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Hi Guys. I havent been around for a few months after first joining this forum back in in November.

I did a build thread on this forum of an original design called the "22 Magnum" which I didnt actually complete.
That guitar is still waiting for lacquer.

I got side-tracked by a tragedy in my personal life and I didnt go into my shop for several months. When I finally went back
I set the 22 magnum aside for a while to do a different build.

This build is dedicated to my first born son, Chris.

Chris passed away on Feb 18, 2017 from an accidental overdose of heroin/fentanyl.

He was 24 years old.

Christopher Francis Leahy

April 6, 1992 - February 18, 2017

IMG_2057.jpg

I wont spend a lot of time here detailing what Chris meant to me other than to say he is my son. My firstborn, my namesake, and a kindred spirit in many ways. He’s a part of me and I could not love him more. He changed me in a very fundamental way the day he came into this world, and he did so again on the day he left. A significant part of me died with him that day, but I hope that part will be reborn on the day I leave this world to join him. I miss him. I miss his face, his charm, his wit, his intelligence, and the twinkle in his eye. I even miss some of his more exasperating qualities because all those things together were uniquely Chris.

Chris is gone from the physical world, the world in which the rest of us must continue to exist, and now 3 months later (at the time of writing) I’m still struggling to find a way to live with that. I have to conclude at this point that it will never be OK, nor will I ever be whole again.

I’m moved by the deep and abiding love I feel for him to create some kind of physical memorial. Something that I can touch and see and that connects me with Chris through sight and sound and spirit. Chris had very recently found a true passion for playing guitar and making music, so a special guitar seems appropriate and right. I was already working on a custom build as a gift for him but he died before I completed it. That guitar sits unfinished in my studio and there it will remain unless and until my other son Jake, Chris’s younger brother, claims it for his own. He is the only other person on earth to whom I would ever consider giving it.

The Phoenix is for me. As to why I’m calling it “The Phoenix”, that should become apparent pretty quickly.

In addition to being dedicated to Chris, this build will also be a tribute to him and will feature a number of custom designed shell inlays that represent tattoo’s that he had that were special to him and to me. The largest of these is a phoenix taking flight on the back of the body and a large Aires logo also on the back of the body. I was there with him on the occasions he got those two tattoos. In fact, I paid for them. The phoenix was on his chest, and the Aires symbol on his shoulder. I also have a tattoo of a Phoenix on my own chest that predates Chris’s by many years and was one of Chris’s motives for choosing it for himself, and I have recently gotten Chris’s phoenix tattoo on my own arm in memory of my son.

 

 

chris-tats.jpg

As low-brow as this all might sound, we have a mutual love of tattoos, and these two in particular represent special memories
of some of the good times that we shared. I cherish them.

Both tattoos are visible in the above photo of Chris.

There will also be a couple smaller inlays, another Phoenix on the fretboard as a large 12th fret inlay, and an abstract
Aires symbol on the headstock.

The main two inlays will be quite accurate compared to the tattoos with regard to shape and size, but wont be accurate
representations of the colors simply because shall is available in limited colors, and of course they will be set into
dark colored wood as opposed to skin.

As a side note, in addition to putting his phoenix on the guitar, I've also put it on myself as another remembrance.

Phoe-arm3.jpg
Back to the guitar.

Approximate size and placement of the Aires symbol on the back of the body. The Phoenix will also be on the back, I'm still working out placement.

upright-aires1.jpg
This Phoenix symbol will be on the fretboard in white MOP

Phoe-fb-blank.jpg
The last inlay will be on the headstock and will be an Aires symbol in white MOP

24mag-aires-headstock.jpg
With regard to the guitar itself, the body and headstock shapes and top carve makes up for what was lacking in my
<em>original</em> 24 Magnum design from a few years ago. Having lived with that for a couple years, and having
played it, theres some more changes I\u2019ve made to the body shape, among other things.

