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I figured I would start a thread to show projects that I'm working on, rather than starting new threads for each item. :) I've already posted threads about my 5 string neck though bass and precision bass builds, so I won't rehash those.

This past Winter I started making both a Strat and a Les Paul Special double cut inspired guitar. The plan was that both of these would use certain elements from vintage instruments, while adding features and touches that I wanted. For example, I wanted the look of a 50's Strat with a 2 color sunburst, but I wanted a more modern 2 point trem instead of the traditional 5 screw unit. The Special would be heavily influenced by the direction that Hamer took that model,  but again with my own influence. (Drop top, no pickguard, etc.) :D I'm also making 2 necks for each build. This is partly an insurance policy and partly to build up some stock if all goes well. 

Raw components for the LPS inspired build. Mahogany body and neck, lace burl redwood top, Brazilian rosewood fretboard. 

zS2yU1F.jpg

 

Pile 'o wood for the Strat build. Cherry body, figured maple neck, Madagascar rosewood fretboard.

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Routing the trem spring and pickup cavities with the inverted pin router. The Strat body is a one piece.

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The LPS body is a 2 piece mahogany body. Very happy with the glue joint.

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Neck blanks were roughed out from a mahogany billet. Slightly lower headstock angle than a Gibson.

mR0faEI.jpg

 

Fretboard blanks were created a while back, but here I've just finished  slotting them. Two Mad. rosewood boards for the Strat necks and a Braz board for the LPS. 

WUsOsNM.jpg

 

I use router bits to profile my fretboards. Here is the 9.5" radius that I'm using on the Strat boards.

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The LPS board gets a 12" radius.

hoBNpqk.jpg

 

I'll post more progress pictures soon to get caught up.

 

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I figured I would start a thread to show projects that I'm working on, rather than starting new threads for each item.  I've already posted threads about my 5 string neck though bass and precision bas

OK, so after the guitar hung for around 4 weeks to cure. I level sanded, buffed and polished it. The next day I assembled it and performed a final setup. Here's how it came out.

When I got that Strat assembled and playable, I took a quick detour and made the Precision bass which I already posted, but just for the hell of it, here's a quick picture of the end result of that bu

Looks great so far!  Can’t wait to see the progress pics!

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Working on the trap inlays for the LPS build here. Locations are marked with a knife, routed with a dremel and spiral bit, then fine tuned as needed.

Z5gmgAO.jpg

 

Inlays installed, sanded flush and polished up a bit. These are cellulose nitrate inlays.

O6kfOEI.jpg

 

Slots for spoke wheel truss rods were routed, then the neck blanks were cut out of the billets.

APMrOsJ.jpg

 

Fretboards are aligned using plastic pins, then glued with hot hide glue and clamped using a vacuum bag.

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Fretboards are trimmed flush, dots installed and sanded flush.

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Excess headstock thickness removed at the bandsaw.

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Fretboard transition sanded at the spindle sander.

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Side dots were installed and stainless frets were installed with a fret press. I've slightly undercut the fret tangs so that I can fill the slots later for a more tidy appearance.

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Fret slots have been filled, fret ends have been roughly beveled. Final fretwork will come later.

qnlYXdI.jpg

 

That's all  for tonight, more later. :)

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1 hour ago, slingblader said:

That's all  for tonight, more later. :)

That's a LOT to do in one night.  Sleep well.

 

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Fantastic work so far!

Considering people stocking a hundred guitars, you could make them all on your own in the way you wanted them. Kind of self-satisfying. B)

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That's awesome. I can barely bolt together pre-made parts. More!!

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Great thread, killer woodworking skills. In fact, I'm hearing Nahm Abrams' voice narrating your build progress.

"Next, I'll make the transition curve where the fretbahd meets the headstahk. I'll do this using my oscillating spindle sandah."

Edited by Biz Prof
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Thanks for the kind words, everyone. I appreciate it. It's been a fun journey for sure. I got into woodworking 12 years ago, and took an interest in building guitars about 3 years ago. I've played bass for about 40 years, but the playing has taken a back seat to everyday life, unfortunately. I can play a little bit of 6 string guitar, but it's not worth mentioning. :D The newfound interest in building has actually sparked me to play a bit more, so that's a good thing.

I don't want to go into mind-numbing detail on this thread so the pictures that I post will probably jump around somewhat. If anyone has questions about anything please ask, and if some more experienced builders have some advice, please chime in. I'm just beginning to scratch the surface and have a lot to learn. 

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4 hours ago, Biz Prof said:

Great thread, killer woodworking skills. In fact, I'm hearing Nahm Abrams' voice narrating your build progress.

"Next, I'll make the transition curve where the fretbahd meets the headstahk. I'll do this using my oscillating spindle sandah."

Ha! I love Norm and I sometimes hear his voice in the back of my head. :o But when he starts going on about brad nailahs and biscuit joinahs, I have to tune his ass out. :D

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1 hour ago, HAMERMAN said:

Cool to see builds like this!

It took me a while to figure out what the slots were in the Strat body template. 

Ah yes, just a way to mark the belly carve. Maybe I should make it larger?

