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Akula

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Akula last won the day on April 18

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About Akula

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  1. Dude, go for it! Tools I have used so far: power drill, jigsaw, file, rasp, coping saw, knife, sandpaper. Bandsaw doesn't count, I couldn't tension it properly and the blade kept falling off. And thanks for the kind words about the gaff finish, everyone! Honestly, didn't know how that one would go down. I've refinished two guitars already using this technique - one of them is my main touring guitar, and yep, if I drop it, it definitely bounces! Days Twelve and Thirteen: Before I unveil the top finish, I feel I should give some insight into the inspiration behind this guitar's style. What do we know? It's a no-budget, trashy build, which may not last more than a few years. My last guitar build was just the same, and it's been touring Australia for two years now. So I figured I'd make something slightly more classy, hence the hollow body, yet still in touch with the punk-ass roots. Think of it like this - guy dressed up in a perfectly tailored suit, but with a big blue Mohawk. Did a base coat of white. Left it pretty thin. Blue number one... Blue number two.... And blue number three. I'm applying this with my fingers. Palette-painting artist, I am not. I just don't have any paintbrushes, rollers, or spray equipment, but I have fingers. The effect is... unique.... Then I paid some attention to the neck. As far as backstory for this neck, it came from a budget guitar I bought when I first moved out to Sydney. Last year, my band's old guitarist decided to smash the guitar to pieces on the stage floor - looked awesome, I'm sure. I took the neck home and had to epoxy a few cracks back together. Besides new tuners and most likely a tetanus shot, I imagine there will be a fret replacement job somewhere down the line. That, or I'll get employed again and just build a new neck. In the meantime, I sanded the headstock back to maple and gave it the same wacky paint-job I inflicted upon the body. Even wrote my name on it. With a sharpy. Back to the body. Paint's freshly dried - I'm using acrylic hobby paint at $2 a tube - so I sanded back to level it. Nearly had the 2000grit wet paper going, before I realised it would simply wipe off the water-based paint! Then I applied the first layer of water-based polyurethane lacquer, and took a shiny video. Of course, I don't want to leave the guitar outside in the garden while I wipe on probably 30 coats of lacquer. It would be like Jurassic Park when Hammond finds a mosquito in the amber. So, I commandeered the wardrobe. Honestly, the wife took it very well! There's a few things I need to take care of while the top coat gets done. I still have to make some pickup rings out of plywood (groan), craft an output jack plate, cavity covers, and wire up the electronics externally ready for installation. Back in a coupla days!
  2. I admit, I gave it a quick go on the stone I use for my kitchen knives, but that chisel literally has chips and dents in the blade. I'm sure I could've fixed it up a bit better with a grinder, but hey, got the job done. Days Ten and Eleven: Recessed the neck bolt ferrules. Covered the back and sides of the guitar in gaff tape. Wait, whaaat? Oh yeah. Best thing for a trashy pine guitar body is a trashy finish! Then, rough it up with some 400-grit, and spray it black with rattle-can. I do two fairly thick coats and let them dry properly. Then, get some 240-grit sandpaper wrapped around an old T-shirt or even a towel, and get sanding back. Trick is, do it light as all hell, and you tend to take out the ridges in the gaff-tape pattern, revealing the texture. Glued in the binding. Alright, let's take a closer look at that binding... Having established this as the lowest-spend build I can possibly manage, I figured I'd make some binding myself. Being a stay-at-home roadie, I've got hundreds of rolls of electrical tape lying around. Three layers of white, three layers of green, three layers of white. The hardest part was laying it all out straight on the table, and then cutting it dead down the middle. Glued in with epoxy, cut flush with the guitar top/back. I know this build just went from bad to what-the-hell in terms of building materials, but bear with me - you haven't seen the top finish yet!
  3. Days Eight and Nine: I would love to say I followed Bizman's advice, but I didn't. I would like to be able to say I didn't hand-cut through 5mm of plywood by hand, but I did. I'd quite like to deny any involvement of my blunt chisel, but it's evident. And I'd like to say it took less than two full days of cutting, and a half day of cleaning up - but it really took that long. I guess some of us just like to do it the hard way... Would. Not. Recommend. Ever.
