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As I mentioned in my first thread on this forum, my next project is a travel guitar. I travel a lot for work and the Traveler that I bought just doesn't cover my needs anymore. I want to have a neck pickup, a Floyd Rose and I want it to have the ability stay in tune for more than 5 minutes (3 things the Traveler doesn't do). 

I've started with this photoshop rendering of my design.

 5a616c110f59b_travelguitarTM.thumb.jpg.683b0803644b79f9e3f6186d688bf8cf.jpg

My Traveler fits in the overhead bins in aircraft with no problem. This design is only 4 or 5 inches longer than the Traveler so I think it will be small enough to go everywhere with me like the Traveler has for the past year or so.

One feature I'm on the fence about is a slide out waist bout. I'm not sure if it will be worth the extra work. If I do it, I will use a 3/8" aluminum rod and a lid stay mounted on the back to lock it in the extended position.

5a616c3bb642a_travelguitarPM.thumb.jpg.2da47c49856e7aa03cd05e4ea4b65af2.jpg  

 

Here are most of the materials for this build:

Flamed maple neck, ambrosia maple fingerboard, flamed maple top and white limba body. Right now I have a couple of cheap spare pickups to get things going, but I will swap those out later.

IMG_2719.thumb.jpg.010b394c2ed0ce37017ea199051d11b6.jpg 

 

Here is drawing that I used to make the MDF templates. I increased the size of the lower bout and rounded it, but this shouldn't affect the portability much.IMG_2726.thumb.jpg.26da4315e51f211e50a69b74d35406c8.jpg

 

 

Here are the competed templates. I started cutting wood today. More pics to come...

IMG_2729.thumb.jpg.dfba71fbaf75749f0008edb73e0b99b2.jpg

 

 

Edited by CDH

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Interesting tuner arrangement. I like the sliding bout but would suggest two rods for stability.

SR

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12 hours ago, ScottR said:

Interesting tuner arrangement. I like the sliding bout but would suggest two rods for stability.

SR

I originally had 2 rods in the design, but the spring cavity is taking up prime real estate for a second rod. I figured the lid stay might offer enough added stability. If I decide to actually do the sliding bout, I will first prototype with some scrap wood to see how things work out.

I got some work done today, but first some elaboration on the tuners.

I want to have tuners that will keep a low profile. The guitar will be in a soft case and I don't want tuners sticking out and getting bent and broken in overhead bins. I bought a headless guitar tuner bridge from China. I removed the tuners and will mount them as shown below.

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These aren't the greatest tuners in the world, but they just need to get the guitar in tune enough to lock the nut and then use the Floyd Rose fine tuners.

 

Yesterday I prepped the white limba lumber for making the body blank. Here I'm using my router as a jointer

IMG_2765.thumb.jpg.9645883f371a84ff155eca0f63dbb784.jpg

 

Ready for gluing, but it was 45 degrees in the garage yesterday so I had to wait for the warmer temps today to glue.IMG_2766.thumb.jpg.ffc78610ad1a4c29392275ffdc067bd2.jpg

 

 

So, today I got the body blank glued and clamped...

IMG_2772.thumb.jpg.6a6ceeb17b1a1e844bfe7212ee655b1a.jpg

 

The neck blank will be able to produce 2 necks. Bonus!

IMG_2767.thumb.jpg.0c6119705e3ab170eb7a7ffe412b0096.jpg

 

Routing the truss rod channel.

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Routing the radius in the fingerboard.

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10" - 16" compound radius.

IMG_2775.thumb.jpg.431a3489f2d20f774cacc9c0bd258ab2.jpgIMG_2777.thumb.jpg.2645a5c53b1ca42dbdb97e5552162df2.jpg

 

 

To cut the fret slots I tape the blank to the back of a pre-slotted fretboard from Stewmac. 

IMG_2779.thumb.jpg.0a3293e55c2ae415bbc1a3daacae72ce.jpgIMG_2780.thumb.jpg.ce18e52e23949646f62c554c7b1e6b14.jpg

 

The Stewmac fretboard acts as a template and the slots lock into a blade mounted in the bottom of the slotting jig.

