My first build(s)

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

  1. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    Yeah, you're right. I'm sure that the angle needs to be reduced if the Floyd will be installed in a recessed pocket, or "well". From what I can gather, the basic rout is made for the trem itself from the front as well as the spring cavity/trem block from the rear. The well rout can be done after this if needed or necessary.

    There is very little information to be had for Floyd installation in a carved top guitar, so I'm sort of winging it here. :fingersx: I did come across this article: http://www.mylespaul.com/threads/installing-a-floyd-rose.241653/ which shows checking the clearance height for 5/8" at the bridge location. From what I recall, that's pretty much the same as checking clearance for a TOM. In that thread, the OP did not rout a well, so I hope my thinking is correct on this.

    Personally, I like the look of a well, but if it isn't strictly necessary (like for pulling up on the bar), then I probably won't go to too much trouble to accomodate the well. What I AM conerned with is that I completely spaced the pickup layout when I routed the pup cavities. I had intended to move the bridge pickup rout about 1/4" north. I do plan to modify the trem rout to leave a little extra meat near the stud locations.

    I'm hoping to do a lot of the layout, etc just by clamping the neck into position. The neck has already been fitted, but the angle could be adjusted if necessary. I also think that I can make the trem routs before I glue in the neck assuming that preliminary guestimations turn out well. Seems this would be easier than after gluing it in.

    Any input on this is really appreciated, like I said, I am totally winging this. I've asked a few questions around the forum and have a few key pieces of info. I think if I just work the problem little by little, it will become clearer as I go.
     
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  2. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    Gluing the fretboards to the necks

    I got everything laid out and within easy reach. I taped up the headstocks to avoid bench rash. I had already glued Popsicle sticks to help align the fretboards, so this glue up would be as painless as possible. I had the locking nut installed on #2 and the bone nut tacked in place on neck #1.
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    I heated up the glue and added a bit of salt to it. I also used a heat gun to warm up the fretboards and necks to help with working time.
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    Here are both necks in clamps. I used my radius beam and a home made maple/cork caul to help with the process.
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    Here is neck #2 out of the clamps. I've cut off the excess width at the band saw and have started to flush the sides down to the binding.
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    Aaaaaaaaaand here is an extreme closeup of a slight problem with #1. Yep, that's a gap. Nope, that's not gonna fly. Needless to say I was pretty miffed about that. I'm not entirely sure what happened, but I'm guessing the glue started to gel before I got the clamps tightened all the way. Naturally, this had to happen on the neck with the Braz board. :facepalm:
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    So, after searching the house for an hour, I finally found the heating pad under the guest bed. Who the crap put it there??? Sorry, domestic problems shouldn't be brought into this, right?

    I wrapped the neck in the heating pad with a pillowcase, then stomped back into the house and made me a sammich. :naughty:
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    After around 30 minutes or so, I was able to get an antique icing knife/spatula thingy under the end of the board.
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    I slowly advanced it under the board and continued to move the heating pad along as well.
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    Within a short time, I had the board removed.
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    I used a warm, damp cloth and scrapers to remove the glue from the surfaces.
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    I realigned the board with my high tech Popsicle sticks, then I made extra sure to thoroughly heat the neck and board before gluing. Clamped it up with the radius beam.
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    Crisis averted; I think.:fingersx:
     
  3. fti

    fti Member

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    You made that look far too easy. That heating pad is a great idea. Must use hide glue myself next time. I had some minor gaps under the fretboard. But this had to do more with the fretboard having become slightly warped. I filled it with some saw dust and glue.
     
  4. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    Ha! Thanks. I wasn't sure if the heating pad would get hot enough, but I was pleasantly surpised that it did the trick. :)
     
  5. Open_Book

    Open_Book Senior Member

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  6. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    Hey, thanks for the heads up. I did see that a while back. Something about the appearance sort of turned me off for some reason. It's probably just me, I mean the original Floyd is not the greatest looking thing either, I suppose. :laugh2:

    That unit is certainly simpler to mount. I plan to spend a significant amount of time this weekend measuring and marking things out before I cut, rout or drill anything. Since I have not yet glued the neck, the neck angle could still be changed, etc. But, I will certainly keep that unit in mind if it looks like I have to make significant changes.
     
  7. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    Final fitting and rough shaping the necks

    This post catches up to where I am in real time. I haven't had any time lately to get out to the shop and the next few weekends aren't looking too promising either. :dunno:

