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I got some budget cellulose nitrate inlays and had to file and fit each one individually.  They were all a bit oversized.  I got out some files and put my nut vise in my guitar vise and spent a bit of time cleaning up the inlays and pockets so they fit nice and snug.

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Didn't take too long once I stayed at it.

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I glued in the inlays and used my aluminum radius beam to clamp them into the radius'd slots.  They ended up being just slightly proud of the top so shouldn't take much sanding to get them flush.

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end view -

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I taped some wax  paper to my radius beam and double stick taped the board to some plywood.

Next up was binding.  I use my bench vise and a tapered caul.  I'm going to extend the frets over the binding so there will be no nibs and I can bind before fretting.

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I haven't sanded the inlays flush yet and thought I would sand the binding down flush to the top at the same time.  I double face taped some 60 grit on my sanding beam and stuck my board to my Fret Radius Jig and marked the tops with yellow pencil to check my progress.

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Ran through the grids and worked my way up to 800.  It went pretty quick.

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I also wiped the inlays and board with acetone to age the inlays slightly and give them a little bit of a gold tinge.

Cheers Peter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 1/19/2019 at 3:18 PM, mistermikev said:

man, you are a workhorse.  You really get stuff done and fast.  I admire that.  I take brakes so freq that its almost as if I'm breaking with short stints of work in between!  Really looking good.

Thanks mistermikev but...  this build took me the better part of two years.  I just finished it up and found this forum recently and thought I'd post up the build over the course of a couple weeks.  If I didn't have a full time job, part time job, family, and a house I could've probably completed this build much quicker.  This guitar is also for me, so other client builds always take precedent. 

Cheers Peter.

 

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9 hours ago, pshupe said:

I got some budget cellulose nitrate inlays and had to file and fit each one individually.  They were all a bit oversized.  I got out some files and put my nut vise in my guitar vise and spent a bit of time cleaning up the inlays and pockets so they fit nice and snug.

FB-05.thumb.jpg.650ffaa58b0d7209f4ad0ec0ae667857.jpg

Didn't take too long once I stayed at it.

FB-08.thumb.jpg.d188a130bd8865b0609041029e8c05e6.jpg

I glued in the inlays and used my aluminum radius beam to clamp them into the radius'd slots.  They ended up being just slightly proud of the top so shouldn't take much sanding to get them flush.

FB-06.jpg.17351029ecf598f05a213490a5220a54.jpg

end view -

FB-07.thumb.jpg.1f296c22244d976c679ab0738c89c8d0.jpg

I taped some wax  paper to my radius beam and double stick taped the board to some plywood.

Next up was binding.  I use my bench vise and a tapered caul.  I'm going to extend the frets over the binding so there will be no nibs and I can bind before fretting.

FB-09_binding.thumb.jpg.89304ef07c67eab776431b1080a1c09e.jpg

I haven't sanded the inlays flush yet and thought I would sand the binding down flush to the top at the same time.  I double face taped some 60 grit on my sanding beam and stuck my board to my Fret Radius Jig and marked the tops with yellow pencil to check my progress.

FB-10_sanding.thumb.jpg.93391214dd972e8e575ab6f2ae5d0cec.jpg

Ran through the grids and worked my way up to 800.  It went pretty quick.

FB-11_sanding.thumb.jpg.c63260fc647744082fcdcd6b9050d9bb.jpg

I also wiped the inlays and board with acetone to age the inlays slightly and give them a little bit of a gold tinge.

Cheers Peter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nice job :)

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9 hours ago, pshupe said:

Thanks mistermikev but...  this build took me the better part of two years.  I just finished it up and found this forum recently and thought I'd post up the build over the course of a couple weeks.  If I didn't have a full time job, part time job, family, and a house I could've probably completed this build much quicker.  This guitar is also for me, so other client builds always take precedent. 

Cheers Peter.

 

right on... just saw so many posts and thought this was happening in real time!  fretboard looks great!

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Thanks Andyjr1515 - it's a fun hobby.

