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Hi! I've got a new project, I would like to try a guitar with a vibrato unit, I did that only once, a PRS-like guitar for my brothers 18th birthday in 2002. This might become 2 guitars, but that remains to be seen.

First, I pulled out a cherry board from the shed, which is over 33cm wide, so I can get 2 one-piece body blanks:

24188994958_37f580189f_z.jpg1 by Goran P, on Flickr

I roughly cut 2 pieces, trying to avoid cracks on the ends of the board:

26264893999_d9d6b475f5_z.jpg2 by Goran P, on Flickr

and then, a few minutes on the neighbor's thickness planer reveals fresh surface - again cherry :)

26264893239_ddc9db3e1b_z.jpg3 by Goran P, on Flickr

I've ordered some binding: 37332273314_36e55dd80e_z.jpg4 by Goran P, on Flickr

This is the template I've used then - it's not a exact PRS shape, the bout is narrower, but the length is same I think. I usually don't shape the body outline with a router, fearing tearout (and the router itself ;) ), but since it's has a vibrato unit, this is already out of my comfort zone...

24363286478_235935f1d2_z.jpg5 by Goran P, on Flickr

This is the unit I've ordered:

24363286048_c86217b296_z.jpg6 by Goran P, on Flickr

 

Routed the shape after cutting roughly, and had 2 issues - the router bit into the template at 5 o'clock, and a big tearout at the tip of the horn. I can sand out the first, and hope to be able to carve out the second, perhaps with some minor surgery...

37504958804_6350a755f1_z.jpg7 by Goran P, on Flickr

24363284988_967e3feb85_z.jpg8 by Goran P, on Flickr

Freehand routed the ledge (15mm height difference) and a rough carving line, just to get rid of some bulk.

26530251429_92da7815a3_z.jpg9 by Goran P, on Flickr

Started planing the top angle. around 2 degrees. It starts behind the bridge, so it's basically zero angle, angled neck guitar :)

26530252069_8110a49b9d_z.jpg10 by Goran P, on Flickr

26530251759_31bb8dbf2b_z.jpg11 by Goran P, on Flickr

26530251239_3d0f49fd92_z.jpg12 by Goran P, on Flickr

26607074019_90904dcafc_b.jpg13 by Goran P, on Flickr

 

 

Edited by gpcustomguitars

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Some of the tearout dissapeared with planing (BTW can't plane really, decided to learn as of now). Took apart my No.5, sharpened it and played with the controls a while - it works better now, and takes a lot less space than my router contraptions :)

38382727481_819a186ab6_b.jpg14 by Goran P, on Flickr

14-IMG_20171111_151428 by Goran P, on Flickr

38327686606_23a38fe97c_b.jpg15 by Goran P, on Flickr

Starting the carve, round chisel for now:

37668215974_8a62842e81_b.jpg17 by Goran P, on Flickr

38327685846_0cf565bcb9_b.jpg18 by Goran P, on Flickr

38327685606_65e0fafb08_b.jpg19 by Goran P, on Flickr

37668215344_3a3898e1db_b.jpg20 by Goran P, on Flickr

38382726521_356d20539f_b.jpg21 by Goran P, on Flickr

38327685336_b49eaf8a1c_b.jpg22 by Goran P, on Flickr

Pilot hole for the pilot hole for vibrato marked :)

38382726281_d7dd45de7b_b.jpg23 by Goran P, on Flickr

I've stopped at about 1/2 of the lower bout because of the difference in the carve shape:

37668214914_a87ec3fe96_b.jpg24 by Goran P, on Flickr

 

 

Edited by gpcustomguitars

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The tearout reduced some more:

38327684396_1cf855adb5_k.jpg26 by Goran P, on Flickr

Started the bottom of the carve with the scraper, some smoothing and a start of the recurve:

26607070419_e00768acbf_z.jpg28 by Goran P, on Flickr

38327668376_355febf595_z.jpg29 by Goran P, on Flickr

26607069909_c8ece3a9ca_z.jpg30 by Goran P, on Flickr

Fingers started to complain after a while, so I switched to the back to rough in a tummy cut with the sureform.

38382725671_7630b7897d_z.jpg31 by Goran P, on Flickr

Cleaning up revealed one feathery crack, I'll have to either insert some glue in there before proceeding, or break it off cleanly completely and glue it back.

38327668036_dcc710452c_z.jpg32 by Goran P, on Flickr

And that's where I am at the moment! I've also ordered 2 truss rods, and I have a few 3-piece cherry neck blanks I could use. I'll probably use mu LP tenon template for this. Binding (to be routed after finalizing the body shape) should cover the tearout some more, so I'll try to perhaps fit in a small piece if cherry if I don't succeed in carving it out completely.

Scale for this one will probably be 25', I might modify the electronics cavity because of the jack socket. I would like to change the claw for the springs to homemade brass block, perhaps it would add something. Making it would certainly be fun :)

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ScottR    1,355

Man after my own heart! This is looking good, and i don't see why you can't carve that horn chip completely away.

SR

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Thanks for the kind words!!! I might have just a little bit of wood missing under the binding line, and that could be a problem, but I still hope to carve most if not all of it away.

