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steve1556

First ever build, 60's Strat

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Had a parcel arrive today, and it was one of the top woods! It's the spalted ambrosia maple, ordered it from an American company on eBay and in the postage section it said there is no import duty on it through the eBay shipping program, but with past experiences of ordering from across the pond I was still expecting the invoice for import tax to come, but nothing arrived! Yay! I know wood should be left to acclimatise so that was my main reason for ordering it now, plus the fact it was a really good price. Going to leave it on top of my wardrobe for now I reckon it will look stunning under a stain..

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Went shopping for the garage today because the lighting isn't that good. Currently I've got a 100W bulb and a halogen work light lighting up my work area, so I plan on placing a couple of halogen work/flood lights on the rafters of the garage which will provide a massive amount of light. The added advantage is that the halogen lights will keep the garage warm in winter, or at least take the chill off the air. However, the lights don't have any cables from them so it means having to wire up a cable and plug, so I may change them to ones that already include it. The plan is to run the extension cable into the rafters, then run the lights from there, and there shouldn't be any risk of a fire from them or anything as the rafters are all open into the roofing area.

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While I was there I saw a set of rasps, so decided to pick them up as they were on offer and cheap.

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Finished the routing in the front, now I've done the trem cavity to what I think is the right depth (need to check that next time I'm out there), I'm going to tidy up the pickup cavities. I finished routing the rest of the trem hole, had to use a different bit as the router bits didn't reach the bottom of the guitar body.

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Masking tape/super glue trick was used again for attaching the rear template.

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Took the drill with Forstner bits to the trem cavity. However, I've decided the bigger bit is crap to use with a hand drill (hence the mess). Next time I'll use the smaller bits as they are easier to control.

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Tried to take out a little bit more excess with a mallet and a chisel.

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After routing, I'm very very very pleased with how the cavity turned out to the point where I gave myself a little pat on the back. The bit where the trem block goes got a little bit ruined on the edge because of a drill bit (trying to remove a little bit more excess for the router).

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I have a question, the hole where the trem block goes, I've got the router bit as far down the cavity as I can get it, and there is roughly 15mm left until I I reach the top. Is that too much wood to leave and should I find a way of trying to remove more, or leave it and it will be fine?

Not sure if I'm going to get any done tomorrow as my boss for my 2nd job is really busy so I think I may be working all day because of it. If I get any free time then I'll start routing the front cavities so they look neater.

Edited by steve1556

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Good to see you're making progress :)

I would seriously suggest not bothering with the super glue trick by the way, no matter what Ben Crowe says about it. Double stick tape works just as well. But I'm glad it works for you ;)

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On 10/5/2016 at 10:22 PM, Rockhorst said:

Good to see you're making progress :)

I would seriously suggest not bothering with the super glue trick by the way, no matter what Ben Crowe says about it. Double stick tape works just as well. But I'm glad it works for you ;)

I tried using double sided tape ages ago (it was a cheap one off eBay, think it came from China) when i was building a pedal and it left a mess all over the painted enclosure, when I run out of masking tape I'll look into getting some better quality double sided tape and trying that. I am finding the masking tape and super glue method works well though.

Managed to get a little bit done today, I picked up some new work lights and test mounted one to the rafters and the cable ties are holding up well and seem very secure. I've also used cable ties to hold the extension plug and mostly finished running the wire for that. I'm not going to tie up the cable for the work light until I've tested it though, and I also need to remove a couple of bits on the rafters so the area around the light is clear. I didn't realise that the lights didn't include bulbs as my smaller light included one. Going to grab some bulbs when I goto work later and I'll test it tomorrow along with hopefully getting the front cavities routed out nicely. Going to get 2 different wattage of bulbs to see which one is best (and chucks out the most heat), as when the sun isn't out it's starting to get a bit nippy in the garage.

I know this isn't an update to the guitar build as such, but it will massively increase the lighting in the garage which will help now that it's getting dark earlier.

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Added 2 more cable ties to it now and trimmed off the excess.

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Edited by steve1556

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Great news! I put one of the new bulbs in the lamp earlier (a 240W eco one) and it's fantastic. Ir really lights up the garage and it's so much easier to see what I'm doing, on the plus side within a few minutes it really took the chill off the air and after a while started warming the garage up nicely. If I got a non eco bulb it would be chucking out a lot more heat, so I'll see how it goes in mid winter.

