$100 Local Materials Challenge, Markku Nyytäjä, single cutaway solid body

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$100 Local Materials Challenge, Markku Nyytäjä, single cutaway solid body

Postby Markku Nyytäjä » Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:33 pm

My Local Materials Challenge guitar will be a single cutaway solid body made of home yard wood, from the summer cottage. Well, it was my home yard too until my divorce in 2010. Now it's my ex-wife's only, but the wood in my workshop is mine. 22 years ago my in-laws gave me some birch slabs that had by then dried for 30 years. Now what I have left is 52 years old, dry as a desert and chimes like bell when knocked. I have already cut and planed a neck blank. The frets will be installed directly on the one-piece neck, so I won't need a separate fretboard of imported wood.

The body will be pine, also grown and sawn on the property. Unlike pulp pine this one has grown slowly, straight and dense. I'm sure it will make a nice body. I don't know yet if I'll make a burst or a solid colour finish. It pretty much depends on the grain pattern and if there are disturbing knots where I don't want them.

The pickups will be self-wound humbuckers with parts mainly manufactured & purchased locally. The overall design is rather 60's retro and very simple. Now I only have a plan and a neck blank. I'll post more material when I get the project on the way.

Local Hero.jpg
Markku Nyytäjä
 
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Re: $100 Local Materials Challenge, Markku Nyytäjä, single cutaway solid body

Postby Markku Nyytäjä » Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:03 am

Okay. Now the challenge project is starting to look like I can pull it off. The neck is now unlacquered but otherwise finished. The body template and the body blank are waiting for the band saw. It won't be until next Friday I'll have time to work on guitars, but I should be able to finish the instrument on time and within the budget.

Paint it black. I decided to spray the body with glossy black automotive paint and finish it with clear lacquer. I'll drop the star shaped decorations and keep it as simple as possible. The pickup selector switch will be moved from the upper part of the body to a tele style control plate made of aluminium diamond plate. I'll use vintage type tuners I've found in the bargain bin and a hardtail strat bridge. The rest of the material going to the build is mostly free, The wood is from our home yard, the pickups home wound with cheap neodymium button magnets and almost all other parts are scrap.

I also have some neck construction pictures now.

01-Measuring-fret-diistances.jpg
Measuring fret distances with a digital measuring tape.

02-Routing-truss-rod-channel.jpg
Routing the truss rod channel in the back of the one-piece birch neck.

03-Cutting-fret-slots.jpg
Cutting fret slots with a mitre box and a dozuki saw.
Markku Nyytäjä
 
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Re: $100 Local Materials Challenge, Markku Nyytäjä, single cutaway solid body

Postby Markku Nyytäjä » Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:07 am

04-Cutting-out-neck.jpg
Cutting out the neck from the blank with a bandsaw.

05-Radiusing-fretboard.jpg
Radiusing the fretboard with a 16" sanding caul I've made.

06--Glueing-in-skunk-stripe.jpg
Glueing in the skunk stripe.
Markku Nyytäjä
 
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Re: $100 Local Materials Challenge, Markku Nyytäjä, single cutaway solid body

Postby Markku Nyytäjä » Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:13 am

07-Shaping-the-neck.jpg
Crude shaping the neck with a belt sander. I've never been good with spokeshaves.
08--Drilling-side-marker-holes.jpg
Drilling the holes for side markers here. All the position markers are made of black plastic.
09-Pressing-in-frets.jpg
I used my drill press with a self-made 16" radius fret pressing caul to press in the frets.
Markku Nyytäjä
 
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Re: $100 Local Materials Challenge, Markku Nyytäjä, single cutaway solid body

Postby Markku Nyytäjä » Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:25 am

10--Neck.jpg
The neck, ready for lacquer.


The neck became very thin, just 19 mm thick. I have had a tendency to make my necks thickish to fit my big clumsy hands, but I have found thinner necks more comfortable to play. This one may be even too thin for my preferences, but i have friends who will love it.

The 21 frets are German silver and 2.9 mm medium jumbo size, fastened with CA glue. The skunk stripe is made of a strip of heat treated ash I had lying around. Next week I should have the body just about finished and I can move over to the pickups, The whole instrument will be lightweight and probably quite comfortable despite the body shape. I'll just have to finish it to find if my prediction holds.
Markku Nyytäjä
 
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Re: $100 Local Materials Challenge, Markku Nyytäjä, single cutaway solid body

Postby Tristan Williams » Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:30 pm

Markku, looks good! Where did you source heat treated ash? I can easily find heat treated pine and its much nicer than the normal stuff, but I reckon the ash would make for a really nice domestic fretboard. Or birch.
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Re: $100 Local Materials Challenge, Markku Nyytäjä, single cutaway solid body

Postby Markku Nyytäjä » Tue May 01, 2012 2:57 pm

Thanks, Tristan. What I have left of the 52-year old birch is really nice wood: very dry and dense and not many knots either. I found a board of laminated ash at Puukeskus in Herttoniemi. It was about 25 mm thick, 30 cm wide and 1m long. It cost 10 €. That will make quite a few ash skunk stripes or control knobs. I have also saved the strips of rosewood left over making fingerboards, but they are not domestic.
Markku Nyytäjä
 
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Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: $100 Local Materials Challenge, Markku Nyytäjä, single cutaway solid body

Postby Markku Nyytäjä » Thu May 17, 2012 4:45 pm

The project is advancing but not as fast I had planned. With just three days left it looks pretty unlikely that I'll finish this one on schedule. The woodwork and the electronics are basically all done, but I would still have to paint, lacquer, polish and assemble the guitar.

