My First Build

emoney

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Oh I know that feeling. The "can't leave well enough alone" theory....lol.
 

BlemMusic

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Finally getting back to work on my guitar today. I've actually been working on the fret board but I may have screwed it up (which is why I bought 2 blanks). I figured if I was going to mess anything up that would be it. We'll see.
 

BlemMusic

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So in the last few days I've done a ton of work on my guitar and I am learning a lot! Mostly of what not to do and how to do it correctly next time but that's all a part of it.

The first thing I worked on was my fretboard. Like a dumbass I threw together a jig really fast because I was in a shitty mood and just wanted to get the fret slots done. Lesson learned: Don't work on guitar when angry!

I had remade my jig multiple times and when I finally did it I didn't realize until after I measured and cut out all of the fret slots that every single one of them was at an angle. Luckily they were the same angle so it just took a lot of patients and measuring (a few days later) to get the fret board cut out straight.

Here's a pic of it:
abHU5.jpg


One of the problems with the crooked fret slots is that the space between the nut and first fret was now off. So I took some of the scraps from my table saw that were left from cutting the angles on the fret board and glued a piece to the top. Hopefully it won't be too noticeable. I could actually make another one because I bought another blank but I kind of want to save it for my next build.

gnue5.jpg

Now I just have to sand this down.

The next thing I did was finally putting the carve on the body. I was so excited to get it done I just started doing it without going back and reading or watching ExNihilo's Build which I have been using the most for tips. I used his templets and after a while I remembered that my guitar is a different shape than the Les Paul so I modified them to fit my shape but that was after I had already cut them out and routed the top of my guitar.

gQVr3.jpg


I was nervous about taking too much off so at first I only routed down 3 steps.

Then I routed the neck and pickup angle, which I did wrong!
Ayr63.jpg


I went from the pickup line to the neck instead of routing from the neck to the pickups. I remember or realize way late that I should start at the neck and work my way up. So I ended up removing way more wood off the top than I wanted to. Mostly because I had to redo the angles 3 times to get them right.

I also decided to route the other steps down.
o1vBP.jpg


Then I started sanding.
rozp1.jpg


I sanded for probably a total of 9 hours in the last few days. Right before I sanded is when I watched ExNihilo's build video and started kicking myself. The carve came out awesome! But then I had to redo my neck and pickup angles. I also made a mistake around the bridge area so I had to plane it down flat with my router and redo some of the step downs and resand. The carve actually still came out really nice and unique but the whole body is just a little thinner than I would have like it to be. But hey, it's my guitar and an original shape so there are really no rules.

Kgqhd.jpg


PAllS.jpg


p2JUc.jpg


From the sides you can see how thin the top is but I couldn't get a good picture to show the actual carve. I was showing the body to my son on my webcam last night and when I moved the body and the light hit it right you could see it really nice. It almost has three steps down and after finish sanding for hours it feels amazing.

After sanding I got to my inlays. I decided to customize them because the rest of the guitar is my design. I had bought the Les Paul set pre cut from Stewmac but then cut them out into the shape of my headstock and this is how they came out.

e1gHd.jpg

Not too bad. On the last one I did, the small one at the bottom, the inlay actually snapped in half while I was sawing it. I almost freaked but I had enough material left from my logo that I was able to cut out another one.

Next up is radiusing my fretboard!
 

emoney

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If it was a clean break, you could glue and use it and never see the "line". Ask me how
I know, lol.

Good work so far. Keep at it!
 

Ole'Lefty

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I respect your progress and refusal to "give up." Especially nice custom inlays.
 

BlemMusic

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If it was a clean break, you could glue and use it and never see the "line". Ask me how
I know, lol.

Good work so far. Keep at it!

lol, I seem to have a habit of snapping the last part of whatever inlay project I'm working on. I thought about glueing it but that was going to be a last resort thing.
 

BlemMusic

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I respect your progress and refusal to "give up." Especially nice custom inlays.

Thanks. I'm not giving up. I'm loving this, it's something I've wanted to do for years. I can't wait to do more! I've got a bunch of design ideas plus I want to do another one with this design but not screw up so much and have the body a little thicker.
 