The plan with this design is to appeal to the tastes of people that like PRS guitars and fill that niche

This body shape is called "Magnum" and this is a 24 fret version, hence "24 Magnum". I previously built a 22 fret,
25" scale version of this guitar which I called the "22 Magnum"

In addition to a better shape, it also has a better top carve

This model, as with most of my builds, has the following notable features:

     Neck-through-body construction
     3-piece laminate neck
     carbon fiber neck reinforcement

Specs:

     25.5" scale length
     24 stainless steel frets
     12" fretboard radius
     Genuine South American mahogany ( Swietenia macrophylla ) body and neck
     Bookmatched, figured maple top and headstock overlay
     Natural "faux" binding
     Macassar Ebony Fretboard
     Original Floyd Rose Tremolo
     White mother-of-pearl Phoenix symbol covering frets 11, 12, 13
     Planet Waves 3×3 locking tuning machines
     Seymour Duncan pickups - Custom Custom (TB-11) bridge, and Sentient neck)
     5-way blade (n, n-split, n/br, br-split, br)
     CTS pots, orange drop caps
     Nitrocellulose Lacquer

I want to take a minute here to give special recognition to my friend Paul Eckert at Sweetwater.

I've worked with Paul for about 5 or 6 years and have made many purchases of recording equipment, instruments,
and guitar parts over that time and he always gives first rates service. Over the course of our association
we've also become friends. I always share pics and updates on my builds, we've talked about all manner of things,
musical interests, our various recording projects, and most recently the birth of his own son who is now 7 months old.

Upon hearing of my sons passing, today when I placed the order for the pickups and tuning machines for this
tribute build, rather than sending me the usual awesome pricing he always gives me, this time he just said

"This ones on me"

I cant adequately express my gratitude for his generosity of spirit. All I can say is thank you, Paul.


Materials for this build. The reddish-brown boards on the right are a very nice quality 8/4 Bolivian mahogany
I picked up at Hearne Hardwoods in Oxford PA. They will be used to make the body, the neck, and the headstock
and so will comprise the bulk of the guitar. I appropriately picked them up on what would have been Chris's
25th birthday 2 weeks ago on April 6th.

&nbsp;

So here is my basic design drawing. We'll compare when its finished and see how close we came :)


&nbsp;

newwood1.jpg

Macassar Ebony for the fretboard

newwood2.jpg
Hardware for this build:

Original Floyd Rose tremolo

24mag-ofr17.jpg
Solid Tungsten sustain block for the bridge.

24mag-ofr18.jpg
These are the parts I mentioned above that were donated by Paul Eckert at Sweetwater.

Seymour Duncan pickups. Custom Custom trembucker for the bridge slot, and a Sentient 6-string for the neck.
Also a set of black D'Addario auto-trim locking tuning machines, and finally, a 4-pole, 5-way super switch

24magpupsmach.jpg

 

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Stack of templates for this build :-)

 

I designed this model in CAD, and then sent the CAD blueprints to a friend in Australia
with a CNC machine who cut the templates for me.

IMG_1382.jpg


Here is the wood.

 

The following two photos are all the lumber thats going into this build.

1. These are the mahogany boards that will form the body and neck, and on top is a
hunk of macassar ebony from which I will cut the fretboard.

sesh1-24mag17.jpg


2. This is a big honkin slab of flamed maple. I'll use a part of this slab for the guitar top.

IMG_1385.jpg


First things first. Cutting and milling the mahogany to usable sizes and dimensions.
First, ripping it down on my table saw.

sesh1-24mag18.jpg


Once ripped to the right widths, I use the jointer to make one face and one edge perfectly
flat, and make those faces perfectly 90 degrees to each other.

sesh1-24mag20.jpg

 


Then into the planer to take the thickness down and make them an even, consistent thickness
end to end.

sesh1-24mag21.jpg


So the neck will be a laminate of three boards. The first fret area of the neck is where its
the narrowest, so I take that width and divide by 3 to get the width of my center piece.
This makes sure that at its narrowest, the 3 pieces in the laminate are equal in width.
sesh1-24mag24.jpg


I use a scraper to knock off any ridges, bumps, or imperfections on the joining faces
and then wipe them down with acetone to take off any natural oils, dirt, or dust that
might interfere with a good joint.

