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honza992

Walnut, semi-hollow, Les Paul type thingy

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Posted (edited)

Hi All

It's been a while since I did a thread in real time, so I thought I'd start one for my new build.  Especially since it's got some elements I've never done before - LPish, neck angle, scarf joint, set neck - so will shamelessly pump you all for information. 

My plan is to build a g*itar loosely based on the Gibson ES Les Paul.  So it will be LP shaped, chambered, f-holes, probably P90s.  Wood wise it will be mostly walnut, with figured walnut veneers front and back, double bound. I'm not looking to do a carved top yet, so it will be flat a bit like a B&G.  Like a B&G I'm also thinking of having a slotted headstock and tailpiece.  

So imagine these two had a love child....

s-l640.jpg

yqlh9ntnxxccstup349a.png

Here's a wood pile, and a neck blank I've already made. I'm trying to use wood that I've accumulated for no particular use, or that is left over from something else. 

IMG-20190725-102706.jpg

So far I've got:

- A one piece walnut body. It's too thin, so I've jointed some ash plates to be glued on front and back, just to bring the body up to 44mm or so.  They'll be hidden by the binding & veneer. 

- Some walnut veneer, for front and back.  The body will be double bound, probably in ivoroid. 

- A 9 piece neck blank - (fake) ebony/maple/sapele.  I made this for something else then never used it. I'm a bit in two minds whether to run with this one or to make another one with walnut rather than the sapele.  Given everything else is walnut, I think the slightly orangy sapele may clash, colour wise.  So if I can nip down to Brooks to buy some rough cut walnut, I may glue up another multi-laminate neck with walnut rather than sapele. 

Here are the veneer sheets:

IMG-20190725-103021.jpg

And doing some very rough layout on the walnut core, just for fun. 

IMG-20190725-122812-1.jpg

Thanks for looking!



 

 

 

Edited by honza992
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37 minutes ago, Christine said:

Have a look at my "Twins" build, it has many of the same elements in there

Believe me I have it bookmarked!

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13 hours ago, honza992 said:

I'm trying to use wood that I've accumulated for no particular use, or that is left over from something else...

...If I can nip down to Brooks to buy some rough cut walnut, I may glue up another multi-laminate neck with walnut rather than sapele.

Always seems to happen that way, despite our best intentions 😉

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On 26/07/2019 at 10:37, Si600 said:

Always seems to happen that way, despite our best intentions 😉

Ha ha it's true.  But the only way I can generate leftovers and scraps of wood to use on future builds is to buy new wood now.  See? 😬🙄😂

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A little bit of progress. 

I've hollowed out the inside of the walnut core, drill press followed by router.  I routed a wiring channel for the switch and drilled a small hole (that you can't see) that will hopefully line up with the bridge ferrule so it can be grounded.  The back ash plate was already glued on when I took the photos, and the front plate is in a vacuum bag being glued on to the front as I type.

  IMG-20190805-140831.jpg

I also glued together a neck blank using wood from a beautiful Walnut board I picked up at Brooks, my local builders hardwood yard in Nottingham.  The board was a perfect 8" wide and about 8 feet long.  It's got really beautiful grain and some flame, even if a bit hard to see in the photos.  For £80 it was really a bargain.  It was also almost at the top of the pile.  Sods law clearly had taken a day off. Here I've glued it together as a 9 piece neck - Walnut/maple/rocklite ebano (an artifical ebony) with black & white veneer accent lines.  I forgot to take any pictures of the gluing process (and anyway it's somewhat hectic), but it's really a great moment when you scrape back the dried glue to reveal a perfect striped blank.  Any in my limited experience they are stable in a way that non-laminated necks never are.  

A gratuitous stripey shot....
IMG-20190805-140852.jpg

(Diagonal lines are from the drum sander, not the wood)

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Lovely! Looking forward to seeing how this turns out - very nicely I expect!! really nice piece of walnut and a bargain as you say. A really nice find that.

Still got to get me a drum sander....

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A vacuum bag and a drum sander, yours?

That's looking really good, I do like the detail from the outer veneers in the neck laminates, very classy. What did you think of working with the Rocklite? I'm very impressed with it so far

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On 05/08/2019 at 21:18, Jabba_the_gut said:

Lovely! Looking forward to seeing how this turns out - very nicely I expect!! really nice piece of walnut and a bargain as you say. A really nice find that.

Still got to get me a drum sander....

 

On 06/08/2019 at 06:58, Christine said:

A vacuum bag and a drum sander, yours?

That's looking really good, I do like the detail from the outer veneers in the neck laminates, very classy. What did you think of working with the Rocklite? I'm very impressed with it so far

 

14 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

It's looking very good indeed.  I feel a workshop visit coming on ;)

Thanks all, so far so good. 

