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Here is my newest project. Started out as a botched tele body.. the router grabbed the neck pocket wood and took out a golf ball size chunk.. yikes!! Anyway.. i just started sketching, bandsawing and contouring and came up with this. Will be a 25" scale PRS style thing.. prs style neck pocket that goes under the neck pickup. Will be my swamp ash special..

ash_body.jpg

I have more contouring to do. Going to buy some rasps to deepen the cutaway contours and firm up the carved top shape. With the PRS style neck pocket, the bottom cutaway will be right at the 21st fret so access on this one will be easy.

Planning a bolt in neck with machine screws and steel inserts for strength.

Anyway, still very rough but it's taking shape. Very comfortable and a nice piece of ash.. is at about 5 lbs and some change and no routing has been done yet.

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swamp ash is good wood.. good weight & good sound..

clean work.. ^^ easy sanding.. easy routing.. swamp ash smell is good ^^

good choice..

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swamp ash is good wood.. good weight & good sound..

clean work.. ^^ easy sanding..  easy routing.. swamp ash smell is good ^^

good choice..

Thanks hyunsu.. you build some really nice stuff. That's the first time i've just freeformed a body. The sculpting process is a lot of fun. Lots more to do, but a lot of fun.

**addition**

If the dyes agree with me, this will be the color scheme.. Ignore the line downt hemiddle.. it's a photoshop leftover..

Tobacco Burst Mockup

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I'm planning on binding this. Have never attempted such. Anyone here have any preferences on types? AllParts carries jsut about everything. I don't want plain white or black.. am considering a grained ivoroid, or maybe even a synthetic abalone or pearloid. Have never actually seen the latter though so I have no idea if it looks good or not. Any suggestions or experience pointers would be greatly appreciated.

I've never seen a bound carved top ash body before.. I just think it would look cool. In the photo the body looks all rounded over like a JS body.. i'm not doing that though. i'm routing a shelf for the binding, another shelf for the bottom of the carve, then i'll do a proper carve on the top.

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That body looks like some cookie...  :D

I thought about the same, can we say animal cracker.

Ash is a good choice for a guitar, just keep us posted on the progress.

Hey.. there's a design scheme in there somewhere.. :D

it'll change. It has no form right now. Should get it routed and carved this weekend if I can get the rabbeting bit I need..

My initial delimma is neck material. I'm thinking maple.. I want to start with 8/4 stock to cut the PRS style neck joint.. it's gotta be think. Mahogany is more readily available in that thickness, at least for me.. but i'm afraid that mahog with ash is giong to be muddy sounding. Thoughts?

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Update! Rough carving is almost done. Maybe now it doesn't look so much like an animal cracker! :D

Here is a shot with a spare neck held up for reference. The curves are kinda strange but with a neck in place it's easier to see what they are up to.

ash_body_3.jpg

I've been racking my brains to figure out the best way to carve and the fastest.. I used a rabbeting bit on the router table to cut a "shelf" all the way around.. Then used a 3/4" flat chisel (very sharp one) to whittle the edges down to meet the shelf line. Next i'll smooth it all out with an orbital sander most likely.. The chisel worked great though.. only took me about 30 minutes to get to this point.

Another shot without the neck

I know it's a minor update.. but i'm excited about it :D it's great when you can start to see the instrument emerge frm the block of wood.

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you should have routed the neck poscket before carving the area were it is goint to sit in. It will be much difficult to rout now, and the transition from the cutouts to the neck heel won't look as smooth with th earea carved like that either.

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you should have routed the neck poscket before carving the area were it is goint to sit in.  It will be much difficult to rout now, and the transition from the cutouts to the neck heel won't look as smooth with th earea carved like that either.

I built Myka's neck pocket jig, so that won't be a problem. The neck isn't built yet. The jig lets you do the body first, then build your neck, then route exactly to fit your neck so it's a dead on fit.

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I got one too, and I know that it will be OK to do it with it, but the joint were the necks touch the cutouts is the one that I think will not look right, and it was my real concern, this is why I posted that the rout will be difficult. The are a mean is the one that flows from the body into the neck.

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I got one too, and I know that it will be OK to do it with it, but the joint were the necks touch the cutouts is the one that I think will not look right, and it was my real concern, this is why I posted that the rout will be difficult. The are a mean is the one that flows from the body into the neck.

I gotcha.. i guess it's kind of the look i am going for.. contouring it as if the neck didn't exist.. then it will look as if the neck just enters the body shape undisturbed.. i'm not trying to blend the body to the neck so much. hey.. it's an experiment.. if it looks like crap when i'm done, the wood was free :D

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Looks just a bit like a Wolfgang guitar, but with a differently shaped bottom horn. Very nice. Is the rebate (groove around edge) going to be so defined? Or are you going to blend it with a concave carve like a Les Paul? I think it looks nice either way, but I would blend it if I had the choice. Nice work.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update finally.. I've been slowly shaping this thing and am just about ready to final sand it and route the cavities.

ash-whole.jpg

Here is a closeup of the cutaways.. I've just kind of sculpted this as I go along but it's ended up being pretty ergonomic..

