Skyjerk

Newcomer build "22 Magnum"

142 posts in this topic

Hi everyone. Nice to meet you. I just stumbled on this community and signed right up. I started building a couple years ago and have spent a lot of time with the MLP "luthiers corner" forum. I see at least one familiar name here, KnightroExpress.

 

Anyway, this is a build I currently have in progress. I started cutting and gluing over the holiday weekend

 

I call this guitar "22 Magnum". Id call it "PRS inspired" simply because theres definitely some kinship there, but it was not originally a goal with the design, nor did I start with a PRS shape and modify it. I started using the bottom half of an original single cutaway design I just finished building "22 Special" and wanted a double cutaway version. I screwed around with the upper horn area and some adjustments to the lines all around and arrived at this shape.

The similarities were there pretty clearly, so I just call it "PRS inspired" even though it actually wasnt, because otherwise people are just going to assume I took a PRS shape and moved a couple lines, and called it mine.

anyway, I'm also using a 25" scale length, and also not in a deliberate effort to imitate a PRS. My 22 Special build was also a 25" scale length and that was my starting point. I'm also very comfortable playing that scale length so theres that too :)

At this point, though, I deliberately decided to do a PRS style top carve and faux binding because, well why not? Its already PRSish even though that wasnt the original intention, so lets just roll with it :)

 

So heres the original design.

This will be neck-through-body with carbon fiber reinforcement rods, an LMI double action truss rod, stainless frets, a brazillian rosewood fretboard, a bookmatched, flamed maple top, bolivian mahogany body and neck, an original Floyd Rose trem, stainless frets, SD pickups, planet waves locking tuners, hardware is all black, and the top is probably going to be red with popped flame, and a nitro finish.

One thing I've changed is the 3-way toggle in the design is actually going to be a 5-way blade that will have coil splits at positions 2 and 4

 

22mag-fin.jpg

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So this is the top I just glued up last week. The shape I traced on there is the single cut design I spoke of before because I originally was going to build another one of those. Ignore it :)

 

Toppage17.jpg

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It was nice to find that I already have everything I need for this build and wont have to spend a nickle other than the hundred bucks I dropped for the top.

Heres the mahogany I need for the neck and body, as well as a piece of braz rosewood for the fretboard.

 

Smorewood2.jpg

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So I took my mahogany boards and shaped them up. Jointer 2 sides, thickness plane, etc, and glued them up.

I made this neck blank wider than previous builds. On previous I made it the exact width of the widest point on the fretboard. Mostly for convenience sake. I dont think it makes that much difference when its an LP or LP style build because the bridge is anchored in the maple top, not the mahogany.

With a recessed Floyd Rose trem, though, the bushings are well into the mahogany underneath and when the neck blank is narrower like I've made before those bushings are actually in the wings. By going wider with this neck I'll have the bushings in same piece of wood as the nut, rather than in the wing with a joint in between bridge post and nut.

Does this make a difference? I dont know really, but I have to think eliminating a joint between each bridge post and the nut can only be good.

The wider blank will also eliminate the need for gluing ears onto the headstock since this will be wide enough for the whole thing, so theres that.

beams17.jpg

beams18.jpg

beams19.jpg

 


I also cleaned up my last piece of Brazilian rosewood for the fretboard.
I'm sad its gonna be gone, mostly because it smells so damn good when I'm working it :)

braz1.jpg

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took my neck blank out of the clamps. Pretty fugly right? Not for long...

22mag-neck1.jpg

Edited by Skyjerk

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Welcome to PG, Skyjerk!

That's a nice clean well balanced design you are building. I see similarities to PRS but not really any influence. Frankly it's nearly impossible to come up with a design that doesn't bear resemblance to one that's gone before, whether you've ever seen it or not. The fact that it needs to be playable, limits the design possibilities a bit. 

It looks like you've got some fine toys for building in your garage and some nice timbers as well. What is the wood running between your mahogany in your neck blank?

I'll be enjoying watching this one come to life.

SR

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1 minute ago, ScottR said:

What is the wood running between your mahogany in your neck blank?

