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MTalbs90

First Guitar Build - PRS Style

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Hello everyone! Just joined the forum and starting my first ever guitar build. Probably getting in over my head but plan on learning a lot in this process. I recently purchased 8/4 4’ mahogany board and finished the joining to form the body. Currently working on the drawing and determining what parts (bridge, pickups, etc) I want to purchase. I just inherited a Shopsmith from my father along with some older wood working tools that I will Ben using to work on the guitar. I am planning on applying a maple top and a solid mahogany neck to the guitar with an ebony fret board. Any advice or feedback is always appreciated. 

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Photo of the body being glued together. My joint looked good to start but now I notice a small gap in the middle on the back. I need to plane off a good bit so hoping that will seal up. 

E9A48CEB-CDDC-431D-8825-85F7656E01E7.jpeg

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27 minutes ago, MTalbs90 said:

Photo of the body being glued together. My joint looked good to start but now I notice a small gap in the middle on the back. I need to plane off a good bit so hoping that will seal up. 

E9A48CEB-CDDC-431D-8825-85F7656E01E7.jpeg

some good looking mahog there.  don't dispair, if you need to redo - nothing a jigsaw and router won't fix!  I don't know how you did your joint but I've had good luck using the front and back on a router to get a good joint.  just gotta make sure it's perfectly flat and secured when you run... and only taking off 1/32 or less. 

anywho, welcome to the forum, you will find this place a fantastic resource for several different perspectives on any given question.  lots a knowledge and even better, lots of very nice folks. 

Look fwd to seeing your progress!

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1 hour ago, MTalbs90 said:

Photo of the body being glued together. My joint looked good to start but now I notice a small gap in the middle on the back. I need to plane off a good bit so hoping that will seal up. 

 

Could you flip over your body blank so you the gap would be hidden against your maple top?

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6 minutes ago, Liquorice said:

Could you flip over your body blank so you the gap would be hidden against your maple top?

Yeah I guess I could. most of the section would be routed out with the pickups probably. I knew I joined this forum for a reason. When my mind get clogged with sawdust I just need a little common sense advice.

 

Also update on planers, they are ancient, dull and chipped so going to start looking for some newer ones

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3 hours ago, Liquorice said:

Could you flip over your body blank so you the gap would be hidden against your maple top?

My thought exactly, if you thickness the blank down before rough cutting you will have the option of have the worst bit glued to the cap. From the prs style builds I’ve done, I’d say you only need about 30mm of mahogany. Once you’ve got it down to thickness, I would rough cut it and your maple cap and weigh the two together and decide if you want to do any chambering for weight relief before glueing.

welcome to the forum and good luck with the build, looking forward to seeing your progress 😀

Ash

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So my wood planes are definitely old and not working properly and don’t have a belt sanding so currently using 60 grit paper to try and smooth out the top surface. Going to look for my maple tip tomorrow and work on the body design.

Question- What hardware is required/recommended prior to the cutting of the body? 

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Welcome to the forum!

11 hours ago, MTalbs90 said:

update on planers, they are ancient, dull and chipped so going to start looking for some newer ones 

If they are of good quality, age isn't an issue. A hundred years or so doesn't make a hand plane ancient or unusable! Of course the bottom has to be true and preferably the sides at a perfect 90 deg angle but those are relatively easy to fix. Same goes for the adjusting screws and such. A dull blade just needs to be sharpened, they rarely are perfect even from the package. Then again, if your tools are from a dollar shop fixing them would not pay.

You most likely won't get the surface perfectly flat with sandpaper, the edges tend to round and slope.

For tools needed, well, the builder at the refugee camp may have the minimum of what it takes:

 

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Hi and very warm welcome :)

If you have some old planes, it's certainly worth looking at how to sharpen the blades and set them up properly.  Like all sorts of stuff like this, there are the relatively few steps to get to 90% and then loads of other detailed stuff that get you further.  Simply getting a blunt blade sharp and protruding the right amount out of the mouth, plus a couple of watched videos on how to use the plane will transform your ability to get flat, sanding-ready surfaces!  The final 10% of setup and technique can come later!

For cutting the body - presumably you mean the outside shape?  If so, there are a number of options.  The ideal is a bandsaw (hobby one will do for light work), but you can - at a push - use a hand jigsaw.  If so, use a good blade and go slow - the blades tend to bend if you push them too far and fast and give you an angled cut.  I've even known people use a scroll saw (and even a hand fretsaw!) but that is very slow and likely to have multiple blade breaks.

