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Some pics of yesterday's progress - glued the headstock faceplate on, made a custom piece to press it on from scrap, four rivets used as positioning pins. Easy to pull out and cheap.

Decided against the thickness planer and made a small shooting board of sorts for the router and routed the fretboard to 7mm. Removed the routing marks with a plane :party clamped a ruler to the center line and marked the fret positions. Used an angle and the marking knife to score the lines, lightly cut with the fret saw, and planed the fretboard to final size (43-56):party Making progress I think, a pic of the shaving also included :), then re-cut with fret saw. I've used a piece of binding glued to the saw to act as a depth stop, 2,5mm, that worked fine, but I'll have to redo the cuts after radiusing.

Not in the pics, I made crude holder for cutting the binding ledge, but have yet to test it, preferably not on the actual guitar. :)

I still have no idea what pickups to use on this....

23895143127_1daf23b17b_z.jpg58 by Goran P, on Flickr

23895144107_d476b81e15_z.jpg59 by Goran P, on Flickr

24886812198_304f389806_z.jpg60 by Goran P, on Flickr

24886811918_2d6bf9fa53_z.jpg61 by Goran P, on Flickr

24886811738_1f4a82cfe1_z.jpg62 by Goran P, on Flickr

24886811328_6b80b2e7cd_z.jpg63 by Goran P, on Flickr

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We've had the first snow of the season this weekend, but I still managed to make some small progress. Rough cut the headstock to thickness with some material to spare, rough cut the neck taper and glued the fretboard on. It's probably an overkill, but I like to glue a small filler piece over the adjuster nut, I just don't like the feeling of fretboard having a hollow spot that close to the nut.

I opted not to plane the face plate flush with the neck fretboard surface, instead I used a file to get the edge to 90 degress , so it holds the nut. A piece of wax paper is protecting the adjuster nut from the excess glue.

24953148118_2af9de8e1a_z.jpg64 by Goran P, on Flickr

24953148508_a57c9435b7_z.jpg65 by Goran P, on Flickr

24953147808_5c784fd7d6_z.jpg66 by Goran P, on Flickr

38109555814_b955292980_z.jpg67 by Goran P, on Flickr

24953148248_85b51e2c60_z.jpg68 by Goran P, on Flickr

38794784922_3b0d735755_z.jpg69 by Goran P, on Flickr

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The snow is gone, but the cold remains...should ask Santa for a heater for the shop... Anyway, between the work and driving my son to basketball I trimmed the neck taper and set the neck thickness at 15mm (+fretboard of course) at the 1st and 16.5mm at 12th fret. Marked the volute and the heel, and started cutting the volute with a chisel. The tenon part of the neck is not trimmed, I should perhaps make a template for that, as it's sides are parallel (56mm wide). Need to plane down the fretboard 1mm too and start the radius.

Ordered the pearloid dots, and experimenting with ways of ebonising the fretboard. For the headstock inlay, I bought some liquid pearl material, will test it first. Could come in handy for a signature or thin lines.

My bridge arrived yesterday, looks pretty good, will post some pics, but it's block seems too light. I could perhaps machine a brass one or have one made. I already wanted to make a brass block claw for it anyway.

38857833552_2c79fcfd06_z.jpg70 by Goran P, on Flickr

27111539029_26c353f8ea_z.jpg71 by Goran P, on Flickr

38857833212_3545c444c2_z.jpg72 by Goran P, on Flickr

38857832932_d70186c338_z.jpg73 by Goran P, on Flickr

 

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Continued with shaping the headstock, first cut the outline with coping saw, refined with a file, and finalized with a scraper. Then chiseled both slopes of the future volute and refined with a file and scraper. A tiny bit of volute shaping done, and marked both the final thickness of the headstock and the scoop shape and max depth. All in all, nicely spent one hour. The scoop and the planing down the fretboard to thickness is next.

25027453388_d28083e674_b.jpg74 by Goran P, on Flickr

38898894471_1af39e464f_b.jpg75 by Goran P, on Flickr

25027453498_ec0b2f3e3e_b.jpg76 by Goran P, on Flickr

38012426595_628b569182_b.jpg77 by Goran P, on Flickr

38012427285_9fa6c876cc_b.jpg78 by Goran P, on Flickr

38012427825_71cea1988c_b.jpg79 by Goran P, on Flickr

 

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I always love watching your builds come together. You often start out with some of the rawest of raw materials, coax them into shape with a penknife and a screwdriver....well maybe a few more tools but not many, manufacture a few parts and pieces of hardware from old coke bottles or whatever else you could find and end up turning them into really fine looking instruments.

I may be exaggerating just a tiny bit:D, but not about what a joy it is to watch you work.

SR

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Thanks a lot! It's easier to describe what I'm doing in the shop than to properly react to such kind words, but they are much appreciated! :)

I used to use more heavy tools in the old shop, bandsaw, pin router and the stationary disc sander, but the Yamaha and the BillyBo builds were sort of a turning point. Now it's more about the freedom, hand drawing, including materials not commonly used, different hardware etc and it's so much fun!

