Explorer build - 1958/1963 style

Johan79

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Hello,

This is my first thread here but I read a lot of very interesting posts accross this forum and I like the atmosphere. Excuse my english I’m french.

I started an Explorer a long tme ago thanks to Lee’s plans, thanks a lot Lee. Don’t expect a fast build with a lot of updates because I’m usually super slow :)

The woods :

Limba for the body and neck, very light for the body and heavier for the neck.

IMG_4985.jpg

IMG_4988.jpg
IMG_4991.jpg
 
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Johan79

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The body is made with a main center piece and two wings from the same plank because it was impossible to find a wide enought blank for a one piece body. I used hot hide glue.

The fingerboard is made of Madagascar ebony.
IMG_4990.jpg
 
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Johan79

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I will use a crazy parts pickguard, knobs, rings, bridge and tailpiece. All the hardware except the tuners and the pickups that I have to buy.

I started the fretboard work today. The thickness is done, rougtly cut to shape, fret slots sawn, and a lot more to do.

IMG_4979.jpg
IMG_4983.jpg
 
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lee1964

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Looking good, I’m using the crazy parts guard for my build as well the only real diference is the bevel and about 1.5mm height in between the pickups. Not enough to concern me it would take a keen eye to notice.

Like yourself I couldn’t find a one piece blank so I went with a 2 piece, looks like you managed a nice grain match the only way most will tell its not 1 piece body is looking at end grain, or they really know how to read grain and realise that you must have a “HUGE” quartersawn blank which I think would be an impossibility.

if you look on most 58 explorers you’ll see the grain change from rift to flat sawn, as it works its way across the massive blank size.

I hope the revised plans help, they are really close to being on the money now

Lee
 

Johan79

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Yes quartersawn body is not historic accurate and I much prefer flatsawn look myself, but this is the piece of wood I was sent. Small differences in pickgard, rings, etc... don’t bother me since I don’t want to build a 58 replica (too expensive) but a 58 style Explorer.
Thanks a lot for the revisited plans, I have to go to the copy shop, I don’t know when because covid.
 

LPTDMSV

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Hello,

This is my first thread here but I read a lot of very interesting posts accross this forum and I like the atmosphere. Excuse my english I’m french.

I started an Explorer a long tme ago thanks to Lee’s plans, thanks a lot Lee. Don’t expect a fast build with a lot of updates because I’m usually super slow :)

The woods :

Limba for the body and neck, very light for the body and heavier for the neck.
Looks great, did you find a good European source for limba/Korina? I've been looking in the UK but I have found nothing nice.
 

Johan79

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Not really, this one was an ebay find. Sometimes Madinter in Spain... I bougth some V sized white limba blanks from them a couple years ago. Some of it was nice and some not so nice.
 

lee1964

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Yes flat sawn is far prettier and as long as it’s stable it’s perfectly useable, however I have seen more than a few SG bodies that have cupped over the years

Lee
 

Johan79

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Hi,
Today I sharpened the blade of my n°7 jointer plane and flatened the fingerboard face of my neck.

IMG_4993.jpg


Then I routed the 3/16” wide trussrod slot thanks to the box I built a couple years ago. The neck is instaled and screwd in at an angle. The result is a 1/2” deep slot at the nut and 5/8” deep at the other end.

IMG_4995.jpg


IMG_4996.jpg


Before I can install the trussrod I have to wait for the 5/8” soptfacer bit I ordered in the US. Hope that the delivery won’t be too long.

I also worked on the fingerboard, I thicknessed it at a slight angle and installed the dots except for the 12th fret. I want to glue the fingerboard then make the radius and then install the last dots at the correct depth. I was affraid to sand through them if I install them before the radius.

IMG_4997.jpg


For the trussrod slot stripe, I’ve seen both maple and limba. Both were used in the late 50’s?
 
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pshupe

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Looks great. I think a Korina filler strip was used in the 58s but frankly that's a pretty small detail. Are you using a one piece Korina neck? It must have been quite thick as it looks like your head stock is quite long. The Explorer is actually the only 58 Korina guitar that can use 8/4 for the neck because of the way the head stock was built. This is of note because it is very hard to find Korina neck blanks made for a Gibson style angled head stock. Also I would've saved that neck for your Flying V, Moderne, or Futura replica. ;)

Cheers Peter.
 

Johan79

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Looks great. I think a Korina filler strip was used in the 58s but frankly that's a pretty small detail. Are you using a one piece Korina neck? It must have been quite thick as it looks like your head stock is quite long. The Explorer is actually the only 58 Korina guitar that can use 8/4 for the neck because of the way the head stock was built. This is of note because it is very hard to find Korina neck blanks made for a Gibson style angled head stock. Also I would've saved that neck for your Flying V, Moderne, or Futura replica. ;)

Cheers Peter.
Thanks Peter. Actually the headstock is quite short, same as Lee’s plan. I will make the 3 pieces late 50’s headstock.
I think I‘ll make a korina filler because it’s easier to work with than maple, I’m lazy :)
 

pshupe

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Thanks Peter. Actually the headstock is quite short, same as Lee’s plan. I will make the 3 pieces late 50’s headstock.
I think I‘ll make a korina filler because it’s easier to work with than maple, I’m lazy :)
Cool - so how thick was the neck blank? Did you have a hard time finding it? I'm assuming it's a one piece, correct?

