If You Haven’t Tried It, You Should..

emoney

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I say “carve templates be damned! Oh, assuming you’re not hell bent on vintage accuracy. Stick a 60 grit flap disc in your grinder, draw some rough contour lines and have a blast. It really was fun and only took 5 minutes maybe?
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Spent another 5 minutes with 80 grit on the random orbital sander and got this;
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Still have work to do, of course...recurve all that but I must say, using a grinder on wood is pretty fun. Oh well, figured I would share since I’m stuck at home the next few weeks. Stay safe all
 

Wallied

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I've done this twice: Once with a top, and once with a neck. The grinder was so aggressive that I ruined a nice top by going too deep on the recurve, though the culprit was me not being careful enough, not the tool. On roughing a neck it worked well even in my ham-fisted care.

Will
 

emoney

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Yeah I wouldn’t trust it for the recarve. I’m planning to use the ROS for that. Sure does take the steps down in a hurry though.
 

emoney

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By the way, the neck does currently hold the body’s weight by itself;
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Been so long since I did a build thread figured I would throw in the old-school pic.
I was also able to some fret slots cut and the radius jig finished;
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If you’re not using the superglue/masking tape idea you’re probably wasting time and money.
Hopefully by tomorrow I’ll have the fretboard radiused and ready to attach. I’ve also got my new binding jig finished. All this time is allowing me to accomplish a lot and I have to have some way to stay out of the wife’s hair. She’s an elementary teacher and is working from home as well. It’s safer and better for my health to be out in the shop as much as possible.
 

cmjohnson

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That's what I do. To hell with templates, carve it yourself. Not interested in "vintage accurate", I want a carve I like better than one that is copied off a guitar that got slack belt sanded back in the 50s.

I'm not (insert guitar company name here) and don't pretend I am. I am past the point of mere copying. Oh, sure, I make some guitars that are vaguely familiar, but who doesn't? The fact is that Gibson and Fender, and later PRS, pretty much defined the shapes of single and double cutaway shapes that make sense. Everybody else just tries to get close to those designs without getting too close for legal purposes. (Except those who copy exactly....a somewhat risky proposition but I see why some people like to do it.)

I start with the chainsaw disc. Then I go to a 60 grit sanding disc on the grinder. After that it's ROS sanding, starting at 80 grit and working my way down to finishing the fine contours at 320 grit. You just have to learn to use the curve of the sanding pad at different angles to get the carve contour you want.

Remember, a circular sanding pad allows you to use the pad to create any contour from flat to the radius of the pad, naturally, if you have a steady hand. And tighter, when your edge control is good.

As for radiusing fingerboards....just no. I get my fingerboards made custom for me by custominlay.com and that way I don't scrap any boards. They arrive correct or they get replaced. You can send them your own fingerboard blanks if you want specific pieces for fingerboards.
 

Zacknorton

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They make all sorts of flapped sanding discs for angle grinders from absurdly aggressive to mild. It’s a good fast way to shape just about anything.

Nice work
 

fatdaddypreacher

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i terrace mine with a router like most, but then switch to a belt sander with 60gr, gently blending the lines, and follow up with a small air die grinder (cheapo from HF) that uses something like 1 1/2" discs. that does a great job in final blending, getting top ready for actual sanding. i do the recurve with 5" orbital that does nicely. several ways to skin a cat.
 

Neffco

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Thought this was a bling thread. Flap disks are a god send. Use them for metal all the time. All the way down to scotch bright flap disks. Doubt that those would do much to wood.
 

emoney

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Made a hole this morning;
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Then I made a cover for said hole;
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Wait....a lot of what we do seems like self-inflicted pain doesn’t it? Access...that’s right I needed access for the switch. Whew, I was worrying a little that Covid 19 was getting to me.
 

fatdaddypreacher

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well of course most of what we do is self inflicted pain.....you have to be a bit of a masochist to build your own guitar, don't you?
 

cmjohnson

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Terracing takes a lot of time and templates. Fine if you're comfortable doing that. All I do when I do a top carve is I mark a line around the edge of the top that is the "do not cross" line. And it has some extra safety margin. I just figure the center area of the top carve by eye, mark it with a pen or pencil, and use the chainsaw disc to cut from the center out to the lines, doing what's basically just a big flat bevel all around. I don't even try to carve an actual belly into the top until I switch to the 60 grit sanding disc. That's where the carve begins to take shape.