Got some more work done on the body, but my boss has asked if I can help out this afternoon so had to cut short my time in the garage. Hopefully I won't be called out for my main job tomorrow (I'm on call so fingers crossed) then I can get some more bits done on the body. I managed to get the pickup cavities nicely routed, not sure how or if I'll get the control cavity nicely done or not. I experimented with the round over bits on some scrap wood and decided that the 3/8" bit gave the nicest curve, so got the front and back on the body done. I saw on a video that you don't go too close to the neck pocket and finish that bit off by hand. I also think that the cheap set of rasp files that I got aren't that good, I'll give them another go tomorrow though.

With shaping the arm rest, I've seen a few ways of doing it, but would you guys use a belt sander or do it by hand using a rasp? Hoping to get that bit done tomorrow.

In the pictures, you can see where I went too deep into the body with the band saw when trying to cut relief cuts. Won't be making that mistake next time.

This one is on the top horn.

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These are on the bottom of the body. There is a very small flat bit where the blade of the band saw was knackered, but I've got a new blade for next time i use it.

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Inside the horns.

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Using the round over bit. The look is harsher in the pictures for some reason, but I plan on rubbing them gently with sandpaper at a later date.

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Got the line drawn on for the arm rest. Hoping to get it shaped tomorrow.

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Started shaping the arm rest today, never knew that using a rasp was such hard work! Going to see Steel Panther on Saturday so was rocking out to them while in the garage, it made the time go quick! I found the cheap rasp set that I bought isn't very good and ended up just using the Shinto rasp (that thing removes a lot of wood quickly!).I found that it kept digging into my hand so I wrapped the end in a paper towel and it was fine. I used a metal ruler and it's as flat as I'm going to get it, and tomorrow or Wednesday I'm going to use a sander on it, blend the arm rest into the top and do a round over edge on the side. Hopefully that won't take too long and it will give me enough time to start on the belly carve as well.

The work bench had a screw come loose which made one of the board holders loose and everytime I put the screw it and got it as tight as I could, it gave way again within a few minutes. Had to get a new work bench, it was the bargain price of £13.50, but it delayed the work which I got it and built it.

Getting ready to start getting rid of the excess wood. These Shinto rasps are seriously good.

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Making a start.

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A bit more. By this point I had to wrap the end a bit.

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New bench!

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Nearly!

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More or less there.

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Using a small metal ruler I went hunting for the bumps. I found the first one within a few seconds (there was many more!).

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End result. Needs a good sanding, then blending and the round over edge being filed in.

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Really pleased with how today went, it was my first time using a rasp. It's made me realise just how much work I've got when the time comes to shape the neck though!

 

 

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Shinto rasps are excellent tools, but not very nice on the hands. I wear a pair of thick suede gardening gloves if I have much rasping to do

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I'm starting to think that  draw knifes and scrapers are the way to go for necks. The one I carved recently doing it this way just seemed to fall out of the blank. I tend to go a bit too berserk with rasps to trust myself with them....

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No build progress update yet, but I have just bought some new tools! Popped into Homebase (a DIY chain) to return those outdoor floodlights that I was planning on using in the garage, and saw a stand of Guild tools by the door. They are selling them off cheap so picked up a 400W random orbital sander and a 135W palm sander for £34! Couldn't say no for that price, especially as they make good tools (couldn't be happier with the router of theirs).

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Build update!!!!!

Now I'm starting to get a bit more free time again I feel like I'm really starting to make some progress on this build. I marked out a rough outline for where I wanted the belly carve, but then when I was carving it I reached a point where I really liked the size/curve of it so I tidied it up and started to give it a brief sand just to check the palm sander. First impressions, just like the router, it's well designed and built and works great. Best £8 I've ever spent I think!

Can't upload pictures at the moment because PhotoBucket doesn't seem to be working. Hopefully when I finish work tonight it's working so I'll try again then to upload.

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Hi. Steve

Can't wait to see the pics.  I thought it was my PC at first!  I got fed up with photobucket and now use imgur.  

Mind you, bear in mind that this is also one of the few forum sites where you can download your photos directly.  Ever so easy - just click 'choose files', browse to your pics and download onto the site, then just hit the + on the downloaded thumbnail to place it in your thread...

