are Awesome!!!!!
     
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  17. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    Thanks, man. That's very nice of you. I think my sills and attention to detail pales in comparison to many others around herel :bowdown
     
  18. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    The (GASP!) Floyd Rose Locking nut for #2

    OK, all traditionalists, please look the other way. :eek2: My #2 build was always going to be different... Not adhering to '59 specs. I'm doing hotter pickups, different body wood and yes, I'm gonna cut a big ol' rout and shove a Floyd in there. :headbanger::dude::run: As I said way back, I'm really a bass player and a terrible guitar player. But dammit I love me a Floyd. So, I'm gonna do it. :naughty:

    I'm hoping to kick back on a Saturday afternoon, drink way too much beer, turn up too loud and just dive-bomb the living crap outta that sucker over and over.:jam::laugh2:

    OK, here is a picture of both necks after the headstocks were routed and drilled for tuners.
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    Here is the obstacle that needs to be addressed... I wasn't sure if I would need to make a wedge to put under the nut or not.
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    I started things out by flattening the holly veneer with a block plane.
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    With the fretboard clamped and held in place with my high-tech popsicle sticks, I again used a file with a safe edge agains the fretboard to bring the nut bed down. I do not recall the measurements, but I was referencing the Dan Erlewine repair book.
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    The nut is still on the high side, but more material can be taken off later before the guitar is broken down for finish. With this much of the nut seated, I don't see a need to fabricate a wedge to fit under it.
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    And here it is screwed down. I used a Vicks bit to be sure that the pilot holes were acurately aligned.
    [​IMG]
     
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  19. emoney

    emoney Senior Member

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    Looking good so far!!
     
  20. nuance97

    nuance97 Premium Member

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    I don't recall you modifying the neck angle to accommodate the Floyd Rose....when I've seen people put one on a Les Paul in the past it seems like there is usually some tweaking in the angle necessary.

    I'm sure you've considered this and accounted for it, and I'm just talking out my a$$...I have zero experience in installing a Floyd Rose so...
     

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