2012-12-09 Guitar Building

On Daniel's last visit, some comment was made about how he could come down again and we could build a guitar. He called my bluff, and last weekend came to visit to build a guitar. Here's where we're at:

        The first template attempt was a lesson in using the jig saw. We found a PDF of a 1950s Les Paul, which was the basic shape Daniel was interested in. There were a few modifications to that body shape, and after much laying wood around and seeing what things looked like, we decided on a full-through neck made of laminated Maple and Walnut, with Maple and Mahogany laminated body ends, and some Purpleheart trim.

  The second template came out better, though we had a lesson in router bit management that meant that as we were testing that template we dinged the crap out of it. Fixed it with putty. Daniel started to see possibilities.

  With that I could send Daniel off on cutting the neck. Mostly. He got the Walnut right, but because of various issues in wood management it took three tries to get the maple blank.

  And we glued up the blanks. Lots and lots of clamps.

  The reference edges of the neck weren't as flat and well aligned as we'd hoped, so we used a follow-bit to re-route the neck, and then scraped it flat.

  Meanwhile, I wandered off and started gluing up a Maple-Purpleheart-Maple lamination to cut into pips for the neck inlay.

    Daniel drilled out the template to make room for the cavities in the body, and then routed out the cavities. We burned up a router bit on that.

    Sunday morning I got up early and did a little work to try to get ahead of Daniel, working out how the pip inlays were going to work.

  So then Daniel routed out the gaps for the inlays, and he and I sanded and fitted and fitted and sanded. Then I sat down and cut the fret notches.

  Daniel had lunch and did other things, and I snuck out and ran the fret board through the planer, re-grooved the notches, and then brought it in. I think this is when the project really started to go from "we're building a guitar" to "we're building an awesome guitar". The expression on his face says it all.

  Drilling the switch cavity on the upper part. We'd lost energy after routing the lower cavities, so it was good to get back on track. And Daniel cut the rest of the slots in the center lamination to for all the wiring.

    And we took a deep breath and glued up the top and middle layers.

Category: Dan Lyke life Category: Woodworking Category: Guitar Building