sesh1-24mag25.jpg


Then I mix up a batch of Urea formaldehyde Glue, glue up the boards, and clamp them together.
sesh1-24mag26.jpg


The clamp time with the UF glue is long, but worth it. Its a permanent, super hard, glass-like bond.
Great for musical instruments because the brittle structure transmits vibration without deadening it.
Dont let the word brittle fool you, this is a permanent joint. If you smashed this with a sledge
hammer the wood would shatter before the glue joint failed. I leave it clamped for 24 hours, then clean
it up on the jointer.

sesh2-24mag17.jpg

 


A perfect, flat top. This is the surface on which the fretboard will sit, so it needs to be perfectly flat

sesh2-24mag20.jpg


In order for the cuts on the band saw to work out, the top needs to be perfectly square (90 degrees)
to the sides.

sesh2-24mag19.jpg

 

Both sides.

sesh2-24mag18.jpg

 

At this point I use my side profile template to draw the profile onto the neck blank side.

sesh2-24mag22.jpg


Make sure my bandsaw table to 90 degrees to the blade...

sesh2-24mag23.jpg

 

And then cut out the neck from the blank.
sesh2-24mag24.jpg


Ta dah. Looks funny. This will make more sense later on...
sesh2-24mag25.jpg


Or even right now once Ive drawn on it a bit. Neck and headstock layout.

sesh2-24mag26.jpg


I use carbon fiber rods to stiffen my neck even farther, so at this point I use my
router table to route channels for these rods
sesh2-24mag27.jpg


And one for the 2-way truss rods as well, right down the middle

sesh2-24mag28.jpg

 


You get the idea...

sesh2-24mag29.jpg


 

 

 

 

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I use a hack-saw to cut the rods off flush. There are certain faster ways, but I've found that cutting carbon
fiber will dull almost any cutting took almost instantly. I can afford a new hacksaw blade pretty easily.
A new bandsaw blade is another story...

sesh3-24mag17.jpg

 


Once cut I sand it down flush with the headstock.

sesh3-24mag18.jpg


Now you might be wondering where in that stack of boards you saw on the previous page one could find
the body of the guitar, which is certainly a lot wider than those narrow boards.

The construction method of this guitar is called "neck-through-body". This means that the neck isn't
bolted onto or glued into the body. Its <em>part</em> of the body and goes all the way through to the
other end. Many feel (myself included) that this is a superior design because the neck, nut, and
bridge of the guitar are all in the <em>same piece of wood</em>. With a traditional bolt-on or set neck,
there is a big joint in between the bridge and the neck since they are in two separate pieces of wood
that are bolted or glued together.

Neck-though design makes for a stiffer, more stable neck, that transmits vibrations more readily,
and therefore yields a guitar that is more resonant and with greater sustain.

 

So this skinny board shown below is the "body", as you'll see. First it gets the same flattening and
squaring treatment as the neck boards.

sesh3-24mag19.jpg


Then the "wings" are traced out. See where this is going?

sesh3-24mag22.jpg

 


The sides of the neck blank (and the mating faces of the wings) are trued and flatted to perfection using a hand plane...

sesh3-24mag23.jpg

 


To make the glue-up more manageable I cut off <em>most</em> of the excess wood from the neck at this point.

sesh3-24mag24.jpg

 


And then glue the wings onto the sides of the neck blank.

sesh3-24mag25.jpg

 


While that dries we can get to work on the top. I've cut a slab off that big piece of maple and now I'll "resaw"

and bookmatch it.sesh3-24mag26.jpg

 

 

To bookmatch I use a resaw blade and split the board lengthwise on the bandsaw

sesh3-24mag27.jpg


then open it up like a book giving us somewhat mirror images on each piece, although this is never perfect and
changes with any sanding. Close is good enough here :)

sesh3-24mag28.jpg

 

the "spine" end of the book is jointed, glued, and clamped...

sesh3-24mag29.jpg

 

Now, while that is drying I'll prepare the fretboard. Using the bandsaw and resaw blade again I take a
slice off the ebony board

sesh3-24mag31.jpg

 

