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ADFinlayson

Build #7 -Ollie's Neckthrough flying V

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For my next build, I'm going to be making my friend and band-mate, Ollie, a flying V. There are a few things on this one I've never done before, so it should prove to be a bit of a challenge; I've never made a V, never made a neckthrough and never tapered the laminates on any of my previous necks. So I started off with a crude drawing, then moved on to a scaled plan. He very specifically want's the same neck as his PRS custom 24, which makes things a bit awkward. I have plans for a 67' Flying V but I can't really use them, so I started drawing around my CU24 neck template, extended the neck taper, then traced the body from the 67' marked out some key fret positions on the 25" scale neck and positioned tracing paper accordingly to transfer the body shape onto my plan. Then with an outline I could figure out how the laminates would taper and what sizes they needed to be.

It's going to be a 3-piece neck, made from 3 25mm strips of American black walnut separated with maple veneers. The centre strips will be tapered from 14mm at the nut to 21mm at the bridge which should follow the taper of the shape of the neck once routed. Then I'll carry on the taper from the tip of the headstock to the base, so the overall taper will be 13.5mm to 22mm in the middle piece. I'm a little bit apprehensive about making the taper, I think with the tools I have, my only option is to draw the lines on the piece and use a feather edge and a router.

I'll glue on ears and body wings, again seperated by maple veneer, I'm tempted to make up the body wings from some more laminates of walnut and maple so the whole thing is fanned stripes from behind, which might look cool, a lot more work though! It might depend on the price of walnut for the wings, I'm struggling to find walnut planks thick enough to make the body with in the UK.

This one is going to have a hardtail bridge, probably a Grainger or a Schaller roller bridge so I shouldn't have to worry about a break angle, but it is going to have a flamed maple top so I will need to thickness the body part of the neckthrough.

Anyway, we're off to cut some walnut :D

Cheers
Ash

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Edited by ADFinlayson
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I like the idea of doing the whole body out of fanned pieces of maple/walnut, could make for something really unique.

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8 hours ago, GCmtb said:

I like the idea of doing the whole body out of fanned pieces of maple/walnut, could make for something really unique.

Actually, it's got me thinking that it might look a bit like Crimson's BOB1 and that's put me right off :D

 

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Well that was a productive and nerve wracking evening. I cut my tapers, that was surprisingly easy with  the router and feather edge, just very time consuming. 

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Then indecided to go back to my plan and draw the side profile. I did this because I thought it would be easier to cut the pieces to the rough shape before glueing, my bandsaw would struggle cutting through the whole blank and I’d end up cutting lots of small pieces away, but cutting the 3 slithers individually means I could cut them in one pass and have enough walnut leftover to make a strat style neck with tapers already in 👌

I drew the profile out on one of the laminates, cut it out then just drew round it to cut out the others.

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Drew round one again to cut some maple veneer. Looks awesome!

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Then I cut up some leftover walnut dowles to use as locator pins and drilled 3 holes in either waste or areas that would be hidden.

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And we are glued and clamped. I underestimated just how much of a ball ache glueing such long laminates would be. We will have to wait until tomorrow to see if it’s any good or a total cotastrohpy 🙈

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Another successful evening on the V. Tidied up all the glue and planed the top flat with my No7. Then I stuck the PRS template on and routed the taper as much as I could following that template.

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Then I remembered a cool trick from a Freddys Frets video where he super glued a couple of blocks to the side of the neck to locate his fretboard. So I did that to help me place the feather edge correctly, stuck it down with masking tape and super glue and routed the taper so it continued down the headstock and body. Worked well but very time consuming.

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Really happy with how it’s come out, the pale lines look awesome, but the taper is so slight, I wonder if it was worth all the effort when a 1 piece neckthrough blank would take a fraction of the time. 

Need to figure out what I’m going to do next. I need to cut the headstock angle then bookmatch and thickness some maple to put on the headstock. I also need to get a truss rod channel cut which will be a ball ache as the neck is already tapered, I’m thinking that I could make a template of some sort to do this, but also wonder if it would actually take that long with a chisel. I’d like to get the fretboard stuck on as it will help prevent movement in the neck so I expect I will get on with the truss channel. It’s too damn cold in the garage at the moment though so I’m expecting slow progress over the next week 

 

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that wood combo w the lighter colored lams is really working for you!  goonna be cool!

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Thanks dude, it’s coming along a lot quicker than I thought. Had some spare time today and it wasn’t too cold so I got some more bits done.

I cut my truss rod slot with a chisel in the end, marked it out with a scalpel and just treated it like hogging out an inlay cavity. Got about 4mm down with the chisel then to make sure I had the right depth, I just free handed down the channel with the router before tidying up the edges with the chisel. Only took about 20 mins.

Then I marked out my fret slots, I never cut them until they’re on the board but I like to mark them out with a blade before hand while the board is square.

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And now it’s all glued up. 

