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Everything posted by beltjones

  1. Well, there are times when a man has to admit he has a problem and submit to a higher power. Boys and girls, I'm addicted to building these things. I started builds #4 and #5 without any clear idea of where I'm heading with these designs. I had the wood, and thus I started cutting and gluing. Once again I'm doing neck-through guitars. I don't know why other than I made it work a few times already. The first is a three piece bubinga neck, with a 1" center and .75" on the sides. Next is the other part of 1" bubinga and some subtle curly maple I found for $10 at the lumber yard. There is an ugly spot on the maple but it will be cut away when I carve the neck. This is how I'm gluing these things up. Please tell me if I'm doing something stupid. I glued one board at a time, and I clamped everything to a 48" box level to keep it straight while it glues. The boards were already straight, but I didn't want to introduce any weird tensions when the glue set under clamping pressure. And the other side. And now it's all glued up. I've never had (in three builds, not 30 years or anything) a neck blank so easy to square and flatten than this one. I'm talking three minutes with a hand plane and it's perfect. I also paid about $40 on ebay for about 6 vintage gouges that I'm working on refurbishing for these two builds. I think first I'm going to build a life-size, full detail human skull out of osage orange, and then do a carved top using gouges instead of rasps or an angle grinder. Otherwise, I'm thinking of doing a 24" or 24.5" metal guitar tuned to like drop C or possibly drop A, and a 24.5" jazz guitar with a carved top and back, front and back binding, and a chambered body. The general idea is to build guitars that no one would ever buy, thus my wife won't get mad when they're never sold (even if I try).
  2. I'm still waiting for that truss rod, so I've been keeping myself busy doing little things here and there. I glued wings on the headstocks to accommodate my headstock shape, and then resawed some lightly figured maple to make veneers. I drilled holes through the veneer and then used a reamer to open them up the rest of the way to eliminate any tear-out. After cutting out the rough headstock shape it was time to visit the oscillating sander to shape up the back. The back is shaped up and the sides are sanded to ~90% done. I'll do the rest by hand. And I opened up the truss rod access with the dremel. I might open up the truss rod access a little more - I need to stick an allen wrench in there to see if there's enough room. I'm looking through my list of things to do without that truss rod. I guess I'll carve volutes or something. I'm also thinking about doing a 7.25" radius on one of these. I know conventional wisdom is that 7.25" is no good because the string will fret out when bending. However, the new PRS silver sky has a 7.25" radius, and John Mayer doesn't seem to have a problem with it. Anyway, I went to the local guitar store to see if they had anything with a 7.25" radius because I've never played a guitar like that before. The guy who helped me told me that those don't exist outside of vintage instruments and Fender custom shop stuff. I said, "The new John Mayer PRS has one." He disagreed, and he even said he owns a Silver Sky and he "bends the shit out of it" and it doesn't fret out even with really low action, and that it can't possibly have a 7.25" radius. He looked it up on his phone, and of course I was right. He was super cool and shook my hand and said thanks for the info. Has anyone played a 7.25" radius guitar? Is the whole fretting out thing a myth?
  3. Ok, I had some good band saw time a couple of days ago, and some good plane time today. One complicating factor is that I only had one truss rod on hand, which meant I could only glue one fretboard and work on one neck blank. The other truss rod is traveling with his twin on a slow boat from China, so I'll have it in a few weeks. (Side note: I always finish each build with close to enough parts to start another build...) As soon as the other truss rod and his brother arrives I'll glue up that fret board. In the meantime I shaped up one of the neck blanks with the hand plane. Step one, I used fret2find to print out a pattern to guide my band saw cuts. I feel like I do this in a different manner every time. I should probably just make a template from MDF for a perfect neck blank and then use that with a router. But that would deprive me of hand planing, so.... Oh yeah, I marked out and drilled locations for fretboard locating pins (re-purposed picture hanging nails) using.... (use Oprah's voice for this part) My New... DRILLLLLLLLLLL PRESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! To my friends in the EU and Aus, et al - don't act like you don't know how Oprah would say that. Anyway, so I glued the fretboard and then cut off the little nubs for the pins and hand-planed each side. This is after some planing. Oh yeah, I also drilled holes through each blank that I like to use as permanent locating pins for the body wings with mahogany dowels. I tried a half dozen different woods for the dowels, but mahogany is the best tonewood for dowels. Here's the neck blank after planing... and here it is "mocked up" with the mahogany wings. Part of the fun is totally re-doing my process, so for next steps with this one I'll work on the headstock - glueing wings, adding the veneer, and cutting out the basic shape. Then I'll use a dremel to open up the truss rod access and I'll probably use a drill bit and reamer to open the tuner holes in the veneer.
  4. beltjones

    Not Quite A Tele...