Nevermind, I can see from the pics you posted while I posted this that it's mahogany as well.:)

SR

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1 minute ago, ScottR said:

Nevermind, I can see from the pics you posted while I posted this that it's mahogany as well.:)

SR

Yep. Its all mahogany. Honduran, but from Bolivia actually :)

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OK, so this brings me up to date. the pix above are where I'm at.

 

I just designed a series of 8 top carve templates which I'll be cutting out of MDF probably tomorrow night and then I'll start that carve by the weekend,

 

Updates to come soon :)

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10 minutes ago, ScottR said:

Welcome to PG, Skyjerk!

That's a nice clean well balanced design you are building. I see similarities to PRS but not really any influence. Frankly it's nearly impossible to come up with a design that doesn't bear resemblance to one that's gone before, whether you've ever seen it or not. The fact that it needs to be playable, limits the design possibilities a bit. 

It looks like you've got some fine toys for building in your garage and some nice timbers as well. What is the wood running between your mahogany in your neck blank?

I'll be enjoying watching this one come to life.

SR

Thanks! Glad to be here. Cant believe I didnt find this place sooner :)

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This is the template I made up for the top carve. As you can see its also PRS-like, but I'm not going to do that deep bevel in the lower cutaway that PRS is famous for. The cutaway is deep enough for easy access to fret 22 already and doesnt need that...

 

22mag-top.jpg

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Very nice! I can't wait to see this come along and welcome to pg. 

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I do my own inlay work, but I'm far too lazy and impatient to actually cut my own inlays. I generally order them from DePaule or custominlay

This build is no different. In keeping with the general PRS "vibe" I got some birds. Different birds. The piece of rosewood is realyl nice so I dont want big inlays that eat up a lot of surface. These are small, nice, and have a great flow to them. Just ordered this AM.

These are white mother-of-pearl and the streaks are abalone.

This photo is not my fretboard. Its just the picture of the inlay set from the custominlay website.

 

Addict-birds.jpg

Edited by Skyjerk
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Very nice build :). There's some fantastic looking quilting on that top!

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Its hard to spend time not specifically on the guitar itself, and while I could easily "wing it" with the top carve, I'd like to be able to repeat the carve as closely as possible should I ever want to build another, so I made templates to get the rough shape of the top.

Designed the templates in CAD and had 10 copies printed, cut them out and used spray adhesive to attach the to the MDF, then cut them on the band saw.

 

22mag-topcarve17.jpg

 

22mag-topcarve18.jpg

 

22mag-topcarve19.jpg

 

Then used them to route the steps on the top, raising the bit with each template. To figure out how much to raise it each time I measured from where I wanted the edge height to be (starting 1/4" inch above the mahogany to leave the natural binding edge) up to the final height, Since I have 8 templates, and the first one sets the starting height, I divided the distance by 7 to get the amount to raise the router bit with each step.

 

22mag-topcarve20.jpg

 

22mag-topcarve21.jpg

 

22mag-topcarve22.jpg

 

I did get a teeny tearout on the edge of the upper horn here, but its not that big a deal. I can sand the edge of the guitar in about 1/16" here, and combined with the slight roundover the edge will have that should get me past the tearout and leave a nice binding edge.

 

22mag-topcarve23.jpg

 

 

Tonite after work I'll be routing the pickup plane and then sanding the steps smooth

 

 

 

 

Edited by Skyjerk
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Very nice! I like the idea of using smaller templates for each step up, seems like it would work better for recreating the carve on other guitars exactly the same. I've thought about doing it but I'm terrible at computer stuff so would never be able to get the tremplates drawn out right. 

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7 minutes ago, 2.5itim said:

Very nice! I like the idea of using smaller templates for each step up, seems like it would work better for recreating the carve on other guitars exactly the same. I've thought about doing it but I'm terrible at computer stuff so would never be able to get the tremplates drawn out right. 

Its easier than you might think. I use a freeware CAD app that is not so full of mysterious functions that its unusable to us average types :)

It does take a little time to draw things up and get them right, but not nearly as much as you might think.