Andy

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That's one of the big features that I really wanted to build into ProjectGuitar.com is in-line image hosting. It kills our server space, however I think it's important to embed here since Photobucket, et al. are notorious for leaving dead image links across forums. What we do here should be made accessible to other builders for years to come rather than letting things degrade thanks to link rot.

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7 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Hi. Steve

Can't wait to see the pics.  I thought it was my PC at first!  I got fed up with photobucket and now use imgur.  

Mind you, bear in mind that this is also one of the few forum sites where you can download your photos directly.  Ever so easy - just click 'choose files', browse to your pics and download onto the site, then just hit the + on the downloaded thumbnail to place it in your thread...

Andy

Cheers, I'm hoping it won't take too much longer to finish now, although I'm giving myself until the end of the year to do it. I've just noticed when I finished work tonight that I've got a weeks leave + 2 days booked off next month that I forgot I booked, so I'm hoping to get a fair amount done then.

I've just downloaded the Imgur app, but is there anyway to make my photos private unless I put them onto a forum? I detest PhotoBucket because of the amount of bloody ads! I've found I can upload direct to PhotoBucket direct from my phone using their app which made it much quicker and easier, but their site is absolutely horrible to use, and DropBox doesn't seem to let you imbed pictures into threads.

 

7 hours ago, Prostheta said:

That's one of the big features that I really wanted to build into ProjectGuitar.com is in-line image hosting. It kills our server space, however I think it's important to embed here since Photobucket, et al. are notorious for leaving dead image links across forums. What we do here should be made accessible to other builders for years to come rather than letting things degrade thanks to link rot.

I was a senior mod on a forum several years ago and I saw just how much server space and bandwidth used up, and was shocked by just how much it was! That's the main reason that I don't upload pictures direct to the site. Do you know if their are any plans to put the Tapatalk software onto the forum, as for other forums that use it I use the Tapatalk hosting for my pictures and it automatically imbeds them into the thread.

I'm volunteering at my local ParkRun tomorrw as I'm still carrying my running injury and can't run it yet, but on my way home I'll be passing a shop that sells files. I'm going to pick some up and hopefully get more work done on the body late morning/early afternoon.

PhotoBucket seems to be working now, so here's the pictures of todays progress.

Where I was initially wanting the carve to goto.

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Making a start on it.

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Slowly getting there.

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It was just after this point that I realised i quite liked it being around this shape/size/depth.

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After smoothing out the main bumps and tidying up.

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Didn't sand properly, it was more of a quick test of the sander. *****product placement in the little hope I may one day get free tools*****

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After a very quick sand with 80 grit. Hard to see in the pictures, but I've gotta get more sand paper and sand it properly, either tomorrow or Sunday. It also made very light work of blending the carve into the back of the body.

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Had a very quick go on the arm rest as well. Again, it made very easy work blending it into the body, still needs a fair amount of work.

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Coming alone nicely, I used my belt sander when I did mine but had to be careful that I did'nt over do it as they do tend to take out wood at an alarming rate. I did finish off with a lot of hand sanding untill I was happy with the shape, not sure how it compares to Strat but it's a lot better than my sons copy that I have been using as a reference

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On 10/15/2016 at 1:01 AM, Andyjr1515 said:

Looking good :)

 

Cheers buddy, getting there slowly but surely.

 

22 hours ago, meatloaf said:

Coming alone nicely, I used my belt sander when I did mine but had to be careful that I did'nt over do it as they do tend to take out wood at an alarming rate. I did finish off with a lot of hand sanding untill I was happy with the shape, not sure how it compares to Strat but it's a lot better than my sons copy that I have been using as a reference

I was tempted to use the belt sander by my dad said it was rather brutal on removing wood so I decided not to use it. Which Strat copy are you using for reference? Would you recommend the belt sander technique?

I picked up some files yesterday, and also some needle files, although now I've got them I'm not 100% sure sure I'll ever need them, but it's good to have just in case. I forgot to pickup sanding sheets so need to go back tomorrow to get them.

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Didn't get time to do anything yesterday as I went to see the greatest band ever, Steel Panther! Satchel must have liked my t-shirt as he chucked his plec at me, so it's a nice addition to his signature model guitars that I've got (Had to order both colours!).

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They're great fun! Nice score on the pick.

