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cheapo Les Paul project

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hey all

still finishing up my Zebra caster which will be done in November, but started on a learning project in the mean time as well.

a few years back my brother in law brought me a bag of guitar parts to see if I could make some out of it. It's been lying around the garage for a long time, but I figured I might as well use it as a practice object.

it's an LP copy that was worked on already by someone, doing some repainting and creating some contours in the body. Didn't like it so I routed a piece of the top of the body to put on a flamemaple top. 

after putting on the top and filling several holes in the body I routed the neck cavity and fitted the neck. Also drilled the bridge posts and did a quick test with a string to see the action and setup possibilities. This basically sucked so I routed an angle in the neck pocket to enable better setup. This led to a slip, so I needed to glue in a small piece of maple and resand the neck pocket to shape.

today I routed and sanded the carve top, one of my learning topics. Very timeconsuming, but got some help ;-)  and really nice to see the body come alive!

the plan is to give it back to my brother in law on his birthday which is December 6th, so trying to keep the momentum going on this one.

some pictures below of the process so far.

the bodywood isn't very nice so I'm going to paint it black. the top will be done in a yellow/brown burst with Keda Dye to pop out the flame maple.

next item of practice: routing and gluing a binding.




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thanks. After inspecting in daylight I found some imperfections and spots that aren't equally carved on both sides, so some more sanding to do before moving on to the next fun bit!

main challenge now is to get a proper binding router bit setup. I don't want to invest too much in it because not sure if I'll be doing it much. trying to think of a creative way to use my plunge router.....

Edited by 10pizza

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thanks @Muzz

got my parts in yesterday, so that'll help preparing the body for final finishing. Always like to be sure on the hole-sizes I actually need before I drill...

I'll be doing a spraycan finish on this one. Found a nice tutorial by @Tundra_Man which looks like a solid guide.


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I thought I posted a reply with a picture of my binding routing jig that I've made for my Dremel tool, But It's not here so I must have forgotten to actually submit or something.

Anyway, I routed the binding and learned that next time I will definitely find another way to do it! grrrrr. This is surely not the best binding done, but hey, it was meant as a learning experience anyway right?

the router bit slipped in the Dremel, causing a deeper cut than planned over an area of 3-4 cm so some repair had to be done.

I've now got the binding installed and initial sanding is done. Some more patching and then it's off to even more sanding.




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December 6th is just a few weeks away, so time for some action. Today I sanded the body , sanded again, sanded some more and finally I sanded it.

In the next few days I'lll be drilling the potholes, pickupswitch hole and output jackhole. Then the goal is to do the keda dye of the top on monday, Then on Tuesday it's time to do the back and neck in black and then the lacquer on top of it all. Then it'll have two weeks to cure and I have a few days left to finish this project off in time for my brother in laws birthday bash on December 10th.


man, this is going to be tight! But nothing better than a firm deadline to get things done!

that New York Mets bottle came in handy to sand the cutaway ;-) Didn't take it with me from NY for no reason in 2006 then 





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2 hours ago, 10pizza said:

Today I sanded the body , sanded again, sanded some more and finally I sanded it.

:D By jove, I think you've got it.

Many leave out one or two of those steps, and then wonder what the little dark hairlines under the clear are.


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yeah. And today in the sunlight I spotted 2 imperfections still, so not done yet!

Found time for some hole drilling at my Dad's workshop. Forgot to bring my forstner bit to drill the pickup-switch cavity, so a revisit needed.

a question: I'll be putting on a decal on the headstock, and the headstock will be finisched with a clear coat. Any special preparation needed on the decal or just put it on and cover it with the clearcoats?






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update on the progress.

yesterday: stained the maple top with Keda Dye. first I used yellow/red. after sanding I used brown to get burstlike effect. Sanded again and repeated with yellow/brown and again with yellow. This morning I wasn't quite happy with how the brownburst looked like on the sides so I sanded one more time and then only used yellow. Really happy now with the result: nice gold/yellow color.

then today I routed the inlays in the fretboard, including my bil's initials for the 12th fret. Glued them in and started on the finish.

First a couple layers of primer, which I had to redo as the body slipped from the coathanger during drying ..... GRRRRR! stupid.

glad it didn't fall on the maple top!  got some dents in the bottom which needed repair, after which the process of finishing started again.

finally the stuff is hanging to dry. Tomorrow I'll be doing the clear coats. Then it can cure for 2 weeks and that will leave me a week to finish it off...... 












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thanks guys.

nerve wrecking stuff this spraying. Constantly wondering whether you put on enough and scared you put on too much.

I put on 7 coats of clearcoat, guess that should be enough to protect it and make it shiny.

now, 2 weeks of waiting and then the final touches! Looking forward to that very much!







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