IMG_2781.thumb.jpg.c32b8977131d2cfd5d79a0da53f44896.jpg

 

I just slide the two boards from slot to slot and cut away.

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After the slots are cut shallow with the jig, I finish them free hand with the blade depth guide to keep a uniform slot depth across the radius.

IMG_2785.thumb.jpg.ae0b44d40de13cb56dd20867ac18a4a8.jpg

 

Well, that's all for today. 

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11 minutes ago, CDH said:

These aren't the greatest tuners in the world, but they just need to get the guitar in tune enough to lock the nut and then use the Floyd Rose fine tuners.

I've used that bridge on a build in the past. The tuners won't win any awards for quality but they are perfectly servicable. I'm not entirely sure if you can mount them exactly as you have shown them though. I had a vague idea at the time that each brass tuner platter requires the next one to be seated along side it to fully support the axle in a conga line fashion.

Keep the wrench handy - the lower strings are difficult to tune by hand without it.

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9 hours ago, curtisa said:

I had a vague idea at the time that each brass tuner platter requires the next one to be seated along side it to fully support the axle in a conga line fashion.

Keep the wrench handy - the lower strings are difficult to tune by hand without it.

Thanks for the heads up! I never considered that they used each other for support. I couple weeks ago I test mounted one of the tuners to a board and attached a low E string and brought it up to tension. This test was to check if the mounting would work under tension, but I didn't notice (wasn't looking for) anything unusual with the axle. I'll have to keep an eye on it. You're right, definitely need the wrench to tune it. I may incorporate the magnetic storage technique that the bridge housing uses for the little wrench. Somewhere on the headstock perhaps.

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10 hours ago, curtisa said:

I've used that bridge on a build in the past.

That's right...Operation shoestring! That's the thread that brought me to this site. I came across that when I was researching tuners for this project. 

Beautiful guitar! Thanks for that post!

Edited by CDH

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6 hours ago, CDH said:

That's right...Operation shoestring! That's the thread that brought me to this site. I came across that when I was researching tuners for this project. 

Beautiful guitar! Thanks for that post!

Thank you, and yes, that is the very guitar that I used it on.

The other thing that may require a bit of thought is if the single screw that attaches each tuner to the baseplate is enough to hold each tuner to your headstock without accidentally swivelling the tuner while you operate the knob. Normally each tuner is prevented from skewing around by all six being held captive inside the bridge baseplate. With yours splayed out as you have them, there's not much to stop them swivelling around the single mounting screw that each one has.

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4 hours ago, curtisa said:

The other thing that may require a bit of thought is if the single screw that attaches each tuner to the baseplate is enough to hold each tuner to your headstock without accidentally swivelling the tuner while you operate the knob. With yours splayed out as you have them, there's not much to stop them swivelling around the single mounting screw that each one has.

I made brass L-brackets that mount to the back of the tuner. When I tested it I added  a small wood screw through the front mounting hole and the tuner was completely solid in place.

 

IMG_2723.thumb.jpg.7d234ec63592c71f0a68b77ada45e436.jpg

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Great thread and loving your ideas. The slide out bout is good idea and will certainly help make seated playing more comfortable.

I'm really interested to see how you get on with the tuners. I was eyeing them up for some tests but now I can let you do it for me!

 

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I want to show you all one of my favorite jigs in action. I built this planer table when I had a 5-piece neck blank that was twisted. Even if I had a planer (not yet), it wouldn't fix a twist. 