For cutting the shape out of the blank, I would strongly recommend NOT using a hand router - far too many hazards and things to know and things to do to avoid losing great chunks of wood or (your) body parts...

For trimming round to a final shape once it is rough-cut, then yes, a router comes into its own but - unless you are already skilled in the use of one - do, do, do ask advice here or elsewhere before doing so.  Again, for the sake of your wood and your well-being. :)

You find this forum full of VERY helpful and friendly folks so never be afraid to ask if you're not sure - there is bound to be someone who's faced a similar issue, whatever it is.

I look forward to seeing this build progress.

Andy 

Edited by Andyjr1515

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Building on from Andy's good advice, if you've only got access to a jig saw or cheapy bandsaw, I recommend cutting the rough shape of the mahogany after you've got it down to final thickness and rouge cutting the rough shape of the maple cap separately, that way you're cutting two thinner pieces which will be a lot less work for the saw. Then you can glue the body and the cap together before routing to final shape, or you can even route the final shape of the cap then stick it to the rough shape of the body so you're routing less wood in each pass which is much safer for you, and the wood :D

If you're new to bandsaws, jigsaws - don't worry about cutting too close to the line, it's better to leave too much than risk cutting into the final work piece, and there is no issue with spending a bit longer with the router or sander getting it to final shape. 

Once you've done it a couple of times, you will realise that it's a doddle as long as you take your time and take care.

 

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Thanks for all the information. I am going to get a sharpening block today and try to work on the planers.

Regarding my current tool set up I am actually working with some decent stuff. I inherited a Shopsmith that includes a 3" jointer, band saw, table saw, drill press, lathe, over table router. I also got a plunge router from a garage sale for cheap.

I have also picked out some hardware (bridge, pickups, etc) off amazon to finalize the template with exact measurements. I took my epiphone les paul and traced the back half of the body and free-handed the front portion. Still confused on the electrical setup (pots, bridge grounding, pickup connections) but going to go to youtube university this evening and hopefully get a better understanding.

Hopefully will have some updated pics after this rainy weekend of a rough cut out of the body.

 

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1 hour ago, MTalbs90 said:

Thanks for all the information. I am going to get a sharpening block today and try to work on the planers.

Regarding my current tool set up I am actually working with some decent stuff. I inherited a Shopsmith that includes a 3" jointer, band saw, table saw, drill press, lathe, over table router. I also got a plunge router from a garage sale for cheap.

I have also picked out some hardware (bridge, pickups, etc) off amazon to finalize the template with exact measurements. I took my epiphone les paul and traced the back half of the body and free-handed the front portion. Still confused on the electrical setup (pots, bridge grounding, pickup connections) but going to go to youtube university this evening and hopefully get a better understanding.

Hopefully will have some updated pics after this rainy weekend of a rough cut out of the body.

 

Bandsaw for cutting out the body, then ! :)

 

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Welcome to the forums.  I'm pretty new as well on my second build.  I'd suggest looking at previous build threads.   Really good sources here from some very talented people.

I think it's about developing your perspective and expectation as everyone seems to do similar things different ways which leads to a pretty unique guitar.  Your going to have a lot of fun. 

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Update: Finally got my maple top book matched, joined and glued to my mahogany piece. I also cut out the rough shape of the guitar. Starting to finally look like something. Now I need to start my neck build which I have been putting off. 

DE42A59B-B7F5-4E83-9EFC-7F20BDF5BA53.jpeg

E5CA0F8D-9A24-4EA9-8DED-809B5671E672.jpeg

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40 minutes ago, MTalbs90 said:

Update: Finally got my maple top book matched, joined and glued to my mahogany piece. I also cut out the rough shape of the guitar. Starting to finally look like something. Now I need to start my neck build which I have been putting off. 

DE42A59B-B7F5-4E83-9EFC-7F20BDF5BA53.jpeg

E5CA0F8D-9A24-4EA9-8DED-809B5671E672.jpeg

looks like a nice join... good work.

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Update: got my neck designed and cut out along with some of the parts, still need to get some pots and input jack. I am pretty happy with the neck but it is not quite level, I think I wasn’t perfectly level when using the bandsaw so I need to figure out how to plane the top minimally to level out. I think I can be more precise with the fretboard too if needed. I plan on just using some left over maple for the fretboard. Going to try and get a jig setup to route the truss rod. 