I start out with a slice about 0.3" thick

sesh3-24mag32.jpg

 

 

flatten one edge and one face just like all the other boards,

sesh3-24mag33.jpg

 

 

Cut it to a consistent width end to end

sesh3-24mag34.jpg

 

 

Run it through the drum sander making both sides flat and smooth, and the thickness constant end to end.
I have it down to 0.26" at this point. We'll pause at this point and return to the body.

sesh3-24mag35.jpg

 

 

This is out of clamps now and can be roughly cut to shape...

sesh3-24mag36.jpg

 


Quick look at where we are on all parts at this point. Top bookmatched, body wings glued
to the neck and rough cut, fretboard blank prepped.
sesh3-24mag37.jpg


Now we'll rough cut out the top...

sesh4-24mag17.jpg


Get it nice and flat and reduce the thickness to where we want it. Started about 1" thick,
but I'll bring it down to about 0.85"

sesh4-24mag19.jpg


Starting to see that good looking flame top

sesh4-24mag20.jpg


Now we can get the body and neck down to nearly final dimensions. Here I have the neck
template attached to the neck and I'm preparing to route it on the router table...

sesh5-24mag17.jpg


then sand the body joints smooth

sesh5-24mag18.jpg


attach the body routing template to the bottom of the body

sesh5-24mag19.jpg


Flip it over and route it on the router table

sesh5-24mag20.jpg


Looking goodsesh5-24mag21.jpg


Next I prepare the top. Particularly where the top fits around the fretboard notch of the neck...

sesh5-24mag22.jpg


I have to make sure that not only do I have a goof fit at the neck, but the top of the mahogany
and the bottom of the maple must fit together perfectly. any ripples, bows, changes in shape or
curve will keep these pieces from gluing up well. This big, flat joint has to be perfect for
both sonic and visual reasons. a big glue layer in between will deaden sound and vibration, and
since the joint will be visible around the entire body of the guitar, and big fat glue line would
look terrible.

So with a combination of planing, scraping, and sanding I work on that joint until the top drops
on perfectly and sits flat everywhere.

sesh5-24mag23.jpg

 

then I mix up another batch of Urea Formaldehyde glue and cover the mahogany with it, drop on the top,
and then clamp the living shit out of it...

sesh5-24mag24.jpg


sesh5-24mag25.jpg


I use body shaped cauls on top and bottom to distribute the clamping pressure and also to avoid
denting the guitar with the clamps.

sesh5-24mag27.jpg

 

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You cant have too many clamps on here. I think I have 21 clamps on the body :)

Like the neck laminate, since I used the UF glue for this is needed to sit for a good 24 hours before unclamping it.

sesh6-24mag17.jpg

 


Once out of the clamps I can use the mahogany part of the body as the routing template to trim the
maple top to match the body.
sesh6-24mag18.jpg

 


I take a little at a time, rather than trying to route the whole thing in one pass.
Takes longer, but makes a much cleaner job.
sesh6-24mag19.jpg


Starting to resemble a guitar :)

sesh6-24mag20.jpg

 


So now we can get back to the fretboard a bit. First thing we need to do at this point is
to put the radius on the board. The radius is the curvature or the fretboard. They are rarely
flat, but rather, have a slight curve. Some like more curve, and some like less. I like a 12' radius.

What the radius refers to is, if you took that curve on the fretboard and followed it all
the way around until it formed a perfect circle, it wpul;d be 24" (2 feet) in diameter. Of course
the radius of a 24" circle is 12", the radius being the distance from the center of the circle to the outside edge.