 

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Andyjr1515    528

Yes - looking good.  I'm completely with you in striving to avoid routers wherever possible.  I'll use one to trim a glued on back, but the tops I do by hand nowadays.

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Thanks! I find that I like using hand tools more and more. I have both a router sled and my pin router thing, but they're bulky, and chips fly all over the place. I did the outline with the router 2 times so far, this is one, and the other was my friend's tele a few years ago, but I used overhead router then, and that is very different compared to hand held. I'm considering making a router table, but it somehow seems scary... My preferred method so far is to cut out the shape closely, and shape it on the stationary disc sander and a sanding drum on a pillar drill.

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I had some limited lime in the shop yesterday, so I focused mainly on the tip of the horn. Some chiseling first to bring it all down to the same line, scraping to the line and finally, orbital sander to refine the new body outline. I think I didn't alter it too much, but the tearout is getting smaller. Binding should cover the remaining hole a little. I might scrape it some more, but I think that's about it. I might try to splice a tiny sliver of wood in there to close the gap...we'll see.  Any ideas?

24582111358_625edb6400_z.jpg33 by Goran P, on Flickr

37566891775_2b0ee659cc_z.jpg34 by Goran P, on Flickr

38421469142_0698066072_z.jpg35 by Goran P, on Flickr

 

 

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ScottR    1,355
5 hours ago, gpcustomguitars said:

Any ideas?

If it were me, I'd just shorten that horn enough that the binding channel covered the rest of the chip. You are only talking a few mms, and with a little blending, you'll never know the difference.

SR

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sdshirtman    110

You can shorten the horn as Scott said or you can graft a piece of wood in there. If you put a dark burst around it you'll never see it. 

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Thanks!

I tried shortening the horn up to the point that only 1.5mm of the damage remains, as my binding (yet to arrive) is at least that thick. Sanded out the lower bout tearout too, that went OK. The body is 43mm at the thickest point, but seems thinner now. Remaining time in the shop was spent on some more scraping, cleaned the lower cutout and horn, and almost finished bottom carve. Scrapers are great!!! :)

I'll fine sand the body outline next, and make a simple router stand for cutting binding channel. I forgot to do that first, but that jig will certainly be nice to have in the shop.

Not in the pics, I dragged a cherry plank in the shop to see whether it has 2 necks hidden in it :) I might go with the long tenon, so my LP blank necks would be too short.

 

37609250935_87993a77c0_b.jpg1-IMG_20171117_184328 by Goran P, on Flickr

37609251025_662bda61de_b.jpg2-IMG_20171117_184336 by Goran P, on Flickr

38440234706_5f59d6ffb9_b.jpg3-IMG_20171117_191257 by Goran P, on Flickr

37609251075_9538d8e427_b.jpg4-IMG_20171117_200656 by Goran P, on Flickr

38496000311_951bd662a5_b.jpg5-IMG_20171117_202444 by Goran P, on Flickr

38440234856_b609068733_b.jpg6-IMG_20171117_202452 by Goran P, on Flickr

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:blush note to self - when changing standard templates, double check routing depths........matched the grain well I think, we'll see. I could repeat the textured gold top thing I did on Yamaha if it's too visible. Still some routing to do in the cavity once this has been taken care of.

On the brighter side, broke off the feathery crack cleanly, and reglued.

 

37651091535_7fee3ae822_z.jpg36 by Goran P, on Flickr

Edited by gpcustomguitars
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Well, it's no disaster, but it's not invisible. I'm closer to hiding it with gold top, as I think this one will not be bursted. I could use my gold paint, but I've been looking into the Inka Gold paste, seems simple to use. Should get some and test on scrap, it's supposed to be polish-able to high shine. Anyone tried this? Some more routing to follow in the electronics cavity, followed by the trem routing.

The MOP binding arrived yesterday, and looks real good :) I also got the truss rods, so I'm starting the first neck. I'll cut a portion of this board and plane it, let it probably distort a little (cherry does that a lot) and re-plane after a while. I can prepare the fretboard in the meanwhile.

38538429556_124e5c1262_z.jpg37 by Goran P, on Flickr

38562686692_2c8538ec2f_z.jpg38 by Goran P, on Flickr

38562686222_02cfe9186d_z.jpg39 by Goran P, on Flickr

37878354194_b73318827d_z.jpg40 by Goran P, on Flickr

38562685742_efeb252549_z.jpg41 by Goran P, on Flickr

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Ripped the board and got 3 usable pieces for necks. Also got a piece to test the gold paste I got in the hobby store, Marabu Acryl Gold. It seems to be a water-based acrylic wood filler really, applied it with a cotton rag, this is what I got from one coat on a rough sanded cherry with some cracks. I'll sand and reapply tomorrow.

26828170549_97347b9b20_b.jpg42 by Goran P, on Flickr

24732628298_f68e413861_z.jpg43 by Goran P, on Flickr

26828170369_feaf0022e3_b.jpg44 by Goran P, on Flickr

 

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curtisa    465

Interesting effect, I like it. It almost looks like what you'd get if you could apply gold anodising to wood instead of aluminium.

