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Everything posted by Skyjerk

  1. Nope. In the skillz area, my sharpening skills are the ones most in need of improvement
  2. I've considered getting a couple to try them out, but I have a hard enough time keeping edges on straight edged tools...
  3. That's kind of understating it a bit ;-) did you use some sort of gouge to rough in those carves?
  4. FWIW, I work out the angle and all the numbers in the design phase before a single tree is harmed :-) neck angle is pretty crucial in a carved top guitar. Wrong angle and the whole thing is firewood because obviously you can't change it once it's done. Not something where you want to just wing it, and then try and work around the issues it might create if it's not right. a traditional Les Paul has a neck angle of roughly 4.3 degrees, but I never cared for that angle, or how high it puts the bridge and pickups. In my own I reduced that angle to 3.4 degrees and it brought bridge, strings, and pickups closer to the top which is more pleasing to my eye and my hands all my subsequent designs were the same. Both of my GOTM winners, the 24 Magnum and the 22 Special, are neck-thru with carved maple tops. I use a free CAD program called emachineshop to design it all, and make sure the angles are going to work out right, then I make templates from the CAD files. Of course when you actually cut things nothing ever works out mathematically perfect, but it's very close and the variances are easily handled at that point. my "process" is identical whether it's a Les Paul, or my own designs. If you're curious, my Phoenix build thread has a fair amount of detail on the build...
  5. 22 Magnum do-over

    Thats consistent with my own experience. In the case of this top, even though I wasnt going to be using the bulk of it until March at least, I still jointed and glued it up after I cut the drop top off of it because if I let it sit as once piece for another 4 months after slicing 3/4" off it, its almost guaranteed to move again given some time to sit, and I'd have to plane even more off to make the top flat for joining. Since its now already jointed and glued, if it develops a slight cup by the time I need it I can clamp that cup right out of it when I glue the top on and wont need to shave off any more thickness. I've got plenty of clamps
  6. So I've posted a couple build threads that were a bit shy on details of my actual process and contained mostly photo's of where its at at difference stages, and were posted in one big lump after the build was actually complete. Nice to look at, but not very helpful to folks trying to possibly learn something. In this thread thread I'll be posting as the build progresses and I'll attempt to describe in greater detail the actual work and how I'm doing various things. Probably nothing new to most of you, but you never know where you might pick up some little tidbit that makes your life a little easier... I've only done one actual bit of this build so far so I'll add pictures of that, but the actual work wont begin until mid-to-late March as I have another build i'm wrapping up over the next few weeks. I figured I'd get a start on this build thread today though, and I'll pick it up in March once I proceed. So, you will recall the build I did as a memorial for my son. That model I call the "24 Magnum" that model began life as a 22 fret version and I re-imagined it to a 24 fret, 25.5" scale axe. Like before it'll have all my favorite features, and some changes in specs a bit different from the 24 fret model: Neck-through-body 3-piece laminate neck carbon fiber reinforcement in the neck 22 Stainless steel frets 25" scale length 12" fretboard radius Tonepros TOM bridge and stop tailpiece Grover locking rotomatic tuners unbleached bone nut Seymour duncan pickups (JB and Jazz) One volume, one tone, 5-position super switch Bookmatched, quilted maple top faux binding Macasser Ebony fretboard White MOP bird inlays "Addict" inlayed TR cover This will be finished in nitro with a tiger eye finish and a slight burst, and matching quilted headstock overlay. So, the design looks pretty boring as a 2D line drawing, but this is it. It will have the same top carve I put on the Phoenix 24 Magnum. I also added a slight bit of roundness to the bottom end of the guitar. The 24 Magnum was flatter... This is an example of the finish I hope to achieve... This is the quilted maple billet I purchased for the build. As you have no doubt guessed, I have an almost pathological love for transparent finishes over figured maple. To date I have not done a single opaque finish. The one bit of work I've done thus far (other than plan the build and make some templates) is to re-saw and join the top, so this is where I am in the build at this point More to come in March
  7. 22 Magnum do-over

    The bookmatched top in the pic above that I'll be putting on the 22 Magnum is just about .8" and coincidentally exactly the thickness I need. Had I lost any more to the drop top I'd have had to compensate with a thicker back. I was sweating when I was running it through the drum sander. The original billet was plenty thick for both tops when I started, but it had a little twist in it and by the time I planed it flat I had lost enough that it was going to be close as to whether I'd have enough left for both tops without having to alter my plans, but I just squeaked by under the wire
  8. This is your basic Stratocaster build. Not vey well documented from a perspective of process, though. Apologies. I didnt take as many photo's as I should have...
  9. 22 Magnum do-over