I'm glad I started the project, though. I have enjoyed working on it and it looks like it's going to be a cool guitar. I'm especially anxious to hear how my self-designed and constructed humbuckers with neodymium button magnets sound like. Okay, here comes a batch of new photos.

11-Body-blank-&-template.jpg
The body blank with template attached

12-Cuttining-out-body.jpg
Cutting out the body with a bandsaw.

13-Trimming-body-sides-flush.jpg
I used a table router and a flush trim bit to smooth out the sides.
Markku Nyytäjä
 
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Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: $100 Local Materials Challenge, Markku Nyytäjä, single cutaway solid body

Postby Markku Nyytäjä » Thu May 17, 2012 4:54 pm

14-Neck-&-body-with-ruler.jpg
After routing the neck pocket I measured the distances for the bridge and the pickups with a steel ruler.

15--Routing-string-retainer-cavity.jpg
The hardtail bridge is the string-thru-body type. I'm using my own string retainer made of a piece of scrap steel bar and routing the retainer cavity here.

16--Control-plate.jpg
Here's the control plate, made of a piece of aluminium diamond plate. There are a 3-way pickup selector, 1 volume, 1 tone with a push-pull pot for coil split and an output jack here. All I need.
Markku Nyytäjä
 
Posts: 273
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Re: $100 Local Materials Challenge, Markku Nyytäjä, single cutaway solid body

Postby Markku Nyytäjä » Thu May 17, 2012 5:09 pm

I finished the pickups today. They are as local as I could make them. The coils are made of forbon flatwork and 5 mm steel bar. Each polepiece has its own 3 mm thick 5mm neodymium button magnet. The magnets are office magnets and they came with a plastic casing that I had to crush with plumbing pliers to get the magnets out. They seem just right - not too weak or too strong. After winding the coils with my crude power drill winder (I really really have to make a more accurate and comfortable winder soon) I attached the magnets and secured them with a couple drops of CA glue.

01-NYDE-Scumbucker-coils-with-magnets.jpg
This is the bottom side of the coils, with magnets.

02-NYDE-Scumbucker-coils-with-polepieces.jpg
The upper side.

03-NYDE-Scumbucker-copper-base-plates.jpg
I cut the base plates of 0.6 mm copper sheet. I get the sheet cheap from a local sheet metal workshop and I generally use it for electronics assemblies. The base plates are equipped with 4-conductor wire that allows a coil split option.
Markku Nyytäjä
 
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Re: $100 Local Materials Challenge, Markku Nyytäjä, single cutaway solid body

Postby Markku Nyytäjä » Thu May 17, 2012 5:20 pm

Here they are, my own little Scumbuckers! I'll still have wax pot them, but otherwise they're ready to rock.Testing them with a tuning fork and a test amp I found the output quite high and I can't wait to finish the guitar and hear the sound through my guitar amp. The outer coils are wound slightly more then the inner coils, so that I can get a decent output even in single coil mode.

If I can't finish this guitar before the challenge deadline I'll present it outside the challenge when It's finished - whenever that may be. It's been a fun journey and it's not even over yet. :D

04-NYDE-Scumbucker-pickups.jpg
Here come my scummy babies, only short of a little waxing.
Markku Nyytäjä
 
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Re: $100 Local Materials Challenge, Markku Nyytäjä, single cutaway solid body

Postby Josh Humphrey » Fri May 18, 2012 2:05 am

Wow- I am fascinated by the pickups- thanks for showing the way you made them. Good luck finishing on time- looking forward to the result either way!
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Re: $100 Local Materials Challenge, Markku Nyytäjä, single cutaway solid body

Postby Markku Nyytäjä » Fri May 18, 2012 5:34 am

Thanks, Josh. I'm afraid I won't finish the challenge guitar before deadline. I have a 100 km drive to my workshop and I won't be able to get there before Sunday. And I'd rather finish the guitar nicely than fast, so I guess I'm dropping out of this challenge. :(

Pickup construction ain't rocket surgery. :D I wound my first own pickups last year and they turned out quite nice. I'm especially pleased with the twin-coil bassbuckers (basically two Jazz Bass pickup coils wired in series) I made for a bass I finished in February.

I wasted quite a bit of AWG42 wire when I started, as I kept tugging the start end of the magnet wire off by mistake or the wire kept snapping in the middle of winding. After a few screwups I learned to keep the wire tension right and stopped breaking it. Now I also solder a short lead of thicker wire to the start end before I start winding. The black lead can be seen in the pickup coil photos I posted.

At the moment I'm building two set neck solid body guitars that are going to be equipped with my own humbuckers. One is a Les Paul type with chrome-covered AlNiCo5 magnet buckers and the other one is my own design with open coil ceramic magnet zebra buckers. There are good pickup kits around, but I ended up making some of the parts myself and buying the rest. The kits don't always come with the kind of magnets or screws I want, and price wise there's no difference if I tweak the construction a bit. I also got the shielded 4-conductor wire from an electronic component store for 10% of the price guitar parts retailers charge. The wire colours may not be the same as with Seymour Duncan, but that's not an issue.

I warmly recommend at least trying to wind some pickups yourself. I get filled with a childish joy every time I find I've wound good pickups. Winders are easy to build and magnet wire can be purchased for reasonable prices, if you know where to search. If anyone needs instructions or links to good web stores, I'm happy to share everything I know.
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