The app I use is called emachineshop. Its free and I learned how to work with its basic functions in just a couple hours. I work strictly with the 2D features. Its not really something you could use for CNC type stuff...

Edited by Skyjerk

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Yeah I've tried one of those, I wanna say it was either emachineshop or fusion360. I need to just sit down sometime and make myself figure it out. 

Its funny cuz I run cnc all day every day and can hand right a program off the top of my head pretty fast but when it comes to the cad side of it I'm totally lost. 

I remember my biggest hurdle was I couldn't get the design exactly right to models I had already made using the ole pencil and paper method, I would probably be able to get it if I was trying to make a totally new design instead of trying to make the computer do what I've already done. 

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Emachineshop is a vendor based program for custom machining is it not?  i wouldn't expect that to be as powerful or as easy to use as strait up AutoCAD.  Have a look at a little program called Draftsight.  it's VERY similar to the big expensive AutoCAD but it's freeware.  I use AutoCAD at work and Draftsight at home for guitar stuff.  At least for 2D stuff it's like playing a beautiful Les Paul, but your not sure if it's a genuine Gibson or a really well made copy.  they're that close.  They even have some of the same negative quirks with the snap mechanism.... 

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So I tossed the axe into my box jig over the weekend and routed off the pickup plane.,,

 

22mag-bodycarve17.jpg

22mag-bodycarve18.jpg

 

22mag-bodycarve19.jpg

 

 

This is my favorite carving tool for tops and necks these days. Its called a "Holey Galahad" attached to an angle grinder. These are carbide points over the whole surface so it can chew through wood like you wouldnt believe. It can also chew through flesh like you wouldnt believe. Back when I first got it, it slipped in my hand and lightly brushed the index finger on my left hand and carved a nice groove. Cant be stitched because it doesnt slice. It just removes what it touches. Suffice to say it left a scar :) that didnt deter me though, I'm just ultra careful when I use it.

22mag-bodycarve20.jpg

 

and roughed out the contours around the outside....

 

22mag-bodycarve21.jpg

 

and then inside the cutaways. The holey galahad removes a lot of material really fast and touching the neck by accident would pretty much wreck this guitar since its neck through. Had to be super careful in there...

22mag-bodycarve22.jpg

 

some rough sanding..

22mag-bodycarve24.jpg

 

while routing pickup cavities the bearing on the cutter slid up the shank and popped off the template and caused a small gouge. I wouldnt sweat this normally but its planned for direct mounted pickups. No rings. You'll note that a pickup ring on here would hang right off the lower cutaway here so a ring isnt a viable plan B.

22mag-bodycarve25.jpg

 

which I fixed by gluing a strip of maple to the edge and re-routing. Once this edge is rounded over, dyed, and lacquered it should be totally unnoticable,.

22mag-puphole.jpg

 

22mag-puphole3.jpg

 

So a couple naphtha enhanced shots...Still needs a teeny bit of refinement to the top. I didnt show it here bit I put a 1/4" roundover on the back of the body. This is as far as I got over the weekend...

 

22mag-puphole4.jpg

 

22mag-puphole5.jpg

Edited by Skyjerk
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16 minutes ago, Jdogg said:

Emachineshop is a vendor based program for custom machining is it not?  i wouldn't expect that to be as powerful or as easy to use as strait up AutoCAD.  Have a look at a little program called Draftsight.  it's VERY similar to the big expensive AutoCAD but it's freeware.  I use AutoCAD at work and Draftsight at home for guitar stuff.  At least for 2D stuff it's like playing a beautiful Les Paul, but your not sure if it's a genuine Gibson or a really well made copy.  they're that close.  They even have some of the same negative quirks with the snap mechanism.... 

I dunno. I also have AutoCAD. Emachineshop is actually a lot easier and simpler to use. I dont need a lot of features to design in 2D and emachineshop is a LOT more intuitive. Took me about 15 minutes to figure how to do what I wanted. I STILL havent figured out AutoCAD :)

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