57 Futura build

pshupe

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Good day fellow forumites. I'm building a guitar for a friend that is based upon the prototype of the Explorer. Apparently they only built slightly more than a few of these back in 1957. It is very closely related to the Explorer as one would expect but also has some characteristics of a Les Paul.

As always I start with a detailed CAD drawing.

updated_body_cad (1).JPG


So I had my friend ship me some really nice wood. He sent a nice rich dark neck blank, a very large one piece black limba body, and a spectacular brazilian rosewood fret board blank.

The body - Here is side 1 -
body_side1.jpg


and side 2 -
body_side2.jpg



neck blank - I forgot to take a picture of the one piece blank but here is a pic with all the pieces after rough sawing
cutout_thickness.JPG



Fret board blank -
FB_thickness.jpg


Cheers Peter.
 
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pshupe

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Thanks Slingblader - here is an update


cutting the head stock angle -
headstock angle.JPG


truss rod channel -
trussrod_channel.JPG

The nice thing about this build so far, is that the dimensions are exactly like a Les Paul style guitar, for which I already have jigs made up.
Cheers Peter.
 
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pshupe

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Drilled for anchor and truss rod access on the neck. I also rough shaped the neck. Still lots of sanding and shaping to do yet but it takes most of the material off quickly.
neck_TRA&anchor.JPG


Now off to sand that board and cut some ears. These will be quite a bit larger than normal to accommodate the split V head stock.

Cut up some hard maple filler strips tonight. I have to wait until my anchors come in for my truss rods so I can install.
filler_strips.jpg


Cheers Peter.
 
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pshupe

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reference photo of an original 57 prototype -



I think this is the only one I have found that I can confidently say is the real deal. Gibson did a "re-issue" of the Futura a few times over the years but I'm not sure how accurate they are to the originals.
Futura_zps802da6ae.png

Note that the pickguard does not extend into the full width of the pups, or even half way for that matter. It looks like the wiring channel goes between the two pickups unlike that of the explorer, or how my drawings currently show it as well. I assume that the jack is drilled from the jack hole through the control cavity into the bridge pup? This is something that may take some discussion to figure out the correct process.

Regards Peter.
 
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pshupe

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So I decided not to use a thickness planer to radius the fret board as I was concerned about tear out. So I took it down to a bit over 1/4" using my thickness sander.
FB-01.jpg


Then I use my fret board template with indexing slots to orient my fret board.
FB_template.jpg

Set up my radius sanding jig. My dad made me a fancy jointer push block out of black walnut and I find it is perfect to tape it to my aluminum sanding beam.
FR_radiusbeam.jpg

I marked the board with yellow pencil and place a straight line down the center - I actually took a few swipes off each side with a hand plane to take a bit of material off before putting it in the jig
FB-sanding.jpg

Even doing that it takes quite a bit of time to sand down so I'm basically just left with the line down the centre -
FB_finish radius.jpg

I threw in some finer grit sand paper and took out the major scratches but I will need to sand again after installing dot inlays anyway. I probably did it just to get a better look at the grain. ;-)
Checked the radius -
FB_radius.jpg


and there we are ready to throw it in the CNC machine for slotting and final sizing. I use the index pins I drilled earlier to align on the machine.
board on the neck - coming along! ;-)


Cheers Peter.
 
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pshupe

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I cut up a bunch of ear possibilities from the off cuts from that large neck blank. I had quite a few options so I planed up 3 sets and tried to match the best ones.

glued up the ears.

That's it for tonight. I'll plane and cut up some holly tomorrow and possible cut the head stock template and maybe a body template.
Cheers Peter.
 
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pshupe

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Fretboard slotted - this board is outrageous! ;-)
Slots cut on the CNC machine with a 0.023" diameter carbide bit. Also drilled location holes for the dot inlays to use a brad point bit. The bit is so tiny that I had to circle with yellow pencil so I could see them and not accidently drill in a pore hole! I'll have to wear glasses to see the circles too! LOL


Cheers Peter.
 

replaburst59er

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That is smokin!!!!! That fingerboard is a class act to itself!

Peter this project is coming together good. Almost looks like a followup in vintage predating to the TB korina explorer project. Guess next there will maybe be a Moderne to come. :applause::rofl:
 

pshupe

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Yes a moderne build be the natural next step! ;-)

Cheers Peter
 

pshupe

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Drilled for dots -


got out a sheet of cellulose nitrate and punched dots and glued them in -



back in the sanding jig and sanded dots flush -


The board was still a little too thick so I stuck it to my radius beam and fed it through my thickness sander and took about 1.2mm off to final vintage thickness -


Finish sanded to a fairly high grit and a little acetone over the inlays to shine them up and voila - fancy BRW fretboard ready for frets -


Cheers Peter.
 

pshupe

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Updated CAD drawings - Starting to think about toolpaths for CNCing the body. It should be fairly straight forward as the body and routes are all completely flat.



I will use this drawing and pull out all the individual lines to create toolpaths in my CNC software. Then assign each one of the lines a path which would also include a tool and a depth. It's kind of fun as my software does an animation of how the program will be cut ending with the final product and removing all waste material.

Here is the final outcome after programming 7 separate tool paths. I am using the same size tool for all of them but I need to sequence them because some start where the others have left off, to save time.



Cheers Peter.
 

pshupe

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Thanks - that fret board is spectacular. It was a pain in the butt because it was so figured I didn't want to use the thickness planer so I hand sanded most of the radius.

Cheers Peter.
 

redking

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Very very nice!!! I wish that guitar was in my FUTURA :) !
 

pshupe

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So I cut out a little body template out of some 1/4" plywood I had laying around. I want to use this to place on top of the big slab of black limba and see where the best place to cut out the body. I'll use the negative first and then trace the positive on to see where any grain anomalies may pop up.



on top of the body - I'm going to pick the more figured side to go on the top of the guitar.

Should be killer. It's a spectacular piece of wood 19"x24"x8/4 Black Limba.

Cheers Peter.
 

replaburst59er

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Going to be a real beaut! If it sounds as good as it will look it could be dangerous! : -)
 


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