BlemMusic

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I'm back working on my guitar. I have been hesitant lately because I had a lot going on and I totally screwed up my fretboard. It looked like crap anyway because the cavities for the inlays were sloppy but then I over sanded it. That's why I bought 2 rosewood blanks though because I had a feeling I might screw that up. It just sucks because I had to buy new inlays and I have to cut the new ones out to match the last ones. Hopefully they will be better too.

I was scared to do this but I finally routed out my pickup and neck tenon cavities.

First I drilled out some excess wood from where they were going to be.
3AZ9i.jpg


I messed up my first template that was on one shaped like my guitar so I made this one to route out the pickup cavities.
QCHE9.jpg


Here's what they looked like finished. A little sloppy and a few mistakes were made but nobody will see them. I put some pickups it to test them out (I didn't take a picture though).
CD3l1.jpg


Here's a pic of the neck tenon cavity. I messed up pretty bad with the big router. I found I have more control with my dremel tool. I slipped going around the part where the neck butts up against the body and took a chunk out but I think I can fill it in and make it look like it never happened.
1YLsF.jpg


Here's the jack hole drilled out. I may have used too big of a bit but again nobody will see it because I'm making my own cover.
9I7pC.jpg


I also did a lot of work on the headstock. I still have to shape the neck and do more sanding on this but here's a shot of what it's going to look like.
xJksK.jpg


Here's a shot of the neck on the body. Again the neck still needs work. It's still too wide but it's still cool to get an idea of what it will look like.
OGxFH.jpg


I'm being a lot more careful with my new fretboard. I used a new technique to cut the fret slots and used a paper template rather than measuring them myself. I also used double stick tape rather than glue to attach it. I tried glue first but it made me nervous because it bubbles up and stretches so I didn't think it would come out right.
tJjf6.jpg


Here is the start of sanding it down. I'm giving myself a lot more height on my stops on my sanding block. Part of my problem last time was stopping them right at a 1/4 inch and then needing to sand more after the inlays were put in and it came out very uneven.
vapDC.jpg


I sanded a lot more last night. I couldn't help myself. It's getting exciting because it's getting closer to being finished and actually looks like a real guitar now.
 

BlemMusic

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I was back working on my guitar again yesterday. I went to my buddy Patrick's wood shop and he helped me route the binding channel because I didn't have the right kind of bit. Then I went back to my house to do some more work.

I wasn't sure what to use to put the binding on because I have a few points on my guitar instead of the normal curves of a Les Paul. When I tried bending the binding it turned white and looked like crap. I went online and found a thread on another site where a guy used something he called binding goop. So I made some. What you do is cut up extra pieces of binding and pour some acetone in with it and it melts into a goopy glue type mess and it fills in any spaces there may be between the binding and the wood and in my case it will fill in the spaces in between the different pieces of the binding because I had to cut mine up into 4 different pieces.

Here's the binding goop melting.
6jJxO.jpg

I was worried that I was going to mess this up.
zuTVb.jpg


While it was melting I taped the binding to the guitar to try to get it to kind of take the form I needed it to when I glued it on.
oZEkC.jpg


While I waited even longer of the goop to melt I sanded and sanded and sanded my fretboard.
9PWX8.jpg


When I got bored and need a break I rough cut out my headplate for the headstock. That's another thing I did at my buddy's place yesterday, I cut planed down a piece of walnut for the headplate.
qnnI2.jpg


After my goop melted I used a paint brush to apply it to the channel and taped the binding back on. It was pretty difficult on the corners and tight curves. It was also pretty messy. I tried to be as careful as I could and I'm hoping since it's melted plastic it will just sand off. I also added some black tint to it because it ended up being a little grey. I'm thinking that the black binding was white with a black coating.

Here's the binding gooped and taped.
f2ZWu.jpg


Today I'm at work and at a really slow station so brought my inlay supplies, well most of them (I forgot a bunch of stuff because I was in a rush), and my project at work is to make some new ones. We'll see how it goes.
0xkY2.jpg
 

emoney

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You know, this little tid bit is too late, but figured I'd share anyway. When I install water,
I soak it in boiling water to soften it first, then pre-bend it. It helps to eliminate those
"white areas" that come from it bending too abruptly.