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The little scoop is done, roughed in with the big rattail, fine details with the smaller one. My new toy arrived in the mail! Used the mini plane right away to plane down the back of the headstock to thickness, went over with a file to make sure it's flat, and scraped. I thought to make a sled for the router for this job, but this was really quick and simple!

38935433291_5d1c16c9ee_b.jpg80 by Goran P, on Flickr

38935432851_ef37f9e147_b.jpg81 by Goran P, on Flickr

38935433111_cc8a25cc6b_b.jpg82 by Goran P, on Flickr

38935433171_999563c973_b.jpg83 by Goran P, on Flickr

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Managed to plane down the fretboard to 6mm, sawed off the excess thickness of the neck (should've routed it off, but wanted to save that little piece of wood) and planed it clean and flat with my new mini plane. Used the chisel to remove the bulk of excess at the heel, routed the tenon part of the neck to width. Finally, radiused the fretboard and re-cut the fret slots.

I've tested 2 different black dyes so far, and neither is what I want, so I got a bottle of waterbased black dye today to try tomorrow. I want to blacken the headstock and faceplate sides, and the fretboard. After that it's time for dots or strips of MOP, I have both so I'll do a mockup and decide. What worries me a bit is the possibility of leak of black into the neck wood, but I'll mask heavily and go really light.

All in all, a good day!

38227236884_d53fe36e83_z.jpg84 by Goran P, on Flickr

38227236634_680f2401a5_b.jpg85 by Goran P, on Flickr

24078189897_e037e1bef8_b.jpg86 by Goran P, on Flickr

38943495361_920fbba772_z.jpg87 by Goran P, on Flickr

38227236434_4efbe01ef7_z.jpg88 by Goran P, on Flickr

38943495641_5966770ef9_z.jpg89 by Goran P, on Flickr

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I have achieved good results by "ebonizing" wood.  Basically, you dissolve steel wool in a jar of vinegar over five days or so, strain out the liquid and apply it to the wood.  After a minute or so, the wood will blacken.  I have done this to walnut, and the wood as black as ebony.  Different woods may not darken as much as walnut however.

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The body part of the work should be OK, I will have regular binding on, and I got a water-based dye, I'm worried about the headstock plate and the fingerboard bleeding onto the wood under it. I could staing the neck first, then sealing and then masking and staining the fretboard and the headplate.

Thanks FINEFUZZ, I have heard of the vinegar&steel wool but have never tried it, will give it a try! It's supposed to work really well with tanin-rich woods like cherry?

Since my dye is water-based, I was thinking to try spraying it on, with airbrush or even a plastic spray bottle, to minimize leaks. I could apply 3-4 light coats, or as much as necessary.

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I think the tannin is what gets activated when you apply the mixture.  I sprayed some samples with a spray bottle and the overspray blackened the pine workbench as well.  The wood seems to absorb the vinegar mix really well, so just like dye, bleeding is definitely something that can happen if over applied.

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Thanks, I'll mix a batch when it gets warmer. In the meanwhile, I tested the waterbased dye on a piece of headstock offcuts and it seems OK. The paper says to apply 2 coats, so I'll repeat after installing the dots, but I did the fretboard and it looks promising. Also, started the MOP logo. I almost always use the vice to cut inlays now, it prevents breaks and is much more comfortable to hold. Works great for a few simple things I do.

I'll try to route/glue in the logo today, not enough time yesterday, and then I'll stain the headstock too.

39025209601_56d954f2d2_z.jpg90 by Goran P, on Flickr

39025208411_da522411f8_z.jpg91 by Goran P, on Flickr

38988727792_262c938819_z.jpg92 by Goran P, on Flickr

39025209201_14dc36f531_z.jpg93 by Goran P, on Flickr

38988727642_4d85926bee_z.jpg94 by Goran P, on Flickr

39025208691_53541ee52a_z.jpg95 by Goran P, on Flickr

38309302014_30b39e392b_z.jpg96 by Goran P, on Flickr

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Not much to show, finished logo inlay, need to clean up the details later, and first coat of black. Applied the second coat on the fretboard, grain raised, so I'll reapply if needed after sanding. I'll try staining the fretboard before gluing next time, that might be better...

24204981027_2f13013054_z.jpg97 by Goran P, on Flickr

 

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the stain on the fret board looks really good. Are you going to seal it with some protective finish to keep the strings from digging thru the color and exposing the lighter wood beneath? 

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Thanks! Yes, I would like to apply max 2 coats of tru oil, even if this stuff is supposed to be penetrating the wood a few mm's, but it should look really nice. The rest of the guitar will probably be sprayed, if I manage, if not, tru oil :) I'll stain it mahogany brown, same line of stains. Should look nice with MOP binding and rubbed goldtop.

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A little more photos today! Managed to route the binding ledge with mu real-ugly-contraption that actually works, will take a pic later. Main problem (or fun) were the horns, I wanted to follow the line and taper the binding so it sort of tapers out, so I used the marking knife and a small carving chisel. Used CA to glue the binding, and a hairdryer to bend a few sharp bends. I got nervous that it will be too thin when scraped, but after scraping it still looks as intended :) My fingers didn't appreciate the CA choice though...

