Hollow body LP? Solid Body LP? Dunno, both I guess

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Muzikp, Apr 15, 2015.

  1. Muzikp

    Muzikp Friend of Leo's

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    I have always wanted to build a 335. But I don't really like the size of a 335, it's too big and well... too 335ey. I toyed with making a smaller 335 but it just wasn't right. So that left me with an idea. A hollow LP. And since I sorta need to make a solid LP body in order to make a jig for bending hollow body sides, might as well make both right? It just occurred to me that means double hardware, double sanding, double amount of mistakes, twice as much lacquer and waiting for lacquer to cure time. :eek: Crikey!!!

    Ok, depression setting in fast lets move on...

    To the left is a pile of African Mahogany, it's pretty rough sawn. I have no idea how nice it looks under the roughness, I bought it for a screaming deal many years ago. I chopped it up into body blank sizes and it's been sitting for two+ years now. Next to that is a long board of Black Walnut with some really nice grain in it. This is the board I will resaw into sides and hopefully bend them. I suspect black walnut may not bend well but it's really good looking wood so I'll try. Then an old African Maogany LP body that I fished out of the burn pile. I can use that for my side bender jig thing. Then two pieces of Black Walnut, one of them I will resaw and make a beautiful book matched back out of. It's good looking wood and will compliment the board I'm using for the sides.

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    Plane down some of the African Mahogany. After two+ years of wondering if I have something nice or not it's time for the reveal.

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    Clean up/square up the edges

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    Yes those will do nicely. These are just slightly on the heavy side, I'm guessing about a 9lb LP these will make. I was hoping for no more than 8lb so maybe some chambers are in order here. Not sure yet.

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    Only gluing up one of them right now. The other two boards go back in the lumber rack for another day.

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    Back to the burn pile body and a template.

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    The outside edge of this body needs to be perfect. You will see why shortly.

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    Getting closer

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    Yes good, just needs some sanding. Doesn't everything though.

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    I know you are thinking, why is he using a carve template right there, and why right now?

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    To make this cool line. Unfortunately I didn't take a picture of the holes I made on the cool line.

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    Piece of scrap to test my hole size

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    Wow that's good.

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    Yep, glue... on one lil part of it.

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    Lovely, actually that's really ugly but now I have rubber band holders. I'm assuming that using really nice tone woods for the bender will result in great tone for the sides. We all know great tone comes from sides that were made on a bender which has great tone... we do all know that right?

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    Back to the body blank. The end grain came out nice at the glue line.

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    That's a really pretty piece of wood. The reveal was a good one.

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    Odd place for holes I know but you will see why in a minute.

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    Talk about stressful. Both these pieces need to be as perfect as possible. Normally I just wander around not worrying too much as long as I don't cross the line. Since I need both pieces to be good this was twice as stressful. :(

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    After much sanding and much fitting I have one half of my side bender completed. The idea is the gap is just big enough for the side to fit in there. I'm sorta going down two roads with this bender. I've seen people bend sides with the rubber band method and I've also seen people do it by clamping two matching pieces together to bend the side. I don't know which way I prefer so at this point I'm trying both. :neutral:

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    Started cutting the other side and got this far.

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    Are band saw blades supposed to have ends? Google tells me "NO".

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    Aaarrrgghhhh!!!!. A trip to woodcraft and we are back in business.

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    Now I have both sides of my side bender complete. Looking forward to bending some sides soon. You can see I had to cut the horn area into a separate bender. No way to make that all 1 piece.

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    And my LP body is coming along nicely.

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    Attach the template again

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    Wiring channel good.

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    Switch and wiring cavities good.

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    Next we resaw the walnut and attempt to bend sides. I'm guessing the LP horn will be impossible, or it will take 4.2 months to bend it slowly enough that it doesn't crack/break/shatter/splinter or spontaneously combust. Should be fun right?
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2015
  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    If you are using solid sides..... I once built an acoustic les paul. I x braced a spruce top and had a soundhole like your average steel string. It had maple back and sides. I knew I couldn't bend the solid maple sides myself around the cutaway curve without breaking them. I had a respected local acoustic builder do it. The sides were probably sanded to about .085 by me. He then thinned it down even more around the sharp bend and bent it on a hot pipe. It still didn't come out exactly like a lp cutaway... but was pretty close. The guitar turned out really neck heavy... so I sold it off. Good luck with the project...always fun to see a lp build.
     
  3. oldrebel

    oldrebel Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Looks like a good plan. I'm sure that all will turn out well. I'll sure be watching.
     
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  4. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    You might try some really light Spanish Cedar for the neck. That would alleviate the neck dive. I've used it on hollow Mahogany Teles with good success.
     
  5. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I kinda got lost, thought we were gonna see a hollow LP and. . . , well, somethin, but so far it looks like a solid Elpee that's gonna have walnut sides :confused: and a studded Elpee, kinda like a French T. . ah, well, let's just say it's studded to make it harder for Butters to chew it up;)
    But no doubt all will soon become clear, and meanwhile it's a pleasure to watch you work, James.
     
  6. Muzikp

    Muzikp Friend of Leo's

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    Spanish Cedar is a good idea. I was also thinking about honduran mahogany which is lighter than the standard stuff but not as light as spanish cedar. Thanks for the idea.

    Rick, yes we will see a hollow LP with walnut sides if all goes well. We will also see a traditional solid LP. You know it's a two'fer kinda dealio.
     
  7. Muzikp

    Muzikp Friend of Leo's

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    I don't hate wallpaper anymore... wouldn't have this tool without it.

    Stepping into the unknown for me. Luckily it was only a $79 investment into experimental steaming wood land. How hard could it be.