    Here is the neck for #1 after it came out of the clamps after the second glue-up. I was obviously very generous with my application of glue...
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    I took it to the band saw and trimmed off the excess, then used various planes, sanding blocks etc. to begin flushing the neck sides down to the fretboard.
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    Next, I wanted to complete the final fitting of the necks for both guitars. I had fitted the necks previously, but I found that things changed a bit once the fretboards were glued on. So, just small adjustments with chisels and sanding blocks to end up with a gap-free fit. This is #1, but I did the same thing for #2 as well.
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    I attached a couple of small plywood blocks on the neck tenon to act as spacers so that I could safely clamp the neck in my wagon vise for shaping. I had never carved a neck before, so I just grabbed all of my rasps, files, spokeshave, etc. I found that the round rasps and farrier's rasp were easiest for me to get things roughed in.
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    I started by roughing in the heel. I primarily used a round rasp for initial shaping here. Still a long way to go in this photo.
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    I decided it would be simpler for me to work the neck in facets, so I marked out halfway lines and started removing material. I was amazed out how fast this process went.
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    As I completed each facet, I marked more halfway lines and made some more facets. I eventually started to blend the facets with a Shinto rasp and files, but stayed off of the centerline entirely.
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    Checking the progress here with profile templates. It's getting in the ballpark. Once I get the heel and headstock transition areas closer to final shape, I'll switch to sanding to begin fairing everything together.
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    Hoping to get some time later today to get back on this. I really need to finalize the plan for the Floyd on #2.

    I'm also at a complete loss for a headstock inlay. I've got a couple of pearl blanks, but I just don't know what to put on the guitars. I guess I may just use my initials, especially since my first initial is a "G"... I could do it in the appropriate style and that might look kinda spiffy. I need to decide soon, because I want to do the inlay before I glue the necks. Ugh, I don't know.

    Thanks for looking,
    Gary
     
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  8. Sunburstman

    Sunburstman Senior Member

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    Hey Gary!
    I use a Shinto rasp also for roughing in necks and then round rasps for final shaping, again great job with neck, fingerboard, and tenon!!!!!!
     
  9. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    Thanks, man. I appreciate it. :)
     
  10. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    Finishing the necks & Floyd Rose Routing

    I'm still plugging away here slowly but surely. I just crossed the one year anniversary of when I officially started this project. I'm really bummed that I'm not spraying these guitars right now as the weather is absolutely perfect. Oh well, I'm not running a race here, so I guess I'll take any progress that I can get. I'll make a couple of posts to catch up to real time.

    First of all, I finished carving the neck for #1. I wanted to post a good picture of the big farrier's rasp that I use. It's nearly as long as the neck itself. It is a pretty amazing tool for removing tons of material very quickly.
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    Here is a shot of both necks pretty much done. Final shaping/sanding will be done after the necks are glued in.
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    This is my first Floyd installation and I'm a bit unsure of the correct position. I've found lots of conflicting information, so I decided to verify placement myself. I already know that the placement is going to be closer to the bridge pickup cavity than I want, but I'm hoping there is enough clearance for it to work.

    First, I clamped the neck into #2 and verified the fit. I marked lines on the body using a straight edge butted up to the outside edges of the neck. I also marked the actual center line. (surprisingly, I was pretty close to the centerline on the maple cap.)
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    I installed the two E tuners and the Floyd nut, minus the string clamps.
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    I removed all the bits that stick out of the bottom of the Floyd bridge. I left the center 2 saddles to use as a centerline reference. I did a very quick sanity check with some heavy string... They're not running off the board with the bridge held on center. Whew! :cool2:
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    I mounted some Popsicle sticks to the bottom of the bridge to shim it up a bit.
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    Believe it or not, I was able to use the cheap trapeze tailpiece trick with the Floyd to make sure the intonation would work. I had to remove the locking bolts and run the strings through the locking bolt slots, but it worked. That's pretty, isn't it? :rofl:
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    Here's a closeup showing just how close this will be to the pickup ring... and that's with the pickup shoved over as far as it will go without a gap showing on the bridge side of the ring. I have a stud stood upside down to mark the stud location.
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    OK, I'll continue in another post.
     
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  11. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    Floyd Rose routing continued...

    I have the StewMac Floyd templates and they make use of a single 1/2" hole located at one corner of the front rout template. I modified my template slightly to leave more meat near the studs. I got that idea from Sully. :) As a result, I had to change the point of reference for the index hole and move it to the rear of the front rout.

    Anyway, that index hole goes clear through the body and is used to align the rear routing template. Drilling a hole all the way through this body was just a little bit agonizing.
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    Marking the new index offset on the back of the body.
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    Here is the placement of the rear template.
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    I mounted my modified front cavity template and routed away. Yes, I used Popsicle sticks to modify the template. I have a gigantic box of those damn things that I've had since 1994... I gotta use them for something!
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    I drilled the holes for the pivot studs using a brad point bit. My goofy drill press barely has enough clearance for this operation.
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    Pressing the bushings in with the drill press.
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    Drilling holes for the claw screws.
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    Hey, it fits!
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    Due to the thickness of a LP body, I had ordered a 42 mm block. (The original Floyd ships with a 37 mm) I was hoping that would be a long enough block, but as you can see, the springs won't clear.
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    A little more routing and we're in business.
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    OK, so to me the clearance is perfect with the action set to an approximate height. I have things routed/adjusted where there is plenty of dive. I have some "up" with the bar, but not a ton. I don't think that I will bother with recessing this one. The only thing to be gained would be more pull... I can still change my mind before I shoot finish. We shall see.
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    I pulled all the tape from the back of the bodies and routed a 3/16" roundover.
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    Here is a simple inlay idea that I'm kicking around. (Just my initials) I glued a couple of MOP blanks to some 1/4" ply and tried cutting using the slow speed and fine blades on my scroll saw.
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    I'm getting mixed results, but I have a few intact letters. I have a proper jewelers saw on the way now. I'm hoping to have less breakage.
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    As always, thanks for looking. Commentary is welcomed. :D
     
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  12. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    I was just thinking that I need to get the holes drilled for the volume and tone pots. Are those holes drilled perpendicular to the back of the body? That's what I had in mind, but now I'm second guessing myself.

