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The first round of glue-up for my first guitar build is done Login/Join 
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"I'd love to have a Gibson, but the prices are too insane," sez I to a friend who works there while talking about guitars.

"I can help you build one," sez he.

Here we are; we jigsaw'd out the body a while back, and I just had the glue lines re-jointed and glued it up today. The plan I'm working off of is a Gibson SG with a few modifications to personalize it.



Body is made from 8/4 quartersawn sapele with a strip of 4/4 sapele from a different board laminated in. neck blank (not shown) is a strip of 4/4 sapele with curly maple on either side, and the fretboard blank is bocote. I'm currently waiting to get with another friend who
has a bandsaw because I don't (I really need to get one).

I'm having a blast. Once I get all the tooling sorted out, I think I'm just going to keep building.


"In order to understand recursion, you must first learn the principle of recursion."
 
Posts: 2619 | Location: Memphis, TN | Registered: August 23, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Very nice. I don't have the talent or tools for those kind of projects (but at least you did get your foot in the photo).

PC
 
Posts: 728 | Location: NW Wyoming | Registered: November 23, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Shaman
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This is gonna be awesome!





He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster.
 
Posts: 38467 | Location: Atop the cockatoo tree | Registered: July 27, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Sprung it from the clamps and cleaned it up with a block plane.




Still have a lot to do, but (if you'll excuse the pun) the project is really starting to take shape.

Now I won't have any legitimate excuse to not teach myself how to play.


"In order to understand recursion, you must first learn the principle of recursion."
 
Posts: 2619 | Location: Memphis, TN | Registered: August 23, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Little ray
of sunshine
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Are you going to carve the top?




The fish is mute, expressionless. The fish doesn't think because the fish knows everything.
 
Posts: 46216 | Location: Texas | Registered: February 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Carve? Yes. Cap? Nope. I want to show off as much of that beautiful ribbon figuring as I can.


"In order to understand recursion, you must first learn the principle of recursion."
 
Posts: 2619 | Location: Memphis, TN | Registered: August 23, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
so sexy it hurts
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Impressive!
The SG shape is so iconic, great choice.




"You have the right not to be killed..."

The Clash, "Know Your Rights"
 
Posts: 26774 | Location: Westizzle Virgizzle | Registered: December 19, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
7.62mm Crusader
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I love the sound of the SG. Cant wait to see your progress on this.
 
Posts: 14540 | Registered: December 23, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Apologies for massive photos. I'll fix it once I get to a real computer.

Did some playing around with a compound square, knife, and dovetail saw last night on a scrap of Bolivian rosewood (scrap now, was originally supposed to be the actual fretboard) trying to learn how to cut frets freehand. It's not easy, for sure, but surprisingly enough a lot simpler than I expected (hardest part is trying to work around my numb left index finger while trying to line the thing up by feel). Next time I might even use an actual marking knife, maybe I'll even whip up a jig to keep pressure on the square. This is fun.


Clamped in place and ready to go


All done

And the reason why I'm not using the rosewood any more:

This bocote is just far too beautiful to not use.

I have YouTube to thank for prompting me to try it. Crimson Guitars - check out their channel. I particularly enjoyed the 9 and 6 hour builds.

[Edit - fixed the pictures]


"In order to understand recursion, you must first learn the principle of recursion."
 
Posts: 2619 | Location: Memphis, TN | Registered: August 23, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Nosce te ipsum
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Cutting fret slots freehand! That ranks up there with my shaping an ebony fingerboard ... with only a card scraper Big Grin The hard way is the slow way. And if you make a mistake, well, you had plenty of time to notice it developing!

A guy I spoke with says his first guitar was of mahogany, made from a mahogany door his daddy's friend gave to him for the purpose. He made his own fret slot saw filing a hacksaw blade to 0.023" to save money.

Great job! Keep the pics coming, please.
 