  4. That's soo much cleaner than what I came up with! Mine was more like a block with a big rebate, with an 8mm hole drilled through it so I could put pressure on the exacto blade handle passed through the hole. Neither, I'm afraid.
  5. If I had the money or the means to do a veneer, I'd be all over it! But then, if I had the resources, I would've done the entire top out of quilted maple. Day Seven: More neck heel work - got the thing bolted in for the first time today. Ended up doing it by dabbing a little paint around each hole in the neck, then pressing hard into the heel of the body, and found myself with some impressions of the screw holes. Easy life. And, according to the centreline of the body, my mathematics were off by about half a millimeter! For the standards invoked by this build, I’d call that pretty damn good. I’ll have to shave a touch of wood out of the sides of the pickup routes, but I’m happy with that. Now, I’ve gotta think of a way to recess these ferrules… they’re 12mm, and the largest drill bit I own is 10mm. I could go buy a cheap drill bit for a few dollars - it’s only gotta survive four cuts. As previously mentioned, any further builds should be a little better funded in terms of tools! Next big obstacle I need to overcome, and I may indeed require the assistance of the wealth of knowledge possessed by this internet forum, is to make the binding channels. This picture shows a test piece, not the actual guitar! No router. My chisel is rusted, deformed, and as sharp as my attempts at humour. I have heard of the tool known as a gramil - I do not have funds to buy one. I had a go at making one myself, and it came out looking like a prison shiv. The other issue being this: the top is F’ed-Grade plywood, and the grain tears as easily as toilet paper - although I haven’t had an issue with people panic-buying plywood yet. Any suggestions? Binding channel, 3mm wide and 5mm deep. Terrible ply. Runs the curve of an arm contour too. Cheapest option available!
  6. Those northern winters must be a pain for any kind of guitar-building! People here have no idea - it drops below 20'c in Sydney and everyone starts wearing furry coats! Also, I too have had my nagging about filling the garden with sawdust.... Thanks mate! But it's not over yet - there's still a lot of tasks to complete which would be a lot easier with the right set of tools. Day Six: Made the neck heel a bit more comfortable. I'll have a hell of a time drilling and aligning the holes in the body to match the neck, though. Does anybody have experience building a body for a neck which already has holes drilled? Arm carve. My first time using rasps and files to carve a top, so I took it nice and slow. I waited until after dark, then hooked up a powerful floodlight in my work area - this gave me a solid sharp shadow upon the piece. As much as carving your way through layers of glue in plywood can just plain suck, at least it kinda gave me a topographical map of my progress A half-round file wrapped with sandpaper gave a pretty good smooth to it. Time for a show of hands - should I paint this thing solid black, or should I leave it completely natural and show off it's peasant origins?
  7. Mate, it's all we can do to keep on keepin' on! Being unemployed won't bring me down, just like how my lack of power tools (and money!) won't stop me from building a guitar! Thanks for the kind words, I hope you guys are all doing okay too. Day Five: Finally I've got a single piece glued up, and it's somewhat resembling a guitar body! Of course, the whole idea for constructing the body from so many different layers was to alleviate the need for a router. It also allowed me to make the guitar chambered. But, the inherit issue is one of alignment, and now that it's all glued up there are a few bits that need tidying up with the rasps and files. And a few bits that need slicing off entirely. Got some shims in the neck pocket. Plurality of shims? Because I have no tools capable of doing a 56mm-deep cut at an angle - jigsaw won't do it, and that borrowed bandsaw has blade wandering issues. However, I can go through 18mm with my coping saw three times. This will get cleaned up when I come to installing the neck itself. Seriously, I never realised how useful a router is until I didn't have one!