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I will be tackling the ears on the headstock next 

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damn... truss channel with a chisel??  I tip my hat.  wouldn't even dream of attempting that. 

Put in some hours myself today... all day and kinda tired but made good progress on my radius jig.  Hopefully some assembly tomorrow.

looking good!

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On 2/3/2019 at 1:04 AM, mistermikev said:

damn... truss channel with a chisel??  I tip my hat.  wouldn't even dream of attempting that. 

Put in some hours myself today... all day and kinda tired but made good progress on my radius jig.  Hopefully some assembly tomorrow.

looking good!

I would like to see the jig when it's done and how you made it 👍

Truss rod channel with the chisel was a piece of cake to be honest. I used a wide pairing chisel to cut from the centre to the scalpel score line, rescored, did it again a couple more times, then free-handing to the right depth with the router was easy, just carefully pulled the router slowly down the channel and it just followed the line I'd already started as it was the path with least resistance (router only on half power).

Didn't get a lot else done yesterday other than tidy up the fretboard joint and glue some ears on. The nice thing about the pre-tapered neck with no headstock shape was that it's nice and easy to trim the fretboard flush with a hand plane, normally I'd do it with a router. Tonight's job will be to get the ears flush with a plane.

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Oh live experiment here - I thought I'd try dyeing the glue because I noticed on the Ziricote build, a couple of very fine white lines in places where I glued the binding on. So I mixed a small amount of black powder paint in the the Titebond before glueing. I've done this with epoxy in the past and it's worked well.

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I also started thinking about the top. I've got a leftover bit of maple which I intend to bookmatch for the V and the headstock, it's 23mm thick so I'm hoping that I can get at least a 7-8mm top out of it. I'm using tracing paper to figure out how to do the bookmatch so I can get some nice figure in there whilst leaving enough to use for the headstock and ideally a control cover and fretboard binding. But I'm also conscious that if I cut out a the shape, it will be a PITA to clamp.

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I'm also planning to transfer this tracing onto a sheet of MDF to make a template for the body shape. The UK's cold spell has just finished so full steam ahead :D

Edited by ADFinlayson
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1 hour ago, ADFinlayson said:

I would like to see the jig when it's done and how you made it 👍

Truss rod channel with the chisel was a piece of cake to be honest. I used a wide pairing chisel to cut from the centre to the scalpel score line, rescored, did it again a couple more times, then free-handing to the right depth with the router was easy, just carefully pulled the router slowly down the channel and it just followed the line I'd already started as it was the path with least resistance (router only on half power).

you can see some pics in my build thread.  I probably don't document as well as you, but I do snap a pic here and there. 

I have a jig I setup for the truss route where I just position my neck in it and turn some side screws till it's secure... then my router rides straight down the middle... so it's pretty easy.  That said - you gotta go with what ya know!  Don't fight it if it works for you!

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Ah I think I’ve seen examples of the jig you speak of. 

I’ve made a bit more progress tonight, transferred my trace onto some mdf and started shaping it. I’ve shaped the “neck pocket” which is a very snug fit at the moment, I think too tight, but I’m also thing it would be better to make the top to this shape then fettle that to fit. Then the rest of the template will be a job for either the router and/spindle sander.

I’ve cut a piece off the top and bookmatched it to make the top for the headstock, cut a strip of maple to make binding and roughed out the shape I’m going to bookmatch, and I have enough maple left to make a control cover 💪

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I’ve also got the top of the headstock smoothed out and ready for the cap which I’m hoping to get jointed glued this week. 

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I’m ina bit of a chicken and egg situation now. I need to have the top of the V ready so that I can determine how much I need to take off the body thickness to fit it and how thick I need to make the wings. But I don’t really want to bookmatch the top until I’m ready to glue it because I don’t want it to cup. I’m thinking that I’m going to have to sort the top out and just store it flat under weight and hope it doesn’t move.

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Got my kerfing plane back out and got the top bookmatched. I had to make a new shim for the plane so that it would cut directly in the middle. Took about an hour of sweat and blisters all in but came out well, fairly even and 9mm at the narrowest points. So I’m going to work to 8mm and thickness the body blanks accordingly. 

Ive stores these wings under weight for now, and hopefullly they behave.

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My top didn’t move over night so I’ve done a bit of thicknessing, jointing and glueing this evening.

ive glued the tops top-side clamped down so the bookmatched faces are level and so that I just need to skim the backs with a hand plain to get good glueing surfaces. I hope the joints turn out ok, I managed to get them so I couldn’t see any light coming through the joint, guess we will know tomorrow!

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Bit more progress, not a huge amount. I’ve got the tops glued, really happy with the joints, they came out well, much better than the last build. I’ve rough cut the top, it still needs smoothing out on the top face but the underside is good for glueing. 

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Something I’ve not done before, I used my shooting board and a wedge to plane a slight angle into the base of the headstock cap so it butts up to the nut, required a few fitting test and a razor sharp plane for the endgrain but it worked well.