So there are a few different methods for making the radius. Some sand it, some plane it.
I use a router jig I built myself.

sesh6-24mag23.jpg


I wont both explaining here how the jig works, but you can see here the radius on the board.
sesh6-24mag26.jpg

 


Next I use my table saw and another jig I made to slot the board
sesh6-24mag27.jpg

 


Perfect. 25.5" scale length.
sesh6-24mag28.jpg


Then I take my neck template again, and this time use it on the fretboard so that it matches up
perfectly with the neck.
sesh6-24mag29.jpg

 


Quick layout...sesh6-24mag31.jpg


Fun time. This is one of the several mother-of-pearl inlays I'm using for this guitar.
This one is a small phoenix that will go on the fretboard. This is how I do the inlay. I put the piece on the
fretboard and cut around the outside with a scalpel.

sesh6-24mag32.jpg


sesh6-24mag33.jpg


I then use my dremel to route out the pocket for the inlay to sit in
sesh6-24mag34.jpg


then I mix epoxy with the sanding dust from the fretboard to make it a matching color and glue it in...
sesh6-24mag35.jpg


Sand it smooth the next day...

sesh7-24mag17.jpg


I install the frets and I use my side dot template to drill holes for side dot markers

sesh7-24mag18.jpg


sesh7-24mag19.jpg

 


Next is arguable the most important part of the build aesthetically. the top carve. I created a set of
templates for routing concentric steps on the top that get me very roughly in the ballpark. All they
really do is help keep everything symmetrical balanced and smooth,.

sesh8-24mag17.jpg

 


The templates leave is with this
sesh8-24mag20.jpg

 


This is bunny that lives in my yard. I see him almost daily. He keeps an eye on me and doesnt appear
to be intimidated :)
sesh8-24mag21.jpg


Now I use my box jig to route the top to the exact final thickness, and also carve the pickup and neck
planes down.

sesh8-24mag17-1.jpg


You can see this took the top down in the area between the neck and the bridge.
sesh8-24mag19-1.jpg


Now I draw on where the pickups will go and some guidelines showing where the carve contours will be.

sesh9-24mag17.jpg


Then I hog out the pickup cavities on the drill press.

sesh9-24mag18.jpg


Finish them with a hand router, and templates.

sesh9-24mag19.jpg

 


From here I carve the rest by hand. Of course "by hand" means I use a angle grinder with a
grinding disk called a "Holey Galahad" I'm still using power tooks, but its done by eye and
hand. No templates, guides, or other helpers that can keep you from ruining the guitar.

 

These are the required pieces of equipment for this stage. Grinder and holey galahad on the right.
Ear protection (grinder is super loud), filter mask, eye protection

sesh12-24mag23.jpg


Here we go

sesh9-24mag20.jpg

 


Jumping from Galahad to a random orbital sander with an 80 grit disk to smooth it up,
followed by a 150, then 220 grit.

sesh9-24mag23.jpg

 

 

Taking a break now to clamp a veneer of ebony on the headstock.
sesh9-24mag24.jpg


I always like to sit the fretboard in place when taking pix, but its not actually attached yet.
sesh9-24mag25.jpg


sesh10-24mag18.jpg

 


Minor routing repair to the bridge pickup routing. theres no such thing as a flawless guitar build (for me, anyway)
sesh10-24mag17.jpg


Headstock out of clamps and routed to final shape.

sesh10-24mag19.jpg
sesh11-24mag17.jpg


NOW the fretboard gets glued on :)

sesh11-24mag17-1.jpg

 


Nice clean, tight joint. This bodes well :)

sesh11-24mag18.jpg

 

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Heres these guys again, Needed for the neck carve!

 

sesh12-24mag23.jpg
sesh12-24mag22.jpg
sesh12-24mag25.jpg
sesh12-24mag24.jpg

 

 

sesh12-24mag20.jpg
sesh12-24mag18.jpg
sesh12-24mag21.jpg
sesh12-24mag19.jpg
sesh12-24mag17.jpg

 

sesh14-24mag17.jpg
sesh14-24mag18.jpg

 

sesh15-24mag21.jpg
sesh15-24mag17.jpg
sesh15-24mag18.jpg
sesh15-24mag19.jpg
sesh15-24mag22.jpg

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Chris, I have no words. That's a father's worst nightmare. I would be undone.

Take as much time as this needs...to be right. 

(I can't see your last pics....but it appears you may have already done so).  Well your next post arrived whilst I was typing, so it's your next to last set of pics that are hiding....

SR

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I follow Scotts sentiment as a father of two boys. Speechless.