 

 

2 hours ago, mistermikev said:

right on... just saw so many posts and thought this was happening in real time!  fretboard looks great!

I wish I could build that quickly.  Maybe if I ditch my day job but then how would I pay for building guitars? 😉  I have a few friends that build custom guitars for a living and I have better tools.  I joke with them that I couldn't afford to build guitars if I built guitars for a living.  They totally agree with me.  It's sad actually.  Similarly with musicians.  Very few are full time.

Currently it's a hobby but could see it turn into a semi-retirement gig.  I do build a couple to a few guitars a year for people I meet on forums, or local friends.

Cheers Peter.

Edited by pshupe

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onto frets - I have a fret tang nipper but it still leaves a little burr on the back.  I decided to spend the time and file that flat.  It was quite easy with a small file.  I cut them all to length first and sorted in my numbered fret block.

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With the binding on and the sanding complete I checked the depth of my slots so I wouldn't bottom any frets out.  The slots were just deep enough.

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I have a little caul with a brass insert of the correct radius to press them in using my drill press.

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I pressed them all in without issue.

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and side dots - 

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All done ready for glue up.  I guess I'd better get the wings on.

Cheers Peter.

 

 

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I CNC'd the veneer for the head stock.

headstock_veneer03.JPG.4c7087799aca9f31150ebf843b2b4bc6.JPG

glued up - 

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and out of the clamps.  

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Time to put the wings on.  The nice thing about the V groove as the joint is very stable.  I only needed two clamps.  Usually I use every clamp I own. 😉

wings_clamped01.jpg.bdacec7b88897704d2578fb09e404a92.jpgwings_clamped02.thumb.jpg.00d02b0e8056a5630fb89651539a30fd.jpg

I cut close to the line on the bandsaw and sanded even closer with my spindle sander then used my carbide spiral template bit to finish up using the template.

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Flipped it over and finished up - 

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This is the first time I will get a good look at the wing joint and it looks great.  The joint wasted perfect prior to glue up but the pressure from the clamps and the glue seemed to pull everything really nice and tight.

bodytrimmed04.jpg.78002e03769b4ff85f7730e5265d4199.jpg

I also cut some covers as well.  CAD first - 

783967169_coverspickguard.JPG.bbc48e8da4ddd0eff9c019a64403d654.JPG

 

I had some left over 3 ply vintage pick guard material and got just enough to get the pickguard and truss rod cover.

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cut on CNC and tapered with a template on my router table.  Next time I think I will use a V bit in my CNC and then not have to make the template.

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truss rod cover - 

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and a quick mock-up - 

PG_04.thumb.jpg.c0e1796a159dd6bbcde66d8e2a2a7e81.jpg

 

Cheers Peter.

 

 

control cavity cover.jpg

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3 hours ago, pshupe said:

 

Currently it's a hobby but could see it turn into a semi-retirement gig.  I do build a couple to a few guitars a year for people I meet on forums, or local friends

This is broadly where I am.  The commissions pay for the hobby so I don't have to feel guilty at digging into the 'two-thirds of b***er all' pension, but there's no actual net profit.  I know a couple of full time builders but the phrase 'just scraping by' is probsbly accurate.  They are good builders, too!

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Just now, Andyjr1515 said:

This is broadly where I am.  The commissions pay for the hobby so I don't have to feel guilty at digging into the 'two-thirds of b***er all' pension, but there's no actual net profit.  I know a couple of full time builders but the phrase 'just scraping by' is probsbly accurate.  They are good builders, too!

yeah - I know one guy that does extremely well, another I think does pretty well, and a couple that are getting by.  A couple are young guys starting early and building a good clientele so they will probably do well eventually but it's a long road with no guarantees.

Cheers Peter.

 

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3 hours ago, pshupe said:

Thanks Andyjr1515 - it's a fun hobby.

 

 

I wish I could build that quickly.  Maybe if I ditch my day job but then how would I pay for building guitars? 😉  I have a few friends that build custom guitars for a living and I have better tools.  I joke with them that I couldn't afford to build guitars if I built guitars for a living.  They totally agree with me.  It's sad actually.  Similarly with musicians.  Very few are full time.