1C1C8CD8-E17C-4B8D-9810-10329B5CBE9B.jpeg

0B113731-02A3-4853-8E8F-9C23BE287DBB.jpeg

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You're steaming ahead. If you haven't got a long jointer plane e.g no7 to square the top of the neck off with, you could always stick a roll of sandpaper stuck down on a flat surface (thick 18mm mdf would do) and rub the top face of the neck down on that.

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lots of jigs you could build to guarantee a consistent fretboard radius.  Another idea... I believe you can get sections of pvc pipe in 10" and 12" - assuming that would be the radius you want... could just cut a piece and glue it to a handle.  then again... you can get decent quality wood radius blocks for less than $20.

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5 minutes ago, mistermikev said:

lots of jigs you could build to guarantee a consistent fretboard radius.  Another idea... I believe you can get sections of pvc pipe in 10" and 12" - assuming that would be the radius you want... could just cut a piece and glue it to a handle.  then again... you can get decent quality wood radius blocks for less than $20.

 

Yeah I am looking to do a 10' radius on the fret board for this build. I have looked at the amazon sanding blocks and they are not bad, but I will look into the PVC for another option. Thanks! 

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i hope you mean 10"!! 

on one of the build sites... I saw a pretty interesting take on how to build one.  guy took aluminum sheet and bent it into the desired circle.  then put wax paper on top, then made a cardboard box to sit on tthat... filled with epoxy.  the trouble w that is... pretty sure aluminum sheet costs a lot!

anywho... also have seen them built using a bandsaw.  using a radius arm to cut blocks with the radius in them... then glue all the blocks together.

just thought you might like some other ideas. 

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2 minutes ago, mistermikev said:

i hope you mean 10"!! 

on one of the build sites... I saw a pretty interesting take on how to build one.  guy took aluminum sheet and bent it into the desired circle.  then put wax paper on top, then made a cardboard box to sit on tthat... filled with epoxy.  the trouble w that is... pretty sure aluminum sheet costs a lot!

anywho... also have seen them built using a bandsaw.  using a radius arm to cut blocks with the radius in them... then glue all the blocks together.

just thought you might like some other ideas. 

Yes 10" lol but I was just looking at that video on youtube cutting out the multiple block and gluing them together. Once I get the fretboard cut our and glued on I will decide which option to go with.

I do have a jointer that should fit the width of the neck to level it prior to putting the fret board on but want to make sure I don't take to much off. Going to try to complete this tonight and start setting up the jig for the truss rod along with cutting the fretboard piece out.

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29 minutes ago, MTalbs90 said:

Going to try to complete this tonight and start setting up the jig for the truss rod along with cutting the fretboard piece out. 

Don't rush! Think twice the order of tasks to be done and what you're going to do next. When you think you've grasped the idea, think again. Also, don't make a to-do list for a certain day or time. For perfect results you'd have to be in the right mood for each step. If your brain is set for making a jig for routing the truss rod cavity, turning your mind into something else may be tricky.

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Update: got the neck pocket routed along with the neck pickup. Need to work on how the neck sits in the pocket but nothing major. I plan on setting the bridge soon to determine string height and neck angle to make sure my  action is reasonable. I need to route out the bridge pickup along with the electronics cavity. I ordered my sanding block for the neck and got the truss rod installed and fretboard glued on. Truss rod access hole has been been completed as well. 

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On 5/9/2019 at 7:15 AM, ADFinlayson said:

Building on from Andy's good advice, if you've only got access to a jig saw or cheapy bandsaw, I recommend cutting the rough shape of the mahogany after you've got it down to final thickness and rouge cutting the rough shape of the maple cap separately, that way you're cutting two thinner pieces which will be a lot less work for the saw. Then you can glue the body and the cap together before routing to final shape, or you can even route the final shape of the cap then stick it to the rough shape of the body so you're routing less wood in each pass which is much safer for you, and the wood :D

If you're new to bandsaws, jigsaws - don't worry about cutting too close to the line, it's better to leave too much than risk cutting into the final work piece, and there is no issue with spending a bit longer with the router or sander getting it to final shape. 

Once you've done it a couple of times, you will realise that it's a doddle as long as you take your time and take care.

 

I plus one this.  I actually prefer a jig saw on a few things.  You can slow it down greatly around horns to get real close and minimize tearout.  At least that's my experience

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