Looking good so far. Keep us posted.
 

BlemMusic

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I will definitely keep that in mind for next time because it was a total pain in the ass getting those corners to stay together.
 

BlemMusic

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I got my inlays done at work today. I still have 16 hours to go though and wish I had more to do. I didn't have some of the tools I needed but I made it work anyway. I had my jeweler's saw and my needle files which is pretty much all I needed.

Notice the trauma sheers. I forgot my scissors at home but they worked better than I thought they would.
rRKKj.jpg


Here's the final product.
K0RWY.jpg


They came out pretty good. I did a better job of keeping them the same this time.

Tomorrow I work on the fretboard some more. Maybe I'll get the inlays in there too.
 

BlemMusic

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Ok, I have 3 days worth of work for this update. After I got home from work I took the tape off my guitar body and the binding looked like crap!
CrnEH.jpg


Check out how this corner came out.
Oay7N.jpg


To fix this I separated the binding from the guitar with a razor blade and scraped some of the excess goop off and then put some more on and re-taped it.
s0hGX.jpg


While that dried I started on the fretboard.
I used a new technique to mark out my inlays on the fretboard. I used a drop of glue and glued the inlays to the fretboard and then used a tracing thingy to trace the inlays.
bCeTQ.jpg

I misscounted a few times.

This time I was a lot more careful when I routed out the inlay cavities. I really took my time and used the right bits this time. I still had a few slips but they looked a lot better this time.

This is after they were I used apoxy to put them in and after I sanded it off.
4ZiAB.jpg


next I had to recut the frets into the fretboard because I got apoxy in a few of them plus all of the sanding I did made some almost disappear.
rqDZg.jpg


I screwed up 2 of them but I don't think anyone will notice after the frets are glued in. Luckily they're all the way at the bottom and I don't use those frets very often, lol.
9qXxB.jpg


Next I glued the binding on the fretboard. This time I used stewmac superglue.
N59rg.jpg

hhTQv.jpg


It came out pretty good.
fJUFA.jpg


Then I started scraping it down with a razor blade. And......Damnit!
PaPXC.jpg

I had to reglue it a few times.

Then today I brought it to work with me and I sanded and scraped and sanded and scraped and sanded and scraped.........I finished it off with 1000 grit sand paper and it looks awesome!
J3dav.jpg


Next it was onto the body and scraping the binding.

I spend a few hours trying to do it with a razor blade like I did with the fretboard then I decided to switch to the metal scraper and it was a great choice.
CqC7f.jpg


The binding looked way cleaner after using the scraper and I had to take off a lot!

All in all it came out great!
NKRBu.jpg


uryIN.jpg


C02dx.jpg


I was worried I wouldn't be able to get my binding goop off but I was pleasantly surprised.

I'm a little pissed at myself for forgetting my little dead blow hammer and my block I made to tap in my frets because I would have had those put in today. I wanted to use my homemade fret bender!

I'll be doing that tomorrow when I get home from work!
 

emoney

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Great recovery on the binding. Binding work is nasty work and using the special "glue" even
adds to all that mess. I didn't enjoy my 1st binding job at all, lol.

As for that fret slot, however; when I cut my first board I had a couple "jacked up" slots
and I was like you thinking, "aw, it won't matter". Truth is, they bugged me to death and
eventually I had to fix them. It's nowhere near as difficult to correct that, should you choose
to do so. Just take some rosewood sawdust, mix it into glue and fill the slot. Then, when
it's fully dry, resand and recut the slot straight. You'll be much happier with it down the
road. Or, don't fix it and that's perfectly all right too, lol. Either way, build is coming along
great so keep at it.
 

BlemMusic

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Great recovery on the binding. Binding work is nasty work and using the special "glue" even
adds to all that mess. I didn't enjoy my 1st binding job at all, lol.