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    Side note. The home depot I went to today now carries Mahogany, Maple, Cherry, Alder and Walnut hardwood. I actually found a piece of 3/4" Mahogany with 1/4 sawn grain in the pile. I put it back though because I was losing focus at that point. I was supposed to be in the wallpaper section looking for steam makers.
     
  8. twocup

    twocup Tele-Meister

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    Hmm, I better check my HD. People don't usually steam bend sides, but they don't usually make hollow body LPs either! I'll be watching.
    Tim
     
  9. Muzikp

    Muzikp Friend of Leo's

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    After much consideration I've decided to drastically modify my side bender thingy. Goes thru the bandsaw like so.

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    Better

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    Still better yet, now i can clamp it to the bench.

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    ok moving on to cutting some sides for a trial run. Pay attention to the end grain of this board because I will have questions for you later.

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    I ran it through the jointer after each cut.

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    Bends ok pre-steam.

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    Guess I didn't take a pic of all the test sides. They are in the background of the shot where I'm starting to build the steamer. The idea of the T is that it will act as a "HOT" handle to help unscrew the cap. This turned out to be laughable.

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    There are the test sides in the background.

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    I think this is all self explanatory.

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    Drain hole turned out to be important... and too small.

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    Steaming now, notice the little T fell off. It just melted away and fell on the floor. Eventually the grey pipe melted away and fell off as well. This made it very difficult to open the end cap.

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    Here's the business end, needs a bigger drain hole.

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    And there you have it, the really easy side is bent. I will post video shortly of how that went. The video tells a bajillion words, not all of them good :D.

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  10. Muzikp

    Muzikp Friend of Leo's

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    From my research it's very common to steam bend sides. ES-335's etc. have steam bent sides. It's the only way to get such a tight bend around the horns. 335's actually laminate the steam bent sides, 335's are maple/poplar/maple laminate sides. It's what I may have to do on this one. I haven't made it around the horn yet.
     
  11. Muzikp

    Muzikp Friend of Leo's

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    So for those experienced in bending sides with steam. I'm struggling to bend around the tight horn (shocker I know). I need some thoughts from people who have bent tight radius corners. More steam for longer? Thicker sides? Thinner sides? End grain not correct? It almost seems like it would be better if I soaked the wood? What's the trick?

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  12. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

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    Really nice work so far, James. As for clamping your side bender parts together, if the dowels aren't giving you quite enough real estate to grip, I've seen moulds like that that have holes drilled large enough to fit one jaw of the clamp. That allows the clamping pressure to be more in the middle.

    I really like the direction these builds are going. They should be a couple of stunners.


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  13. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

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    A lot of acoustic builders use a product called Super Soft to help bend problematic woods.

    Michael (Hudson duster) use 1/3 Downy with 2/3 water.


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  14. Muzikp

    Muzikp Friend of Leo's

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    Oh holes!!! That's a good idea. The dowels are actually for rubber bands, I hadn't intended for them to be clamping posts but it sorta worked out that way. I haven't bought any heavy duty rubber bands yet so I'm trying to test as much as possible with the mold.

    Here's the next batch of test pieces cooking in the steamer right now.

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    Walnut, Alder and Maple of varying thicknesses. Wanna get as much data as I can you know.
     
  15. oldrebel

    oldrebel Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Okay, now I am really confused. This piece that you are bending is 0.077 inches thick. Is that going to be one of three pieces of veneer for the sides or is that going to be the final thickness? Also, if you use downy and water as a softener, will the glue adhere to it?
     
  16. Muzikp

    Muzikp Friend of Leo's

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    Here's how the easy side went. This is at 1.5X speed so you get less bored. Checked the wood after 20 minutes in the steamer and it wasn't even close to ready.



    ok that was really boring... Sorry.
     
  17. Muzikp

    Muzikp Friend of Leo's

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    I'm hoping that's the final thickness and it's not laminated. But I'm confused as well. I didn't even measure the first side that ended up .077". I just sort of looked at the space between my fence and bandsaw blade and said "Ummm yes that's good".

    I don't expect any of these first 78 sides to actually get used in the build. I just gotta start somewhere. I'm collecting data you could say.

    Even more scary is will the lacquer stick to Downy. That's a lot of work only to find out you can't finish. Hmmm!!!
     
  18. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    For bending the tight curves, try using a commercial veneer flattened liquid. Comes in pump-spritz bottles, and you can really hose your side pieces, soak 'em good before steaming. Stuff is supposed to have no effect on finishes, and is intended to be used in a flattening press, very similar application to what you're doing.

    Also, to encourage those outside splinters to keep from separating, I'd try to pull some thin sheet metal (stainless steel, maybe aluminum) tightly over the outside radius before forcing the full bend into the wood.

    EDIT: just reread Roger's post, pretty sure he's referring to the same (veneer flattened) stuff. There are several brands of it out there, plus a lot of home brew formulas that usually are based to some degree, on glycerine. But I'd stick to the commercial stuff whose label says it won't interfere with finishes. It's not very expensive.
     
  19. dazzaman

    dazzaman Tele-Afflicted

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    +1 on the metal sheet behind the wood to support it as you bend. Even then I think you will need luck as well as skill.
    If it was me I would cheat a little and make it much thinner at that point, no more than 1mm thick and then add a similar piece (or a solid block) inside, once bent, to give it added support. Also, you need to avoid to risk of fracture as far as possible, so try using wood that is quarter-sawn in that part.
    And good luck.
     
  20. Muzikp

    Muzikp Friend of Leo's

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    It looks like a no go on the walnut. I've tried thin, thick, steamed, soaked and then steamed and it all just ends up like this.

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    But I did get a sliver of maple to do the bend.

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    That tells me this might be laminate maple sides now.
     
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