Roughing in an LP body

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Steve Sawyer
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Roughing in an LP body

Post by Steve Sawyer »

As I mentioned in another thread, I've started design work on an LP copy.

I came home with this beautiful hunk of quarter-sawn ribbon-strip sapele.

Given the weight, it would be nice to chamber this guitar, but I'm not using a cap, opting instead for a veneered flat-top body. So, I'm thinking of re-sawing the plank, book-matching a top and bottom half (or face and back half, depending how you want to describe it), which would then require that I chamber BOTH the face and back half. See the series of pics below if what I'm describing isn't clear (most likely).

Anyone see any issues with taking this approach?
LP_Body_1.png
LP_Body_2.png
LP_Body_3.png
LP_Body_4.png
LP_Body_5.png
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Peter Wilcox
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Re: Roughing in an LP body

Post by Peter Wilcox »

It looks to me, if I'm understanding it, that the top half won't be book matched - the grain pattern will be separated by the wood thickness (I don't know how important that is in this type of wood.) You'll be chambering the book matched side. Of course, you could fix that just by turning it over. But if you're going to veneer the top, I guess that won't matter.
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Steve Sawyer
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Re: Roughing in an LP body

Post by Steve Sawyer »

Peter Wilcox wrote:It looks to me, if I'm understanding it, that the top half won't be book matched - the grain pattern will be separated by the wood thickness (I don't know how important that is in this type of wood.) You'll be chambering the book matched side. Of course, you could fix that just by turning it over. But if you're going to veneer the top, I guess that won't matter.
You're right, Peter. I actually hadn't exercised much care in the drawing - the body outlines were strictly to aid in communicating what my plan was, so yeah, I'll be careful to make sure the stock is properly book-matched on the back. The veneering makes it moot on the front half. To be honest, the ribbon-stripe sapele won't make a highly striking book match, but since I need to do some resawing to do the chambering, I figured why not get a nice book-match on the back while I'm at it?
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Gordon Bellerose
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Re: Roughing in an LP body

Post by Gordon Bellerose »

I am wondering why you are re-sawing down the center?
If I was going to re-saw this piece I would cut a thinner piece off, so I would only have to chamber one of the halves.

I would also be sorely tempted to add a layer of maple, or other really light colored wood in between the layers, to add a "faux" binding.
This saves having to deal with routing for, and installing binding later.
But it is your build, and you can do whatever you want. :) If you want a true LP copy, then of course put plastic binding.

Just my opinion. It's worth exactly what you paid for it! :D
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Mark Swanson
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Re: Roughing in an LP body

Post by Mark Swanson »

I agree with Gordon. I would cut off a thinner piece, to serve as the "back", and then take the thicker central piece to the bandsaw and after sawing right into the center where the end pin goes, saw out the "chambers". Then glue the "back" on to the middle section, and you can place a slip of wood in the center seam where the bandsaw cut into the inside. hope you know what I mean.... Top it up and you have a nice chambered body. This saves all that routing.
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Steve Sawyer
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Re: Roughing in an LP body

Post by Steve Sawyer »

Gordon/Mark - excellent suggestions - shows the value of experience.

What I may do is slice off TWO consecutive 1/4" or 3/8" slices from each half (which will allow a book-match on the back), then glue up the center, back and top plates, band-saw the chambers from the center section as Mark suggests, veneer the top, then stack and glue it all up!

Good thought on the faux binding, Gordon, but I am planning on going with plastic binding as I want to get some experience with that. Might use that idea on a future build though!!
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Steve Sawyer
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Re: Roughing in an LP body

Post by Steve Sawyer »

Like this:
LP_Body_1a.png
LP_Body_2a.png
LP_Body_3a.png
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Freeman Keller
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Re: Roughing in an LP body

Post by Freeman Keller »

I built a chambered LP shaped thing with a standard thickness mahogany body and a couple of pieces of book matched Spanish cedar for the top. I think the top was 3/8 thick - I was able to carve it but not as deeply as a normal LP top. If you are set up to resaw you could certainly do something like that with your board.

Remember that if you don't have a separate top you will have to figure out how to route or drill your connecting cavities (or you will have to move the switch into the electronics cavity.

Image

You can see some of the carve in this picture, also the rosewood binding (to match f/b, pickup rings, knobs and head)

Image

Btw - the chambered LP is just a delight to play - it weighs a pound and a half less than my solid LP clone.

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Mark Swanson
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Re: Roughing in an LP body

Post by Mark Swanson »

Yes, that looks good, and Steve that is good too. When I do this I resaw thin pieces off of each side of the board. It makes a better match, but since you are putting a veneer on the top it won't matter much.
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Steve Sawyer
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Re: Roughing in an LP body

Post by Steve Sawyer »

Boy, that spanish cedar looks really nice, Freeman!