Drilled and glued the side dots, and decided to use remaining 29cm of binding to make inlays, just tiny strips. Taped the fretboard parts to be routed and drawn a rough estimate to see what it would look like, and whether I could fit it in remaining binding.

I left the neck blank long enough to have the bridge pivot almost on it, but I'm having second thoughts, seems like a lot of wood to remove from the body (56x24x185mm). I could have the tenon run up to the bridge pup?

25238400598_6ffd726565_z.jpg98 by Goran P, on Flickr

24243808667_65a7a27279_b.jpg99 by Goran P, on Flickr

25238400948_f2d9d74c3b_b.jpg100 by Goran P, on Flickr

25238401698_b79f30bec5_b.jpg101 by Goran P, on Flickr

25238401208_e6d09582f3_b.jpg102 by Goran P, on Flickr

24243809037_d752de21fa_z.jpg103 by Goran P, on Flickr

38394577004_2d2dda38f6_b.jpg104 by Goran P, on Flickr

38394577264_8878e9138c_b.jpg105 by Goran P, on Flickr

24243809207_754ce331ac_b.jpg106 by Goran P, on Flickr

25238401858_3210d3dd95_b.jpg107 by Goran P, on Flickr

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On 12/17/2017 at 3:56 AM, gpcustomguitars said:

I could have the tenon run up to the bridge pup?

I do that on all of mine......on purpose even.:)

Fine chisel work on display here too!

SR

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Thanks Scott!!! I'll have to think on how will my top finish react to seams it will leave. I could have used the remaining binding to inlay over the glue lines, but I've just spent it on neck markers.

Cut with the chisel with printout for guide, went pretty nice. I even have a few scraps left :) I should inlay it next and start fretting.

 

25307537388_431529a95b_z.jpg108 by Goran P, on Flickr

25307537228_fe6d1f0b77_z.jpg109 by Goran P, on Flickr

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I found the time to get fully up to date with this build - it is coming on really well :)

Somehow I had missed the router cut-through in the control chamber - a masterful save demonstrated there!  I get so close to similar slips so many times that seeing someone doing such a skillful and invisible mend gives me hope of not always having to put my failed efforts on the BBQ :rolleyes:

It's also why, like yourself Goran, I have started making concerted efforts to hone my planing, scraping and chiselling sharpening and using skills to reduce the times I use a router.  It would be interesting to tot up what proportion of gaffes and disasters are router-related. In my case, it is well over 50% - and I only use a router for at tops 10% of the wood cutting and shaping ops....

I very much look forward to seeing this in its finished form - I think it's going to be top-drawer :)

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Thanks a lot!!!

I used a scaled down template for the body with a enlarged template for the cavity, and completely forgot to check whether it gets too close to the slope of the top. You are too kind, the repair is visible, but it will be completely hidden. The piece already had a few spots so I can live with it :) I had a panic attack when it happened and started digging for a appropriate piece the same second :D, found it and started scraping to make it conform to the cavity shape. Didn't stop until it was glued in <_<

I started learning to sharpen chisels some years ago, can't say it's perfect yet, but they are nice and sharp. I've disassembled my Stanley, sharpened it to the best of my knowledge and youtube wisdom :) and started to fiddle with controlling the depth of the cut, holding the plane etc, and now that I have some predictable results, I'm really starting to like it.

I'm still just dulling my scrapers from the factory sharpness point, there is some contradictions on info to be found on the net, so any advice would be much appreciated!

I've since rubbed in one coat of tru oil, chamfered the slots and started fretting. Hoping to rough shape the neck soon.

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39276249852_40db365811_z.jpg113 by Goran P, on Flickr

Finished the frets, sides were trimmed, angled to about 60deg, and started to shape the 1st fret profile and the transition to headstock. I'll take my time with this, no hurry, hope to get a nice comfy neck, a bit thinner on the treble side to get a played in feel. I made one silly mistake, which will remain as a feature :), placing the side dot on the 23rd. Added the 24th, and thought of drilling out the dot and filling with a cherry toothpick :), but I kinda like it for now. Almost put the inlay on the 23rd too, but a friend pointed it out.

Weirdly warm weather, the nature will not like it I'm sure, but I can work in the shop without heating for now...

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Second part of shaping the neck, roughed in the 1st, 12th and the heel, and removed most of the bulk. I'm done with the spokeshave I think, scraper is next. I'll make a sanding board to ensure evenness  of the neck, with rounded sides and length roughly like the area between the volute and the heel.

 

25479260758_e2ffd41bc7_z.jpg114 by Goran P, on Flickr

38640551844_d2f73efaab_z.jpg115 by Goran P, on Flickr

24484221597_c7db255d06_z.jpg116 by Goran P, on Flickr

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HI just ran through your build progressing and see lots of good instruction here. I to am planning a PRS like build so this was a joy to see. I'm still a novice with 2 builds under my belt. I particularly like see how you did the body carve as well as the neck. neck building gives my extreme anxiety, especially set in necks. but you pulled it out in fine fashion. I'll continue checking your updates and look forward to the end result.

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