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Old August 14th, 2013, 07:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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First ever scratch build. Not a tele.

Hey guys,

How're things?

For the past week or so I've been working on an original design for a guitar.

24 fret, 25" scale, lightweight, using sustainable and recycled/repurposed materials wherever possible and basically seeing what happens.

Here's the body. It's comprised of offcuts and salvaged wood. I ended up with about 15 pieces, I trued up the best of them, glued them together, clamped the sucker and thicknessed it to around 43mm when it was dry:





Here's the wood pile that never seems to shrink:



The neck is a 3 piece laminate made from vitex/padauk/vitex. Vitex wood is used in the South Pacific for boat building and anywhere people need something immensely hard. Botanical name is Vitex Cofassus. It's hard as hell, sort of a grey/yellow colour and carries some understated figure. A nice wood to work with, sands easily, doesn't splinter, doesn't move, just solid.

I've never seen it used before but it's definitely hard enough.



That was before rough shaping on the band saw.

Fingerboard:



I'm using a friend's shop. He has this awesome little jig for slotting boards. Takes about 5 minutes to slot a 24 fret board. the fingerboard is kohekohe a NZ native wood and the dots are made from an offcut of spalted alder. Just used a plug cutter, cut some plugs then sawed the offcut on the band saw to pop them out.

After rough cutting the back and spindle sanding the sides:



First mistake. The spindle sander snagged on something and pulled the neck into it, ate a chunk out of the nut slot.



What should have been a 43mm nut is now around 41mm. The string spacing of my nut is 36.2mm so not a huge loss and it's fine at the actual first fret but it's gonna feel a bit funky.

You can see a little bit here where the headstock looks a bit goofy:



Sorry for not starting this earlier. I only have one bigass camera that I use for my job so didn't want it getting covered in dust or glue or crap.

The truss rod channel is already routed and that's held in with a purpleheart filler strip thing. No dramas with the gluing of the board either. I stuck a nail through the top corner to hold it in place and also to swing the fingerboard around. Swung it off, glued it up, swung it back, clamped it and job done. Surprisingly straight forward!

I'm next in the shop on Friday at which time I'll attempt to carve the back and/or radius the board.

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Old August 14th, 2013, 07:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hey that's pretty cool mate. Keep into it!
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Old August 14th, 2013, 07:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I LOVE the idea of making bodies from various offcuts. I've been thinking of commissioning something like that if I ever have more than 2 bob to rub together again. That is a terrific build.
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Old August 14th, 2013, 05:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I LOVE the idea of making bodies from various offcuts. I've been thinking of commissioning something like that if I ever have more than 2 bob to rub together again. That is a terrific build.
The wood was free. It's just scrap technically and was destined to be firewood. The pieces by themselves are too small to use as a body but 13 of them work just fine.

Call up some furniture, cabinet makers and see if they have any offcuts they wouldn't mind being turned into musical instruments. People seem very willing to support such an enterprise.
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Old August 14th, 2013, 06:02 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Its all wrong! Only a Lefty will be able to play that thing. Way too limiting. Quick, before you rout it transfer your pattern to the other side.

Actually that neck is ruined. You should send it to me and I will dispose of it properly.

That guitar is gonna look pretty damn cool. Looks like its gonna be a shredder. You may want to consider putting a Floyd Rose in it too.
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Old August 14th, 2013, 06:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Its all wrong! Only a Lefty will be able to play that thing. Way too limiting. Quick, before you rout it transfer your pattern to the other side.

Actually that neck is ruined. You should send it to me and I will dispose of it properly.

That guitar is gonna look pretty damn cool. Looks like its gonna be a shredder. You may want to consider putting a Floyd Rose in it too.
haha, think I'll keep it thank you ;)

Not really a shredder. I wanted something like a PRS but didn't want to pay for one (especially a lefty). The neck profile is close to that of a '59 LP and it'll be a 12" radius. It's pretty sleek looking because of the horns but I'm not really a shred kinda guy. I wanted a pretty beefy neck on this one.
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Old August 14th, 2013, 07:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Looks really good.

It reminds me of Les Claypool's Carl Thompson six string bass.
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Old August 15th, 2013, 04:44 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Cool. Have you decided on hardware? Pups? This will be something to be proud of.
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Old August 15th, 2013, 06:24 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Cool. Have you decided on hardware? Pups? This will be something to be proud of.
Thanks man.

The hardware is mostly in the mail. It's going to have a wilkinson roller bridge tuneomatic thing with string thru. Black grovers, black 3 way toggle, bone nut. Alpha 500k pots, probably 2 vol, 1 tone, but maybe just one of each to keep it simple.

I've made some knobs from body offcuts so they have the stripes in them as well. I have a couple of knobs made from mahogany and purpleheart and some limba/mahogany ones where the mahogany is just a slight section. They look pretty sweet though. I was thinking about having the knobs align with the section of body they came from so they'd be invisible at certain alignments.

Another idea I had was to get one of the offcuts, stick a 3mm piece of rosewood I have on top of it and carve knobs from that- the top would be rosewood and the base will be weird stripes. But then I thought this isn't really a rosewood kinda build... that's a bit classy looking.

The pickups are sort of a work in progress. A friend of mine makes them so I asked him if he could make a set with wooden bobbins but he's waiting on wire. If not that I'm looking over ebay trying to find some unknown 80s randoms. I don't really have the money to spend on duncans etc and then shipping them to New Zealand.

If anyone has some old unused humbuckers that are still decent enough I'd love to work something out

But I need to get moving pretty fast I'm picking up some body wood tomorrow for my second build.
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Old August 16th, 2013, 06:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Carved the neck last night. No pics because my camera is in the studio :)

Made the scoops at the first and 12th then cut out the middle with a spokeshave. Thing is I took out way too much so my LP specs are now more like Ibanez specs, something like 20mm at the first and 22mm at the 12th. It's just so easy to remove material with the rasp and spokeshave method and since I'm a bit of a noob there was a lot of double checking, rechecking, attempts to smooth out the gouges and basically not screw it up.