Incredibly clean build, Have you thought about your finish? Stain?I didn't see in your pics, but after you scribe around the fretboard inlay, rubbing chalk over it makes the lines pop really bright for routing.

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Hi Scott and Komodo,

 

thanks for the kind words. It's been a real rough 4+ months. Like I said, I didn't set foot in my shop for 3 months. I just didn't care about much anything at all.

the idea of a tribute got me moving again. I actually started it a month ago And currently I'm actually at the finishing stage. Pretty much buried myself in it so I'm just about done already. 

I shot the color coats on the top on July 4. My posts will catch up with the current status tomorrow

whats left is the big inlays on the back of the body, and then clear coats.

ill catch the thread up to date tomorrow. It's just time consuming and there's a lot of pix. I documented this one pretty well.

 

if it looks familiar, this is very similar to the other build thread I did this past winter called "22 Magnum" 

in that case the guitar was 22 frets, 25" scale length, 10" radius.

 

this one is 24 frets, 25.5" scale length, and a 12" radius. Also the body shape slightly different in that the upper horn is a bit longer and the lower cutaway a bit deeper. Ebony fretboard as opposed to rosewood. Different pickups.

 

Totally aside from the greater emotional content of this build, I like the changes and prefer this version to the 22 Magnum.

 

oh, and nice tip about the chalk. I'm going to put that into use immediately with the MOP Aries inlay for the back. I'm setting that into a circle of Ebony and lighting up those lines is a great plan. Thanks!

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2 hours ago, ScottR said:

Chris, I have no words. That's a father's worst nightmare. I would be undone.

Take as much time as this needs...to be right. 

(I can't see your last pics....but it appears you may have already done so).  Well your next post arrived whilst I was typing, so it's your next to last set of pics that are hiding....

SR

Hi Scott. Can you still not see all the pix? I couldn't at first, but refreshing showed them all. Maybe too many pix per post?

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NP. I tack the pieces down (I think I used Duco last time?), then use a sharp scribe to trace close as possible. You did an awesome job on yours!

chalkitup.jpg

outline.jpg

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and back to it..

 

A lot of this is self-explanatory. Hogging out wood for the control cavities using the drill press

sesh16-24mag17.jpg


Routing the cavity...

sesh16-24mag18.jpg


Routing the cover recess...

sesh16-24mag20.jpg


Cover recess for the spring cavity, and the control holes...

sesh16-24mag22.jpg


This bit here is a PITA :)

the 5-way super switch needs a much thinner area of wood so I had to hand route with a dremel and
chisels and nice flat spot for the switch. the wood is about 3/16"" thick there, so its strong enough

hole17.jpg


Drilling the hole for the output jack...

sesh16-24mag23.jpg

gorf17.jpg

gork21.jpg

gork22.jpg

gorf19.jpg


gorshk17.jpg


These shots are kind of comparisons with the plan, and how they turned out...

craphole2.jpg


Ph-fb-blank4-1.jpg

Fboard.png

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At this point I put all the hardware on it to make sure everything fit, and to see how it plays and sounds, and I gotta say I'm really happy with it.

With most guitars I've never played before, it takes me a little while to "connect" with it. I'm sure you know what I mean.

I connected with this one right away.


Stand17.jpg

Stand19.jpg

Stand18.jpg

cavz20.jpg

cavz21.jpg

cavz17.jpg

cavz18.jpg

cavz19.jpg

cavz22.jpg

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In the interest of full disclosure, while I do all of my own actual work inlaying the shell pieces,
I don't always hand cut all my own inlay pieces. The more complex stuff I have cut for me by other
companies that have CNC machinese. Its a thousand times faster, and the results are far nicer than
I could hope to achieve trying to cut them out with a jewelers saw by hand.

Simpler ones like this I do myself...

This is a simple tribal ram symbol meant to represent Chris zodiac sign, Aries. The larger one will be on the back.

I start out with some pearl blanks.


inlay-head16.jpg


This is a jewelers saw that I use to cut the pearl.

inlay-head16-1.jpg

 


I draw up the design in CAD and print it out. This is small so I put several on the same page in case
I screw one up (and I did, too) and need to cut another.

aires-hs-logo1.jpg


Cut out with a scalpel

aires-hs-logo2.jpg

 


I glue it right to the piece of pearl, and then cut it out with the saw.

