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Home made Les Paul

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  • OMG. I freakin' love this thread! You're a huge inspiration right now.

    I have a very noob question sorry:

    Will the binding stain when you finish the top?


    Its a good question, and the answer is that this plastic binding will not absorb the stain, as you will see when I get around to finishing it. However wood binding, which I use on most of my acoustics, absorbs stain like crazy - usually I give it a coat of shellac to try to seal it and then also mask it.

    Well, lets continue on. We've shaped the neck and inlayed the fretboard and headstock. Next lets fret the board. There are several thoughts about when (and how) to fret it. The "when" is either before it has been glued to the neck, or after it has been glued to the neck or after the neck has been glued to the body. The advantage of doing it now is that it is very easy to support it while either hammering or pressing, once fretboard is on the neck or on the body you must build a bunch of funky supports - some folks use a shot bag behind the neck. A slight disadvantage is that the frets will push the slots apart slightly and you won't get quite as tight a fit for the tangs and the board will take a slight back bow which will need to be clamped out. I've done it all the different ways and prefer to do it now while the board is off.

    "How" is next - the two main ways to install frets are hammering them in or pressing. I hammered a lot of frets but once I started pressing I'll never go back (unless the neck is on the guitar, then I might still hammer).

    Last, as I mentioned earlier, bound fretboards can either have the frets flush with the binding (the Gibson way) or extending over the top of the binding - thats the way I've done it and I'll do it again here. If you do it Gibsons way you need to scrape and shape the binding to fit the frets and since most of my bound fretboards have had wood binding that would be a real pain.

    OK, lets rock in the fret world. First curve the fretwire in a simple little bending thinging that I built out of two ball bearings and a bolt with three big "fender" washers. Sandwiched between two large diameter ones is a slightly smaller one, that makes a groove in that the tang of the fretwire moves thru. The middle bolt has a bronze bushing so it can rotate - the socket wrench turns the bolt with the washer while I feed the wire thru it



    Next I cut enough pieces plus a couple extras, making them a little longer than each position. I stick them in a numbered piece of wood so I can keep track. With my belt sander and a little file I file off the tang at each end so the tang is just as wide as the slot. Sorry about this picture, Photobucket wants to keep turning it sideways



    That little "L" shaped thing is a piece of fretwire that I've filed the barbs off the tang - I use it to check the depth of the slot in the fretboard - with 12 inches of radius I want to make sure the fret won't bottom out. The block of wood clamped to my workbench is to hold the wire while I file the tang - it would make more sense if the picture was turned correctly

    Now the cool trick. This little gizmo if from StewMac and has cauls of all different fretboard radiuses (radii?). I've got the 12 incher in there and it is pivoted in the middle so it kind of centers itself. The caul is designed for a arbor press, but I've got it in an ordinary drill press (which I try to remember not to turn on). Pulling the drill press lever will press the fret in - the chuck even rotates slightly if needed to line itself up.



    I put one small drop of CA in the middle of the fret and one under each end where the tang is filed off. When I'm done I can clip the ends of the frets off and file them flush with the edge of the board



    We can put the fretboard away for a while now and go back to the body

    Comment


    • Great thread - thanks!
      NOTE: The absence of smilies in this post should not be taken to mean that I think your post is stupid, nor that I loath, despise, or hate you; nor that I disrespect you and all your works; nor that I see you as victim or lawful prey; nor think you have the intellect of half a loaf of bread; nor that I find you disgusting or unworthy or otherwise hate your behavior, opinions, politics, gender, sexual orientation, culture, ethnic background or language.

      F*** 'em if they can't take a joke!

      Comment


      • The following picture may not look like much but it is the biggest scariest single part of the whole build. For a week I fiddled and futzed around with the neck and body, trimming and shimming and measuring and waking up in the middle of the night worring about finally gluing the neck on. Not only does the center line of the neck have to line up with the center of the top, the angle with the body has to be perfect since that is what sets bridge height and action. The cheeks of the neck heel have to be perfect where they lay against the body or there will be gaps - not only both sides but on the bottom too.

        I had to think of how to clamp it while the glue set - both up and down in the tenon pocket, but it also has to be pulled back tight against the body. Finally I decided to quit farting around and squirt some glue in it - I was committed.



        Its hard to see in the picture, but I used a lashing strap like you would use on a kayak or something on your car to go around the neck heel and pull it into the body. I cinched that as tight as I could, then put the vertical clamps on. I added a clamp at the waist to tighten the strap even more - when glue squeezed evenly out of all of the sides I figured it was well clamped.

        The neck was slightly below the level of the upper bout which I brought down so it was nice and flush. That let me finish carving the top on both sides of the upper bout. Next I could glue the fretboard on, but first I want to show you something

        Here is the double acting hot rod truss rod adjusted perfectly flat (which is what I want when it goes in the neck)



        Here it is with one turn on the adjuster



        The reason I put those pictures in is to show how sensitive that thing is. I hear people talking about "giving the truss rod a turn" or "cranking a little relief in the neck" - just remember that a very small amount of turning has a huge effect - 1/8 of a turn usually is pretty significant.

        OK, lets adjust it straight again, put a couple of drops of silicon calking at each end and one in the middle of the channel, and drop it in place. Another pic that Photobucket wants to turn sideway, I don't feel like trying to make it right.



        I put a piece of tape on the rod while I smear glue on the neck



        pull the tape off and clamp it in place. Another cattywompus picture thanks to Photobucket



        Last picture of this set - when the glue dried I remembered that I hadn't installed the side dots -should have done it before because the ones over the body are hard to drill. The dots are little pieces of black plastic glued in with CA

        Comment


        • aw man. why not add a few more pictures of the guitar with the neck and fretboard done? Looks amazing, am going to give all of this a try asap.
          Good trades with: Cadillacman, JW112, SPACECHARGE, rdm, killthehippies45, virtuzoso, KenSmith, Calazula

          Comment


          • Looking good.
            http://acapella.harmony-central.com/...nother-guitar.

