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I don't know how many of you will remember me, but I am back in the luthier business! I finished Davids PRS (#3) and then took over a year off. It was quite stressful at the end, but had many lessons within.
Here is a pic of it all done. More upon request (as with the rest as well).
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Before that (for anyone who doesn't know me) I built 2 tele's (one is my first, other commision) and then completed (routed, finished, set up) a tele from an ad on kijiji for 350$
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Between then and now, I attempted a dual build and learned more, and didnt finish them off. More lessons, mostly with fretting and neck thru's.
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So after the haitus, and first year uni I wanted to get back into the game. I posted some ads, then got a hit from the local musicians facebook page. A tenor firebird. Not traditional, but I'll take any commission at this point.

I have 2 other builds going on (next post) but here is the progress so far on the Tenorbird. I started a few days before Xmas and here we are, waiting on LeeValley for the drill bits for the 6mm dot inlays and the 11.9mm bit for the bridge posts.

Here's how it all started (sorry for the quality, I just snapped them with the iphone and didnt bother using the real camera. This is changing! The ash is also not that brown...not sure why the camera is making it that way)
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Spec Sheet
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Lumber
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Body all cut out/routed
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Mock up
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Pickgaurd rough cut
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Logo inlayed - what do you guys think of the design? It's supposed to be a guitar pic, and the letter J
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Neck pocket routed, not glued yet!
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Edited by nowa90

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Pt2.

Here are my other 2 builds, to show potential customers and learn some more lessons. All hardware is taken off of the 2 shown above.

No pics yet of the LP, but here is the SS so far. Of course, I just decided tonight to start taking pics and recording all the progress. I only really started working on this today for 7 or so hours. Pics of the LP once I get something done.

Spec Sheet
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Model shot
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All but 2 of my clamps on this - top to the bubinga
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The other 2 are glueing the ears onto the neck.
Ideas for the dots
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Any opinions? I like the center one that follows the grain, but who knows. Seems confusing to the people I asked (non guitar players)

Edited by nowa90

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I really like the one on the left - I think you could get away with a second dot on the 12th (towards the treble side) and 24th (towards the bass side) though.

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Thanks guys! I'll go with either the left side, or them all along the high E string. We'll see how I feel when I come to it.


While chiseling the headstock of the strat, I managed to injure myself. :(
3 stiches later, this is what I end up with. I should be back in business by the weekend though, if school doesnt get too busy.
I'd type more but its quite a pain with only one hand....

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That sucks. Hope you heal up quick.

About those fretboards, I like the middle one. I know the dots go a little too far off center, I just think they look cool in that light streak.

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ah, I meant to comment on the fretboards the other day but forgot - myself I'd lean towards the one on the left, though the center is not terrible either. But regardless of the final choice I'd double-up the dots at the 12th and 24th frets. Just two close together side-by-side or something like that.

Good luck with the hand!

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Thanks guys, I got about 50% mobility with it when the splint is off to let it get some air. No infection or anything yet, it's still all clear and healing well. Hopefully get some progress on the weekend, and I'm designing some sort of inlay for the superstrat. Something along the lines of a bird or another animal.

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I did similar to my hand just before Christmas. I was lucky it was a chunk of my hand I took out, not a chunk of finger so it didn't affect my mobility. I didn't get stiches although I probably should have.

Hope it heals well. Inlays sound good, are they for fretboard or as a body inlay?

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Nice work! I'm anxious to see how your SS comes out.

While chiseling the headstock of the strat, I managed to injure myself. :(

Ouch. It's never fun when that happens. I don't know how many times I've put myself back together with superglue. Stiches are time consuming, and expensive. :blink:

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Ah, an old rock climbing/bouldering trick for fixing flappers. It's been so long that I had forgotten about the super glue trick. Thanks for the reminder.

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Well, nothing major to report. Finger still sucks, stitches are out. I cleaned up my hand plane just to have it break...all of it. 4 hours down the drain.


I got this 3D modeled though, this is what Im planning ATM for this strat, w/ carved top. Any ideas/sugestions?
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So, design change!
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Dots are in the center, and an f-hole inlay (I cant build a guitar and NOT put an inlay in it!) Also zebrawood neck binding. Any idea how I could also bind the body? Steam bending? Breaking it into fragments? Please gimme ideas.