Pretty much like sewing patterns are pinned to fabric and cut with scissors. Same exact idea, just
different materials.

cutp17.jpg
cutp18.jpg

 


The edges are then ground down to the lines and smoothed up mostly with small needle files. Some
spaces are just too small to get even tiny needle files into, so thin little strips of sand paper do the job.

inlay-head17.jpg

 


Then the paper "pattern" is sanded off and Voila!

cutp20.jpg

 

 

I put masking tape on the area I'll be doing the inlay and set the pieces where I want them

inlay-head18.jpg

 

 

Trace around them with a pencil

inlay-head19.jpg

 

 

Then score the lines with a scalpel.

inlay-head20.jpg

 

 

The only reason I use the masking tape is because pencil lines are nearly impossible to see on ebony

inlay-head21.jpg


The I route out the pockets using a dremel with a router base, and a really small router bit
with a 3/32" tip, and in some spots a good, old-fashioned hand chisel.

inlay-head21-1.jpg


Test fit...

inlay-head22.jpg


I mix up a small batch of clear epoxy, and then mix into it a bunch of fine sawdust I made by
sanding a hunk of the ebony, This colors the epoxy close to same color as the actual wood.

inlay-head23.jpg


Fill the pocket with the epoxy

inlay-head24.jpg


and push the pearl pieces down into the epoxy. The resin underneath the pieces squishes out
and up around the sides and fills any gaps.

inlay-head25.jpg


the next day once the epoxy is fully cured I sand the whole thing down until its flush with
the rest of the surface

aires-hs-logo3.jpg


The beauty of real shell inlay is that it catches, refracts, and reflects the light in almost
any setting so that it appears to glow even in low light.

The vastly inferior "pearloid" plastic inlays that many guitar manufacturers use to save money
and time just dont even come close to being as beautiful. In the luthery field we call that
stuff "mother-of-toilet-seat".

I'll take the real stuff any day as long as its responsibly harvested.

aires-hs-logo5.jpg

 

This design is kind of unusual in my experience. I'm normally <i>very</i> anal about symmetry.
Compulsive even. This design is obviously asymmetrical. Its an adaptation of a couple different
clipart designs I found on-line so while its technically original, its really not <em>truly</em>
original. I put them together, fiddled with it, and wound up with this.

The left horn is obviously split into two and the outer bit of it comes a good deal closer to the edge
of the headstock than the right horn, so not only is it asymmetrical, but its partly off-center in the
headstock even though the center of the symbol is on the centerline. Yet somehow this doesn't feel off
balance or off center to me. I looked at it for nearly 40 minutes before deciding to go ahead and cut
the pocket and put it in because intellectually I felt that it <i>should</i> feel wrong to me, but in
fact it didn't, so I went ahead and put it in and I'm really happy with the outcome

aires-hs-logo7.jpg
inlay-head26.jpg

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So this brings me up to where I am right now. To color the top I did the stain it
black and sand back to enhance the figure, and then dyed it directly with water based aniline dye.


blacky17.jpg

 

Sorry, I didn't get a shot of the top after sanding off the black....
reddish17.jpg
reddish18.jpg
reddish19.jpg

Next I shot a couple seal coats of thinned nitro, then the burst, then a couple coats of clear.

Ive shot a seal coat of clear on the back and neck as well. I dont want to do anything else until I've
done the large inlays on the back, and the truss rod cover as well.

The back and neck will be natural/clear. No tint other than the slight darkening caused by the lacquer and grain fill.

After all that is done it'll be about 4 more coats of clear, and then let it sit a few weeks.

So heres where we stand as of today (July 7)

Keep in mind theres orange peel here, and also they are low light shots taken with my phone. This will look a LOT nicer when the clear coats are on, its sanded and buffed, and the hardware is on :)

hyule17.jpg
hyule18.jpg
hyule19.jpg

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Wowwwwww!!! From raw to finished guitar in ten minutes of scrolling.  Reminds me of your last thread - I remember well the details saying to myself "so thats how you do that".  This time, I am saying "I want that plane".  

