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


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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. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. 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...
  5. You might be frightened to learn that for my next build I have purchased gouges.
  6. 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.
  7. That looks amazing.
  8. 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.
  9. Yeah, just regular old glue stick.
  10. 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?
  11. 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.
  12. beltjones

    Bent side ES style

    I'll be following this one.
  13. 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.
  14. 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?
  15. I made more progress today. I used my 5 minute, $1 MDF truss rod routing template to route the slot in my son's guitar. Then I cut the angle on the headstock. Then I prepped the Peruvian walnut / Spanish cedar for the body of this guitar... Then I cut them out on the band saw and glued them up. Later I'll get the neck blank shaped up and glue on the body wings using dowels to locate them.
  16. I'm not an expert on wiring, but with 50s wiring the tone caps are connected to different lugs on the volume caps than modern wiring. The result is that turning down the volume pot doesn't bleed off treble like it does with a modern volume pot. I need to be better about taking pictures. Today I cut fret slots on both fretboards using my 5 minutes MDF fret slotting jig, and I started working on body shapes. I ALSO realized that I totally fouled up the black limba body blanks I had planned to use. So now I need to think about whether to try to save them or just head back to the hardware store to see if they still have that 5/4 piece of mahogany they had last time I was there.
  17. Hey everyone. I've been lurking here and going to school on all of your builds, and I figured I'd actually post what I'm doing so someone else can learn from my mistakes, and maybe y'all can help me out before I make too many more. I've done some Warmoth builds with great results, but I always thought the woodworking part of the builds was beyond me; that is, until I saw some youtube videos that made me think I could handle it. I started with a blank piece of paper on my dining room table and some pencils and measuring devices. A few hours later I had some lines drawn and I was eager to get cutting. This picture was taken after one of my many many body redesigns, where I just erased everything and started over. It turns out that I'm lucky enough to live about a 10 minute's drive from two awesome hard wood lumber yards, and I found some great looking black limba, wenge, padauk, bubinga, and other woods. In fact, I kind of sort of accidentally bought enough for two builds. Oops. Here's the black limba before I started planing it down. This will be a neck-through with a 5 piece laminated neck with padauk, maple, and wenge. Right before I cut the body wings out of the limba I did something really dumb. The 8/4 limba has a really dark side, and the other side is lighter with a lot of swirls. I wanted the black on one side of the guitar and the light side on the other, but right before I went to the saw I decided I could be more economical with the wood if I oriented the pattern a different way, not realizing that it would mean I was screwing up my plan. As you can see, the bottom wing is dark and the top wing is light. (the purpleheart fretboard was an early attempt that now lives somewhere in the garbage) One thing I hadn't expected was how much work is done that looks like zero progress from a third party perspective. Flattening, thicknessing, planing, squaring, sharpening, repeat. It puts the "work" in wood working. Well today I worked up the courage to make some cuts that I can't take back, and this thing is starting to look more like a guitar. Below all of the rulers there is a piece of wood I'm going to try to turn into a fretboard. If anyone can guess the species I'll be impressed. Below my little note paper is the fretboard-to-be for this guitar. One thing I didn't understand well enough is how different woods laminated together would react to planing and sanding. My plane will dig into the padauk and just glide along the top of the wenge, creating a crest on the top of the neck blank. It takes a ton of work to get it to level out and square with the side. I'm obsessed with the grain pattern of the wenge, but man it's hard to get it to behave. Anyway, I'll update as much as possible. Thanks for checking out my first build!
  18. beltjones

    First Build, so many lessons learned

    Hahaha. Yeah, I dug those out of my screw organizer. I didn't think they would be so noticeable.
  19. beltjones

    First Build, so many lessons learned

    Oh yeah, the wiring: It has a three way switch and three push / push pots. It goes neck volume, bridge volume, master tone. The neck volume splits the coils on both pickups, the bridge volume switches both from series to parallel, and the tone control is a "blower switch" that sends the bridge pickup directly to the jack.
  20. beltjones

    First Build, so many lessons learned

    Ok, it's "done." Some really cool figuring came through on the body. I really like the "raw" padauk fretboard. I'm surprised it isn't used more often. It's not plasticy-glass smooth like ebony, but with the open pores it's not that far off from rosewood. I made a little curly maple truss rod access cover. I left the neck "raw" with just one coat of tru-oil, rubbed back with steel wool. The neck is still a little fat, and I'm going to open up that belly carve a little bit and re-do the finish, but otherwise I'm really happy with how it turned out. I know the paduak will darken over time, and I'm ok with that, but the current burnt orange color is awesome. It makes me want to do an all-paduak guitar ala our friend in New Mexico.
  21. beltjones

    First Build, so many lessons learned

    I'm not good at taking compliments, but thanks guys. I really appreciate the kind words.
  22. beltjones

    First Build, so many lessons learned

    Well I guess I'm done with the finishing. It's had ~15-20 coats of tru-oil that I leveled between coats and that I just buffed with some Meguiars and a wool pad on my orbit sander. It's not nearly as good as Scott's work with tru-oil, but I'll take it. It looks way better in person than it does in my crappy photos. I also installed the ferules and the bridge. If I had nothing to do tomorrow I'm pretty sure I could get it all wired up and set up, but I think I'll stretch it out a little further just because I don't want to be done just yet.
  23. beltjones

    First Build, so many lessons learned

    A funny thing happened the other day. I was opening a new bottle of transtint red mahogany that I'm using to dye a piece of curly maple for the truss rod cover. I cut a tiny amount off the nipple, and blood-red dye shot forth like a damn squirt gun. It got all over my bench, all over the floor of my garage, and all over my face. I started to wipe down the bench when it occurred to me that if I didn't get that dye off my face immediately I would be walking around town like Captain America's nemesis Red Mask. When I first looked in the mirror it looked like someone had thrown a cup full of blood all over my face and bald head. It took quite a bit of scrubbing, and luckily my face was pretty sweaty and oily that day, but I got it off.
  24. beltjones

    First Build, so many lessons learned

    I've been putting on a coat of tru-oil pretty much every day for the last week and a half, minus a few days when I have been traveling. It's starting to look good.Also, this happened. The one on the right is four-piece book-matched Bubinga, and the one on the left is quartersawn purpleheart, tigrillo, and wenge.