Currently it's a hobby but could see it turn into a semi-retirement gig.  I do build a couple to a few guitars a year for people I meet on forums, or local friends.

Cheers Peter.

well, the prob there is exactly that: the primary customer for guitars would be musicians... ie "starving musicians"!  That said, I expect we'll see a lot of what's going on in the boutique pedal market happening w guitars esp with cnc becoming more accessible.   You'll probably see the big guys getting cheaper and you might even see musician's friend picking up some 'little guys'. 

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It's spooky seeing this build progressing, as it is going exactly the same way as I went with my dry run Firebird. It's even weird seeing the wings shaped because of that familiarity! The Ziricote board looks an excellent choice, even if a little less than "standard" for a Firebird. The black landscape patterning is definitely reminiscent of the black ink lines seen in some Brazilian Rosewood....I can't recall whether older 'birds got BR boards or not. I'd hazard so.

My 'birds I'm building (no workshop right now, temporary hold) will be modified to suit their respective quirks; a 24" scale Red Special/Firebird hybrid (with tremolo system!) and a more standard 'bird with a wraparound like an ABM 3024. They're great guitars, and overlooked more than they really should be.

Love it.

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8 hours ago, Prostheta said:

It's spooky seeing this build progressing, as it is going exactly the same way as I went with my dry run Firebird. It's even weird seeing the wings shaped because of that familiarity! The Ziricote board looks an excellent choice, even if a little less than "standard" for a Firebird. The black landscape patterning is definitely reminiscent of the black ink lines seen in some Brazilian Rosewood....I can't recall whether older 'birds got BR boards or not. I'd hazard so.

My 'birds I'm building (no workshop right now, temporary hold) will be modified to suit their respective quirks; a 24" scale Red Special/Firebird hybrid (with tremolo system!) and a more standard 'bird with a wraparound like an ABM 3024. They're great guitars, and overlooked more than they really should be.

Love it.

Thanks.  Yeah I'm liking the Ziricote.  I bought a big chunk and re-sawed 8 boards from it.  They ended up being as cheap as EI Rosewood.  I think it goes well with the black limba and white limba.

 

Cheers Peter.

 

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Back on the CNC machine and cut the pup cavities - 

846191215_pupsrouted.jpg.c2187cc391bfe0e35698d356af387f28.jpg

and gluing on the fret board.  I went with Hot Hide Glue, which is a big PITA when working by yourself in a cool work environment.  I had to make sure I had everything all setup and within quick reach.  It worked out OK but it's stressfull trying to work so fast.  I was slow the first try and the glue gelled up very quick.  I turned the heat up in the shop and got out the heat gun and the second try was a success.

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Cheers Peter.

 

 

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So tuner holes now.  I drilled 1/16" holes to locate the centers of the tuner holes in my veneer.  I laid out the tuners in CAD prior to drilling.

Tuner_01.thumb.jpg.70e7b9cf18f44246809715669ea111f5.jpg

I work by myself in a very small shop, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.  I have to come up with unique ways of holding things when only I only have two hands to work with.  I propped up the guitar so the back of the head stock was completely flat with my drill press table and drilled with a brad point bit.

Tuner_02.jpg.ff6395ff15d43b1a71348d903c9935a9.jpg

I have most of the bushing reamers Stew Mac sells so just had to find what worked for my Kluson banjo tuners. 

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I CNC'd the neck to about the first fret and used the paper template I made for the tuners to mark the transition from head stock to neck carve and used files and rasps to get a nice crisp shape.

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finished up - 

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I also did a quick mock up of all the hardware.  I bought a knock-off Maestro Lyre tremolo and had a couple vintage ABR-1 bridges in my box of goodies.  I also had a guy at the other forum wind me some custom mini-humbuckers.

mock_up05.thumb.JPG.f233bc29ec95dfa06428bc3d6f5da0e6.JPG

Cheers Peter.