    I want that back carve for my next top.
  5. beltjones

    2.5itim’s 2018? Builds

    Very cool. Any concerns about the strandberg patent? I'm not a patent lawyer so my reading of the patent isn't that helpful, but to me it seems very vague.
  6. Making progress on the neck blanks. I drilled the tuner holes and then cut off the back of the headstock and the back of the neck material. The holes turned out beautiful, with not a bit of tear out. I also wrote on the neck blank itself the depth of the truss rod route which I'll preserve somewhere on the neck blank until the neck carving is complete.
  7. I made a leather strop for my chisels, gouges, and plane blades. Good lord, what a difference it made in the sharpness of the tools. After sharpening and then polishing the plane blade with the strop, planing the maple and bubinga was just pure joy, even with a cheap, poorly maintained hand plane. I got so crazy with it that I stropped all of the knives in the kitchen, and of course warned my wife that it would take a lot less pressure to, say, cut up a pineapple. Now if one of the knives gets dull (from, oh I don't know, my mother in law using it to open a can of sweetened condensed milk) we feel like stone age cave people hacking at their food with shards of rock.
  8. There are two types of people. Well, maybe more, but two types I'll describe here. One type (like me) says, "I only have two hours to work on the guitar this week, I better rush everything." The other type (like Norris) says, "I only have two hours to work on the guitar this week, I'm going to drill two holes as perfectly as I can." I need to be more like Norris.
  9. Ok, it's been a while since an update. I've been busy - not too busy to work on this here and there - but too busy to post and write much about what I've been up to. After gluing tops and neck blanks, I started drawing concepts for shapes on the tops. One is going to be sort of tele-inspired but not tele-ish, and the other is more straty, but more like if a strat and an SG had a baby. Here's an in-progress pic of the straty concept between bouts of drawing and erasing. I'm drawing it directly on the top because I want to make sure I have enough material for whatever I come up with. Plus, once it's all drawn out and I like it, I can use the original drawing as the cut lines for the band saw. Once I had the shapes drawn out on the tops I made tracings on paper. This is for two reasons: One, I can use these tracings to make templates for routing body pieces later on, and two, I can fold one side over to make sure that the parts are symmetrical are supposed to be symmetrical. Here are some MDF templates I made. I routed truss rod channels in the neck blanks, including access routes in the headstock. Then cut the angle on the headstock and planed it flat. Next I'll drill the hole to connect the access route with the truss rod channel and drill the tuner holes. With the tuner holes drilled prior to cutting off the back material it should mean that none of the holes will tear out.
  10. beltjones

    2003 Fender Esquire Scorpion

    Oh man. Great find! I've seen those on craigslist once or twice, and I love how they look. I personally wouldn't put the FR on it because I can't stand them, but it's your guitar. If anything I would put a tone knob on it and rewire it to 50's style wiring. You can get an astonishing number of tones out of a one pickup guitar with that wiring scheme. Enjoy, and great find!
  11. beltjones

    Not Quite A Tele...