So sorry to hear about your deep loss.  I had to wrestle alot when my wife was diagnosed with Cancer, and found a tremendous compassion for those with true losses.  Two things - Its OK that you may never be OK, so don't try too hard to numb things away.  Second is that building is soooo therapeutic as you know, so keep it up.  

 

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16 hours ago, Skyjerk said:

Hi Scott. Can you still not see all the pix? I couldn't at first, but refreshing showed them all. Maybe too many pix per post?

Hey, Chris. Yes they are visible to me now. It was probably something on my end. 

Photobucket has turned stupid in the past week, and I wondered if that was affecting your pics. I don't know if you are using PB as a host, but many are...

Beautiful work btw.

SR

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26 minutes ago, StratsRdivine said:

Wowwwwww!!! From raw to finished guitar in ten minutes of scrolling.  Reminds me of your last thread - I remember well the details saying to myself "so thats how you do that".  This time, I am saying "I want that plane".  

So sorry to hear about your deep loss.  I had to wrestle alot when my wife was diagnosed with Cancer, and found a tremendous compassion for those with true losses.  Two things - Its OK that you may never be OK, so don't try too hard to numb things away.  Second is that building is soooo therapeutic as you know, so keep it up.  

 

Yup. Very similar to the 22 special so the steps are pretty close to the same. I wish I could build one in 10 minutes :)

Reality was the build part started a month ago and I had it  strung up and playing in 11 days. Fastest one to date. Spent about a week or so playing it and then stripped it down again to do the inlays and finishing.

Then spent another week or so organizing the photos on my own blog before putting the build thread up here on projectguitar.

Yeah I love that plane. The 5 1/2 jack plane is my go to plane. I took it on the chin and bought several Lie-Nielsen planes past year. I have some tools that are much larger and heavier, but none that cost more. They are awesome tools

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20 minutes ago, ScottR said:

Hey, Chris. Yes they are visible to me now. It was probably something on my end. 

Photobucket has turned stupid in the past week, and I wondered if that was affecting your pics. I don't know if you are using PB as a host, but many are...

Beautiful work btw.

SR

yeah a lot of people are unhappy with photobucket right about now. I actually host my own so thankfully I'm not suffering along with the rest of their users...

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3 hours ago, Skyjerk said:

The left horn is obviously split into two and the outer bit of it comes a good deal closer to the edge
of the headstock than the right horn, so not only is it asymmetrical, but its partly off-center in the
headstock even though the center of the symbol is on the centerline. Yet somehow this doesn't feel off
balance or off center to me. I looked at it for nearly 40 minutes before deciding to go ahead and cut
the pocket and put it in because intellectually I felt that it <i>should</i> feel wrong to me, but in
fact it didn't, so I went ahead and put it in and I'm really happy with the outcome

That is called visual balance, and is exactly the way you balance non symmetrical images. 

Looks great to me too.

SR

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Also I noticed your truss rod channel goes all the way to the end of your fretboard. Is that your normal method? My necks are long tenon and look very similar to yours...and that would certainly be an easier way to cut the channel.

SR

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17 minutes ago, ScottR said:

Also I noticed your truss rod channel goes all the way to the end of your fretboard. Is that your normal method? My necks are long tenon and look very similar to yours...and that would certainly be an easier way to cut the channel.

SR

Actually you caught a screw-up :)

I cut that channel in several passes, and it was actually only the first pass where I went all the way. I caught myself and after a moment or two of feeling stupid I finished the rest of the channel properly so it doesnt go farther than the end of the truss rod.  From the end of the truss rod back to the body is quite shallow. I thought about sticking a piece of wood in there to fill it but since it didnt really harm anything I just left it.

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29 minutes ago, ScottR said:

Call it mojo. Mojo is always good.

SR

Mojo it is :)

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forgot this pic. its my fav. dont mind all the orange peel..

I'm excited to see the finished product...

Gloof.png

 

 

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