Monday, May 24, 2010

V Sunday

Tired and probably should stay in today... but felt the need to get this thing done. Still have no idea what it is going to look like when it is done. I cleaned up the shoulders and came up with something that looked good from the side and the front.

Time to shape the neck. The soft grain in the wenge tears out very easily (like ash) and leaves a bumpy surface. I ended up only using Rasps and Files as any type of blade (scraper, spoke shave) tended to make a mess. I have been experimenting with the trapzoid shaped necks. Not Ola style but more rounded with a flat spot on the back. I make a trapezoid then soften it... not sure it helps yet.

If anyone cares smoothing the neck out with a bastard file then a mill file worked really well on the wenge.

Then a little DA action.

I rounded the heal out a little more after this shot.

Volute also got a little rounder and smaller after this shot.

Bridge posts drilled. Stuck the bridge on to make sure hte strings line up. I don't drive the anchors in until much later.

Lets have a look and see how far to recess the bridge... looks like it will only be a little bit.

So I was going to copy my Gibson V in measurements because I thought it was a 24.75" scale V. Turns out it is not it is a 24.625". Good thing I double checked before drilling the bridge. That would have made a mess.
All good now but once again this is why you plan everything out first.

Again ... enough for one day. I am never building another neck through unless someone pays me. (I said that the last time I built one.)

V Saturday.

Remember route that neck pickup before attaching the fingerboard... I made a new HB template that is tighter than the stewmac one. I make them out of 2 pieces of hardboard epoxied together so I get 2 smooth sides and added depth. Should help with not running pickup rings on the super strats.

Set the depth for the first cut so the bearing is just on the templates. I try not to have deep pickup routes so flush with the fretboard is plenty deep enough.

Then test fit. Ummmm... duh forgot about the radius of the template bit. Fits fine without a cover.

Used the dremel to sharpen the radius in the corners and it drops right in.

Started on the scalloped back. I am making a nice dish out of the back. It should help when you go all Michael Scheckner...

Input jack is a little rough. I will have to clean this up.

You know when you engineer on the fly you get this... I missed by 1/8". Pickup rings will cover most of it if the splice looks bad after finishing it. Yes I was furious but it is my fault for not having a plan. I have a few more V's to build this year so I am going to get the process down then they will go as easily as a super strat.

I have had enough for one day... time for break.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Day 2

I put a 3/8" radius on the back of the body and cut the belly. I used my cheap old crafstman plastic router with a radius bit to get it done. The belly cut was done with the angle grinder. I really like to put serious relieve in the back. At some point I might need to consider the amount of weight I am removing as the neck is still heavy even with the Fly style headstock.

Alright while this is not a how to on carve tops this is basically how it goes. The problem with doing a step by step is that while I am doing it there is so much dust that I hate opening the optic on the camera to take pictures. Still basically this is how it goes. I take a step bit you would use for binding and go around the body. Next I take a 4" 60 grit sanding disk mounted in a hand drill and turn it on edge. The idea is to use the curve of the sanding disk to produce the proper arc on the carve. Stay off the edge... If you don't do anything else never ever cut into the area you routed. Make sure you sneak up on that edge by hand with the scraper then hand sanding. Next step is to take the goose neck scraper and fix anything you hosed with the sanding disk.

A couple of gratuitous shots of the rough carve.

This is where I am now. Neck shaped. Body shaped. Bridge set. Pickups routed. Electronics set. This thing is thin. Really thin.Exotic woods...check...not all carves are done with router bits and cnc... At the big factories no one sat with there palms burning from the heat of the drill exhaust ports with salty sweat dripping in there eyes carving the tops of those things. I am not in any way belittleing the guitars the big guys build. Instead I am pointing out that it is easy to see the difference between hand carved and tool carved.

The carve and the thin. This is a scary experiment in thin. Seriously I put a carve on a 33mm guitar. I look at it and think... It will be fine. Lets hope.

While gratuitous I am trying to show how thin this thing is. Also I like the way carved Zebra looks. The neck is well on its way to being marvelous. I will note that Zebra takes scratches easy. For such a hard wood it dents and marks easy. Be carefull with the scraper.

Wet with mineral spirits. Things to note. THe neck has much darker stripes than the top. Do I need to put color on this top to make it scarey? I have a lot of glue to sand off on the back. Well on our way to being finished. Next week fret work and neck glue. I also have a few pickups to build. Anyhone think Wenge Bobbins look better than plain black plastic?