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That would be great, a hint of green would also be interesting! Can't spray with anything but the rattle-cans for now though...

They have a nice palette of colors, some for different effects, I'll definitely experiment on scrap some more. I guess it would be a good idea to sort of do a primer coat with regular wood filler to prep the surface first, but so far so good. The MOP binding arrived, I think this will look nice with walnut stain on cherry for the neck and the back of the body :)

Ripped and roughly planed neck blanks were trued on the thicknesser, again with my neighbor's help, and I'll start the scarf joint next.

38561284836_9265b7d6de_z.jpg42 by Goran P, on Flickr

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Just cut the scarf, first scored with the rigid saw, and continued with japanese saw. I'll probably route it to final thickness once it's glued, taking into account I'll add a face plate. Options are: walnut, cherry and acero parana. Acero might win as it's already resawn and sanded to 2mm, and I want to ebonize the plate in any case. I hope to sand/glue the scarf tomorrow and route for the TR on sunday. Headstock shape will be similar to my recently finished bass, but the tuner positions should remain unchanged.

38566374846_6b9daf7485_b.jpg45 by Goran P, on Flickr

38566375016_ac58e277cd_b.jpg46 by Goran P, on Flickr

38622999381_924c5879c3_b.jpg47 by Goran P, on Flickr

38622999621_aacfd3e9bb_b.jpg48 by Goran P, on Flickr

38566375256_38e89f6b2b_b.jpg49 by Goran P, on Flickr

38566375366_7cef17595e_b.jpg50 by Goran P, on Flickr

38566375486_3754aec804_b.jpg51 by Goran P, on Flickr

 

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Some more progress - sanded the scarf and glued, waited half an hour and removed it from the table. Also, practiced planing on a leftover piece of cherry from the bass wings, about 10mm thick now. It turned out I can easily get 2 25' fretboards out of it. I'll still have them planed to 6mm in the thickness planer on monday.

I could true up the headstock face plane tomorrow and route the TR channel and start on the binding. I think I'll go with the acero parana for the face plate.

24767481488_ede81348f1_b.jpg52 by Goran P, on Flickr

26864011979_73a06ac71b_b.jpg53 by Goran P, on Flickr

26864012029_a5b44a5b02_b.jpg54 by Goran P, on Flickr

26864011869_5159607554_b.jpg55 by Goran P, on Flickr

 

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pan_kara    151

hah nice finish with that gold indeed, I wonder where you can take this. Mayones do something that they call "vintage gold" or "vintage silver", seems to be having a similar vibe.

I also managed to almost rout through the control cavity like that once, realized early enough but also had to glue some wood in, as it was getting too thin.. but with an opaque finish you should be covered.

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Thanks, I'll definitely experiment more! I was also looking into Viva Decor Inca Gold, which seems to be a wax paste, also applied by rubbing and polishable when dry, but this seems to be more compatible with other types of clear coats. Dries almost instantly. I'm playing with this because I'm looking for small-shop-friendly finishes, preferably applied by hand, not spraying.

Their aged gold seems to be somewhat distressed gold over a darker base?

Re: Routing accident, I completely failed to notice that the changed electronics cavity template will enter the recurve zone. Appropriate language followed, and then digging trough the body offcuts to find something even remotely resembling the routed wood lines and scraping it to fit nicely... The other PRS body will be standard size, about 2cm wider at the bout, so the same template wouldn't be able to do the same to it, but I had some spare time for the shop, and just went ahead...hopefully binding ledge won't create any new problems.

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pan_kara    151
4 minutes ago, gpcustomguitars said:

I'm playing with this because I'm looking for small-shop-friendly finishes, preferably applied by hand, not spraying.

I hear you. Any time I can get away with not having to spray is good for me

5 minutes ago, gpcustomguitars said:

Their aged gold seems to be somewhat distressed gold over a darker base?

yes, that is a bit different sure, from what I remember also less wood texture comes through. So yours has a different twist to it

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Got about an hour yesterday to spend in the shop, just enough to route the channel for the truss rod. Before gluing on the fingerboard, I'll add a filler piece for the adjuster nut. It might not be needed, but I think it's a nice touch.

Regarding texture, I did test on a rough piece, and applied one coat so far, so it might be more uniform or even completely solid on the actual guitar, but we'll see.

First, the full channel, 6,35 x 9mm

37977895614_427cb684cc_z.jpg53 by Goran P, on Flickr

Adjuster nut area, 10.5 x 8.5mm and 11 x 10mm

24822914448_2ef5d30f00_z.jpg54 by Goran P, on Flickr

and it fits snugly :)

24822914068_db5c6e80aa_z.jpg55 by Goran P, on Flickr

Should start the fretboards now!

 

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A small change to the headstock, should look like this:

26942712399_b7f4491fe4_z.jpg56 by Goran P, on Flickr

and the headstock plate, 2mm acero parana. I've cut it out (not in the pics) with a coping saw, but first scored along the line with a sharp marking knife. Lessens the chance of the saw wandering from the line. Will glue it on this evening, and can cut the fret slots while it's in the clamps:

38000981794_b18358fca3_z.jpg57 by Goran P, on Flickr

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