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Old December 27th, 2013, 12:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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New Winter Projects! Two Builds

I am under way with my winter projects. I'm doing a couple of builds for some friends of mine.

They are both going to have almost the same set-up. One friend wanted a vintage three saddle bridge, while the other wanted a six saddle bridge. Both wanted stacked pups in the bridge and full size humbuckers in the neck.

The one with the vintage style bridge will have a translucent blonde finish with a black pickguard, and the other will be a translucent dark blue with no pickguard.

The blue one will be a surprise for my friend. We both were born and raised in WV and have been best friends since high school (over 20 years now). He only knows the color is blue. He does not know that I'm making it a WV heritage guitar by using gold hardware (WV state colors are blue and gold). I'm also going to bury the WV state seal under the clear coat.

I've already leveled, planed, and shaped the bodies from swamp ash, and I've already routed the neck pockets, pickup cavities, and control cavities, as well as drilled the output jack holes and drilled all wiring channels.

Up next is drilling the string through holes, neck screw holes, and contouring the neck heels. Here are some pics
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Old December 27th, 2013, 04:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Wow, really nice wood for those projects. I think your friends are going to be very happy.
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Old December 31st, 2013, 04:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Wow, really nice wood for those projects. I think your friends are going to be very happy.
Thanks! I think they will as well!
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Old December 31st, 2013, 04:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I completed all drilling, carving, contouring, shaping, and sanding, and then applied some vinyl sealer. Up next is grain fill.


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Old December 31st, 2013, 05:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Looking real good Mark. Where did you score the swamp ash? Just wondering if you found a place for rough sawn here in MI? Wanted to check out that hardwood dealer in Traverse City when I was up that way early October but the place wasn't opened the day I was there wouldn't you know it. I was coming home from Atlanta GA last April and had to pass right through Knoxville Tenn and CrazyDave911 had recommended a good hardwood supplier there in Knoxville which was closed on the day I was passing through as well.

Heck, I am finally equipped here pretty darn good to mill my own rough sawn but not having a lot of luck finding a good local source or even semi local and I refuse to pay the premium prices that the luthier supply houses want for swamp ash etc. It's just more than I care to spend
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Old December 31st, 2013, 06:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks! I order my swamp ash from a mill in California. The website is globalwoodsource.com. They have fantastic prices on rough sawn swamp ash. They will even ship 8/4 14" wide planks long enough to get three bodies per blank.

My biggest hurdle now is being able to spray. You know anyplace up here that rents booth time?
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Old January 1st, 2014, 03:18 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks! I order my swamp ash from a mill in California. The website is globalwoodsource.com. They have fantastic prices on rough sawn swamp ash. They will even ship 8/4 14" wide planks long enough to get three bodies per blank. My biggest hurdle now is being able to spray. You know anyplace up here that rents booth time?
Mark I sure don't know of anyplace to rent booth time and I am in Flint quite a ways south of you. I am about 50 miles north of Detroit and don't get up your way much anymore. I am actually waiting till late spring early summer to finish my initial Tele style builds myself for the same reason. No place in my hone with proper ventilation to spray and too cold to do it in the garage.

My daughters bought me the Benedetto Arch Top book and DVD set for Christmas and that's really the direction I am aiming for along with acoustic steel string and classical guitars. I do want to finish my tele style builds to say I did it and get my wings so to speak. Building a hand carved archtop is no trivial task and I don't know that I will live long enough to ever finish one at the rate I seem to get things done but I sure am going to give it a try.