  8. Day Four: I've always found something childishly funny about the term "F-holes", but this morning I used the "F-word" rather extravagantly. My coping saw has been in neglect for so long, it took a good spray of WD40 just to change the blade. And as for my skills using it? Thank god for files and sandpaper. Drilled holes for the switches and pots. I nearly forgot this part. And the top gets glued! More gravity-clamps. Oh yeah, this setup works, but don't expect a few bricks to replace good clamps. I'm broke, and my finish style will accommodate for a few imperfections, but otherwise I'd be off to Bunnings to buy a million clamps. Meanwhile, I got some access covers cut from the back. The switch cover got cut twice, because I measured once. Main electronics cover went a lot better. The back ply will take the thickness of the neck heel to an unwieldy 44mm. There will be more shaping of the heel later, but for now I cut back the curve of the ply and had a carve at it. Oh look at that, the glues dried! Well, it's only been three hours, but I'll unclamp the top for just long enough to get the back glued in there as well. So… what did I forget to do before I closed up the guitar body for good? Hopefully nothing important...
  9. Yeaaah, let's call them "creative"... Some of my solutions are gonna cut corners, and some of them will be drastic. Stick around for the ride! Day Three: Today started pleasantly with ruler and pencil. We all know about the six (seven?) P’s, although I am treating this build in the same way as a stand-up comedian treats a gig - making it up as I go along, and hoping somebody laughs at it. Made myself some pickup routes. Or, shall I say, pickup holes? There was no routing involved. Time to make this thing about 800g lighter. And, hopefully, a touch more resonant than your standard block of pine... Although I won’t hold my breath. ( Notice how the two “frames” are slightly different sizes? Since I have no appetite for doing a full Les Paul carve on a questionable 4mm plywood top, this will be a flat-top endeavour. But, I will be doing an arm carve in the flavour of Gibson’s “The Paul”, so the inside of the guitar body at this point gets internally carved with a rasp to lend some strength to the top. I’m sure your keen eyes are, at this moment, wondering why all of my timber is white? Ah, because this idiot here bought dressed pine. It’s got a good thick layer of primer on it. Buyer’s remorse. To really put it into perspective how little I want to spend on this project, I take a stand right here - I shall not spend another $17 on some more pine! Guess I’d better sand all of that primer off, then. An orbital sander would’ve helped. But, that would put me over my budget - which is still sweet F.A. The obligatory “every clamp I have in the shop” photo. Except, here I have a measly assortment of six clamps. Oh, and the gravity clamp - bricks. Let’s see what this looks like in the morning.
  10. Thanks man, good to be back! How are you doing? Day Two: Using my untrustworthy jigsaw, I hacked out my body shape in a rough manner. I know all about blade bending, and even the most strategically placed relief holes wouldn't help out the screaming blade. Sometimes, a good samaritan will hear such screaming, and come to the rescue. My friendly neighbour popped his head over the fence and asked if I'd like to borrow his 9" bandsaw. Boy, would I! The man has a heart of gold. The machine, however, has a gullet of rust, excuse the pun. I spent hours wrestling my guitar-slices through the throat of this aged machine, sweating and praying against a blade breakage. Honestly, results were not bad! This is the point where any sane or smart luthier (I pretend to be neither) would crack out the bearing-loaded plunge router and a fresh MDF template, but I have no router. This also being the reason why I roughed-in the neck heel at this point. Two days in, a fair amount of head-scratching, and only a couple of wrecked jigsaw blades! Off to a good start.
  11. Long time no see! How have you all been? Well, I finally went out and dropped the big bucks. Lost my job (like everyone else) two weeks ago, and after exhausting myself of things to do, I failed to succumb to boredom, and decided to build another guitar. I'm excited - my first real build in eight years! I bought a stick of pine for $17. Now, before any eyebrows meet hairlines, let me just put my position into perspective. I moved to Australia from the UK seven years ago, and have so far accumulated a fraction of the tools I previously had at my disposal. Total count of power tools is two - a cheap jigsaw, and an even cheaper power drill. Needless to say, I would love to part with some cash for a good router setup, and furthermore I understand the need for good tools (and materials) to build a high-quality instrument, but under current circumstances I just can't justify the expense - I might need that money to buy food very soon. So here's my challenge! I'm going to build a Les Paul inspired chambered electric guitar, out of standard pine and ply. 25.5" scale length, Tune-O-Matic bridge, locking tuners, Seymour Duncan SH-6 pickups, F-holes, flat top, strap-locked, dirty blue finish. Re-used neck came from an interesting place. Day One: Drew up some plans. Les Paul style schematics are abundant on the internet; I twisted mine maniacally before they hit real paper. I ripped my pine shelf into pieces, and glued up into two 18mm thick body blanks. Why? Lack of a router. All shall become clear. Afterwards, I withdrew to my habitat to consider my options. A build on no budget? With literally no tools? Using, in quantifiable terms, the worst materials? What could go wrong. - Jam.
