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Entry for September 2018's Guitar Of The Month is open!


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Everything posted by Norris

  1. This is my second build, which should be a bit more simple than my first on. At the moment it's very much a "back burner" project while I finish up on my previous build: http://www.projectguitar.com/forums/topic/48292-first-build-the-nozcaster/ This one is a fairly basic Les Paul Junior Double Cut copy for my guitarist Dan. It will be slightly "customised" The spec (so far): Mahogany neck Single piece khaya body (African mahogany) Ebony fretboard Ebony headstock plate Twin P90 pickups Custom control layout - he likes the volume control right under his pinkie MOP dot markers & monogram inlay at 12th fret Luminlay side dots Solid colour (not quite decided which colour yet!) This will have a few "firsts" for me: Using mahogany or ebony Set neck Having a neck angle Scarfing joint Inlay work
  2. Gah! There's still too much fettling involved. Scanning the MOP was a decent idea, but it seems that it's too reflective to give an accurate scan of the edges. I'm therefore having to fine tune the rout to such a degree that the letters are likely to end up crooked. Plan B - back-to-back masking tape with CA, stick the MOP down, cut it out with a scalpel, rout out the negative when the MOP and masking tape is removed, leaving the rest of the masking tape in place. I'm glad I tried it on a practice piece!
  3. The second test rout has given me confidence that the process is sound. I just need to rout a little bit over the edge to allow for the scanning inaccuracies. The main problem seems to be getting a nice balance between getting the label to stick enough to stay put when I'm sliding the router base over it, but not too much that it pulls wood fibres away when I peel it off afterwards. That, and the variability of wood grain in a natural material - the milling bit does want to wander. I might try one more test first
  4. I've not updated for a while as I've been busy over the summer, plus it's been too darned hot in the garage. Anyway as it's cooled down a bit and I'm off work with the tail end of a heavy cold, I've started dabbling with the headstock inlay. I've never done an inlay before, so it would make sense to do something simple? Nope, I don't take the easy path. I've got a nice scripty "Norris" made up. So scripty that it's nigh on impossible to do the usual stick it on and score round it method. So we're taking a different approach and I thought I'd share my thoughts. No photos in this update as I'd like to save that for the reveal later. Anyway, I originally designed the logo on my computer using Inkscape, then sent the design off to be cut. Great I thought. If I print out an address label with the design, I can stick it to my test piece, rout the black areas with the Dremel, Stewmac base and 1mm milling bit. The MOP should then drop in. The routing was fiddly, but pretty successful. Only... the MOP doesn't drop straight in. It's been made by a human being not a computer! The design is on the edge of what is possible to cut, and although he's done a fabulous job, it's not exact to the original design. So here are my next thoughts. I think the address label idea has legs. What I've done now is to line the actual MOP up as closely as possible on a print out of the design, then stick a piece of blue (for contrast) masking tape over the top to hold them in alignment. Next will be to scan that into the computer, tweak it to black on white in inkscape again, then print another label and have another go on my test piece. It's almost too easy! Edit: 25 minutes later and I've got a test print that looks crack on. I'm a computer wizard sometimes Now where did I put those labels...
  5. Norris

    JimF's First Build!

    You could probably rough cut it a lot closer to your line. That would save a lot of time, have less wear on your router bit and reduce the risk of tearout through making fewer router passes. Very nice progress though!
  6. Norris

    My LP Junior

    Beautiful guitar. That top wood is gorgeous, and a lovely burst to boot
  7. Norris

    Final post from Kemp Guitars

    Good luck. You've shown us some beautiful guitars. Thanks for your contribution!
  8. Norris

    Guitar template design

    Inkscape is a pretty cool vector drawing package - and is completely free. You can use a path as a mask on embedded bitmaps for mock-ups. It's a bit of a learning curve, as any vector-based drawing package will be. However if you've ever used something like CorelDRAW! you'll be right at home I've used it to design all sorts of templates, logos & inlays https://inkscape.org/en/
  9. Norris

    Scaling, Strings, & Neck Length

    Something like a Tenor guitar? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenor_guitar
  10. Norris

    32" scale p bass "the picalow"

    Congratulations! Well deserved
  11. That's a finish you could swim in! Cracking work!
  12. Norris

    Neck Modeling.