And then, switching to the ROS starting with an 80 or 100 grit velcro disc, the top carve starts to become well refined in much less time than you might think, with a little practice.

From first touch of the top with the chainsaw disc to the entire top carve being finished, recurved, and sanded to 320 grit, it's literally two hours of work.

For comparison, PRS's CNC mills take an hour to mill out a top carve and then the body goes to hand finish sanding which takes a few more minutes.

The key to doing the top carve by hand is in the illumination. You want to refine the curves and lines by using shadows as a guide. I recommend using a SINGLE light bulb in the room when finalizing the carve, and using the shadows to see how the carve is going. And that light bulb needs to be a regular incandescent lamp or other point source, not a fluorescent lamp or other larger illuminator.
 

Kennoyce

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Made a hole this morning;
View attachment 448961
Then I made a cover for said hole;
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Wait....a lot of what we do seems like self-inflicted pain doesn’t it? Access...that’s right I needed access for the switch. Whew, I was worrying a little that Covid 19 was getting to me.
Just out of curiosity, what type of wood is that? Grain looks like Ash or Oak, but the color isn't right for either.
 

fatdaddypreacher

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i do the shadow watching thing too. in final sanding, i dust the top with black lacquer, just lightly. it shows highs and lows. it takes me 3 or 4 hours to do one, so no more than i build, it's okay.
 

emoney

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Just out of curiosity, what type of wood is that? Grain looks like Ash or Oak, but the color isn't right for either.
I’m assuming you mean the covers; it’s a Florida Holly tree. My kids cut one down that was in front of their house and I kept a couple logs. Good eye, btw. You’ll see more of it in the headstock veneer
 

Kennoyce

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I’m assuming you mean the covers; it’s a Florida Holly tree. My kids cut one down that was in front of their house and I kept a couple logs. Good eye, btw. You’ll see more of it in the headstock veneer
Very Nice!
 

emoney

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Had to make a new binding jig. Copied this idea from TKOJams (haven’t seen him around in a while) and just used stuff I had here in the shop;
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Made my donut there by turn a square piece on the drill press...you know, the whole put a bolt through, secure with a nut thing. It works. Not as nice as the StewMac jig but fancy doesn’t really manner in the tool as long as it works.
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My router bit is from Woodcraft; it’s their rabbiting bit coupled with one of their bearing kits. Costs less and comes with more usable components. Still some clean up to do but a pretty good job overall. If I get this done and decide to do another, I’ll probably build my version of the SM “carriage” since my wife threw out a lazy Susan spice rack and I can use those components. That’s all for today. It will slow down soon enough since I hate doing fretwork, but I can’t finish without it.
 

emoney

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Didn’t accomplish everything I set out to do as this whole “work” part of the work from home idea tends to get in the way. I did, though put a pretty aggressive round over on the back;
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And I at least started on the recurbe;
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And then I put my newly made radius jig to work;
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Still need to taper the fretboard and put some frets in. Then it’s glue to the neck-to-the-body etc etc.
 

emoney

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Tapered and then remembered I still had inlays to install. Didn’t get that accomplished today due to lack of time but I got them marked out after sanding the board to 150 grit. Hopefully tomorrow;
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Used the exactly knife to rough out the shape. Lots to do still. Don’t remember where these inlays came from but they’re definitely “vintage looking” and this fretboard is growing on me. The wife has much work to do so I’m expecting to be sent to my shop to stay out of her way. Wish me luck.
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emoney

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Something had to go wrong and it did. Well, technically I half expected it but I was hoping those inlays weren’t too thin...the odds didn’t fall my way
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As you can see, I lost over half of them. Oh well, I can order more and in the meantime I will use the board to the right. I was avoiding that one because of this;
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I think I’m going to try to solve that, at least I have a plan so I went ahead and did this;
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After I did this to my end clippers
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Notice I only did one side because that’s all you need to cut frets.
Added some binding;
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And that’s it for today anyway.
 

emoney

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Most of my morning has been spent on this;
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Its 90 degrees down here and Mrs Emoney said clean the pool..so I cleaned the pool.
I did, however, sneak a little time to clean up the fretboard, file down the end nubs and dry tape the binding on the body so it can get used to the shape.
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Taking advantage of this weather in more ways than one.
 


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