    Have some smelling salts on hand for when you see the prices for billets like that one... I got some of my money back on this one because it was thick enough to get a 1/4" drop top as well as the full thickness top for this build. The drop top I sold on a guitar I'm building for my bosses bosses boss.
  10. last guitar built

    That's gorgeous. I totally love the rosette :-)
  11. Stratocaster build

    Thanks Yeah, in the new and different department this build doesnt really stack up next to my last build, but I honestly love Strats and after a build with a much higher degree of difficulty I really enjoyed the simplicity of this build. Next build will be back to the harder stuff
  12. Stratocaster build

    Yup! Its definitely the nicest piece of swamp ash I've ever had. When I finish this guy I'm gonna keep the burst fairly close to the edge because I want a lot of that grain to show...
  13. Stratocaster build

    So at this point, with the body and neck built, thats 99% of the work. The rest is hooking stuff up and seeing how she plays, which I've done and heres some pix of where its at today. I'm super happy with the outcome. This will get finished in a traditional tobacco burst once it warms up enough to shoot, but of course I wasnt gonna wait that long to play it! I'm super happy with the playability, even though I havent done the fretwork yet. The tones are exactly what I wanted. the neck pup is classic Strat tone, and the middle and bridg pickups absolutely scream Being a hard tail with a really stiff neck, the sustain is fantastic. The guitar just "thrums" end to end when you strum a chord I will update this thread again when I shoot the finish, and again once I've sanded, buffed, and wrapped it up Also note the neck plate. I had a few of these made up with the same phoenix that I used on the fretboard of my phoenix build. I'm making this part of my logo. the headstock will feature the same "Addict" logo in Fender=style font that I used on my previous Strat build. This pic here is from my last build to show the headstock logo... and this is where this current build stands right now...
  14. Stratocaster build

    Theres some sizable holes coming up
  15. Stratocaster build

    OK, again I missed a chunk here. Sorry for the holes in the build. My next move was to rough trim the fretboard to approximately the right width, leaving a touch of overhandm, and then glue and clamp the fretboard in my vacuum press. Then I trim off the overhang on my router table to make a nice flush edge. I thickness the headstock down to 9/16" on my band saw, and then sand in the transition from headstock to fretboard using my spindle sander. I set up a fence on the spindle sander thats a hair over 9/16" from the spindle and slowly feed the neck into the space and it sands the transition perfectly. Install dots. This is pretty straightforward. Drill out 7mm holes, and glue in 7mm MOP dots I bought from custominlay. Sand them flush once the glu is hard. I actually file in the access to the TR adjustment before I glue the board on... again, a big missing piece. Neck carving. I generally use a tool called a Holey Galahad on an angle grinder to rough in the shape, and then refine it using dragon hand cut rasps, and finish it with increasing grits of sand paper. Then install the frets. So that jumps us to here:
  16. Stratocaster build

    back to the neck, I'm definitely missing some chunks of time in this section. Here is my neck blank after routing the blank out, installing the carbon fiber rods and truss rod. I use my router table and fence to cut the channels while the blank is still square. Easy peasey. obviously I'm, using a spoke nut TR with access at the heel... Fretboard is a nice piece of indian rosewood. I plane the blanks dow to just over 1/4" use my radius jig to put a radius on the board... Fret slotting jig on my table saw... I made a couple at this time... a quick sand takes all the router marks off... voila!
  17. Stratocaster build

    So jumping back to the body, this is pretty straightforward. Plane it down to the appropriate thickness... Standard thickness for a Strat is 1.75", I leave it a touch overwised to allow for sanding later trace the outline (shown at the top post) and cut it on the band saw Attach the template and route the body Jumping ahead a little, I re-attach the routing template and route out the body cavities, and neck pocket, and put the roundover on the edge. Neck pocket is 5/8" deep, pickup routing is 3/4" inch deep, and the control section and output jack area are 1 1/2" deep. I use a 7/16" roundover for the edge. I use my edge sander to rough in the belly and arm carves Drill holes for the neck attachment and that pretty much wraps up the body...
  18. Stratocaster build

