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Hi everyone! First post on here and hoping someone could fill me in with a little advice. Many years back I started work on a Les Paul guitar. It was made out of Sapele and took a long time to cut out with the Jigsaw! However upon cutting out the basic shape I just gave up and it’s been sitting in my wardrobe ever since. Does anyone have any advice regarding the best template to use so that I can route out the neccessary areas? Any tips in general? Bare in mind some that I only have a very basic and cheap router. Thanks!

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Shatner's Bassoon! hahaha "Clarky Cat"! :lol:

Sapele (at least, what I think I've been getting as Sapele....) is fairly heavy, yes. The simplest way to relieve weight is to use a Forstner bit to sink a series of holes in non-essential areas. Check out @seb's "Model 222" GOTM winner for an extreme example of this, which is also a great example of circle packing....

The "best" template to use? Are you meaning material or the most "authentic" LP template? If the former, I tend to use 15mm plywood for my templates. It's sturdy and provides enough adjustment for most router bits so make safer shallow passes. I make my 15mm plywood templates by copying acrylic templates into plywood stock. It works "best" for me, however everyone's needs vary. As far as the most "authentic" template, I personally like Scott Wilkinson's template set. I don't think any template set comes with any sort of guarantee of authenticity, especially when taken directly from Les Pauls of different eras. All authentic, all different.

pdfcast.org_download_carve-crss-sections.pdf

pdfcast.org_download_carve-template-set.pdf

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So I’ve bought a coffee table today to use as the cap. That streaky section in the middle is going to be a nice feature I think. I intend to maybe paint black either side of it...or maybe white? Slightly translucent? Anyway any ideas as to what wood it is? 

 

2BCCE4B3-C364-4A1E-9131-30E43C7FA1BC.png

Edited by ShatnersBassoon
Low quality picture

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Likely Acacia/Akazia or Mango? A lot of these tables get imported. They are often stained or tinted to look like Rosewood. Nina and I were lucky enough to get a Rosewood dining table before the world went silly.

How soft is it? Big pores?

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1 hour ago, Prostheta said:

Likely Acacia/Akazia or Mango? A lot of these tables get imported. They are often stained or tinted to look like Rosewood. Nina and I were lucky enough to get a Rosewood dining table before the world went silly.

How soft is it? Big pores?

I saw mango being used in other tables that I looked at that had a similiar look. It doesn’t seem that it has very open pores, although I suppose that will be more apparent after sanding it down? Haven’t done anything with it yet so not sure how soft it is. Cheers!

Edited by ShatnersBassoon

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It varies, but you might find that the pieces are joined together with splines, dowels or similar things. Cutting it up might end up revealing those on outer edges, so if you're going this route then be super generous cutting the outline so you can attempt to re-position it if that's the case.

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Dulely noted, thanks. One thing that is confusing me is neck angle...Im taking it I dont have to make it angled? Im tempted to have no angle at all, is this a bad idea? Would the standard Gibson style bridge and tailpiece work in such a scenario? Just dont want to mess this part up as I believe it can throw the whole guitar off kilter.

Also I have read that neck angle has to be calculated on a guitar by guitar basis...Is this true? Im just following a template. Thanks so much for the help!

Sorted out some rough edges on the body today, also got hold of a decent router and wood for the neck (mahoghany family apparently, although it does look very light in colour)...more sanding tommorow. All very exciting! I already have an idea for the next guitar...a neck through Explorer style. Small steps though!

Edited by ShatnersBassoon

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It's a combination of many things. A neck angle may be required with certain types of bridges, especially tune-o-matics, wraparounds and others that sit pretty high off the body. That said, not all do. Another factor is how high the neck/fingerboard are off the body when they meet. If the fingerboard and strings are pretty low down and close to the body, yet the bridge is pretty high then a neck angle will help ensure that the strings meet the bridge without being pulled up and away from the frets, ie. high action.

I take it that the body is going to be flat like a Les Paul Jr. rather than being carved? If so, that does make your life easier. I discussed neck angles elsewhere at length, however the best way to look at it is like this:

IMG_9270.JPG

 

The "rectangle" is the height of the neck at the body. This includes the fingerboard and a little for the fretwire. Say that the strings are 10mm off the flat surface of the body. The bit marked "rectangle" in the picture just means the 10mm height off the body. That height cancels itself out from the required bridge height, leaving you with that triangle.