My only concern with approach is the stock is starting out at exactly 8/4, so I'm hoping that the resulting pieces after resawing and planing don't end up less than the 1 3/4" thickness I'm designing for. Worst case I can stick an additional thin plate of another wood - maybe some maple - on top of the sapele, underneath the veneer. The edge of this plate will be hidden under the binding.

BTW, Mark - I scored this sapele just up the road from you at Johnson's in Charlotte. They had a really nice stack, some of which looked wide enough to do an entire body without having to do any glue-up! Unfortunately my planer can handle 15" but my jointer can only do 8" and my band saw can only resaw about 7 3/4" :(
Sapele_Plank.JPG
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Bob Francis
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Re: Roughing in an LP body

Post by Bob Francis »

You can always laminate a thin contrasting piece if necessary.

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Steve Sawyer
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Re: Roughing in an LP body

Post by Steve Sawyer »

Bob Francis wrote:You can always laminate a thin contrasting piece if necessary.
I assume you mean placing a contrasting piece between the center section and the back plate? Yeah, I was just thinking last night that might work, particularly if the contrasting piece is similar in color to the binding!

I'm going to do the re-sawing tomorrow morning and I'll see how it all nets out when fully dimensioned.
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Dan Smith
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Re: Roughing in an LP body

Post by Dan Smith »

For what it’s worth, this is three pieces edge-glued.
I decided not to do book matching, but rather keep the three pieces facing the same direction they were oriented on the original plank.
For figuring that is fairly straight, I don’t like the light and dark side you get when book matching.
My original plank was 5” wide, so I went with three pieces.
For me, it helps wetting the wood with naptha or mineral spirits to better see the figure while planning the build. Sometimes, I’ll use a temporary coat of shellac.
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Steve Sawyer
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Re: Roughing in an LP body

Post by Steve Sawyer »

You did a nice job of matching those pieces, Dan. The glue joints aren't obvious at all.
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Pete Halliday
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Re: Roughing in an LP body

Post by Pete Halliday »

Just thinking with my fingers here... I am a fan of putting a seam at the mid point of the body and using binding or a contrasting layer there to allow for using thinner stock, relieving weight (oops, I'm sure that's supposed to read "optimize tone chambers"), and putting a big radius on the top and back edges. But in this case if you are looking for more of a traditional bound look maybe you could consider taking material out from the center line. I'm thinking that drilling into the side pieces with a spade bit or Forstner bit could remove a lot of material and not force you into re-sawing if you have some limitations there. You could even get to a point that way where the instrument was mostly hollow, just leaving the neck block and maybe under the post locations intact if you are using a Gibson-style fixed bridge and stop tailpiece. Just be careful of the drilling depths if you go that route.

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Steve Sawyer
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Re: Roughing in an LP body

Post by Steve Sawyer »

That's a good suggestion, Pete! Not sure you could get as much weight reduction - er, "tone chamber optimization" - as you would either routing or band-sawing, but every little bit helps. This sapele is heavy!
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Mark Swanson
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Re: Roughing in an LP body

Post by Mark Swanson »

That's cool Steve! One suggestion, consider a 3/16 or 1/4" piece for the top instead of a veneer. That will let you have the thickness you want and also it will allow you to bolt the pots and switch in place, otherwise if you have a middle core section bandsawn out, how will you mount the controls if you cover it with a veneer only?
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Steve Sawyer
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Re: Roughing in an LP body

Post by Steve Sawyer »

Mark Swanson wrote:That's cool Steve! One suggestion, consider a 3/16 or 1/4" piece for the top instead of a veneer. That will let you have the thickness you want and also it will allow you to bolt the pots and switch in place, otherwise if you have a middle core section bandsawn out, how will you mount the controls if you cover it with a veneer only?
Sorry - I see I wasn't clear! It would definitely be a challenge to mount pots and a switch to 0.024" veneer!! :D

The top (1/4" to 3/8") will be veneered. After resawing, and edge-gluing up the top and bottom plates, I'll be vacuum veneering the top with some beautiful pommele sapele that I've been working with (I'll also be using a piece of this on the headstock).

So, nominally I'll have a 1/4" thick veneered top plate, a band saw-chambered 1 1/4" center section and a 1/4" book-matched back plate.

Does that make more sense?
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Mark Swanson
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Re: Roughing in an LP body

Post by Mark Swanson »

Yes, it does!
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Freeman Keller
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Re: Roughing in an LP body

Post by Freeman Keller »

Steve Sawyer wrote:
The top (1/4" to 3/8") will be veneered. After resawing, and edge-gluing up the top and bottom plates, I'll be vacuum veneering the top with some beautiful pommele sapele that I've been working with (I'll also be using a piece of this on the headstock).

So, nominally I'll have a 1/4" thick veneered top plate, a band saw-chambered 1 1/4" center section and a 1/4" book-matched back plate.

Does that make more sense?
Steve, if you are going to bind the top (I think you said so in another thread) remember that most commercial wood and plastic binding is 1/4 inch tall. If you make your top any thicker than that (including veneer) you will see the seam.

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