  12. Finally got this thing finished! Like I said, working 60+hours a week between two jobs, holding down gigs and practices with two bands, and of course a girlfriend (groan!), doesnt leave a lot of time free. Oh no, the world exclaims - another 20-year-old just found out what real life is like! Haha Anyhoo, stuck the hardware in... ...and downright butchered the electronics... ...and strung her up! Uhh... Remember the bit where I made a jack plate out of an aluminum can? Yeah, uh, dont do that. It doesnt work very well. I walked a little too far away from my amp one practice, and it... Well, just look: However, I am really quite happy with my sponge-applied poly finish. Not so much with my shoddy set-up Overall, I'd say this build's been a fair success. It's got its flaws, quirks, and a seriously crap set of pickups, but for an incredibly low budget and very little time investment, it's not bad!
  13. Can we have a video please? I've seen the photographs of the monster, now I want to hear it scream...!
  14. Scott - The bass horn shouldnt be a problem. I've been playing the other guitar for a few years, and the only problem I've found is that the guitar is unnaturally light, due to it's hollow softwood construction! I'll have to weigh it, but it's wierdly light. Probably why I designed the bass horn to be that long - no neck dive. (excuse the locking nut on that neck - been meaning to build a proper neck for that thing for years...) Agent Zed - That's one of the guitars I was looking at when I drew inspiration for this! http://projectguitar.com/tut/bsb.htm This tutorial, to be exact. As for the "see what happens" technique, isnt life more fun this way?
  15. Hey, been a long time... I found this old guitar body in my garage about a week ago. Built this thing as one of two guitars, going on about three years ago, but never finished it. As you can see, it was a pretty dire attempt. I was just a kid back then, right? Pine and birch construction, hacked together from about seven pieces of wood, and covered in wood filler! Structurally sound, and perfectly functional, but a total eyesore - hence why it never was finished. So I dragged it out of the garage last week, determined to do something with it. A finish, paint maybe, just SOMETHING to get it playable and get something out of it. Then my gaze settled on some Indian Ink (from the self-tattooing days...) Application was done with a few scrunched-up receipts, mostly received from the local pub's card machine. Just dip 'em in the ink, and wipe them across the guitar as rough as you can! Pretty cool effect. And no brushes or spray equipment to clean afterwards. I dont know how many of you have tried or even heard of Kraken Black Spiced Rum, but its a beautiful drink. Me and my friends discovered this a few months ago, and have lost many nights of memories to this terrifying sea monster. So I drew a squid! Traced it onto the guitar... And tattooed it! Yep, I tattooed a guitar - scratched the ink into the top with a sharpened mechanical pencil dipped in ink. The process was very similar to a DIY tattoo, if anybody here is also unfortunate enough to have experienced one. Masked off the squid... ...and rubbed ink all over. I wanted the top to be darker than how the back turned out, so I diluted a bit of Indian ink in water, and wiped it on with an old sponge. This brought me up to about midnight, two days into the project. I then went to work, and did roughly 60 hours in a week - no time for guitars! Got back to it yesterday, and started experimenting with top coats. I found some of this in the garage, and did a few test pieces with it. Three disadvantages of Linseed Oil I found - it slightly discolors the ink, it takes a while to cure, and it makes your guitar smell like an old man's walking stick. So I went and bought this: I'm sure theres a reason why I shouldnt be using this, or why I shouldnt be applying it with a sponge, but it seems to be working and I'm happy! Now, the hole for the jack socket needs a cover plate. Simple! Shoulda been a beer can though, but I got rid of all the weekend's evidence yesterday. Now I've got a bowl of hardware and electronics - just add milk, and om-nom-nom-nom....!
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