 

 

 

Edited by pshupe

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Ok - So I drilled all the holes and setup the guitar with all the hardware, so I can make sure everything fits before finishing.  I have sanded to 320 grit and it's ready to spray.  I want to do a very thin black burst as I think this will look good on this guitar.  I've pore filled with timbermate ebony and ready to go into the both.

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I sprayed a couple of sealer coats of nitro lacquer and then the burst.  There is no binding to scrape so I can go straight to clear coats. 

So I sprayed over 3 days and probably did about 12 coats total.  In between days I wet sanded to reduce the orange peel.  This is the first time I have done this schedule but I think it works really well.  Here is what it looks like after my final clear coats. 

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I am very happy with the results and will wait a couple weeks before I wet sand and buff.

So I can move onto fret work.  Mask the board and use a flat beam to level the frets.

IMG_5702.JPG.0647122a759b9b36cdccf7c3c80a8798.JPG

 

diamond fret file and sharpie to crown and basic dress

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then on to the nut.  Went with bleached bone.

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Set up again and purchased some new fret slotting files.

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cut the slots to depth after initial shaping

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My neck is a little wider than normal because I added binding and overhung the frets, so I notched the saddles as the tailpiece string spacings was a little thinner than what I wanted to go through the bridge.

IMG_5717.JPG.3578fd9d371fcd999fc39fd2a25dd09c.JPG

So all set up and ready for wet sanding.

 

Cheers Peter.

 

 

 

 

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On to wet sanding.  I've done this a few times now and I think I have the concept down quite well.  My first couple of attempts didn't go well so I will describe my process.  I hope this is helpful to some newbies as I struggled with the concept but have pretty much got an idiot proof workflow now, which I need! 😉

So the basic concept is that the guitar before wet sanding and buffing is very shiny but not flat.  In order to get a mirror like finish your surface has to be flat.  Here is an image of what the finish looks like before wet sanding and then about half way through our first grit.

levelsand.JPG.0bb62e51daf6dc3b99e640e87176ec4f.JPG

 

I started wet sanding with 400 grit.  This is quite aggresive and makes quick work of the level sanding process but you have to be really careful because you do not want to sand all the way through the finish.  I have done that in the past and if you sand through the colour it's almost impossible to touch up and you have to start over.  Not good!  I knew I had a fairly flat finish to start so I wasn't too concerned about sanding through but was careful anyway.

 

Here is the back mostly level sanded with one of the wings not done yet.  You can see how it is shiny but bumpy.  The matte side is flat but not shiny because I flattened it with 400 grit paper which puts tiny scratches in the finish and makes it look cloudy or matte.  You basically sand until you cannot see any shiny spots left.

half_wetsanded.thumb.jpg.bd501a4b21f96626dd6123e963f5bd02.jpg

then I finish up wet sanding and move up a grit.  Here is the back finished to 400

400grit.thumb.jpg.5f3432b3616b0a6dfb7c11ccd14d1176.jpg

When I finish a grit I make sure the scratches all run one direction.  Then when I move up a grit I sand 90 degrees to that direction and when I cannot see anymore of the old scratches I know I am done and can move up another grit again rotating to 90 degrees.

Here is a pic with the 400 scratches - You can see they mostly run 90 degrees to the bottom edge of the picture.

400grit_scratches.thumb.jpg.96ba9c9644a706c14c4cdf8b5184b9e6.jpg

and here I am done with 600 grit - I do not see any of the 400 grit scratches and can see finer scratches parallel to the bottom edge of the picture.  The finish also looks shinier.

600grit_scratches.thumb.jpg.ac36caf7f1fc8844c1ceed8268a6ee98.jpg

I move up through the grits from 400 - 600 - 800 - 1000 - 1200 - 1500 - 2000 then I am ready to go to the buffer.  Here is my final wet sanding finished.  You can see it is quite shiny and I know it is completely flat.