The drum sander is probably my favourite machine.  It just does what it does well.  I bought it on eBay for £350 as water damaged stock.  And it was.  It looked as though it had been standing in a swamp.  But it is rock solid.  I've had it for about 3 years and I've adjusted it once.  A slow feed rate and a very shallow cut and it will do a marvellous job till the cows are at home, feet up, drinking cocoa.  It was just one of those ebay bolts from the blue.  It was cheap as chips and was 3 miles from my house.  Never will that happen again.  For the benefit of @Jabba_the_gut here's a photo of the beauty in its natural habitat:

IMG-20190806-110405-1.jpg

The vacuum bag is less impressive, but I have to say just as effective. Here it is gluing on the matching mahogany veneer headstock for a tele that is finished bar the fret levelling:

IMG-20190522-121151-1.jpg

 

So here's where I am.  Both ash plates glued on.  Still completely rough cut, but some lovely side grain.  I'm half tempted to leave it as it is, rather than gluing on the walnut veneers.....
IMG-20190806-111851-1.jpg

Oh, and @Andyjr1515 you'd be really welcome.  Your scarf joint expertese would be pure gold......😁

 

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On 06/08/2019 at 06:58, Christine said:

A vacuum bag and a drum sander, yours?

That's looking really good, I do like the detail from the outer veneers in the neck laminates, very classy. What did you think of working with the Rocklite? I'm very impressed with it so far

Yes so far I really like the rocklite.  It seems to work very easily, and less prone to chipouts than ebony is, at least with my mediocre skills.  Also I'm becoming something of an Extinction Rebellion eco-rebel, so am (very very reluctantly) using up any exotic wood I've already bought, but won't be replacing them.  

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I do miss my drum sander, it was very handy for a quick tidy up of wood with a horrible grain. I used it an awful lot for thicknessing veneers cut on the bandsaw a job that would be next to impossible any other way. Have you noticed though how it tends to case harden the wood? I find it very much harder to sand the wood from a hand plane, that could be just my imagination of course but that's how I remember it so just curious

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This is looking pretty awesome so far. Tru oil finish on the cards?

 

I know of a good 'how to' on here  😜

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On 08/08/2019 at 21:51, honza992 said:

The vacuum bag is less impressive, but I have to say just as effective. Here it is gluing on the matching mahogany veneer headstock for a tele that is finished bar the fret levelling:

IMG-20190522-121151-1.jpg

So instead of two dozen clamps, you have a bag that you suck the air out of with a Vac-u-Vin pump, and the piece is clamped completely evenly at 33psi by air pressure? That's genius. Do you clamp the neck laminate that way too? 

I don't need one (yet), but how much are they and where from?

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On 09/08/2019 at 06:49, Christine said:

I do miss my drum sander, it was very handy for a quick tidy up of wood with a horrible grain. I used it an awful lot for thicknessing veneers cut on the bandsaw a job that would be next to impossible any other way. Have you noticed though how it tends to case harden the wood? I find it very much harder to sand the wood from a hand plane, that could be just my imagination of course but that's how I remember it so just curious

@Christine That's interesting, I'd never noticed any difference in hardness after using the drum sander, but bear in mind I don't use hand tools at all.  I have zero training and am too impatient with building guitars to learn how to use them!  I'm sure I will one day, I'd love to be able to whip out a hand plane for flattening a board, but for the moment I'm taking the easy option!  Also, I keep the paper clean and depth of cut very shallow, so I don't generate much heat though it is something I look out for. 

On 11/08/2019 at 12:23, Richard R said:

So instead of two dozen clamps, you have a bag that you suck the air out of with a Vac-u-Vin pump, and the piece is clamped completely evenly at 33psi by air pressure? That's genius. Do you clamp the neck laminate that way too? 

I don't need one (yet), but how much are they and where from?

Exacto.  Air pressure is loads strong enough for what I'm doing.  It's made by these lovely people, and I really can't recommend enough, especially given the alternative is many many hundreds of pounds..

https://roarockit.co.uk/

I didint' do the neck laminates that way.  I just glued it with lots of clamps in a more traditional way.  Even with 9 pieces using Titebond Original is no problem, even with it's pretty short open time as long as you are oganised, pre cut all the pieces to roughly the same size and work at full speed. 

 

On 10/08/2019 at 20:15, BassTool said:

This is looking pretty awesome so far. Tru oil finish on the cards?

 

I know of a good 'how to' on here  😜

😂😂 Funny you should mention that.....but actually, no!  This one will get grain-filled then finished probably with a home made wiping varnish.....though that is some way off....

 

Thanks all for your interest😁

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I've made a little bit more progress.  First up the body.  I glued on the top veneer, using the vacuum bag/wine pump.  On top is a plate with air channels in that allows the air to get sucked out from all around the guitar.  Like dis:

IMG-20190813-085751435.jpg

Taking it out and it looks like this.  Looking pretty awful☹️  But fear not.  Partly that's the rubbish colour contrast thing on my phone throwing a wobbly, and partly it's bleed through from the glue.  I used (West System) epoxy to glue the veneer for exactly this reason.  I knew it would bleed through, but I also plan on using it for grain fill so any bleed through now is simply reducing the number of pores I need to fill later!  I'm not sure if this is a recognized veneering technique, but I was worried that bleed through using a different glue (like the Titebond Cold Press) would be difficult to hide.  Anyway, we'll see, my theory could be complete a_se and I'll have made splotchy lump of expensive firewood.  

