dimensions of a Magnatone Leilani/Varsity lap steel, anyone?

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dimensions of a Magnatone Leilani/Varsity lap steel, anyone?

Postby Claude Misukiewicz » Wed May 23, 2012 11:17 am

Hello All,
For a first ever project I want to build a lap steel modeled after the Magnatone Leilani, AKA the Varsity. I’m not bent on making an exact copy, just something similar.
According to the dennysguitars website, these had a 22.5 inch scale with a string spacing of 3/8 at the nut and 7/16 at the bridge. The latter width seems rather wide to me but I wonder what you all think.
I wondered if any of you had one of these guitars? I would love to know the overall length and the width of the body at its widest point. Ultimately I’ll end up drawing my own version but some ballpark figures would be greatly appreciated.
Unlike most of you, I’m not much of a woodworker. So I thought I would build a “practice” project out of pine just to improve my tool skills.
Thanks for your help.
Claude
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Re: dimensions of a Magnatone Leilani/Varsity lap steel, anyone?

Postby david frassetto » Thu May 24, 2012 11:58 pm

Claude, I've taken these dimensions from my Leilani steel.

Nut spacing 3/8"
bridge spacing 14/32"
length 28 3/4"
width of lower bout 7 3/4"
width of upper bout 6 1/2"
waist width 6"
neck width at body 2 7/8"
neck width at headstock 2 1/2"
headstock width at nut 3 1/8"
nut to end of headstock 4 7/8"
body thickness 1 7/8"
headstock thickness 5/8"
scale 22 1/2"
nut height 3/16"

Hope this helps. If you need any other dimensions let me know.

Dave
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Re: dimensions of a Magnatone Leilani/Varsity lap steel, anyone?

Postby Claude Misukiewicz » Fri May 25, 2012 3:59 pm

Dave,
Thank you so much! This will be a great help!
I wonder, do you know how they achieved the faux mother of pearl finish?
Claude
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Re: dimensions of a Magnatone Leilani/Varsity lap steel, anyone?

Postby david frassetto » Sun May 27, 2012 12:44 am

That is a sheet of pearloid pattern celluloid plastic. It was held over a tank of heated acetone (i think, or some similar volitale dangerous chemical) to soften up and then wrapped around the body and stuck on with glue. Very toxic and extremely dangerous fumes. You couldn't do that in a factory today without hazmat training. And lets not get into celluloids flamability.

That finish was used up to the early 60s and is often refered to as 'mother-of-toilet-seat' or MOTS. I don't think you can even get it anymore, but I could be wrong.
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Re: dimensions of a Magnatone Leilani/Varsity lap steel, anyone?

Postby Claude Misukiewicz » Sun May 27, 2012 9:29 am

I get the feeling you think it would be a bad idea to try this at home. Again, I appreciate the info I really like knowing how it was done even though I wouldn't attempt it. By the way, I think that finish is still common for accordions and it looks like you can buy sheets of the stuff for inlays and pickguards, etc. online.
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