    Ok, so after my phoenix build I'm kind of "clearing my palate" with a much simpler build. I have a love of Strats since I was a kid and have actually built more of these than any other guitar. This one will be a typical Strat in most respects. One-piece swamp ash body, Hard maple neck, 25.5" scale length 22 Stainless steel frets 12" radius (because this one is for me and I like 12") Indian rosewood fretboard white MOP dot inlays Schaller tuning machines Gotoh hard tail bridge Unbleached bone nut CTS pots (250k and orange drop caps) Pickups are HHS, and all Seymour Duncan. Hot Rails in the bridge, Cool rails in the middle, and an SSL-1 vintage staggered at the neck. The only other non-standard bit is carbon fiber rods in the neck. Not that a good maple neck needs carbon fiber, but I've found that the necks are far less subject to temp and humidity changes and rarely ever need any tweaking once you have them set the way you want, so I use em even in maple necks. so heres the neck in the planer after I already flattened the other side and one edge on my jointer...
  19. Stratocaster build

    no actually that photo is it. Its all done. what do you guys think? I'm gonna enter it in Feb GOTM
  20. Stratocaster build

    I actually have more pix. I'll post them a bit later :-)
  21. Mr_Riddlers build thread

    Wow. i wish I'd looked in this thread sooner. That "mordor burst" is amazing, and the fretboard carving is spectacular. That has got to be the most epic metal axe of all time
  22. Spiral router bits

    I've bought two new bits recently. The purchase was prompted by the ruination of a neck I was routing for a stratocaster. The bit was decent, I had left no more than 1 mm to route having sanded it 99.5% of the way to the line, and I'm always super careful, but while routing around the heel across the endgrain, it STILL bucked, went bang, and split the neck into firewood. So I finally bit the bullet and bought a couple carbide spiral flush trim bits and while the price tags made me absolutely cringe with horror, no sooner did I start using them and I forgot all about how much I paid (almost!) I bought two different bits, one with a bottom bearing, and one with a top bearing. If you can afford one or both of these bits without choking to death on the price, I highly recommend them. I routed several maple Strat necks with the Freud bit and it ate them for lunch. From the way they cut you could feel no difference between long grain and end grain, and the finish it left felt like it had been cut flat with a razor sharp hand plane. This is now my go-to bit for those type of jobs. The second bit (whiteside) did an equally amazing job trimming 1/4 rosewood boards. Felt like I wasnt even cutting anything, as well as routing around the perimeter of a VERY quilted maple top and it left and edge like glass with zero tear out. I've never routed quilted maple without some tearout before, so I was seriously impressed The whiteside bit will also plunge and leave a glass smooth bottom on the cavity. Anyway, just thought I'd throw in my 2 cents (lol) on these bits First one (top bearing) is Whiteside Model UDP9112 Ultimate Spiral Pattern Bit Second one is Freud 1/2" (Dia.) Flush Trim Upcut Spiral Bit
  23. Spiral router bits

    Yep. 7/8" dia. WAY too large for routing pickup cavities unless you want them to just be a big oval I saw your post in your own thread, and looked for that 3/8" amana 3 flute bit, but I could only find one that looked like a straight cut. It didnt appear to be angled. I must not have found the one you referred to, but if you can link that I'll but it. Its gotta be better than the one I'm using now
  24. Router bits

    Hi Scott. I didnt see your thread before posting one of my own about spiral bits... I have yet to find one of a size for pickup routes. I prefer a 3/8" bit for that and I have yet to see a 3/8" spiral flush trim bit. Someday maybe...
  25. 24 Magnum