Thanks for the tip on the rough sawn swamp ash too and good luck finding a place to spray in this climate we have here. I want out of here something terrible but I'm too heavily invested here and would loose too much if I got out now. Love the summers here but they're just too short and the winters are brutal
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Old January 10th, 2014, 11:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Mark I sure don't know of anyplace to rent booth time and I am in Flint quite a ways south of you. I am about 50 miles north of Detroit and don't get up your way much anymore. I am actually waiting till late spring early summer to finish my initial Tele style builds myself for the same reason. No place in my hone with proper ventilation to spray and too cold to do it in the garage. My daughters bought me the Benedetto Arch Top book and DVD set for Christmas and that's really the direction I am aiming for along with acoustic steel string and classical guitars. I do want to finish my tele style builds to say I did it and get my wings so to speak. Building a hand carved archtop is no trivial task and I don't know that I will live long enough to ever finish one at the rate I seem to get things done but I sure am going to give it a try. Thanks for the tip on the rough sawn swamp ash too and good luck finding a place to spray in this climate we have here. I want out of here something terrible but I'm too heavily invested here and would loose too much if I got out now. Love the summers here but they're just too short and the winters are brutal
How is the Benedetto book and DVD set? Let me know if you like it. If you do, I'll probably get it myself.

I love the snow, but I know I'm in the minority with that. The local ski lodges have free lift passes this weekend. I'll get my first snowboard outing for the winter this Sunday.

Stay warm down there.
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Old January 10th, 2014, 11:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The weather wasn't great, but it was about as nice as it's going to get for a while, so I set up the spray gun. Since I don't have a spray booth, I set up the holder right outside my garage on the sidewalk and then heated the garage. I prepped the bodies and spray gun in the warm garage, and with the help of my friend, we would carry it out and connect it to the holder, spray a coat, then carry it back in to the warm garage till the next coat, and kept repeating this process.

I definitely don't like spraying in the winter. It was more difficult, but I was able to get some decent layers on them. I have a couple of touch ups to do on the front of them before I can clear coat them. Have to wait and see when I get another ok day to spray.


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Old January 10th, 2014, 11:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The blue one looks awesome!
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Old January 11th, 2014, 12:56 AM   #11 (permalink)
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The blue one looks awesome!
Thanks! As usual, the pics don't do them justice. The blonde looks really nice as well, but the grain is harder to see in the pic.
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Old January 11th, 2014, 01:35 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Those really look good Mark!!!
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Old January 11th, 2014, 11:39 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Those really look good Mark!!!
Thanks!
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Old January 14th, 2014, 05:33 PM   #14 (permalink)
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How is the Benedetto book and DVD set? Let me know if you like it. If you do, I'll probably get it myself. I love the snow, but I know I'm in the minority with that. The local ski lodges have free lift passes this weekend. I'll get my first snowboard outing for the winter this Sunday. Stay warm down there.
You love the snow because you haven't been here all your life. I have been off and busy as of lately and we've had some brutal weather here and I know darn well you got a taste of that up your way too. I used to downhill Boyne, Crystal Mt etc in my younger days but haven't been on a pair of snow skies since the late 1980's and I fear I would kill myself now days. Downhill skiing in northern MI is a joke compared to Colorado, Montana etc but can be fun none the less.

The Benedetto book is pretty good and I was warned not to get the book without the DVD set and that was indeed good advise. The two go hand in hand and if you want my honest opinion I feel the asking price is a bit much but it is said to be the best resource on the topic and there's no doubt that Bob Benedetto is the man when it comes to hand carved archtop guitars. If it's something you think you'd truly be interested in doing then I would say by all means get the set as there's some very valuable information contained in it.
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Old April 26th, 2014, 10:38 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Finished the two builds! Click image for larger version

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Old May 1st, 2014, 10:18 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I was in a hurry and didn't get a chance to include details in the last post.

Both guitars have the SD Vintage Stack in the bridge position, as well as a full HB in the neck position. The blonde one has the Wilkinson Vintage 3-saddle, and the blue has a modern 6-saddle.

Both guitars have a four way switch with the series option, and both have push/pull volume and tone pots for coil splitting of both pickups. They feel and sound fantastic! Very happy with these builds.

Here are some better pics of the blue one (State of WV theme - I'm from WV).
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