The Pewkelele

steeUK

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I've done a couple of posts on this on the "What's on your workbench...", but as I am getting a bit more progress on it lately I figured I'd do a full thread on it.

To summarize where I'm up to: Last year I made my first guitar (Tele) out of an old church pew end. I had a small piece left over.and thought why not give a small (starting at the 5th fret basically, so tuned ADGCEA) acoustic a try. Re sawed it into top and bottom and carved an arch onto the top. The sides are black walnut soaked overnight, bent on a copper pipe heated with a soldering iron then clamped into a mold. Cut some kerfing (by hand - very tedious) and some bracing. Neck and end block are from some maple. I've just today routed the binding channels for the maple binding I will add.

The neck will be a 5 piece laminated maple/walnut perhaps with carbon fibre rod in place of a proper truss rod. I am planning a dove tail neck joint. Not too sure about the fretboard. Some kind of f holes are planned too..... It's been the best part of 18 months to get to this point, hopefully not that long again before completion.....
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steeUK

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Spent some time sanding the body to 400 grit today. Decided to do a practice run on scrap for the neck joint. Not the neatest but it won't move unless hit repeatedly with a mallet, so I guess that's a good thing. I got a Japanese pull saw for this and I really like the way it cuts..
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steeUK

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Looks like there will now be significantly less pew in this, as I clumsily dropped body and neck while trying to pry them apart as I was fitting/adjusting the neck joint. Landed face down and cracked the top... My plan is to slice the top off, keep everything else and make a new top...
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crazydave911

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I am trying to stay positive about it; I was clumsy in the workshop and still have all my fingers after all. Plus I had the thought of perhaps steering into the skid with an unorthodox soundhole.
Yeah, I did that too 😁, can't claim originality though, got it from a Hawaiian slack key guitar
 

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steeUK

TDPRI Member
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Yeah, I did that too 😁, can't claim originality though, got it from a Hawaiian slack key guitar
Nice! I am thinking an extended bottom half of an "f" coming out from the bottom corners of a longer fretboard than I had originally planned. Main concern is that it would cut directly through one of the X brace limbs, but it will be what it will be...
 

crazydave911

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Nice! I am thinking an extended bottom half of an "f" coming out from the bottom corners of a longer fretboard than I had originally planned. Main concern is that it would cut directly through one of the X brace limbs, but it will be what it will be...
Not sure I'd cut through an X brace 😳, one of the reasons I did mine was it allowed me to combine the fretboard extension brace with the soundhole reinforcement. The X brace is completely uninterrupted below that 😉
 

steeUK

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Not sure I'd cut through an X brace 😳, one of the reasons I did mine was it allowed me to combine the fretboard extension brace with the soundhole reinforcement. The X brace is completely uninterrupted below that 😉
Yeah, I figured the X brace would be best left if possible so I will take your advice, it's just that the crack runs right through it. Maybe fix the crack as well as I can with CA glue and spilt the sound holes around it. If it wasn't for my crude sketching ability, I think something like this could look acceptable while maintaining structural integrity.
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crazydave911

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Yeah, I figured the X brace would be best left if possible so I will take your advice, it's just that the crack runs right through it. Maybe fix the crack as well as I can with CA glue and spilt the sound holes around it. If it wasn't for my crude sketching ability, I think something like this could look acceptable while maintaining structural integrity.
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Ditto, good idea 😉
 

steeUK

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Dry fitted everything together today. While there are a couple of high spots on the frets on a few notes I will need to sort out (and I didn't have a high e string spare), I am really happy with the sound. The response on higher frequencies is great, the lower frequencies are fine, but not as striking, though I was expecting this to some extent given the small size of the body.

I now need to glue in the neck, do some final sanding and finishing, fret dots, a better fret levelling, thin the headstock a bit more ( and perhaps get a small piece of ebony to replace the current cherry burl bridge that I don't think is hard enough to last very long).

I also had a bit of a madcap moment where I figured the top would be dead from the crack I put in it accidentally. Decided I'd cut the top so there was nothing under the fretboard and make a pickup that I would build into the neck. While it functions, I was only able to get the sufficient output with the coil being wider than the fretboard, so since I am much happier with the acoustic sound than I expected to be, I won't be butchering the top further or working out how to fit the electronics, and will keep it purely acoustic ...

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crazydave911

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A fix for that pickup is gently tapping the magnets out and pressing in 1" neodymium magnets you aren't supposed to use lol. The magnets will go through the top and the sound is quite warm 🙂
 




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