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38 minutes ago, slingblader said:

Ha! I love Norm and I sometimes hear his voice in the back of my head. :o But when he starts going on about brad nailahs and biscuit joinahs, I have to tune his ass out. :D

I love Nahm, too, but I get weary of his frequent references to dahhhz and drahhhz.  Still, he's fun to watch; even in re-runs.

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58 minutes ago, slingblader said:

But when he starts going on about brad nailahs and biscuit joinahs, I have to tune his ass out.

The man loves his tools, but I still firmly believe much of that was Nahm paying the bills in exchange for Delta underwriting his show. How else could you explain Nahm using a $700 specialty bench tool when he could just have easily accomplished the same task with a standard bench tool with the right bit/blade?

By the way, those radius bits are the first time I've seen those actually used for fretboard milling, although I'm well aware they exist. Seems that a lot of home-based builders employ homemade radius sleds that allow for a hand-held router or else, the StewMac jig. Thanks for showing that set-up.

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Posted (edited)

OK, here are some more progress pics of the Strat build. 

Marking out the belly carve.

sC5Q4c0.jpg

 

Extra-large Covid belly cut is roughed in.

wiKrfhe.jpg

 

Forearm contour is carved and now blending things together.

infn2io.jpg

xTO9Z8b.jpg

 

 

Edited by slingblader
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And some shots of one of the  Strat necks being carved. I use the "facet" carving method. I refer back to profile drawings that I make which take into account the material thickness and the target thickness. Then I make reference marks from the centerline and and other key points. I can then connect the dots to remove the bulk of the material. I only measure for the primary and secondary facets, after that, it's just a refinement process. 

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3 hours ago, Biz Prof said:

The man loves his tools, but I still firmly believe much of that was Nahm paying the bills in exchange for Delta underwriting his show. How else could you explain Nahm using a $700 specialty bench tool when he could just have easily accomplished the same task with a standard bench tool with the right bit/blade?

By the way, those radius bits are the first time I've seen those actually used for fretboard milling, although I'm well aware they exist. Seems that a lot of home-based builders employ homemade radius sleds that allow for a hand-held router or else, the StewMac jig. Thanks for showing that set-up.

Yeah, I discovered those fretboard radius bits after I built my first 2 guitars. (I used a radius sanding block for those... never again.) I'll never go back for sure. They are quick, easy and very accurate. The trick is to use a very accurate fixture to mount your fretboard so that it can just be flipped end-for-end when routing with small, light passes. I bought several of the SJE brand, but Yonico also makes them... and may make them for SJE for all I know. 

3 hours ago, PaGator said:

Incredible work! The spoke wheel truss rod adjustment makes a lot of sense

Thanks! Oh yeah, I really hate removing necks for heel-adjust truss rods. Sometimes it's necessary, but if I can avoid it, I will. :D Plus I think they look neato.

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OK, I'll jump back to the LPS inspired build for a bit. Since this guitar will get a drop top and will have no pickguard, I have to make provisions for the neck joint. I know that the original LP Jr.'s had a full width, dovetail type tenon. I'll be using a straight tenon with shoulders pretty much like a standard Les Paul uses. That way, I can glue the neck in after the top goes on. There are a few reasons for this, but the main one is that I'm going to put binding on it. This allows me to run the binding channel "behind" the neck joint and I won't have to fuss with it with the neck already installed.

Neck mortise is routed.

IJdjwuM.jpg

 

Squaring up the shoulder on the neck tenon.

foUWpCv.jpg

 

Truss rod is installed, extension wings added to the headstock and the face is trued up.

ZXh2S3w.jpg

 

Neck is getting fitted. Tenon has been trimmed down flush with the top of the mahogany body.

RMxLgcz.jpg

 

Wire channel is routed and laying out the controls. Look familiar? :D

ysXF1th.jpg

 

This is the point when I started to look at the body binding/neck binding situation a bit more closely. I came to the realization that I shouldn't do the traditional neck joint at the end of the fretboard, but needed to overhang it by one fret... piss poor planning on my part. This meant that I would have to lengthen the tenon. While that isn't a bad thing, it's just more work.

t7Zf6fe.jpg

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So, I recut the tennon and extended the mortise, then refit the neck.

f6GPsXl.jpg

 

Up next, gluing the top and installing the binding. :)

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Time to glue on the top. I like to use urea formaldehyde glue for larger areas where I need more working time. 

wV9s8QE.jpg

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Once the top was dry, I flush trimmed the edge, then routed the binding rabbet. I had to install a temporary spacer in the neck mortise to make this come out correctly.

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I decided to install black binding for more "stealth" look. :D

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Cleaned things up and rechecked the neck fit. Of course the neck needs to be trimmed to width at this point.

JhzJm4J.jpg

 

Mounted the control cavity pin router template and cut the cavity.

XcAxO5r.jpg

UJHXhVJ.jpg

 

The fretboard got black binding as well. Needs a little cleanup here. :)

zOkwSso.jpg

 

That is pretty much where the LPS is sitting presently, and I need to jump back on it.  In the middle of this build, I also built a candy apple red Precision bass and also completed shooting the finish on the Strat. I'll put up some pictures of some of that stuff soon.

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