Cheers Peter.
 

Johan79

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Regarding the limba I’m using, when I bought the body blank for this explorer, it was a 2 pieces blank. But the two halves weren’t from the same tree and one half was very light and the other heavier. The 2 pieces were quite big and 60mm thick and I managed the build the Explorer body with the light half only. With the heavier half I built a set neck “telespaul”, this explorer neck, a flying V neck blank (not long enough for the super long tenon with the long V headstock but nevermind), a SG neck blank and a fender style neck blank. An initial deception that turned out in happiness!
 

pshupe

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Regarding the limba I’m using, when I bought the body blank for this explorer, it was a 2 pieces blank. But the two halves weren’t from the same tree and one half was very light and the other heavier. The 2 pieces were quite big and 60mm thick and I managed the build the Explorer body with the light half only. With the heavier half I built a set neck “telespaul”, this explorer neck, a flying V neck blank (not long enough for the super long tenon with the long V headstock but nevermind), a SG neck blank and a fender style neck blank. An initial deception that turned out in happiness!
That's great. I really like Korina and have quite a bit of it. The local place I buy wood stocks quite a bit and it is about 1/2 the price of Honduran Mahogany but they do not have wide planks. Two piece bodies are not problem, or Flying Vs but wide stuff and thick neck blank wood is very difficult to source. That's why I am badgering you with these questions. Sorry about that. Where did you purchase your wood? You say you are french but not a location. Merci beaucoup.

Cheers Peter.
 

Johan79

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I bought it on ebay from a German seller. I didn’t find any white limba in France. And yes one piece explorer blank is impossible to find. I live between Lyon and Grenoble.
 

pshupe

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I bought it on ebay from a German seller. I didn’t find any white limba in France. And yes one piece explorer blank is impossible to find. I live between Lyon and Grenoble.

I bought some large blanks last fall and they were really nice. They were from California and shipping and taxes were very reasonable. I also picked up some really nice light Korina for some two piece bodies from a friend.
IMG_0641_lo.jpg

France is probably my favorite country to visit. Last time we were in Paris. Before that the south and it was spectacular. We spent some time in Marseilles, Montpellier, and a small town to the north west.

Cheers Peter.
 

Brewdude

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Looks great. I think a Korina filler strip was used in the 58s but frankly that's a pretty small detail. Are you using a one piece Korina neck? It must have been quite thick as it looks like your head stock is quite long. The Explorer is actually the only 58 Korina guitar that can use 8/4 for the neck because of the way the head stock was built. This is of note because it is very hard to find Korina neck blanks made for a Gibson style angled head stock. Also I would've saved that neck for your Flying V, Moderne, or Futura replica. ;)

Cheers Peter.
Peter you are always a wealth of knowledge with these, and I swear I looked around the Historically Accurate Explorer plans thread but didn't see anything, do you have a drawing with dimensions for the neck of these? I like everyone has been on the hunt for 3" x 3" Korina with little luck but saw some on ebay that said it was 1.93" thick so I am curious if that is large enough? Or is that cutting it a little too close?
 

Johan79

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I bought some large blanks last fall and they were really nice. They were from California and shipping and taxes were very reasonable. I also picked up some really nice light Korina for some two piece bodies from a friend.
View attachment 533794

France is probably my favorite country to visit. Last time we were in Paris. Before that the south and it was spectacular. We spent some time in Marseilles, Montpellier, and a small town to the north west.

Cheers Peter.
Nice blanks, I‘m a little bit jealous!
I bet you went to the calanques de Cassis, wonderful place in the south of France.
 

Johan79

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Peter you are always a wealth of knowledge with these, and I swear I looked around the Historically Accurate Explorer plans thread but didn't see anything, do you have a drawing with dimensions for the neck of these? I like everyone has been on the hunt for 3" x 3" Korina with little luck but saw some on ebay that said it was 1.93" thick so I am curious if that is large enough? Or is that cutting it a little too close?
Peter was right I made my headstock unnecessarily long. Looking at my template based on Lee’s plan I’d say that 2” thick is the bare minimum. 55mm to be sure but 1.93’/49mm is not enough to build the late 50’s three piece headstock. You always need a little more because wood move a little when you cut it.

Or you buy it and you flaten the angle of the headstock, say 14° and you should be good ;)
 

lee1964

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Hi, I’ll double check the original plans today but I seem to remember doing the headstock at 17 degrees as that was considered to be the Gibson normal, however there has been some debate on this, with somclaiming it was 14 degrees and just to throw a spammer into the works...
my custom shop firebird 1 comes in at a hair over 15 degrees?????

personally I will be making mine around 14 degrees, I’m not going for a nuts on accurate build and ive never understood why Gibson used 17 degrees, it always seemed excessive to me.

I’ll try to check it sometime today

Lee
 


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