Posts: 6270 | Location: Mid-Atlantic Region | Registered: March 24, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yeah, it's a little hair raising. I'd like to keep practicing like this, but right now I'd like to have something a little more consistent so I went back and made a simple miter box using MDF, glue, and some vertical toggle clamps. While I was at the woodworking store I also picked up a proper marking knife. Still haven't done the fretboard, though. Just not enough time.

Right now what's holding me back is my lack of access to a band saw. I really need to pick up one of those cheap benchtop jobs, not just for roughing necks, but also because I'd like to get into building archtop guitars. Such a small saw would limit me to split top designs, but I can do book matched tops with relative ease so for the moment I'm okay with that.


"In order to understand recursion, you must first learn the principle of recursion."
 
Posts: 2619 | Location: Memphis, TN | Registered: August 23, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Nosce te ipsum
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If you post on the Build & Repair subforum of acousticguitarforum someone will volunteer their band saw help. Git you moving until you can acquire a decent saw.
 
Posts: 6270 | Location: Mid-Atlantic Region | Registered: March 24, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Sweet, thanks for the tip.

It's been a busy fortnight here. (Wall o'text warning

I started work on the control cavity (actually just finished that up today), and have been putzing with that for the past couple of weeks off and on.


Sketching the control cavity out on top. I marked and drilled pilot holes with the drill press to transfer it to the underside using a copy/cutout of the part of the plan I'm working off of that has the control cavity on it. Even if it didn't, it's just a big "D" shape.


The paper template taped in place (in the wrong spot, I know, but the technique I used for transferring the holes is the same; I realized that I need to allow space for as much electrical isolation from the electromagnets in the pickups as I can). I drilled through the center of each of the knobs in the picture, then used the holes to locate/line the template up so I could draw the shape on the bottom. I chose to have the audio jack come out from the side rather on the top as I honestly feel that the latter detracts from the aesthetics I want unless it's recessed, and that's an undertaking I don't want for this project. I picked a spot, drilled it out, then realized I'm an idiot and put the jack hole precisely where it would interfere with one of the pots. I don't have any pictures from the process, but I got to learn how to use a plug cutter and plug a hole (relatively) invisibly. There will be a tiny gap, but I can live with it.


The cavity as of when I started getting serious about clearing it out. I used a 1" forstner bit to do the bulk of the work, then finished it off with chisels of various sizes.


Also picked up some long neck CTS pots (picked up 4x 525KOhm +/-5% units for just over $20 on Amazon; checked them on the Fluke 115 and they seem to be within specs). Not shown is a Switchcraft 1/4" jack.



Pots being test fitted. I don't have the jack in, but I have tested it, and it does clear just fine.

I finished out the pickup cavities using a 1/2" endmill chucked up in the drill press to clear out the bulk of the material, then cleaned it out with a chisel and went back to the drill press to clean up and get a uniform floor. In doing so realized I made pretty large error when I did the first side - I never left space for the screws for the pickup covers to bite into. I corrected it on the other side, but I'll now have to glue some scrap wood in there as filler and then reshape it to fit the needs. Hopefully it won't look too terrible; that should be covered up by the pickguard.


Pickup cavities are finished, and when I took the photo I was getting ready to drill the channel for the bridge pickup wire (checking my angles). I did drill that out before I realized the mistake and plugged the hole in the edge, but I still haven't done the neck pickup channel (mostly because I bent the bit doing the first one, and now the bit has quite a bit of the "speed wobble", so I need to replace it).


The right side of one of the pickup cavities, to illustrate the problem I face with the screws. Note the square corners.


My solution on the other side. I used the endmill to cut into the corners when I was hogging material, and I never cleaned them out with the chisel.

I also slotted the fretboard and cut off some of the excess using my shop-made miter box.



Miter box in use for testing with one of the rosewood test boards.


Finished product.