Here is my glued body blank ready to be leveled to the right thickness (1.5 inches in this case). I shim one corner with layers of masking tape until the blank lays flat without rocking.IMG_2787.thumb.jpg.870a0663d35470e540605b1b2cbf5d92.jpg

 

Now I just tape the blank in place to keep it from sliding. I set the router depth to the lowest spot on the top of the blank and pass the router back and forth over the whole surface until I have removed a thin layer of wood off the entire top surface. IMG_2788.thumb.jpg.4294a715fcec41c00aeabc7c2ce7cf5d.jpg

IMG_2789.thumb.jpg.f49e07d3197acbf225ebd60921790645.jpg

 

Then I flip the blank over and the bottom lays completely flat. I tape it down and remove thin slices until the blank is at the desired thickness.IMG_2790.thumb.jpg.533214802095a6e7ca3a0c09adcbbad2.jpgIMG_2791.thumb.jpg.fecf1fe5f32e1e28405f8e76054eb257.jpgIMG_2792.thumb.jpg.16aa06ec828f27200005988b11268b3e.jpg

 

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Today I prototyped the slide out bout with some scrap wood. 

I couldn't find a small enough lid stay at the hardware store so I just drilled and cut a large one to size.

IMG_2793.thumb.jpg.f770a1bbab3840841a8fad22dcd6e838.jpg

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Here I've clamped the test prototype to the routing template to give a little prospective.IMG_2796.thumb.jpg.3ee1d76838f1ccfb7fc8587c42d9ec8f.jpgIMG_2797.thumb.jpg.93b995c0ec02427a8c16be80e3c61787.jpg

 

I'm really happy with how smooth this works and how solid it is. With it retracted there is no movement and extended it is still very solid with only a tiny bit of acceptable play. As I had hoped, the lid stay keeps all the parts rigid. I guess it's a good thing I couldn't find a smaller one.IMG_2798.thumb.jpg.177041dd5544b6b55b75c8fd58399165.jpg

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It's been a while since I've done some work on the guitar. I've been waiting on delivery of my new toy!IMG_2812.thumb.jpg.fec3f724a548cd4b579cf1976fbaf7a0.jpg

My small Skil band saw just wasn't cutting it anymore (no pun intended).

 

So, back to the build. Got some work done on the neck today.IMG_2814.thumb.jpg.1a44bb8f669e9ab5d05ee9dd2dea6583.jpgIMG_2815.thumb.jpg.bad54cb7e37099db4f25314121f3bf26.jpgIMG_2816.thumb.jpg.a6bb6ca058b1b90ce73547bf57595f86.jpgIMG_2817.thumb.jpg.2a63fb68a8c193cc53138f43e2b7dc36.jpg

   

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I put the truss rod in upside down, so I need to sand some clearance for the wagon wheel shaft.

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Dry fitting the fingerboard.

IMG_2823.thumb.jpg.495dc9342eb2ffeba446ef606f31a4ab.jpg

 

All glued and clamped. 

IMG_2824.thumb.jpg.9686f587f1507fec086d955dbfbe5b89.jpg

Tomorrow I'm hoping to get some more work done on the body.

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Well, I didn't get any work done on the guitar Sunday. I started out the day with a side project (a small shelf) and while doing some routing on the router table, the wood kicked out of the way and my right ring finger took its place! 

I shredded the tip of my finger and chipped the bone. Surprisingly, It only took 6 stitches to sew it back into something that resembles a fingertip. I should make a full physical  recovery, but I'm a little more shy with my power tools now. 

 

 

So, yesterday I got back on the horse.

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This is the second time Ive had this large pattern bit chip out like this. The last thing I needed was to have this happen so soon after my accident. I switched bits and went with multiple passes. I should have done it like this in the first place.IMG_2831.thumb.jpg.1122a67f42528fe5cde09c8e52daab61.jpg

 

I used a piece of veneer that I made while testing the new band saw as a shim to put a 1 degree pitch on the neck pocket.IMG_2832.thumb.jpg.9f10b769ce9d1266f3ede107abccf79c.jpgIMG_2833.thumb.jpg.e29f7035e0e30ef208c29cc61e6fc73d.jpgIMG_2834.thumb.jpg.bdca6a04266cd9267ed0221613a21001.jpg

 

The neck fits like a glove in the pocket! With the maple top added and sanded, it will be a perfect fit.IMG_2835.thumb.jpg.9e3fb95efa6610aff8c08293e66c2c54.jpg

 

Gluing the book matched maple together.IMG_2836.thumb.jpg.87200cdd072f67090b318fcde5251a76.jpgIMG_2837.thumb.jpg.5a6ce8e5bdfb7e793ced8eac940297b0.jpg

 

Routing the nut shelf and headstock.