Those files will not remove material at any high rate, but are great for refining shapes. A trick to using those is to scribble with a pencil first and watch how and where material is removed. Fantastic for transitioning around the neck-to-headstock area or extending roundovers into areas where bearings can't reach for example, but too small for big carves like tummy tucks and forearm contours. Good to have around. I use files a lot for refining templates.

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7 hours ago, Prostheta said:

They're great fun! Nice score on the pick.

Those files will not remove material at any high rate, but are great for refining shapes. A trick to using those is to scribble with a pencil first and watch how and where material is removed. Fantastic for transitioning around the neck-to-headstock area or extending roundovers into areas where bearings can't reach for example, but too small for big carves like tummy tucks and forearm contours. Good to have around. I use files a lot for refining templates.

They most certainly are! It was my 3rd time seeing them, They have a new album out in Feb so I'm hoping they tour again next year and I'll try and get the VIP backstage tickets then.

Thats the plan with the files, not massive stock removal but to refine bits. I'm going to use them to shape the round over part on the arm and belly cut outs first. The plan is to use the rasp to do the basic shape of the neck, then use the files to refine it, and like you say, the transistions in the neck (I'm a little bit worried about them but may practice on the neck that I ruined first). My first set of templates didn't go too well, and I need to make my next set from scratch so I was hoping the files will help to make them as close to perfect as I possible can get them.

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On 16/10/2016 at 11:03 PM, steve1556 said:

Cheers buddy, getting there slowly but surely.

 

I was tempted to use the belt sander by my dad said it was rather brutal on removing wood so I decided not to use it. Which Strat copy are you using for reference? Would you recommend the belt sander technique?

I picked up some files yesterday, and also some needle files, although now I've got them I'm not 100% sure sure I'll ever need them, but it's good to have just in case. I forgot to pickup sanding sheets so need to go back tomorrow to get them.

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Didn't get time to do anything yesterday as I went to see the greatest band ever, Steel Panther! Satchel must have liked my t-shirt as he chucked his plec at me, so it's a nice addition to his signature model guitars that I've got (Had to order both colours!).

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On 16/10/2016 at 11:03 PM, steve1556 said:

 

I was tempted to use the belt sander by my dad said it was rather brutal on removing wood so I decided not to use it. Which Strat copy are you using for reference? Would you recommend the belt sander technique?

 

I used my belt sander as that was all I had to use but it worked really well, I did a trial on a piece of scrap first and when I started on the body I keep a keen eye my pencil lines to make sure I did'nt take too much off, It didn't take very long before it was ready to finish off by hand but it is very messy saftey googles and a good marsk are a must and I recommend that it's done outside..

My son's Strat copy is a Yamaha Pacifica and there has been no attemt to blend those carves in and looks quite bad but then it is a cheap copy.

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I used my belt sander as that was all I had to use but it worked really well, I did a trial on a piece of scrap first and when I started on the body I keep a keen eye my pencil lines to make sure I did'nt take too much off, It didn't take very long before it was ready to finish off by hand but it is very messy saftey googles and a good marsk are a must and I recommend that it's done outside..

My son's Strat copy is a Yamaha Pacifica and there has been no attemt to blend those carves in and looks quite bad but then it is a cheap copy.

Ah a Yamaha Pacifica. A friend sold me one for a tenner as he couldn't play, used it once in the several years that I had it, and then it found it's way onto eBay. I started with a Squire Strat, then got a Ibanez S470, then never touched the Strat again. I'm beginning to think I won't use this guitar now!

I think next time I'll try using a belt sander, just to see how much quicker it is then the Shinto rasp!

I've also just bought a wood moisture tester, and although I'm not expecting it to be 100% accurate (as it's a very cheap one), I'm hoping it will give me a rough guide. I've got the spalted ambrosia maple top and the spare maple neck blank sitting on top of my wardrobe and they are testing at 8-9% moisture content, which i would assume should be roughly correct. The wood in the garage is a ash body blank, black walnut, sapele and maple neck blanks are testing between 12-13%. My question is, is that going to be fine or will they need drying out a bit? It's no problem to cut them into smaller chunks and bring them indoors to dry out a bit, but would it be a case of sleaving them on top of the wardrobe or under a radiator? From what I've found out, I think I need to dry them to 8-9% before planing and gluing them, but if someone can confirm that, that would be great.