Still, the neck is mostly done. The tuner holes were drilled, now just to radius and fret the thing.

In other news the body blank for the second build was glued up. It's a 2 piece body of ribbon vitex with a thing strip of padauk in the centre line for some added visual enjoyment. It'll be hollowed out and then a bookmatched sapwood puriri top will go on top. Gonna be beautiful.
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Old August 21st, 2013, 07:09 AM   #11 (permalink)
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First fret job.

So. Nothing has been done to the body apart from filling in a wormhole in the top horn. No big deal!

But at the business end a load has gone on.

I carved the neck then on Monday I radiused the board to 12".... man oh man, that was a pain and took about 90 minutes. I sanded it down to 80 grit, recut the slots because they became too shallow after the sanding, then when I cut the slots again the blade chattered and made a gouge in the fingerboard. So back to square one which went a lot smoother. The saw I have only cuts on the forward/away stroke and it's not my best friend.

Anywho. It eventually sorted itself out and I now have a 12" board! The inlays look sweet now they're leveled and sanded flush.



cool stuff.



before the fretting I had to fill some little gaps from where the kohekohe wood had split during drilling for the inlays. Nothing major but it needed to be done. This left some crap in the slots which had to be cut out with the saw.

Then this stuff appeared:



It's pretty big. Not Ibanez big, but definitely more modern. I used this so I could add a bit more heft to the neck feel since I shaved it too thin. Should bring it back into line.

you guys know the drill. Slot it, hammer the ends, press the middle, cut the ends.





Cut the ends as flush as you can get them. This is tremendous fun on a 24 fretter and involves a lot of slowly trimming a section of frets to allow room for the nipper to get in there.



A few handcramps later:



Then it's over to the vise for the beveling. A metal file glued on to a hunk of MDF... we don't have a fancy 35 degree thing so it's all grunt work. I got both sides flush and then worked in about 10 degrees over the face. Not quite 35 degrees but I can put that in later if I need to.





Not dressed or even leveled yet:



and here's the body. Still stripey.

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Old August 21st, 2013, 07:32 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Looking good man.
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Old August 22nd, 2013, 05:24 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Yo Looking real nice, good job on the build thread, my apologies for not tuning in earlier. Liking the contrast of all the woods. Nice fret work, they look great against the Kohekohe. It should retaion a bit of redness, a nice bit of FretDoctor oil will keep it nice and red.

Looking fwd to hearing this one, you are charging through this build. Good stuff dude!
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Old August 22nd, 2013, 06:29 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Looking good. Are you planning a clear finish on this?
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Old August 22nd, 2013, 06:51 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Definitely not a Tele, but pretty cool, nevertheless. Great work, interesting thread, and extra marks for an innovative fretboard!

PS-- you definitely are going to finish it clear, right???
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Old August 22nd, 2013, 07:28 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Looks fantastic. That body is making me itch to get on with my wardrobe guitar....but must resist, to many projects, to many...

Btw is it just me that's reminded of the misses bent over to umm pick up the baby with that body shape?
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Old August 22nd, 2013, 07:37 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Looks fantastic. That body is making me itch to get on with my wardrobe guitar....but must resist, to many projects, to many...

Btw is it just me that's reminded of the misses bent over to umm pick up the baby with that body shape?
haha it certainly has an ass. The practical reason was so it would stand upright by itself instead of pivoting on the strap button, but the waist and the lower curve are reminiscent of someone particularly callipygian.

And yep, definitely clear. I'm thinking of just coating it in tru-oil and calling it a day. I don't want a thick finish, nor do I want stain: with all the interesting stuff going on it seems a shame to cover it in anything other than a thin clear oil.

My h/w arrived today too which is pretty sweet. Still trying to source a neck humbucker and then I just need some caps and it's good to go. Anyone got a spare neck humbucker lying around? I promise it'll go to a good home.
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Old August 22nd, 2013, 11:12 PM   #18 (permalink)
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My h/w arrived today too which is pretty sweet. Still trying to source a neck humbucker and then I just need some caps and it's good to go. Anyone got a spare neck humbucker lying around? I promise it'll go to a good home.
Yo T, I have a humbucker lying around,, its around 7.5k I think. You are welcome to have it.. its sounds pretty mean, scatter wound. I wound it for guitar I made ages ago but the guitar was a fail as I didn't realise the wood was from the sea and full of salt. I kept the humbucker but deep sixed the gat. You are welcome to it dude.
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Old August 22nd, 2013, 11:36 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Yo T, I have a humbucker lying around,, its around 7.5k I think. You are welcome to have it.. its sounds pretty mean, scatter wound. I wound it for guitar I made ages ago but the guitar was a fail as I didn't realise the wood was from the sea and full of salt. I kept the humbucker but deep sixed the gat. You are welcome to it dude.
Nice one!
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Old August 23rd, 2013, 12:20 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Yo T, I have a humbucker lying around,, its around 7.5k I think. You are welcome to have it.. its sounds pretty mean, scatter wound. I wound it for guitar I made ages ago but the guitar was a fail as I didn't realise the wood was from the sea and full of salt. I kept the humbucker but deep sixed the gat. You are welcome to it dude.
Legend. Thank you so much man

Do you know the spacing?

Mean sounding is the name of the game on this one bro. Speaking of wood from the sea- i picked up this weird wedge of wood from Takapuna yesterday. Looks like wenge. Hard as hell, dark brown with really tight endgrain. You find some weird junk on these shores man.

Also, what does deep sixed mean?
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