Build Number One - Second Try

Discussion in 'Project Depot' started by Milkman, Aug 8, 2016.

  1. Milkman

    Milkman Well-Known Member

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    Well, I just couldn't live with the little mistakes that piled up with my neck in my first attempt so I abandoned it and vowed to start again.

    Here's what I ended up with the first time around. It looks pretty good in pics, but there are several little things that led me to start over.

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    So here we go...

    I picked up several of these "baseball bat blanks" (nice maple) pretty cheap, so I took the first of these, which was just under 20" long and made some fret boards out of it. I used rosewood last time, but the maple is MUCH cheaper 'round here.

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    Then, I took one of the longer blanks and cut down three neck blanks, being careful to make the cuts leaving me with nice quarter-sawn blanks.

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    Laid out the pattern on the blank, avoiding the nasty mineral stain there. As you can see, the blank isn't wide enough to accommodate the headstock, so I'll have to glue on an ear later.

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    I learned from my first attempt that I'd rather rout the truss rod channel while the wood is still rectangular rather than doing it after cutting out the shape of the neck. I clamp the big piece of maple to the table, then align the neck blank so the 1/4" router bit falls on my truss rod channel line, clamp that down and rout it out. So much easier the second time around.

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    Rough cut and gluing on the "ear".

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    Voila.

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    Cut the fret slots. I also learned last time that I'd rather do this before gluing the fret board to the neck. This method worked much better for me than the mitre box I made for myself last time. The aluminum block has a nice true edge and is plenty thick for keeping my wee saw all nice and vertical.

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    And here we have our progress so far. Fret board slotted and glued on, and transition roughly shaped. Next, I will trim the fretboard to the neck, get the headstock sanded flat and smooth, then move on to radiusing the fret board and banging some frets in there.

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    My one concern is that I may have gotten a little over zealous with the transition. There is only about 1/16" of wood behind the nut. Is this going to be a problem? I figured it would be okay as long as I'm careful about it. Les Paul's don't have any wood back there, after all. It should be okay, I found several pics around the 'net like this:

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  2. tomringg

    tomringg Well-Known Member

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    Looking good!

    Like you say, LPs don't have wood above the nut.
     
  3. cantthink0f0ne

    cantthink0f0ne Well-Known Member

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    I love everything about this thread. Great job documenting the progress, this is quite interesting and educational! Please carry on :)
     
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  4. andrewsrea

    andrewsrea Well-Known Member

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    That is pretty cool! Keep the pics coming!
     
  5. jtcnj

    jtcnj Well-Known Member

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    Wow nice work.
     
  6. Milkman

    Milkman Well-Known Member

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    I've been spending most of my time playing with my little ones over the past couple of days, but I did get the headstock flat, and the transition smoothed out. After that, I couldn't resist puttin' a little jewellery on her, just to see...

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    I hope I can fire up the router in the next day or two and trim the fretboard. If not, I will almost certainly have a bunch of time on my hands this weekend.
     
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  7. tvvoodoo

    tvvoodoo Well-Known Member AGF Registered Dealer

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    Looking great. It's kind of a rarer thing to see neck scratch builds on AGF and I appreciate seeing it in such detail.
     
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  8. tonebender

    tonebender Well-Known Member

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    You have some skills my man, I wish I could do that.
     
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  9. SamIV

    SamIV Well-Known Member

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    I can't do this. I have a hard time making a straight cut with a table saw. Nice work and much better skills than I.
     
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  10. stevebway

    stevebway Well-Known Member

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    I see this stuff I feel like such a lameass
     
  11. fullonshred

    fullonshred Well-Known Member

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    Great thread/build so far, appreciate the great pics and details.
     
  12. rambleon

    rambleon Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    That neck's starting to look really good. I love the wood grain.
     
  13. Milkman

    Milkman Well-Known Member

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    It's mostly a question of tools, time and patience. It's only wood after all, failure is not only an option, it's a virtual certainty! Once you embrace that fact, you're good to go!

    My true lack of ability will shine through once I post a video of me playing the guitar that I haven't built yet.
     
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  14. Milkman

    Milkman Well-Known Member

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    Continuing on this weekend....

    Drilled holes for the marker dots:

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    Now, some of you may be saying "WTF?!?!? Why is there a dot at the first fret?!" Well, there's a very good reason for that.

    This is my guitar and I wanted one there. :p

    I made up some clay dot stock by stuffing some Fimo clay into an aluminum block with 1/4" holes drilled in it, then baking it until they were hard. Here is one of the slugs inserted and ready for flush cutting:

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    All done:

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    Same for the side dots:

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    And, leaping forward a few steps, here she is all radiused and fretted:

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    I also glued up the body blank from some nice 8/4 mahogany:

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    Next steps: neck carving and body work!
     
  15. cantthink0f0ne

    cantthink0f0ne Well-Known Member

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  16. Milkman

    Milkman Well-Known Member

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    Still plugging away here. I router-planed the body. I decided not to use templates this time around, but I think I will from now on. It's a lot of work sanding the body into shape.

    When I planed the front, the double-sided tape pulled some of the grain out of the back when I peeled it off. Note to self: apply the tape so it runs across the grain next time.

    I also knocked a fret out while fitting my neck pocket template (no pics). It's not a big deal - easily fixable, but a good lesson.

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    All-in-all, I'm pretty happy. The glue joint is barely visible.
     
  17. Milkman

    Milkman Well-Known Member

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    I've been working on the guitar, but I've been off work and having fun with my kids, so not much posting going on.

    I started one of my favourite parts of the process - neck carving! I see many people afraid of this part, but they shouldn't be. It's only wood. It's one of those bits of hocus-pocus that seems mysterious and difficult, but it's really not.

    I decided to try shaping without using the facet method. Instead, I've decided to create the profile I want at the first fret, and at the twelfth, then join 'em up... so I grab my rasp and get to work! Shaping the neck at the first fret:

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    Checking the shape as I go:

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    Then shaping the twelfth (I took the photo after going back and shaping the headstock transition):

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    Transition work:

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    I neglected to take more pics as I shaped the rest of the neck, and even forgot to take a pic of where I left off. I have a little more work to do near the heel (I still have a little bump where the initial 12th fret shaping meets the new stretch toward the heel), then I'll get to sanding, sanding, sanding.

    I also made a bone nut, but didn't take many pics of the process (I'm really not very good at photo documenting this stuff - I get in the zone and forget).

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    I'll post more pics of the progress soon.
     
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  18. cantthink0f0ne

    cantthink0f0ne Well-Known Member

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    Very impressive work! Keep the posts coming :)

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
     
  19. RogerC

    RogerC Well-Known Member

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    Nice work. Looks like you're getting some really good results there.

    It's funny because I hear so many builders say how shaping the neck is their favorite part. I hate it. I think it's the tedium of all the rough work to get it close. Doing the detail/final dial-in work on a neck, I enjoy though. Which is funny because I enjoy the rough work of initial body shaping more than the detail/final dial-in work.

    I'm glad I finally put together my neck-shaping jig. After doing 18 necks by hand, I was pretty much over it :grinning:.
     
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  20. Milkman

    Milkman Well-Known Member

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    I've been following many of your builds pretty closely, Roger, and a jig like that will probably be in my future if I continue building in as large a capacity as you have (and it seems likely... it's addicting).

    Thanks for reading and commenting!
     
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