    This is amazing work. You have probably posted it before, but can you put up a link to this micromesh? Is this it? https://www.amazon.com/Micro-Mesh-Assortment-Pack-18-Pieces/dp/B00HJC156U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1541904148&sr=8-1&keywords=micromesh+sanding
  12. Thanks guys. Here's a $10 piece of curly maple joined and clamped to use as a top on one of the builds. No, it's not bookmatched, but if Gibson doesn't have to bookmatch I think I can get away with it for a while as well. To that end, I need to go deep in the tools section of this site and others on band saws. I have a small one, but I want to upgrade to something that can resaw 8-ish inches. Anyone have any advice?
  13. What a cool build! My hunch is that the way to do that fretboard veneer is to resaw a thin piece of rosewood, radius the maple neck, and use steam to soften the rosewood to allow you to bend it over the neck.
  14. My son just turned 8 months old, so I figured it was time to build him his own guitar. At the same time I'm going to build one for myself as well. The blank on the left is for the boy. It's purpleheart, tigrillo, and wenge. The one on the right is for me, which is four pieces of book-matched bubinga. My son's is going to be a 24" scale, 22 fret single cut with Spanish Cedar wings and either a Peruvian walnut or curly maple top (I haven't decided which) and a curupay fretboard. It will have a single bridge pickup (an SD pearly gates humbucker I have leftover from another project) with a volume and tone control wired 50's style. I had to order a shorter truss rod for it, so while I'm waiting for that to arrive I've been making progress on the other one. This one will have P90s also wired 50s style with black limba wings and a curly maple top. It will have a 25" scale and 22 or 23 frets on a katalox fretboard. Thanks in advance for all of the help I'm going to need with these builds...
  15. You might be frightened to learn that for my next build I have purchased gouges.
  16. Well, I finished these two. I completely dropped the ball on documenting anything, but that's mostly because my time was so constrained when building them. I don't even have a decent completed picture of the guitar for my son. Here are the specs: Purpleheart, tigrillo, wenge, tigrillo, purpleheart neckthrough. Curpay fretboard, 24" scale length, Spanish cedar "back" and peruvian walnut "top." Gotoh locking tuners. Bone nut. Jescar "wide medium" .047x.104 stainless frets, cut back tele-style bridge (my favorite style to play on), and a single SD Pearly Gates in the bridge, with 50s style wiring. Here's the other: 4 piece Bubinga laminated neck-through with Kluson tuners, a bone nut, Katalox fretboard (I'm obsessed with this wood for a fretboard - it's like ebony and rosewood had a baby), 25" scale, Jescar wide-medium stainless steel frets, Wilkinson P90 pickups, maple top, and black limba body.
  17. You are an absolute artist with the wood carving and the maple dying. I don't mean to leave out any other areas where your work is superb, I'm just blown away at what you can do with a gouge and some wood dye.
  18. Yeah, just regular old glue stick.
  19. Fretboard is radiused, dots are glued in and sanded back, and frets are hammered in and beveled. Now I'm carving the necks. Previously when I carved the necks the temperatures outside were very temperate, maybe even cold by Houston standards. These days it's hot as hell and humid as the bottom of a lake, and man, ten minutes into neck carving I'm drenched in sweat. On the last (first) guitar I enjoyed every minute of working on the neck, with these two I have to bring a spare shirt to the garage when it's time to work on them. On the plus side I LOVE how that curupay fretboard looks, and in time it will turn a very warm brick-ish red/brown when exposed to UV light. Here is a preview:https://www.woodworkerssource.com/blog/wood-conversations/curupay-unlike-any-other-wood/ That leads me to an issue. The one on the right has a 25" scale, the one on the left has a 24" scale, and my slotted straight edge is for 25.5" and 24.75" scales. After I finish carving the necks, and it's time to level frets, how do I make sure the fretboard is perfectly flat? I'm thinking about cutting a few new slots in the my existing slotted straight edge with the band saw. Does anyone have any better ideas?
  20. When I started building these two I told myself I was going to take beaucoup pictures so I would be able to show my son how I built his guitar in time for his first birthday. Well, I have failed in that, but I have made some progress. The neck blank is cut down and the fretboard is radiused. I haven't actually installed the fretboard markers - that's just blonde sawdust filling them at the moment. I'm trying to decide between mother of pearl, green abalone, or black abalone. For this one I'm thinking mother of pearl because the purpleheart laminate neck is already pretty colorful.
  21. beltjones

    Bent side ES style

    I'll be following this one.
  22. Here's my progress for today:I was drilling the access hole for the truss rod adjustment nut as shown in this picture here:Well it turned out I mis-aligned it a little and when I did a test I couldn't get the allen key into the rod. No problem, so I grabbed the drill and wallowed out the hole a little bit. That, my friends, is when I did a really stupid thing. Somehow I managed to remove a bunch of wood from the bottom of the wider part of the truss rod route. It should have been about .40" deep, and I drilled a bit of it .609" deep. At first I figured "Big deal, the truss rod will go in there, the fretboard will get glued on, and no one will ever know." Then I did the math and figured out that the fretboard is .3" thick, and that means the smallest I can shape the neck at the nut is .909" before I open up the truss rod cavity from the back. I don't like a big baseball bat neck but I could live with one, but this guitar is for my son, and it has a short 24" scale length, and a big old traffic cone neck isn't going to work for him. Crap. Then I did another stupid thing and figured while I ponder the mistake above I could shape up the neck blank on the band saw, the after effects pictured here:Then it occurred to me that if I hadn't just cut the neck blank to pieces on the band saw I could have just shifted the nut down about an inch and a half, made a couple of quick re-routes to move the truss rod down toward the heel, and my problem would have been solved. I figured in order to could either remove wood from the top of the neck blank, or from the fretboard. So I went with the path of least resistance and used my home-made router sled to plane the fretboard down to .200" thick. After removing a big of wood when I radius the fretboard I should be able to comfortably carve the neck down to about .850" or so and not worry about punching through to the truss rod route. It is a very thin, fenderish fretboard now though.To finish up I grabbed the body wings and mocked up how the guitar is going to look. Not bad. It will have a single humbucker in the bridge and two controls. No top on this one. It should also be quite a bit lighter than the last one, which is good. I also want to leave it plain enough that maybe he will want to build a fancy one with me some day, and also so that one day when he's 13 and screams "I hate you dad!" and smashes the guitar I won't feel too bad about it.
  23. Oh yeah. In addition to about a million other hobbies I'm also a cigar smoker, and this is what the inside of humidors are made of, so every time I go to the garage it makes me want a cigar. I'm just doing my best to not ding up the cedar too much, and hoping that once I get some tru-oil on it it will harden up a little bit. What do you think?