IMG-20190813-090602308.jpg

 

Next up was the neck blank and scarf joint. I'm cutting a 12 degree angle and I first tried doing it on my radial arm drill (another eBay score).  

IMG-20190812-113915912.jpg

It was not a success.  I got about half way the blade stuck and the motor cut out, luckily before doing any damage to the blank.  (I should say the guard is always on before I cut anything).  So having sworn a lot, I finished the cut off on the band saw then turned to my despised belt sander.  The Clark 4" 6" Belt sander is like most other new stuff I've bought for the workshop.  It's sh_te.  Built to no tolerance at all that I can see, slop all over the place, poorly designed and sat unused for months after it was obviously not up to the original job that I bought it for.  But one thing I've found is that even sh_t machines eventually  have a use found for them.  Sometimes unexpected ones.  I now do my nuts (ahem...) on it for example and it works brilliantly.  Anyway, this is how I ended up using it:

IMG-20190813-124551341.jpg

I just stuck a piece of scrap to the underside of it, then hooked that against the guard that the belt sander has very helpfully got in exactly the right place.  A quick bit of trigonometry on the bank of an envelope meant that the piece of scrap was stuck in the right place to give a 12 degree angle. Here's the guard in case it's not too clear:

IMG-20190813-124607225.jpg

It's too early to say how successful the technique has been cos I havent glued the too halves together yet, but the angle is 12 degrees exactly and the two surfaces look pretty good.  We'll see tomorrow when I glue.  
 

 

 

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Does anyone have a guitar that has wood binding on the neck, but plastic on the body??  Does it look ok, or is it a bit odd?

It's just that I'd like to do wood binding on the neck, but there's no way I can bend wood binding round the lower horn.  So I was thinking maple binding on the neck and cream binding on the body.  Weird?

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13 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

Not weird and probably would look fine. What fretboard wood are you using?

Rocklite ebano, or at least that's the plan at the moment, but like all my builds all could change at the last second!

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I've decided to go veneer-tastic on this build, shoving them in pretty much anywhere I can see space.  So 3 layers went into the scarf joint, in for a penny and all that.  After gluing, the neck blank now looks like this...

IMG-20190815-113849043.jpg

IMG-20190816-094012.jpg

The truss rod is done (I use the WD Music double action ones, the best, or least bad, ones I've come across).  I rout it upside down on the router table which is a joy.
IMG-20190816-110343.jpg

Now, where else can I glue multiple layers of veneer?

(The neck I'm planning in my head may end up being a 25 piece.......)

Edited by honza992
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9 hours ago, honza992 said:

Now, where else can I glue multiple layers of veneer?

Are you facing the headstock with anything, there's a few layers under that 😉

Though it would be a shame to not see that GT stripe from the front. 🤔

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On 17/08/2019 at 07:29, Si600 said:

Are you facing the headstock with anything, there's a few layers under that 😉

Though it would be a shame to not see that GT stripe from the front. 🤔

Ooooh yes, they'll be some veneers on the headstock.  I'm thinking white/black/white/figured walnut to match the body......And now I've been reminded by @Gilmourisgod of his walnut Ric build, I'm thinking about binding as well, no doubt with veneer highlights as well.  Or I may change my mind and have a non-matching headstock....As you can probably sense, I'm going about this in my usual slightly casual fashion!

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In my scarf joint post above, I realise I didn't describe how I glued it.  It sounds easy, but wasn't, at least for me anyway.  Even dry clamping it was impossible to get the two halves not to slip out of position.  Because of the stripes I know that any mis-alignment would look rubbish.  After endless experiments I reverted back to the same technique I use when gluing on fretboards, and it worked perfectly.   Basically I use a couple of 1.2mm brad nails (or they may be lost head nails....), and bash them in about 10mm or so.  I then get wire cutters and clip them off so about 1mm or so is remaining, like this:

MVIMG-20190815-112236119.jpg

I then line up the two pieces and push them together so that an indentation is left on the other part.  I then use a 1.2mm drill bit in my hand drill and make a small hole where the indentation is.  When gluing the two halves together the two nail ends ensure there's no slippage.  It did take me two goes before I got the alignment spot on, but because the nails will be cut away when the neck is in its final shape it's no problem at all.  I'll definitely use the same technique again, and as I said it also works really well on fretboards. 

Edit:  You may wonder why I specifiy 1.2mm nails and it's because that's the smallest size bit my drill will take, 1mm is too small, and you want the hold to be the same size as the nails or there's a bit of slippage (even if only a tiny amount). 

Edited by honza992
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Excellent tip - and excellent scarf joint! 

I've never made a success of any scarf joint, let alone a fancy one like this!  Top marks :)

Edited by Andyjr1515

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