I had started carving the neck by hand, but I turned it into scrap accidentally. I wasn't paying attention and accidentally sawed into the meat of the neck. This actually turned out to be a convenient mishap, as it turned out that the figured maple I was using is in fact SOFT figured maple. The stuff has no substance to it whatsoever, so while it looks gorgeous, it crumbles if you look at it funny. There was tons of blowout with the (extremely sharp) chisels. I already have the replacement materials: I'll be using HARD maple this time (the piece I chose has some figuring; not as much as the original piece but enough to be noticeable) and another piece of sapele, all quartersawn, all 4/4. This time I'll be trying something different as well: Cutting it all out, then doing the glue-up of the laminations, plus adding pieces on either side to make the width of the headstock (I have it on good authority that's how they do it at the factory). If it works like I think it will, there will be a lot more work on the front end, but it'll pay off in the long run when I align and clamp it for gluing and shaping. It'll also make cutting the truss and carbon fiber reinforcing rod channels a hundred times easier as I'll actually be able to use my (admittedly cheap quality) router table.


My blunder. I could probably live with it, but as A) this thing will see the pressure of the strings, the truss rod, and whatever naturally happens from weather/humidity/whatever B) will be visible on the final product, and C) is wood that is apparently made of styrofoam, I decided to replace it.




Pity, because I'd actually gotten pretty far in shaping it.


The new boards. Probably the best $15 I ever spent was having Fedex digitize the plans for the guitar so that I can make unlimited full scale prints of whatever specific area I need. I printed overlapping images of the neck, then matched them up, and used spray adhesive to tack it in place. However, while they have the equipment to do what I'd like (have multiple copies of the plan) priced themselves far outside the realm of copies (they want $54 to copy what cost me $10 from Amazon because of its size).

Stay tuned. I've successfully cut 2 of the 3 pieces for the neck using the jigsaw, but haven't got any photos yet.

ETA: Sratch that. Didn't measure properly, and now I'm almost an inch over length in the wrong area. I think I have enough left over to do a scarf joint if it comes to that, or I can go get some more if I want it to be solid. We'll see. Bummer.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: vulrath,


"In order to understand recursion, you must first learn the principle of recursion."
 
Posts: 2619 | Location: Memphis, TN | Registered: August 23, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I ended up ditching the laminated neck in favor of a solid hard maple neck.

I figured out a method to rough the neck on the table saw. Using a hand saw I got the neck blank cut, then used a plunge cut to cut the inside angle and then rip cut along the length so that when I shape I don't have to hog off nearly as much material (and also have material left over to make the wings). Now that I have the table saw properly aligned, I'm coming up with more and more creative ways to use it - it's no bandsaw, but it's pretty versatile in its own right. I'm envisioning something akin to a crosscut jig for doing the inside angle in the future - the hardest part will be figuring out the rate at which I retract the blade to get the angles right.

I used a 1/4" dado stack to cut the channel for the truss rod, and ended up cutting it a little wide, which caused me to have to shim it before I closed the truss rod in. I honestly think I'd have been fine if I were using a double action truss rod.

I glued on the wings, then flattened the front and back of the headstock with a card scraper and a chisel.

Shaping has begun! I've been using a card scraper, saw rasp, regular rasp, and a LOT of elbow grease to get the job done. I'm still a long way off from completion, but every trip out to the garage chps a little bit more off. I started to shape so that I could get some material out of the way to get the card scraper in closer to the back of the headstock, bu I'm holding off on shaping most of it because I haven't yet made the mortise in the body, so I don't know how much material gets made into the tenon (that's the next task, then shaping the body). Right now, my #1 fear is hogging off material only to find out that it's off center.

Pretty soon I'll be gluing and shaping the fretboard, and then I learn how to fret.




Channel cut and test fitting for the truss rod anchor



Outer angle cut. I originally planned on using a block plane to slowly whittle down the interior angle, but gave that up after a couple of nights.


Truss rod nut access carved out. I used a gouge to round out the bottom of the access and to give the nut and washer more space to grip onto.

Finally! An end is in sight! Then all I need to do is learn how to play.


"In order to understand recursion, you must first learn the principle of recursion."
 
Posts: 2619 | Location: Memphis, TN | Registered: August 23, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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