Here's how it sits now. Im gonna have to re-think my tuner placing (it works, but a bit tight. 21.5mm center to center and 12mm from the edge for 10mm posts) Binding the board end after glueing it was hard, but epoxy then fixing it into place with superglue did the trick very well. Im liking zebrawood, soft and predictable. The paduak on the other hand is play dough, and the wenge is an unnameable, splintery beast.
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I had a bad joint on the bottom side, a few inches from where the output would be, so I kinda want to bind the whole thing (carved top remember!) and let the binding sit flush with the bubinga and cover that up. Its too big for just glue (~1/4mm or so?) I don't really know. Its been a long week and now its 1am.

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Welcome back! It's all fun till somebody loses an eye.

Some great stuff on the bench there. Sounds like despite your finger, you're motoring.

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Thanks dude! Fingers almost all closed up, and I worked 11 hours today, and probably 8 more tomorrow.

Nigels tenorbird is now glued up, and tomorrow will get the bridge drilled, sanded and hopefully a coat of tung oil.
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My strat got the tenon cut down. neck pocket routed, and the belly, leg, and heel carve have been started with the angle grinder. I also got the F-hole inlay cut and put in. Hopefully I can mount the bridge and route all the electronics/cavities before the weekend is over.
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To pick up the vibrations of the body and give an acoustic output - just kidding.

Its for the 1 vol knob, I didn't really want to make a new control template and also get rid of a little weight, so I just used my pre-existing bucker template for it.

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So after a snow day wednesday, nigel got oil on. Here's it after the 1st coat, and already has 3 on now. Poly will be going over it all this weekend and it'll hopefully be done by wednesday.
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I routed the neck pocket for my strat, and started carving the back with an angle grinder. No it's not glued in yet.Bubinga is probably the densest wood I've worked with yet! No chance of chiseling the carves, grinder it is. I'm getting pretty good with it and did that all in 10-15 minutes. Any suggestions on the neck joint? I want something with good access but still looks good without getting rid of an inch of material sorta thing.
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And here's something I designed at school - opinions? It'd have LP trapezoid inlays, rosewood board, and mahogany neck. Probably an ash body/maple cap unless I get another order before I decide to build it and can go get some more lumber.

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Edited by nowa90

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So, saturday was a good day. 16 hours in the shop. Started somewhere like this? (I don't know huffschmid does this, it really doesn't make it comfortable and takes all the fun of carving away.
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Some trouble shooting later (concerning bridge location and layout of controls) I got to this point, about midnight at that point (~11 hrs in) Neck was also glued in that point, and fretting is now a joke for me. I was able to trim the tangs with my bench grinder and some vice grips.
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30 minutes with the ibex later
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The back at this point. I wish I left the neck joint that pointy but w/e
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Made this little thing for neck humbuckers when the neck is already attached. Self explanatory. I bet stewmac will sell one soon for 80$
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And here so is, after 4 hours today. Nothing major, just the neck pickup, pots recessed, and sanding. Bubinga sure is a hard wood! I got it to 80 or so before I was called for dinner and now its time for schoolwork.
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Edited by nowa90

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Its actually a 4 string, tenor firebird - that's why. It was designed to scale compared to a full size firebird. I never want to build one again haha. Its the same weight as my superstrat, and looks off/weird. He also went with 6 string bridge + p90 and it'll look a bit strange IMO when it's set up. After all said and done I'll make about 650$,but more importantly learned more about scarf joints, the build process, customer interaction, quality control, judging time accuractely, and having another guitar for the portfolio - all of which make up for the first bit. I have materials for a LP which I'll probably pump out spring break .

Edited by nowa90

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I've said this before but it's still true. Bubinga is not the hardest wood I've ever sanded, but it is the hardest wood to sand I have ever worked with. It's truly a workout.

SR

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I've said this before but it's still true. Bubinga is not the hardest wood I've ever sanded, but it is the hardest wood to sand I have ever worked with. It's truly a workout.

SR

I definitely agree with you there. It's funny with the matchup of woods, redwood is so soft and sanding it is awesome since you can see it all take shape, and bubinga always needs a fresh sheet (something I never had to do with my 3X sheets). Wenge is also hard on the end grain when it comes to using my chisel, but the paduak is like play dough.

I was thinking, bubinga control covers maybe? I also have Jacarado pardo (spelling?) that I could use or wenge if I wait it out and pick some up for the next builds lumber run.

Anyways, it's midterms until wednesday so no more updates from my side.

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