My first build the slow progression

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Luke Forbes
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2013 2:09 pm
Location: Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania

My first build the slow progression

Post by Luke Forbes »

A few notes before I start posting pictures. 1. I don't know how to play guitar, hopefully this will be inspiration to learn. 2. My working skill consist of building cabinets and coffee tables. 3. I'm pretty much making this up as I go so suggestions are more than welcome.
Attachments
Pattern cut from mdf
Pattern cut from mdf
Parts from stewmac
Parts from stewmac
Parts from guitar fetish
Parts from guitar fetish
image.jpg
image.jpg

Luke Forbes
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2013 2:09 pm
Location: Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania

Re: My first build the slow progression

Post by Luke Forbes »

I zipped the body and maple top out using a pattern bit in my router. Snapped one off in the process but they were cheap so I just bought another one. I drilled out the electronics cavity and a weight reduction pocket. Originally I was going for a les Paul look but it morphed more toward a prs.
Attachments
Quilted maple top
Quilted maple top
Maple body
Maple body
Weight reduction pocket and electronics cavity
Weight reduction pocket and electronics cavity
Gluing the body together
Gluing the body together

Luke Forbes
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2013 2:09 pm
Location: Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania

Re: My first build the slow progression

Post by Luke Forbes »

Need to finish smoothing up the edges a bit on the drum sander and then with a sanding block to keep the curve nice and smooth then she's ready to carve that quilted top. I'm scared of that part... Should I be?
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A little bit of water to pop the figure for the photo
A little bit of water to pop the figure for the photo

Robert Smallwood
Posts: 108
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 7:33 pm
Location: Merimbula NSW Australia

Re: My first build the slow progression

Post by Robert Smallwood »

HI.

The top looks great!!
Re carving - there will be 50+ different approaches that all work. In my first attempts (+subsequent) I used Anthony Setchell's jig for most of it. I think he has a tutorial here somewhere - but here's a link to his page (scroll) his whole site is worth browsing.

http://home.asparagine.net/ant/blog/?cat=10

The thing about that jig is : on youtube there will be untold vids of people carving Les Pauls but your guitar is not a Les paul.there are no contour maps templates or anaysis available. The jig lets you do any shape.

Good luck & keep the pics coming.

Rob.

Eric Baack
Posts: 639
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:28 pm

Re: My first build the slow progression

Post by Eric Baack »

Take your time and plan it out, you will do fine, don't take too big of a cut at a time and make sure to sneak up on the final shape!

Luke Forbes
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2013 2:09 pm
Location: Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania

Re: My first build the slow progression

Post by Luke Forbes »

Robert, after checking it out I dig the jig. My biggest concern was free handing the steps as my router and I tend not to get along, but that jig looks like it should hold it steady. Ill have to build one this weekend.

Luke Forbes
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2013 2:09 pm
Location: Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania

Re: My first build the slow progression

Post by Luke Forbes »

Back at it again. Got the rough shaping done last night. Turned out quite well despite my fears.
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image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg

James Tonguet
Posts: 121
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:13 pm
Location: Duluth,Ga

Re: My first build the slow progression

Post by James Tonguet »

Nice progress , take your time and it will be stunning

Luke Forbes
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2013 2:09 pm
Location: Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania

Re: My first build the slow progression

Post by Luke Forbes »

Made a little bit more progress this weekend.
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image.jpg
image.jpg (22.61 KiB) Viewed 5713 times
image.jpg
image.jpg (20.2 KiB) Viewed 5713 times

John Sonksen
Posts: 356
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 12:16 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: My first build the slow progression

Post by John Sonksen »

Luke I have to ask, is the low control area section a design feature you intended from the beginning or something you did to deal with the height of the pot shafts? I don't want to discourage you but I'm wondering if you are feeling like this is moving in the right direction. I can see from an assembly and playing standpoint a couple problems with where this is right now. First off a couple of the knobs will be hard to operate potentially, being up close to the edge of the control area shelf. Second, your carve where the pickups go is a bit extreme and will cause you some problems when you go to mount the pickups. The pickup rings will need to be pretty radical to deal with the elevation change on that carve, and you'll likely have to make your own. It will be a ton of work and they'll need to be dead center and rigid as they'll be holding the pickups in place.

My advice, and again I am not trying to discourage you, it looks like you've put a fair bit of work in and know your way around wood, is if you have enough overall thickness to the body, run this through a widebelt sander and bring the carve top down quite a bit. Judging from your pictures I'd think you can still get a low relief carve top out of what you've got there and could save yourself quite a bit of work and in my opinion have a bit nicer look too. I managed to get a nice looking recurve out of a 3/8 thick top, so I'd bet you could as well. As far as the controls go in the future at least, you'd be better off removing material from inside the electronics cavity so you have the appropriate post extension to accommodate washers, nuts and knobs. I'd shoot for a dead flat section where the pickups go and then blend it down into the recurve.

You may need to change your neck heel or neck pocket as well if you go down that road.