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Starting to take shape.

IMG_2841.thumb.jpg.4044c54ac9c4d59a09faab20ed8ede60.jpg

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8 hours ago, CDH said:

Well, I didn't get any work done on the guitar Sunday. I started out the day with a side project (a small shelf) and while doing some routing on the router table, the wood kicked out of the way and my right ring finger took its place! 

I shredded the tip of my finger and chipped the bone. Surprisingly, It only took 6 stitches to sew it back into something that resembles a fingertip. I should make a full physical  recovery, but I'm a little more shy with my power tools now. 

Man, that's never nice to hear! Hope everything mends ok

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Wow, ouch. Why exactly did it kick back? Hope you haven't lost too much sensitivity and symmetry....!

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7 hours ago, Prostheta said:

Wow, ouch. Why exactly did it kick back? Hope you haven't lost too much sensitivity and symmetry....!

I was making a small shelf (14" x 3") and I needed to recess all but the front and sides to create a 1/4" lip on those edges. I set the fence on the router table at 2.75" from furthest point on the blade so I could flip the board upside down and cut exactly 2.75" into the wood to make the 1/4" lip on the front edge.

 I think what happened was that when I was working the right side of the shelf, I pushed the wood with the rotation of the blade and it grabbed it. I was feeling comfortable with having my hands on the wood because, for this cut the blade was never supposed to be exposed (like cutting a truss rod channel). I was using a 1" blade and it tossed the wood across the shop.

It's just the tip of the finger.  It should heal up fine. 

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I'm looking at the planing jig .. I've gone through several iterations of a simiral idea, with various degrees of success. Holding the subject down has always been one of the delicate points for me. So really, tape is enough? That would be a much simpler solution that the various contraptions that I usually devise for the purpose

 

edit: oops just saw the post about the accident, hope it heals ok!

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Oh man! Speedy recovery I hope. 

I use a similar planing jig and never thought to use tape either. I might try it. Much more efficient than the wedges I’ve been using. 

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I've tried a number of things and found that hot melt glue is perfect. I tried wedges myself, but hot melt is great for when the underside isn't planed flat either. Tape is likely fine as long as the cuts aren't heavy. It just needs to resist tool pressure within the cut against the workpiece, and to a degree its own weight contributes. I wouldn't use tape myself as it's a little too close to the mark for things to go wrong. Glad it worked out.

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I've tried a number of things and found that hot melt glue is perfect. I tried wedges myself, but hot melt is great for when the underside isn't planed flat either. Tape is likely fine as long as the cuts aren't heavy. It just needs to resist tool pressure within the cut against the workpiece, and to a degree its own weight contributes. I wouldn't use tape myself as it's a little too close to the mark for things to go wrong. Glad it worked out.

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7 hours ago, pan_kara said:

Holding the subject down has always been one of the delicate points for me. So really, tape is enough? 

 

4 hours ago, Prostheta said:

I've tried a number of things and found that hot melt glue is perfect...Tape is likely fine as long as the cuts aren't heavy. It just needs to resist tool pressure within the cut against the workpiece, and to a degree its own weight contributes

I like the hot glue idea. I'll have to try that next time.

I've tried double sided tape, but I found another version of double sided tape that works much better. I put masking tape on both surfaces then super glue the tape together. It holds much better, but works just like double sided tape when removing. I use this method when the workpiece is light and/or small. 

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the double sided tape that I had at the time was really crappy and it had a slight flex....

So hot melt glue - I never ever used the stuff. How do you get the piece off after glueing it?

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1 minute ago, pan_kara said:

the double sided tape that I had at the time was really crappy and it had a slight flex....

Yep, I had the same experience with my double sided tape. The superglue and masking tape trick doesn't flex like that. It's a much stronger bond as well because you can really press both sides of the tape to each surface first. I learned it here: 

 

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