    Shame about the slip-up. Excellent work though!
  13. Norris

    2nd Build - 5 F-SQRD

    The more you remove with the bandsaw, the less you have to sand away. I'm sure you could save yourself hours by nipping a bit more away
  14. Yes, that's what I did
  15. The end of the fretboard butts up against the nut, so the fret positions are measured from there, having clamped a long rule along the centre line. You may be able to see the pencil marks I made last week after trimming the ends of the board - also the reason I covered the board in masking tape, so I'd be able to see them
  16. Tonight was onto slotting the board. I took a few snaps of the old-skool process. First of all we have a jig with a tapered slot in the middle, that just happens to be the taper of the majority of fretboards. If using a different taper, then a bit of packing is required to align along the centre line. As you can see, mine fits nice and snuggly. I then clamped it in place. You'll also probably notice that the jig has been used a few times before! Then we have a couple of knives: an xacto-style scalpel and a thicker bladed knife. Also a Japanese pull saw First off we use a set square against the side of the jig and score a few times with the scalpel ...until we have a fine cut Then draw the thicker bladed knife, gently at first and then with increasing pressure to widen the cut Then finally we can use the pull saw In two hours I managed to cut 14 slots. That's probably a lot slower than most of you! This ebony seems to really grab the blade after the first mm - that's my excuse! Anyway the other 8 slots will have to wait until September because my classes are over for this term. I might try to find time to do some inlays over the summer
  17. Absolutely! My current build is a slab body, and I'm going to miss doing a top carve. It's a beautiful thing when it becomes "right".
  18. 'Ain't that the truth!
  19. Norris

    Bass in Yo Face

    It's CNC Zen
  20. Absolutely this ^^^
  21. Norris

    Black Limba Flying V

    What issues are you having with the fretboard? It looks far too nice to junk it!
  22. I'm hoping he gets to play it before he retires! Thanks, you're too kind
  23. Norris

    Avoiding lumps

    One of the advantages of using a template is that it's easier to refine the shape on thinner material - involving less elbow grease to get it to the correct shape. The router then transfers that shape accurately to the wood. You have really answered your own question. Touch is about the most important sense in guitar building imho. Persevere with refining your shape by feeling the bumps and troughs, and looking at it from a distance, close up, in different lighting conditions. Something like a shinto rasp or dragon file can help to remove material quite quickly, followed by coarse sanding using a range of suitable blocks, and then maybe finer grits or cabinet scrapers. Try to keep the sides perpendicular to the top too (another advantage of templates + router) - it's very easy to drift away into an undercut or overcut. I've used various things hanging around the garage for sanding blocks - from chunks of mdf to short lengths of copper pipe to drill bits to offcuts of beading. The way I do it is to sit down, grip the body between my knees and use both hands to guide the sanding block. Focus sanding on the bump initially, then blend it into the surrounding wood with progressively longer strokes (and repeat a lot), stopping every now again to feel it, usually with my eyes closed. Given enough patience and perseverance I'm sure you'll get it "right" I think I have a photo of my favourite sanding "block" (a length of "D" shaped beading) on my phone - I'll edit this post and add it if I can find it
  24. There's not much to update this week. Basically trimming the fretboard to length and marking out the fret slots to start cutting next week. My instructor does them a bit more "old-skool" than most of the techniques shown on here, so I'll try to snap a few photos. It's the last class of term next week, so progress could slow even more. Especially so if this heatwave continues - lack of sleep and energy doesn't make for accurate guitar building. Apparently I'm meant to shower for only 4 minutes to save water. The hosepipe ban isn't in force yet, but I think it's only a matter of weeks if not days.
  25. Norris

    32" scale p bass "the picalow"

    *Cough-cough* Lovely looking bass btw