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I wanted to get this glued on to the headstock but it occurred to me that it might get in the way of the router when doing the binding channels and radiusing the fretboard. So I got the channels routed tonight and cut the fret slots. 

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the I started working on the radius taking the brunt of the wood off with a block plane, then moved in to the no7 to get it all even, then moved on to a 12” radius beam. Then I got bored of sanding and remembered there’s beer inside. That’s all for now.

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Ollie sent me a monkey the other day for parts.  so I’ve got some pretty damn awesome parts for it: Fender 5-way blade, Schaller hardtail, sperzel locking tuners, swichcraft jack, 57/08 bass and HFS treble pickups. He’s decided that he wants it to be blue, so it looks like I’m going another blue flame top. It will be interesting to see if I can do a better job that build #5, especially as it’s from the same plank of maple 

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Edited by ADFinlayson
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There are many examples of sound skills and techniques on show here @ADFinlayson - which is becoming to be a common theme in your build threads!

Lots of things to like here :)

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I've never been able to pull off planing an ebony board that has already been slotted without chipping....and I've always been rather proud of my ability to get razor sharp blades.

So I'm particularly impressed with your ability to pull it off!

I always use a very low angle plane,,,,,I wonder if that is working against me?

SR

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13 minutes ago, ScottR said:

I've never been able to pull off planing an ebony board that has already been slotted without chipping....and I've always been rather proud of my ability to get razor sharp blades.

So I'm particularly impressed with your ability to pull it off!

I always use a very low angle plane,,,,,I wonder if that is working against me?

SR

Yes - my problem too.  After too many fails, I now always slot after radiusing.

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I've had failures in the past doing it this way, the mk2 required some dust and glue in places. But the trick I've found is to have the blade barely out and make sure you're going with the grain. But the trouble with only going in one direction is that it's very easy to end up with a fretboard that's thinner at one end. 

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8 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Yes - my problem too.  After too many fails, I now always slot after radiusing.

I slot first, but radius with sandpaper.

SR

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Managed to get a couple of hours in over the last few days. 

Ive glued the cap on and drilled through to the truss rod successfully, I always find it a tad scary blindly drilling and hoping I find a truss rod without drilling straight through the headstock 😀 then I opened it up a bit with a gouge. Truss rod works, all good.

then i did a bit of shaping on the headstock, first off thicknessing it on my spindle sander with a block clamped to the bed so that I could make it exactly 15mm thick all round. The I rough shaped the design in the spindle sander and started hand filing the mistache, still needs a bit of work, sides neee taking down so it looks a little less batman, but that’s a job for tomorrow along with drilling machine head holes. Nut fits nice and snug too 👍

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Forgot to mention I’ve also been working on testers. I started of with crimson stains but they were proving to be a bit crap, just not concentrated enough to colour wood well. So I abandoned them for some Liberon waterbased concentrates that I mixed with water. First a coat of black, sanded back then a heavy blue coat. Really happy with this, it’s the colour I wish I got on build #5

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So I went with the crazy stripy option, mainly because I had a shedload of 1" walnut leftover. Laminations in progress but you get the jist! it's a slow process because I'm only glueing up one at a time, leaving it clamped for an hour before glueing the next one in, being careful to get consistent grain direction. A.) because I want it to look good B.) Because I want to skim over both the wings in the thickness planer once I'm done glueing.

At this point I'm in a bit of a predicament, Do I rough cut the shape before glueing the wings on or not? Roughing out the shape will be difficult once the wings are attached to the neck, especially around the end of the fretboard. But roughing out the shape will make clamping the wings on particularly difficult

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I've been working on my tester with some success. Using a heavy coat of cellulose sealer brushed over the stain, sanded back with 320, then a few coats of minwax wipe-on poly, first 2 coats I scuff-sanded back with 600, then 3rd coat I scuffed with 1200 before wiping on and wiping off a final coat. Then buffed for a few minutes with a rag and some t-cut 

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I'm really happy with how the tester has come out and reckon I should be able to get much better results if I apply more coats, thinned down.

Finally, some delusions of grandeur. This is what I'm attempting for the inlay; the brief was a skull and/or a fist. So I'm doing a hand holding a skull growing out of a tree. I'm a but further along with the pieces than pictured, I've got about 60% of the tree cut out into bitesize chunks. I'm using white mop for the skull and walnut for the branches/hand. The walnut is incredibly brittle at inlay thickness (2mm) so I'm cutting out the pieces for each fret to prevent breaks (although there have been many) and I figured would be easier to inlay smaller pieces too.

This isn't a done deal, I might decide that I've bitten off more than I can chew yet, but will make that call between finishing cutting out the branches and starting to cut the MOP. Wish me luck.

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Brand new member marveling at your build skill!  I am getting ready to build a V myself but with a bolt on neck.  You are amazing with your hand tool skill.  Liked the photos of the Black and Decker Workmate you use, I inherited my Grandfather's, who brought it from the UK to the USA in the 70's.

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