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djobson101

LP Fixer Upper

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Hello,

After perusing threads of all the beautiful instruments being built on this site, I've gotten motivated enough to get started with a build of my own. Although I am planning on build from scratch at some point, to start off I'm doing quite a bit of work to an old beater LP copy, to work out some methods and basically a guitar to screw up on.

The guitar was sitting in my folks' attic for the last 10 years or so. It was a bit of a beater in it's time, the playability of the thing was pretty lousy from what I remember. Well anyway, my brother had acquired it in conjunction with buying an old car or something, his buddy's dad had yanked it out of a dumpster somewhere. They promptly covered it with punk band stickers and from what I imagine it had a pretty short life before they had unsuccessfully tried to smash the neck off the body, but in the process the fretboard was totally knocked off... From there all the electronics and hardware were stripped and in the attic it went, so I snatched up a crumby shell to get to work on.

So the plan is, I've begun filling in areas that needed desperate attention and will make new, cleaner routs than what was existing. The truss rod rout for instance was about 3/4" wide!  I would like to chamber the body as well and put a top with f-holes. The cool thing too I guess is that now I will be able to practice cutting a fretboard and doing fretwork for the first time. I am planning on converting the scale length to 25.5", just because I have pretty lanky hands and never felt too comfortable on Gibson scales

 

Edited by djobson101

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The main thing to get out of the way so far was to add some structural-ness to the thing, I am really confused why they did the neck this way. Both the half circle holes go a ways down into what should normally be a pretty sound area of the neck joint? And below that, the wood was so thin that it broke away, and what was actually underneath was the top, which was plywood. In the picture below, the treble side of the neck still had the thin strip of the neck there before I chiseled it away. I also cut away the pickup routs because they were so uneven inside it just bothered me, and if there is going to be a new top anyways this stuff will be mostly hidden.

Photo Dec 16, 9 19 10 AM.jpg

Photo Dec 16, 9 18 58 AM.jpg

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Some repairs. I am not sure what kind of wood this is that I'm using for filler, at the end of the summer I had broken down a bunch of pallets to use the woods for various little jigs and chachkies. Any guesses?

Photo Dec 18, 7 58 53 AM (1).jpg

Photo Dec 28, 12 38 21 PM.jpg

Photo Dec 28, 12 38 40 PM.jpg

Photo Dec 28, 12 37 19 PM.jpg

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pallets are usually just soft pine. I would not put much faith in its ability to handle much stress. But still, I have made an archtop out of absolute crap from a shipping pallet just to prove a point & it turned out to be a great guitar, telecasters from old scaffold boards that rocked & an acoustic from a clients old fire mantle.  you never know till you try.

 

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Crikey. Where to start? Fixer-upper doesn't begin to describe it!

In all fairness, most of what I see is template stock; it might actually prove less work and time using what you have and copying it to new wood. The main thing to have with any fixer upper is a plan of action from start to finish, otherwise they easily become a black hole for your resources. Still, plenty to learn as with anything.

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Incredible mess. You can learn a lot on this one.

First thing - can you make the body flat somehow? Do you have a router? Overhead router would be best, even a drill pres could be used to thickness the body board.

To make it a longer scale you will have to move the bridge and you might end up with a 20 fret guitar, if you dont move the neck pickup too. I would keep the  24,75.

The neck wood looks like mahogany and the body like a lighter kind of yellowish asian mahogany.

Edited by kmensik
wood
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Finally have been able to accomplish some work on this thing. I was very interested by the router thicknessing jig tutorial that you wrote @Prostheta, and the need to get this work piece to a more workable state was certainly a driving force too. For awhile I've been working on building a gantry style router jig, although it's not 100% done it's now usable enough to do what I needed here.

image1 (3).JPG

I cut the gunk epoxy and the rough uneven wood off the top to clean things up. I think next time I try something like this I am going to take the time to measure the filler piece/rout the cavity more carefully so I can just glue it instead of dumping all that epoxy in there. Nonetheless, it'll do for this experiment :)

image2 (2).JPGimage2 (1).JPG

As it turns out, there are areas where the cuts came out just a little bit off as it got up near the neck pickup area. Also those lines that look like cracks near the toggle switch cavity are differences in height and the bright light hitting them emphasizes the edges. The other day I put a 4 ft level on the table that the work piece is secured into and there is an area where it is out from the rest by just a little bit. I might try to reinforce it with some metal on the underside of the plywood to pull it into levelness. The jig needs a few more tweaks before I'm happy with how it works, but it's getting there!