2000grit.thumb.jpg.3545b039aa0e11d9edfa824b0f91f0b6.jpg

 

Then on to the buffer, which makes the finish pop - 

IMG_5824.JPG.445f49a8ebe7d23ce42cc44d02726f4c.JPG

and there we have a fully buffed, flat, and shiny guitar -

post_buff.thumb.jpg.249deff7197be3055adc6d55419c9c04.jpg

I also do one final step which is to go into the areas where the buffer could not reach with a polishing compound.  I use Mequiars #9.  I use a cotton terry cloth by hand and it seems to work well.  If you do not  have a buffer you can use buffing wheel attachments for a hand drill.

IMG_5826.JPG.5fbf0b693a87cd3801e82a4951654d44.JPG

 

Cheers Peter.

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks.  I am actually just finishing this build off.  I'll try and get some "glamour shots" up at some point.

Cheers Peter.

 

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21 hours ago, ScottR said:

Very nice. Excellent tutorial on leveling and polishing a finish.

 

SR

Thank you.  This was one thing I struggled with when I first started.  I forget who explained it to me but once explained it was a bit of an epiphany, which hopefully I can pass along.  Another important tip is if you find you have wet sanded and there are only a few shiny spots and they look deep.  The best thing is to drop fill them.  If you try to sand out a couple of really deep spots chances are you will sand through.  I also use a yellow coloured terry cloth when wet sanding and wipe off quickly.  If you see any colour on the cloth stop immediately.  Most times the colour is quite thin but it could save you sanding through and having to redo the finish.

 

Cheers Peter.

 

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So It's all wired up and functioning.  This is usually the time where I wish I didn't spend so much time building because my practicing suffers.  Here is what it looks like with it all setup.

IMG_5829.JPG.81aff067068248e6112172f240112d42.JPG

 

IMG_5830.JPG.cd49ef2056ba931d9e5b9a066b06fc4c.JPG

I still have to finish my back cover plate but other than that I'll call this one done.

Cheers Peter.

 

 

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Thank you. Despite the quick nature of the postings here it has been a long build and I am very happy with the results.  Except for a few little things.  Some that I can change and others I cannot.  I am not happy with the Lyre Maestro vibrolo I purchased.  I'm not sure if it is just a cheap knock off or it is the way that all of these time of vibrolos work.  My bridge is intentionally quite low, which is the way I like it on my guitars.  The spring on the vibrolo is quite high and there isn't much break angle.  I am a fan of Derek Trucks and have seen his signature SG with a stop tail being added instead of the spring vibrolo.  He kept the frame and stainless cover and I will be doing the same with this build.

So I have to drill into a freshly buffed guitar.  Wish me luck! 😉   I marked out where I wanted the tailpiece to go and dismantled my tremolo leaving the frame and cover just like DT.

IMG_5833.JPG.fdfb3970883c78fc2511a874e2259722.JPG

Then placed some painters tape across where the tailpiece will sit and then meticulously measured the center to center and marked with a sharp pencil and then used an awl to mark the hole locations.  I will use a relatively new brad point drill bit.  I want to make sure I do not chip the finish as I drill.  The brad point works well for this but I also "burnished" the tape down to the finish well also.

IMG_5834.JPG.36486788ad5675f6b87266a9a0b320f5.JPG

The holes drilled well without chipping and I used a large counter sink to chamfer the edges so the finish doesn't crack when I press in the bushings.

IMG_5835.thumb.JPG.a1468360b82ec77bbd9a7cb2e39357ad.JPG

I also drilled a 1/8" diameter hole from the stud hole into the control cavity for the ground wire.  

IMG_5836.JPG.2e24c88b320a530842d76dfd486e4592.JPG

I used my drill press and an upside down large diameter drill bit to press in the bushings after adding the ground wire.

IMG_5838.JPG.c4c2a0104414a333f1f4b2deafdf4617.JPG

The pressed in easily and may consider a smaller diameter hole next time.  The white limba is a pretty softwood and I am used to pressing into hard maple, so that could be the difference.

IMG_5841.JPG.dd66e01f8664d7626ecee72097ddbbf0.JPG

All strung up and ready to rock.  That wasn't that hard. 😀

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I still have to take some glamour shots but I like the look and it will definitely function a lot better now.

 

Cheers Peter.

 

 

 

IMG_5837.JPG

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