Then the bridge's saddle witness points (where the strings locate) are say, 18mm off the body. That means that the strings need to continue on an upward path from 10mm at the neck end to 18mm at the bridge; a rise of 8mm. The distance to the bridge's minimum intonation point (saddles all the way forward) to the end of the neck where that 10mm was measured then gives you two values to do a little bit of trigonometry with in order to calculate a good angle. Say the distance from the neck to the bridge is 200mm.

This makes it easy:

http://www.cleavebooks.co.uk/scol/calrtri.htm

So you'd put the distance in as "b" (200mm) and the required rise as "a" (8mm). Hit calculate and you end up with an angle (A) of 2,29°.

Does this make the idea any clearer? I can see why it might not. :lol:

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This explanation ignores things like the effect of a little backbow in the neck, getting the ideal bridge height adjustment range and the like. Still, once the concept is figured in your head you can add in those details and refine the values.

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Thank you so much for the taking the time to do all these detailed replies! Indispensable!  I think I am indeed going to go for the flat body, no angle route. Now just looking around at various bridges that are not going to be too high. Baby steps, I figure I may as well start off as easy as possible and work my way up.

Edited by ShatnersBassoon

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1 hour ago, ShatnersBassoon said:

Thank you so much for the taking the time to do all these detailed replies! Indispensable!  I think I am indeed going to go for the flat body, no angle route. Now just looking around at various bridges that are not going to be too high. Baby steps, I figure I may as well start off as easy as possible and work my way up.

There's a decent simple explanation with illustrations on Tundra Man's website half way down the page here: http://www.tundraman.com/Guitars/NeckAngle/index.php

If you are thinking of a typical Les Paul Tune-o-matic bridge (assuming a flat top along the length where the bridge sits), then you will need a neck angle built in (and you can see why in the above article).  If you are planning on a very low profile bridge, then you might get away without one.  I personally find the easiest way of getting it there or thereabouts is to draw fullsize  the nut position, the bridge position, the fretboard line (ie the tops of the frets), the lowest and highest the bridge saddles will sit and the string line, from the nut to, say, 2mm clear of the fret tops at the end of the fretboard.

You can see here some of the things that @Prostheta refers to - that the thickness of the fretboard affects it, the minimum height of the bridge, the scale length, etc..

 _MG_9739.thumb.JPG.28764da6660f884a399e45c39153ab3d.JPG

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To illustrate, a lot of Gibson's 70s Flying Vs (with tune-o-matics) had a super-high neck height from the body requiring a smaller angle than normal. Nashvilles with slotted height adjusters can be recessed, so you can configure the geometry however suits you best.

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If it helps, I'm making a LP Jr and was doing my neck angle calculations last week. The fretboard & frets will sit about 7mm above the body plane - "top of rectangle" in Prostheta's diagram. The TOM wraparound bridge sits about 20mm off the deck to allow for a bit of adjustment, meaning the opposite side of the triangle is 20-7 = 13mm. The neck joins at fret 20 (and unfortunately I don't have my notebook to hand) so the hypotenuse of the triangle is the distance from there to full scale. This worked out to an angle of approx 3.5°

The easy way to do it is to find a block of wood 7mm high to represent the fretboard + fret, another 20mm high to represent the bridge and fix them to the guitar in the correct place with masking tape. Then use a sliding bevel, setting against the vertical face where the neck will join and laying it across the wood blocks - there's your angle (which I will cut into the neck tenon)

Edit: like this...

20180226_124734.thumb.jpg.2d3deb6a33999247c48e5ca72624dc2b.jpg

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Let's have a look at the hardware, etc. Can't hurt to have extra eyes cast over it all, even if that's only confirming your own answers.

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On 27/02/2018 at 4:20 PM, Prostheta said:

Let's have a look at the hardware, etc. Can't hurt to have extra eyes cast over it all, even if that's only confirming your own answers.

Hi there! Do you mean the tools or the pickups etc? I only have the pickups at the moment, the charmingly named ‘Hot Slags’ from Irongear 😂 Not one hundred percent my taste but I can always change them later on.  I plan on getting most of my stuff from Axetec.co.uk ..will post up a few photos from today, may be missing a few tools in the pictures. 

Edited by ShatnersBassoon

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Both are an option. In my opinion, it's better to do all of the angles on the neck since it's easier to handle, mark up and cut. If you can add a downward slope to the tenon accurately, the neck pocket can be flat. There are a few ways of doing the same thing here.

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12 hours ago, ShatnersBassoon said:

Quick question, is angling the cut of the tenon on the actual neck an option? Instead of angling the routing in the body I mean? Hope my terminology makes sense. 

It's the way I'm intending to do mine. Should just be a right angle to the angled side cut on the neck

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