    Hi Guys. I havent been around for a few months after first joining this forum back in in November. I did a build thread on this forum of an original design called the "22 Magnum" which I didnt actually complete. That guitar is still waiting for lacquer. I got side-tracked by a tragedy in my personal life and I didnt go into my shop for several months. When I finally went back I set the 22 magnum aside for a while to do a different build. This build is dedicated to my first born son, Chris. Chris passed away on Feb 18, 2017 from an accidental overdose of heroin/fentanyl. He was 24 years old. Christopher Francis Leahy April 6, 1992 - February 18, 2017 I wont spend a lot of time here detailing what Chris meant to me other than to say he is my son. My firstborn, my namesake, and a kindred spirit in many ways. He’s a part of me and I could not love him more. He changed me in a very fundamental way the day he came into this world, and he did so again on the day he left. A significant part of me died with him that day, but I hope that part will be reborn on the day I leave this world to join him. I miss him. I miss his face, his charm, his wit, his intelligence, and the twinkle in his eye. I even miss some of his more exasperating qualities because all those things together were uniquely Chris. Chris is gone from the physical world, the world in which the rest of us must continue to exist, and now 3 months later (at the time of writing) I’m still struggling to find a way to live with that. I have to conclude at this point that it will never be OK, nor will I ever be whole again. I’m moved by the deep and abiding love I feel for him to create some kind of physical memorial. Something that I can touch and see and that connects me with Chris through sight and sound and spirit. Chris had very recently found a true passion for playing guitar and making music, so a special guitar seems appropriate and right. I was already working on a custom build as a gift for him but he died before I completed it. That guitar sits unfinished in my studio and there it will remain unless and until my other son Jake, Chris’s younger brother, claims it for his own. He is the only other person on earth to whom I would ever consider giving it. The Phoenix is for me. As to why I’m calling it “The Phoenix”, that should become apparent pretty quickly. In addition to being dedicated to Chris, this build will also be a tribute to him and will feature a number of custom designed shell inlays that represent tattoo’s that he had that were special to him and to me. The largest of these is a phoenix taking flight on the back of the body and a large Aires logo also on the back of the body. I was there with him on the occasions he got those two tattoos. In fact, I paid for them. The phoenix was on his chest, and the Aires symbol on his shoulder. I also have a tattoo of a Phoenix on my own chest that predates Chris’s by many years and was one of Chris’s motives for choosing it for himself, and I have recently gotten Chris’s phoenix tattoo on my own arm in memory of my son. As low-brow as this all might sound, we have a mutual love of tattoos, and these two in particular represent special memories of some of the good times that we shared. I cherish them. Both tattoos are visible in the above photo of Chris. There will also be a couple smaller inlays, another Phoenix on the fretboard as a large 12th fret inlay, and an abstract Aires symbol on the headstock. The main two inlays will be quite accurate compared to the tattoos with regard to shape and size, but wont be accurate representations of the colors simply because shall is available in limited colors, and of course they will be set into dark colored wood as opposed to skin. As a side note, in addition to putting his phoenix on the guitar, I've also put it on myself as another remembrance. Back to the guitar. Approximate size and placement of the Aires symbol on the back of the body. The Phoenix will also be on the back, I'm still working out placement. This Phoenix symbol will be on the fretboard in white MOP The last inlay will be on the headstock and will be an Aires symbol in white MOP With regard to the guitar itself, the body and headstock shapes and top carve makes up for what was lacking in my <em>original</em> 24 Magnum design from a few years ago. Having lived with that for a couple years, and having played it, theres some more changes I\u2019ve made to the body shape, among other things. The plan with this design is to appeal to the tastes of people that like PRS guitars and fill that niche This body shape is called "Magnum" and this is a 24 fret version, hence "24 Magnum". I previously built a 22 fret, 25" scale version of this guitar which I called the "22 Magnum" In addition to a better shape, it also has a better top carve This model, as with most of my builds, has the following notable features: Neck-through-body construction 3-piece laminate neck carbon fiber neck reinforcement Specs: 25.5" scale length 24 stainless steel frets 12" fretboard radius Genuine South American mahogany ( Swietenia macrophylla ) body and neck Bookmatched, figured maple top and headstock overlay Natural "faux" binding Macassar Ebony Fretboard Original Floyd Rose Tremolo White mother-of-pearl Phoenix symbol covering frets 11, 12, 13 Planet Waves 3×3 locking tuning machines Seymour Duncan pickups - Custom Custom (TB-11) bridge, and Sentient neck) 5-way blade (n, n-split, n/br, br-split, br) CTS pots, orange drop caps Nitrocellulose Lacquer I want to take a minute here to give special recognition to my friend Paul Eckert at Sweetwater. I've worked with Paul for about 5 or 6 years and have made many purchases of recording equipment, instruments, and guitar parts over that time and he always gives first rates service. Over the course of our association we've also become friends. I always share pics and updates on my builds, we've talked about all manner of things, musical interests, our various recording projects, and most recently the birth of his own son who is now 7 months old. Upon hearing of my sons passing, today when I placed the order for the pickups and tuning machines for this tribute build, rather than sending me the usual awesome pricing he always gives me, this time he just said "This ones on me" I cant adequately express my gratitude for his generosity of spirit. All I can say is thank you, Paul. Materials for this build. The reddish-brown boards on the right are a very nice quality 8/4 Bolivian mahogany I picked up at Hearne Hardwoods in Oxford PA. They will be used to make the body, the neck, and the headstock and so will comprise the bulk of the guitar. I appropriately picked them up on what would have been Chris's 25th birthday 2 weeks ago on April 6th. &nbsp; So here is my basic design drawing. We'll compare when its finished and see how close we came &nbsp; Macassar Ebony for the fretboard Hardware for this build: Original Floyd Rose tremolo Solid Tungsten sustain block for the bridge. These are the parts I mentioned above that were donated by Paul Eckert at Sweetwater. Seymour Duncan pickups. Custom Custom trembucker for the bridge slot, and a Sentient 6-string for the neck. Also a set of black D'Addario auto-trim locking tuning machines, and finally, a 4-pole, 5-way super switch