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Home made Les Paul

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  • I just read this whole thread.

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    • This will be a short post tonight, even tho it is one of the longer steps of the build. There was a question a few pages back about dealing with the binding - now is the time to answer. Before I put the stain on and started shooting the colored lacquer I had masked the side of the binding using 1/4 inch vinyl pin striping tape from an auto parts store and blue painters tape in the tighter curves. I also masked the binding on the sides of the fretboard and the headstock. However I left the 0.040 top edge unmasked - plastic binding will not absorb either the wiped stain or the colored lacquer. Wood binding does, however, it is it necessary to coat it first with something like shellac or to mask it or both.

      After the color was all on I pulled the masking tape and with a box cutter blade scored around the edge of the binding at the glue line. Its really pretty easy, you can just follow the line free hand. The little bit of colored lacquer then easily scrapes off the top edge of the binding. There is a little edge when it is first scraped but that fills with the clear coats.

      A couple of folks have commented on the wooden cavity covers - here is the insides. The big one for the pots has a piece of mahogany glued cross grain to help it resist splitting from the screws or humidity or whatever

      I put the cover plates in place whenever I was shooting the back so they would get the same colors and number of coats. Each time when the finish dried I would pop them out so they wouldn't be permanently installed. The big one was pretty loose, the circular one I would have to poke thru the switch hole in the top to pop it out.

      Now it is just a matter of building enough lacquer coats to give some depth and have enough material to sand back and polish. Back in my old hot rod days we would say that you put 30 coats of lacquer on a car, but most of it went on the garage floor. I shoot two or three coats a day, let dry 24 hours, sand to 320 or 400 and shoot two or three more.

      The little block of wood with the hole in the bridge cavity is to support the guitar off the top when I flip it over - that way I can shoot the top, give it a couple of hours and then do the back all in one day - it is supported by the block and the neck.

      Water based lacquer is not as forgiving as nitro and each coat does not soften and burn into the previous one. One trick is that when I clean up my spray gun with hot soapy water I put a little denatured alcohol in the cup and shoot it thru the nozzle (water is soluble in alcohol and this prevents the gun from rusting). Rather than dump the alcohol out I leave it until the next session - shoot a tiny bit to make sure the gun is clean, the a very fine mist on the guitar. That will soften the previous coat just enough that the new one can bite into it - I haven't had any witness lines since I started doing this.

      I've tried both hanging guitars in a little home made cardboard spray booth and shooting them flat - I get a lot less runs and sags flat so here it is on a little stool in the middle of my garage.

      After about a week there were 15 or 20 coats (I lost count), I pulled the masking tape from the fretboard and put it away for a week to cure

      Lets resume this after the holidays - have a great Thanksgiving everyone.


      • Looking good...
        "Anything that is complex is not useful and anything that is useful is simple. This has been my whole life's motto."
        -Mikhail Kalashnikov


        • all i can say is wow. I'm stunned at how good it's coming along.


          • Looks fantastic, I do love build threads like nothing else!

            That finish came out fantastic, class all the way!


            • Looks fantastic. Enjoy the holiday.
              Add Tag...


              • Looks fabulous - almost has a vintage violin look to the finish.


                • Just an amazing finish. I love this thread!


                  • Wow!
                    music projects are now available online at


                    • Great looking guitar!

                      Andrew J. Coholic

                      Wanna see some cool builds?
                      scroll to post #57...


                      • wow man, awesome work! you have much talent. can't wait for the end and will we get to hear it?
                        well, it IS a gen-u-ine copy!


                        • Looks great with the lacquer. I'm looking forward to seeing how it looks with some hardware.
                          Guitars: Seagull S6+CW, Epiphone LP Standard, Ovation CU247, Gretsch G5120, Seagull S12 (w/ JJB Prestige 330), Martin GPCPA3 Mandolins: Mid-Missouri M-2, WWII-era Octave MandolinAmps: Fender Princeton Chorus, Marshall AVT50H/AVT412, Crate VC120HEffects: EBow > AKG Wireless > Boss TU-2 > Boss PH-3 > EHX Doctor Q > Dunlop 535 Wah > Boss OS-2 > Boss EQ-20 > Boss CH-1 > Boss NS-2 > Boss RV-3
                          LHGCC Participant ~ Jimmy Caper


                          • That looks great.


                            • How about a truss rod cover made of flamed maple and given the same sunburst as the body? Too much? What are you thinking of doing?


                              • Rod cover would need to go get the high gloss finish too. Mmmmm....