As for that fret slot, however; when I cut my first board I had a couple "jacked up" slots
and I was like you thinking, "aw, it won't matter". Truth is, they bugged me to death and
eventually I had to fix them. It's nowhere near as difficult to correct that, should you choose
to do so. Just take some rosewood sawdust, mix it into glue and fill the slot. Then, when
it's fully dry, resand and recut the slot straight. You'll be much happier with it down the
road. Or, don't fix it and that's perfectly all right too, lol. Either way, build is coming along
great so keep at it.

Thanks! The binding was a pain. I may fix the frets. I'm going to see how it looks. It may be a stupid excuse but I never play down there and this one is for me, lol. If it looks bad I'll definitely fix it.
 

BlemMusic

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I broke out my spoke shave and my fret bender and did a ton of work in the last few days! I messed up a lot of fret wire and didn't have enough to begin with so I only got a few frets done. I also figured out with my homemade fret bender it was easier to bend the frets once they were cut. When I put the full fret wire in the bender it twisted.

bch0S.jpg

yNrfD.jpg


After I ran out of fret wire I started carving the neck.
mB6nt.jpg


I put tape on the top so I would know where to stop.
OfDHp.jpg

Unfortunately I still went slightly to far on one side, less than a 16th of an inch. I may just shave down the binding on the fretboard then nobody should notice. I think I'm going to have to pull out a few frets though. I only use 3 small drops of glue on each one so hopefully it won't hurt my fretboard to take them out.

bq5Xr.jpg


I drilled the holes for the tuners too. It took me a long time to do this, I was pretty nervous.

gfzGA.jpg


Then I finished sanding my headstock top so I could route out my logo.
Pm5Fb.jpg


NR7J8.jpg


The logo fits!
lFzsr.jpg


I sanded the head plate very thin then I stained it black and apoxied in the logo. I'll sand it down tomorrow. Hopefully it will look ok.

Here's my finished neck.
eSBdh.jpg


meTkT.jpg


I can't wait to do more work tomorrow! I'm working today and then work my second job tomorrow afternoon but I'm hoping to get some work done when I get home in the morning.
 

BlemMusic

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I've been working nonstop on my guitar and the finishline is in sight now!! My wife can't wait for me to be done because I'm always in my garage but I'm sure when I finish she'll be begging me to go back down and get out of her hair, lol.

Here's some of my progress.

I stained my veneer and epoxied in my logo.
SiI4N.jpg

TSO5f.jpg

rTXzc.jpg


My lead guitar player in my band used to work for PRS and gave me some finishing tips for this and my whole guitar which I will be using in the next couple of days.

I also finally drilled all the holes for the hardware and electronics. I was nervous but it actually all turned out ok.
pBPlk.jpg


nbPe8.jpg

My tone control holes were a little off but it was an easy fix. If they would have been right on where they should have been they wouldn't have looked as good as they do when they are on. The holes were a little more towards the center of the guitar than I was going for but all I had to do was route out some of the inside of the cavity and that will never be seen so it all worked out!

I also made cavity covers. I wasn't sure how I was going to get them right but I ended up using paper and doing a trick I used to do with coins when I was growing up. Etching? I then glued the paper to my pickgaurd material and cut them out on the bandsaw. Then I sanded them down until they fit.

FyItG.jpg


j92dz.jpg


EOsS5.jpg


I also made a jack cover.
z0JiE.jpg


I also pulled the frets out of my fretboard that I had previously done. I also filled in the bad fret slots and recut them. Then I put the new frets in.

1wrmW.jpg


qHkye.jpg


The next steps have been my favorite so far! I glued in my neck! I was nervous about this. I found that the best way to do it was to cut up an old camping mat to pad my vise and tighten my body down. I was scared to death that it was going to start to lean and then fall out. I went down to my garage at least every hour to make sure it was still there. It was tight and wasn't moving when I pushed or pulled on it but I was still expecting a freak accident but it stayed in just fine.

OLqAN.jpg


OgtlV.jpg


Last night I glued on my fretboard which was pretty exciting!
CpY51.jpg


I'm working today but will be doing more tomorrow. I can't wait to get this thing wired up!
 

tnt423

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Good progress! Can't wait to see some finish on it.
 

Bruiser74

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Looks great, you are almost there.
The inlays turned out really cool.
B
 

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