Hey guys! Thank you so much for the incredible warm welcome on the thread in the main section of the forum. After chatting with a few of you I figured you might enjoy some behind the scenes content!
As I get up to speed making some demo models I figured you’d enjoy seeing them come together, these images are from the past couple weeks just to give you a little insight.
This week started off with some experimenting.. a huge part of the positive feedback I’ve been getting has been the lower environmental impact of the guitars. So in an attempt to see if that is something I could to even further on I went into my local reclamation yard. I’m not looking for a rustic look, but under the hood I was interested if I could use non virgin timber for the bodies. Where I live there is abundance of Victorian houses that used locally grown cedar or pine for their floor beam substructure - so that was my search. I want to maintain how light my poplar bodies are, and both of these species offer that - cedar even more so. Before I knew it I found a lovely 6x4 beam with that instantly recognisable aromatic cedar smell. I chucked it in the van and headed back to the workshop, before long I had the beam sAwn down, then to thickness on the panel Saw and carefully planed into two usable blanks. The benefit of having a workshop full of machines already is not lost on me! I got one of the blanks machined up and rough sanded and that’s where I’ve left it for now. It definitely makes a great body but it remains to be seen how I will like the paint finish, given it has a much more open grain structure than Poplar. I think for now Poplar remains the right choice as overall it is relatively sustainable - this is just something to consider for future. It also is incredibly simple to get in consistent and large quantities - no nail hole dodging or rec yard haggling required.
The rest of this week has been necks, the process of cutting out the blanks, routing to shape and getting the truss rod cavity in.
The fretboards are made from a large piece of Bolivian rosewood (pau ferro) that I have selected for grain direction and colour. It’s then sawn up into about 20 fretboards - which is great as for me consistency is really huge.
The boards are then laminated to the blanks, left to cure overnight and then the frets are pressed in evenly with carefully applied titebond to get a real snug fit in the slot. The water in the titebond not only allows the slot to swell a hair and tighten into the fret but also acts as a really solid way of coupling the fret to the board - but given that metal isn’t pourous like wood it’s simple enough to lose its bond when heated to be removed.
Fret ends are then dressed quickly so I don’t cut my hands to shreds working on it but will receive a full redress and polish at the levelling stage. The way I carve my necks is with a special router bit, this means all my necks come out the same. When I was gearing up to make guitars that was the one part of the process that I was determined to be consistent as you can’t have a guy saying how great the neck is in one review for it to then being a hair off in another. I used a 5mm packer taped to the heel of the neck to give that taper, I’m aiming for 21 to 23mm or so at the 12th
Over the next couple of days it’s final sanding and then the finish, following that it’s the final crown and dress. I’ve attached an image of another painted headstock from a neck I made last week.
here’s some pics:
(I think a razor blade is the one tool I couldn’t be without half the time)
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little exposition into my building process, lots more to come!