Detail of cutaway

I have the neck blank glued up.. 3 ply laminate.. 5 ply at the headstock. This one is going to be a prs style joint.. bolt on, but the neck is thicker and part of the heel extends under the neck pickup.

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Luckily, since it's your guitar, only you have to like it-- however, I'm not a big fan of that type of carve. I don't know how to describe the kind of curve I'd be more acustomed to, but I'm sure you know the kind I'm thinking of-- the typical PRS or LP kind of carve is so deeply embedded in my psyche that other kinds of carves look odd. :D

Greg

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Looking good, but Maiden brings up a good concern. Are you going to have a neck angle on this guitar or a basic straight inline neck (ala Fender)? I think that you should have measured and marked the location of the neck joint so that you can carve it for the angled neck or left it flat so that you can contour the horns into the straight neck. That's the only issue I can see you having at this point. BTW.. nice Swamp Ash, if anyone knows me, they know that it's about the only wood I use and it does give a great tone with being lightweight also. The main thing with Swamp Ash is the grain pattern though. I hope everything works out for you on this guitar and that you can get the neck joint worked out without many problems.

MaTT Vinson

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OK everyone.. thanks for the input.. here's the answers to some of the questions...

I've been working on the neck joint actually.. The body isn't thick enough to do an angled neck.. i think it ended up being just a hard under 1.75 and I have been carving it as a flat neck install. You have to remember this started out as a tele body that had the entire heel torn off in the routing proces. I wasn't about to waste that ash. But anyway.. i've got a jig set up to route everything and the top is actually perfectly flat so it's not like trying to route something that is completely round on top like a paul.

The size of it.. it's a bit short, but the lower bout is the same width as the tele was. I just rounded it a bit. I'm goint 25" scale so i've got enough wood to dig in with the neck and not have the bridge so far back that it's ridiculous looking.. Because of its shortness, i'm doing the 0 heel neck joint..

The routing around the edge was done with a rabbeting bit.. then i chisled the curve into it. I've never been completely thrilled with it, it was more just a curve to work the grain a little.. Flat swamp ash isn't nearly as beautiful as contoured. I haven't ruled out completely hitting it with an angle grinder.. I have done everything so far with chisels, rasps and a sander.

I'm going to do an angled neck one next, but i'll start with a body that was MEANT to be built that way :D with that id' rather start at 2 inches thick so I can carve down. I would want to do the PRS thing where the body actually slopes up to the bridge, then slopes down again at the same angle the neck is installed.

Thanks for the input.. I'll see what this weekend holds.. I may hit it with the power grinder still.. I have nothing to lose.. it was going to be trashed anyway..

Thanks again folks..

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Looks good. I like your never say die attitude! I think as it starts coming together it will turn out better than you think. Oh... I noticed in the pic above, dude you got a big thumb. :D

Peace, Rich

Lol.. i guess i have big hands..

I hope it turls out allright.. but like I said.. it was headed for the scrap bucket so i've nothing to lose..

Thanks to all for prodding me a little.. I got a flap sander disk for my angle grinder.. I figured it was worth the $5.49 investment.. lol. i'm going to work on the carve a little more. It'll be good practice anyway. I'm going to bring the top of the hump in about 2 inches or so around the lower bout, then blend it in with the carve on the horns so they keep some contour.

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Like the title says, this thread is a great example of what to do with a borked piece of wood. Make something out of it, learn new skills, there's always a lot that can be learned by fixing up or working around mistakes. Good job mled.

No guitar is perfect...the accomplished luthier just makes smaller mistakes, and is very good at hiding them. At least that's what I've been told...

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OK.. Thanks again to those that prodded me to carve it a bit more. I picked up one of these and man - that makes some quick work of the wood. it's a 60 grit flap sander and from the previous picture, this is about 5 mins of grinding followed by 5 minutes of orbital at 120 grit.. it's still very rough obviously, but it's much more the smooth carve that I wanted originally.

The flap sanders get 2 big thumbs up from me.. careful though, i believe they would eat clean through the body if you wanted to.. no burning either.. no worries there.. just eats the wood a little too fast to not be VERY careful.

ash-new-carve-1.jpg

Here is one more view

if they made that disk in say 120 or so i believe it would be perfect.. i'm sure they have other options, that's just what was at walmart. Thanks for indulging me.. I've never done a carved top before so this is quite an experiment for me.

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