            Comment


            • aw man. why not add a few more pictures of the guitar with the neck and fretboard done? Looks amazing, am going to give all of this a try asap.


              there'll be more, don't worry

              Comment


              • There was a lot of interest in this thread at first but it seems to have died out. However I'll keep building and posting a few pictures as I go. With the neck on I can go ahead and drill the holes for the pots and switch



                and the one for the jack (you do not want to do this before routing the binding channel as the follower bearing will drop into the hole and you'll get a nice big divot in the binding)



                I had a piece of mahogany side material from an aborted acoustic built that I thought would make nice covers for the cavities



                Here is one more shot of the body, neck and headstock. In the background is a piece of scrap with some samples of different stains - starting to think about how I want to finish it



                With the neck in place I can accurately locate the bridge and tailpiece. Rather than using the centerline I exended the sides of the fretboard to the middle of the guitar and reestablished the center (it was a hair off from the joint). I can also accurately measure from the nut to the bridge location, using a compromise between the measurement on the plans, that given by the StewMac on line fret calculator and my personal experience locating the saddles on acoustic. Of course the nice thing is that there is a little adjustment if I'm a hair off. Drill the holes on a drill press - I want these babies in the right place!




                The last thing that I can do since the neck is on is finish shaping the back of it. I made two templates from the plans for the shape at the nut and 12th fret and worked it down to fit



                OK, one last shot - here are some stain samples - any thoughts about how I should use them?

                Comment


                • Fantastic work.

                  Please keep going with the updates.
                  I didn't come here to save whales, I came here to get laid and make rock 'n' roll

                  Comment


                  • This is so very, very cool FK. I wish I was your neighbor so I could come over and watch! I really appreciate the thorough documentation--words and pictures. Next best thing to being there.

                    As for the stain--are you going for a cherry sunburst? I love those. I was on a tour in the Memphis Gibson factory last year about this time and watched a guy hand-spraying sunbursts onto Gibson hollowbodies. He was quite the artist!

                    Should also mention that Gibson had two women who did nothing all day but painstakingly scrape paint off the binding. Too labor-intensive to mask the binding, they said.
                    __________________________
                    She's the lady of the light
                    Yellow incandescent night
                    Tiger eyes burning bright
                    In the understory
                    I can't see the forest
                    For the branches and the leaves
                    But I believe
                    I do believe
                    by me:

                    www.box.com

                    "Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn."
                    Charlie Parker

                    Comment


                    • Thanks for the updates, FK. I had gotten behind, but I'm all caught up now. The guitar is looking fabulous - seriously. You've got a gift, and I'd like to thank you for sharing it with the rest of us.

                      In regards to the stains, the only one that really catches my eye is the one on the far right. I think it would look very nice on the back, though I don't know what you'd do for the front. Maybe the stain right next to it? Almost seems too light, but . . . meh. I've got nothing. Whatever you do, I'm looking forward to seeing it!

                      Keep up the good work, and please keep the updates coming!
                      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

                      Comment


                      • We're all paying attention! just reading, not posting so much.... fantastic work! please keep the updates coming!
                        rockin' for life







                        Originally Posted by GAS Man


                        Thrash the establishment, strip it down, and let it rip.









                        Originally Posted by Deadbeat Son


                        There's no "just a" allowed here. There's no reason to denigrate a great guitar that does the trick for you just because it's less expensive than someone else's.



                        Good Trades with: boonestunes, smithshred

                        Nox P

                        Comment


                        • Yes, FK please do continue! You may have fewer hits now, but you are down to the hard core fans!
                          NOTE: The absence of smilies in this post should not be taken to mean that I think your post is stupid, nor that I loath, despise, or hate you; nor that I disrespect you and all your works; nor that I see you as victim or lawful prey; nor think you have the intellect of half a loaf of bread; nor that I find you disgusting or unworthy or otherwise hate your behavior, opinions, politics, gender, sexual orientation, culture, ethnic background or language.

                          F*** 'em if they can't take a joke!

                          Comment


                          • I've been following this thread since the beginning, and it's been a great thread. I don't post that often, and I prefer to just read, learn, and watch.
                            Don't worry, I don't think much interest has died out - we're all just waiting for the glorious completion of that beauty.
                            Keep up the awesome work.
                            www.maverickguitar.ca

                            Comment


                            • Wow, I never thought when you started your first Paul it would turn out this cool!!! You are a man of many talents sir.
                              My 9/11 Tribute Song: https://vimeo.com/49284582

                              The 9/11 Wall of Shame (caught stepping in it):
                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3s4_dkKn8Y
                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6Xoxaf1Al0
                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jPzAakHPpk
                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4n7uJ...feature=relmfu
                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QU961SGps8g

                              Comment


                              • I too have been reading since Page 1 and hear to provide my encouragement. Amazing work, sir, and please keep it going!
                                FOR SALE:
                                Laney LC15R amp, all reasonable offers accepted
                                http://acapella.harmony-central.com/....php?t=2425083
                                Zvex Vexter Box of Rock, $150

                                ____________________________________

                                "If rhythm's a drug, I'm hooked on you
                                So show me every move
                                We've got perfect motion"

                                http://youtube.com/watch?v=7MG2J0CJnP4 (2:55 into it. No, it has nothing to with guitar or bass but is as much an influence as all the rock and roll in the world)

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