Luke Forbes
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2013 2:09 pm
Location: Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania

Re: My first build the slow progression

Post by Luke Forbes »

Yea this has definitely been a major learning experience. The pickups don't bother me, I had always planned on making custom pickup rings. The recessed section for the controls on the other hand was a reaction to the problem that the knobs looked extremely out of place sitting at different heights going up and down the bell of the curve. when I cut it back I felt like smacking myself. It looks quite out of place and really isn't comfortable to reach the controls. Moving forward, I haven't decided if I'm going to do as you suggested and and down the top a bit, or go with what I've got. I have another piece of maple that I'm going to make a flat topped electric out of next. It look better if your quality improves from your first build to your second right?

John Sonksen
Posts: 356
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 12:16 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: My first build the slow progression

Post by John Sonksen »

I think there's something to be said for keeping some flaws to show your progression, but in this case I think a photo record would be quite enough. I'd think that if you lowered the thickness on this you can fix the flat spot and make the pup rings easier, while in the end having something you're happier looking at. Do you have a set of plans or drawings that you are working from?

Luke Forbes
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2013 2:09 pm
Location: Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania

Re: My first build the slow progression

Post by Luke Forbes »

Everything thus far has been made up as I go

John Sonksen
Posts: 356
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 12:16 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: My first build the slow progression

Post by John Sonksen »

Ok, my advice and I'm sure many other people here would agree is at a minimum do a profile drawing of the whole guitar. You need to figure out your neck angle and string path which will be determined by your bridge. I've seen figures on tune-o-matics for anywhere from 1 1/2 degree neck angles to 7 degree. I would advise a shallower angle if you are going to sand off a good deal of the top. On the two that I've made I went for a two degree angle. I think 7 looks weird, and I based mine off of a PRS. You'll need to figure out how thick the body is going to be, calculate bridge location based off of scale length for your neck, which will also include some additional length to compensate for string size (bass side of TOM is further toward the tail than treble side), then figure the exact height of an installed bridge to the bottom of the saddle notches. This should all be full scale and done before you cut anything else. If you don't you can easily end up with an unplayable guitar, and given your ambitious start I'd think it worth your time to do it now.

Luke Forbes
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2013 2:09 pm
Location: Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania

Re: My first build the slow progression

Post by Luke Forbes »

Scale length is 24-3/4 the holes are already drilled to mount the studs for the bridge. I don't know the exact neck angle but it is somewhere between 2-5 deg, I don't really trust that I cut it to exactly 3. The biggest problem if I thin the top is coming up with a stable way to cut the neck pocket deeper without ending up off kilter since there is no longer much flat surface to sit the router on. I would almost have to build a jig specifically for that purpose. Also maybe you have input on this. How horrible of an idea is it to try running the whole body through my planer to shave the top down? That's the only way without a drum sander I can think of to keep it flat.

John Sonksen
Posts: 356
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 12:16 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: My first build the slow progression

Post by John Sonksen »

If you have really sharp knives, or better yet a helical head you can plane quilted, but I would be pretty terrified. It would be a lot of work but you could bring it down with a hand plane running skewed. I would think unless you are way out in the sticks that you could find a local shop with a wide belt. It'd likely cost you a few bucks but time is valuable too.

Making a jig for routing a neck pocket is a very good way to do it. I can offer suggestions later today, if no one else chimes in. I would recommend getting as accurate an angle measurement as possible and doing your drawing. It is so helpful to find the mistakes before they become irreversible in your wood.

John Sonksen
Posts: 356
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 12:16 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: My first build the slow progression

Post by John Sonksen »

So I was thinking about it Luke, and if you thin the top down you'll likely have a flat spot on which you can run your router. You could use a pattern bit and reference it off the sides you already have. Alternately you could make a template out of say 3/4 inch something and build that into bridge that would give you a horizontal surface that would sit just over the guitar top. Clamp both the guitar and bridge down and rout away, or you can set up a couple of rails that are colinear to the edges of your neck and over the top of the guitar lengthwise, level them and use either a pattern bit or a collar with a downcut or plunge bit. (you'd need to adjust the rails slightly for the discrepancy between the bushing and bit.

Luke Forbes
Posts: 28
Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2013 2:09 pm
Location: Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania

Re: My first build the slow progression

Post by Luke Forbes »

I have my Mdf pattern yet that would work if I can hold it still (probably by the holes for the bridge. Now I just need to find someone local with a big belt or drum sander to send it through. I don't think I want to try my planer. I appreciate the advice and encouragement.

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Peter Wilcox
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Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:31 am
Location: Northeastern California

Re: My first build the slow progression

Post by Peter Wilcox »

You can use a hand held belt sander if you have one - 80 grit cuts fast. Just make sure you measure frequently to keep it level and flat as you go down.
Maybe I can't fix it, but I can fix it so no one can fix it

John Sonksen
Posts: 356
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 12:16 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: My first build the slow progression

Post by John Sonksen »

Yep, belt sander would work fine

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