    I was also thinking that the switch gets drilled at a slight angle but I could be wrong about that too.
     
  13. nuance97

    nuance97 Premium Member

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    Perpendicular to the back with a 3/8" bit, and reamed a bit so that everything fits without binding up.
     
  14. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    Cool, thanks! :)
     
  15. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    Headstock inlays/Gluing in the necks

    It's been a while since I've updated this thread, so here's what I've been working on. I struggled for quite some time deciding what to put on the headstocks. In the end, I simply decided to put my initials at the top and a Fleur de lis in the center. My surname is French and my wife has them all over the house. I really don't have a strong feeling about it one way or the other, but it seemed like an easy enough inlay to attempt.

    I had been struggling trying to cut MOP with my scroll saw, so I ordered an inexpensive jewelers saw and a lot of blades. This was much easier and produced better results. I glued my designs to the MOP with white glue, then cut outside the lines.
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    I cleaned up the pieces with a cheapo set of needle files that I picked up for around $4. This worked great once I had the technique down. Once the pieces were trimmed, I soaked them in a bowl of water to remove the paper.
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    Cutting out the fleur de lis pieces.
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    I showed my progress to the dog, but she remained unimpressed.
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    Next, I drew some alignment marks and tacked my MOP pieces in place using Duco cement.
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    I scribed around the pieces with a sharp knife, then outlined everything with pencil to make it easy to see. I used acetone to loosen the glue under the pieces and put them aside.
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    I used a tapered bit in my Dremel and routed out the design.
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    After some fine tuning, everything fit pretty well. :)
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    I mixed up some long set epoxy with black dye. I filled the cavities and pressed in the inlays. I added some extra epoxy on top to be sure that all gaps were filled.
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    The next day, I scraped off the excess epoxy, then started to sand everything flush.
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    Making some progress here...
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    Here are both headstocks completed. There is some staining from the epoxy/dye mix, but it won't matter as I'm spraying the faces black anyway.
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    I finally drilled holes for all of the controls.
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    To make for easier cleanup, I masked closely around the neck joint.
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    I glued the necks in with hot hide glue and clamped more than necessary.
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    Well, knock on wood, but it seems like I'm getting into the home stretch of the woodworking phase. I'll still need to locate the bridge/tailpiece and make a nut for #1, but I don't think there is much else to do. I'll probably get both of these strung up and playing before I spray any finish... maybe even wire a pickup straight out to a jack just for giggles.

    I'm a little apprehensive about the fret level and polish. I've watched tons of videos and tutorials on the subject, so I'm familiar with the procedure. I'm just not sure exactly when to do it... Does everyone always wait until after finishing, or is it OK to fret level prior to finishing?

    Thanks,
    Gary
     
  16. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    Today I got a little more work completed on #1.

    I got a nut started.
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    Fits great. Still needs final slot depth, sanding, polish, etc.
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    I installed some Kluson tuners. View from the rear...
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    View from the front...
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    I measured and drilled for the stop tailpiece bushings.
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    And before it slipped my mind, I drilled the ground wire hole.
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    It popped through here... I really did install a wire, just not pictured. :)
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    I installed the E strings and set the bridge on the studs and two nuts to fine tune the intonation point.
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    Marked it, drilled it and installed the studs.
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    Thanks for looking. :)

    Gary
     
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  17. Freudo

    Freudo Junior Member

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    very impressive work ! So you drilled control holes perpendicular to the back ? What is the holes diameter ?
    Is the ground wire mandatory ?
    Fred
     
  18. melomanarock

    melomanarock Senior Member

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    Looking really good!

    I'm wondering if you have enough space for the bridge pickup ring with that floyd rose bridge? looks pretty close

    [​IMG]
     
  19. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    Thanks! Yep, that's right. I believe that the pot holes are 3/8" and the switch hole is 1/2". Ground wire is mandatory if you don't want hum. :)
     
  20. SlingBlader

    SlingBlader Premium Member

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    Thanks! Yeah, it's going to be tight for sure. I had originally intended to rout the bridge pickup cavity about 3/16"-1/4" toward the neck. I got too excited during the routing operation and completely forgot about it. I did a mock up with a pickup ring and as long as I shoved it all the way over, every thing fit while still barely covering the edge of the cavity.

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    If it doesn't work out when I actually assemble and test, I'll enlarge the rout on one side and glue in some maple on the other. Once everything is assembled, it would be hard to see the fix.

    I'm also hoping that it will be OK structurally. I really wanted more material near those pivot bushings. I did modify the main rout to keep more wood on the back side, but my brain fart with the pickup cavity rout may still get me in the end. Time will tell I suppose!
     

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