I also addressed the issue I had had with the top cupping - 

Photo Dec 28, 9 10 56 AM.jpgunnamed.jpgIMG_1205.JPG

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So I have been interested in building a semi hollow with f-holes. This guy will be the perfect test subject!image1 (2).JPG

The free time I've had to work on this thing has been pretty slim, so there was a lot of rush factor here. Next time a much nicer template will be made. I guess it will do the trick though for the parts that won't be seen! Routed the raceways for pickup wiring while I was at it.hollow.JPG

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To conclude for today I wanted to get the top to where I could just lay it on to plan for the f-holes. It was somewhat of a crude way to do this I suppose, but again, free time was slim and there was a forecast for rain.image2 (5).JPGimage1 (5).JPGimage3.JPG

Finished with a coping saw and rasp -

top.JPG

pocket2.JPG

And then, to make it nicer to look at -

trim.JPG

I should add too that some time ago I sanded the glue lines here on the top because I was curious to see what they would look like. I guess I had put the pictures in another thread of the reused oak baseboard I snagged to make this top.

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Good looking router sled. Get your tweaks done and that thing is going to be a joy to use.

And that top is actually turning out to be quite nice.

SR

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20 hours ago, djobson101 said:

image1 (3).JPG

 

Normally I'd say, "you're welcome!" however THAT is something else above and beyond the quick jig I detailed. I presume that it also has a towball hitch attachment....? :)

Good hearing you progressing, especially with something that means business like that.

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Thanks @ScottR, it was exciting to fire up the router on it for the first time, even though it's not 100%. I definitely messed it up a few times while putting it together but totally looking forward to getting it finalized so more fun can be had. The other thing is I don't have a permanent location for it right now, so every time I want to work on or use it I have to dig it out of my folks' garage.

@Prostheta well, you're right on because I did have to put a set of wheels on one side of the thing recently :lol: it started just getting too heavy to move around! I'm sure the 86 Honda could handle it though 

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Holy router sled, that looks awsome, large and sturdy. Mine is a complete mess.

Your progres on the body is beyond my hopes, good work,

The top looks nice, I would not want an f hole on that one, but whatever You like.

Edited by kmensik
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Not much to update on this build as of right now, but I have managed to relocate to Denver from NY. I've really been enjoying seeing all the work that's being posted on the forum in these winter months, so I figured I would at least chime in with some pictures.

Finally with the new place out here, there is some extra garage space that I can set up shop in. Before the move I was able to acquire my old man's retired Makita table saw, seen as he has a better one and it was just collecting dust. I put together a workbench that doubled as a more handy place for the saw.

Photo Nov 13, 5 23 39 PM.jpg

But it's more ergonomic now at least :) 

Photo Nov 13, 6 56 17 PM.jpg

As well as providing some extra storage -

Photo Jan 04, 10 01 40 PM.jpg

Got the router sled up on legs -

Photo Jan 04, 10 01 19 PM.jpg

Photo Jan 04, 10 01 04 PM.jpg

So for now I have a good little workshop coming together. I guess that leaves me with a shopping list of tools. I'm hoping this month to be able to buy some fretting stuff to get further along with this scrappy axe.

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Looks like a great place to make some sawdust....speaking of which, I would heartily recommend bolstering your lighting situation! There's nothing like a dark corner to collect choking levels of dust, plus better lighting helps you keep tabs on work so flaws don't slip through the net. ;-)

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@kmensik Ah that thing, it's basically a copy of a soloist body that has a Carvin bolt on neck to go with it. I was mostly just a spectator watching it built. A friend back home had gotten that one started, he had been building a few guitars with his sons in their cabinet shop. I will hopefully do the finishing on it sometime soon.

@ScottR Thanks! It's a great town for me so far. 10 minutes in one direction for downtown amenities, and 10 minutes the other way to start getting into all that front range scenery. There's definitely a lot to do here, and about a bazillion breweries too :thumb:

@Prostheta Advice well taken! I put some cans up there to improve the situation, but it could definitely be better still. They're cheap enough to inspire about twice as many but unfortunately we only have a 6 month lease here, so I am going to hold off on doing a better job until I know that I'll be in the space more permanently. What a difference though! It's actually enjoyable to work after dark now.

I should mention that the shelves o' junk on the left corner there, were left behind by the landlord and I am not at all proud to have them as a backdrop for my work area :blush

Photo Jan 13, 5 58 08 PM.jpg

I'm hoping to order some fretting tools over the weekend, maybe too a truss rod would be useful to make some progress!

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Absolutely loving this thread, in today's throw away world so good to see something get beautifully restored :) 

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