Little update, haven't had any time to work on the body yet (hopefully tomorrow though), but the walnut top wood has finally arrived! It looks great, just need a guitar to put it on now. Thinking a Tele or super Strat style guitar.

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On 21/10/2016 at 9:51 PM, ScottR said:

I look at that timber and see a Yorkie or an English Sheep Dog looking back at me.

SR

It looks more like it's facing away from you to me :D

Nice wood

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I'm sure that somewhere, a psychologist is pissing themselves in their office. Not literally, however I am sure that this too may also be happening given the laws of chance.

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Thanks for pointing out that there is a dog face in the wood, not going to be able to cut into it now! However, I think I see some kind of demon or demon style mask.

I've had a really bad case of man-flu this week, it was bad and I didn't think I would make it through it. I decided to try and drag myself out of bed today and get to a couple of shops, and started to reorganise the garage (as it just gets messy again after a tidy up). Decided the time was right to change the MDF boards from my table to OSB boards, and the shop I got them from had some offcuts a bit bigger then I needed, so they cut them down for me and only charged me £5! Because of the saving, i treated myself to a box to hold my 2 sanders in, and their sandpaper. Was hoping the router would fit as well but it doesn't.

Old setup.

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While moving everything off the table I found this circuit which I was using to test a drill template for an enclosure. It's the dual version of a booster, the first stage is an amazing transparent booster, the 2nd stage kicks the amp in the nuts, hard. Had a prototype working, but the actual model I wired up the foot switch wrong. Need to revisit this pedal again soon.

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I gave the guy in the wrong dimensions, and had to trim the boards down slightly.

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The area of the garage where I was moving the table to isn't well lit so I attached the other floodlight to the rafters and stuck the spare 400W bulb in it. That bulb chucks out a ridiculous amount of light!

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Table in position and with the new boards on it. It will make getting things from the shelfs easier.

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Got the width slightly wrong. Going to cut some small blocks to wedge the shelfs into place so they don't move when sanding and that.

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The palm sander and random orbital sander didn't come with storage cases so I'm going to put them in here along with the sanding papers for them. Going to remove the 2 storage containers in the lids for other bits (thinking router bits in one of them).

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Picked up loads of sand paper today! The palm sander pads are 60,80,120 and 240. The random orbital sander pads are 40, 60, 80, 120. The rolls of sandpaper are 40, 60, 80, 120, 180 and 240. Also got a sanding block. I just got the cheap budget line of sandpaper on the basis that if each sheet lasts for 50% that a higher quality sheet does, I'm still saving a fair bit.

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As the setup currently stands. If I feel better tomorrow then I'll get out there and carry on sorting it out. It will be great to work on a proper bench rather then a workmate stand, more room, higher height, etc. Only thing is I forgot how bloody heavy that laser cutter is!

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Edited by steve1556

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Haven't had any progress on the build for a while as I just haven't had any time. I've got 1 day left at work then I'm off until the new year, so in my down time on my 2nd job I'm planning to get a move on with this build. First job will be to finish sorting out the garage to give me a big amount of working space, and I'm thinking about changing the bulbs in the flood lights to the non energy saving ones so they chuck out more heat as it's starting to get really cold out there.

Crimson Guitars had a sale on so I took the opportunity to order a few bits. I love the way they individually wrap everything, it was like receiving early xmas presents!

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I got a levelling beam, more superglue (normal and a thin version), some of their Stunning Stains (decided I'm going to get those small errors in the body corrected as best as I can and then stain it), fret polishing rubbers and  the full set of inlay powders. I'm thinking the inlay powders will be easier to do instead of cutting inlay material, and if it works well, it will be a lot cheaper/quicker to do.

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On a bit of old body scrap, I roughly engraved it (not very well as I was rushing as it was cold). The first 2 I packed powder into the engraved hole and covered it with wicking super glue, I read this method works well for metal powder (which these inlay powders are not). The 2nd one I filled with super glue, filled it with powder, put some wicking super glue on top along with some more powder and pressed the powder in. I'm going to sand them down later to see how they have come out.

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I've decided this will be my 12th fret inlay design. The plan is the top and bottom sections will be the same colour, and the middle part will be a contrasting colour. The middle part will be on the 12th fret, and it will go accross the 13th and 11th frets as well.

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Edited by steve1556

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