Making Woodstock Rock: a half dozen kits!

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by MoonJelly, May 14, 2018.

  1. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

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    Sorry in advance for the word dump, if you scroll down there is a TL;DR and pics. Soon my bro's V will be done. I was hoping to finish it this last weekend, but I couldn't get access to it in storage (a friend is storing it for me but he was attending a funeral). Moving to Woodstock put a major kink in my workflow, but now that I finally have a dedicated space, I did manage to get a project started for the summer.

    This upcoming project will involve be mentoring 1-2 Boy Scouts who are working on their Eagle project, and anywhere from 2-6 guitars. It all depends on how many kids get signed up, but the scouts and I will be building guitar kits for assembly and finishing. Once they are complete we will donate them to local music schools/departments.

    I am donating the wood and the experience, but local kids are paying for the hardware (about $60 per instrument, which they can split up to 3 ways). The hardware is all imported from overseas but it is stuff I've tested in the past, and know it will be far above the average quality for a 'starter' guitar. Also the sizes are standard enough someone could easily upgrade to nicer tuners or pickups if they so desire. Specs for those who give a rip:

    Pickups: Alnico humbuckers (the ceramic ones I've tried all suck)
    Tuners: Locking type, 3x3 (would've gone 6 lefty but they were 50% more $$)
    Bridge: Hardtail string through, similar to a PRS SE with the heavy zinc baseplate.
    Electronics: full-size Alpha pots and 3-way blade switch
    Frets: Stainless steel jumbo size (2.9 mm)
    Inlay: Copper tubing for side and face dots
    Body: 2 piece basswood, 1 3/4" thick
    Neck: 3 piece laminated cherry
    Scale length: still debating, at least 25"
    Finish: Sealed/primed and waiting for a personal touch

    The kids participating besides the scouts are from a youth group at my local church. The hope is that they learn some practical skills, and it's an exercise in team-building. Also they may gain a sense of community from working for a charitable cause, and some may even be a recipient of one of the guitars, depending what school they attend (and if they are learning to play). If nothing else, it gives them an outlet for creative expression and they don't get in as much trouble!

    So, on the luthiery side, I managed to get a decent deal on 20 board ft. of basswood for up to 6 bodies, and another 12 board ft. of cherry for up to 6 necks. The deal on the cherry was awesome, or I would have gone with maple. The basswood was a makeshift bench this week, but sometime in the next 1-2 weeks I can get my table saw ripping these suckers into 2-3 piece body blanks, and all 3 piece neck blanks. The fretboards will be from my personal stash of either katalox or pau ferro (monterillo is what they sold it to me as, but that's just a regional distinction).

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    The templates are where I made the most progress, and I'm psyched about where it's going. The body is meant to use less material than my typical builds. I like bigger bodies BC I'm 6'5" and 250 lbs. Usually a superstrat looks a little small in my hands, but these are designed for students who are smaller than me.

    I based the body loosely off a blackmachine, but made it offset and curled the horns inward just slightly. Keeping the body on the narrow side will allow me to get the most out of the wood I have on hand. The headstock is just a really straightforward 3x3 but I'm a fan of the shape it came down to after a few drafts. IMO it's not too aggressive looking, and it ought to appeal to a wide range of players.

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    I also got started on a flyer to post for the world to see, and by the world I mean my little suburb of Atlanta. I like the idea of it going out to more areas, but for the sake of simplicity I've decided it should be local. If I get a repeat interest next year I may expand it.

    TL;DR I'm likely going to be building up to 6 new guitars this summer (with some help from the Boy Scouts and some kids) and I'm donating them all to charity.
     
    ElRay, Bobo, jwade and 3 others like this.
  2. Wolfos

    Wolfos Guitarded

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    Great idea, it would be awesome to reach out to those with a passion for music but not the funds to buy a guitar.
     
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  3. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

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    Thank you, that's my thinking as well. IMO a lot of parents don't support their kids' creative side enough, and sometimes it's up to the community to lend a hand. :hbang:
     
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  4. Omzig

    Omzig SS.org Regular

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    A Noble act hope it goes well for you :)
     
  5. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

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    Thanks! There are a lot of things that could make it fall through, but my plan is if I don't have enough participation, I'll just scale down the number of builds. Hoping for at least 2 with the help I'll get from my Scouts.
     
  6. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

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    My mini shop is starting to look more complete. I wish I had a 'before' picture as this was just studs when I got started :)

    I cut the Cherry slabs to neck length, and found the off cuts were just long enough to make an extra body blank so it got glued up right before the rain started. Tomorrow the table saw rolls in

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  7. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

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    Got my table saw in place finally. The cherry pieces have all been ripped and there's enough for eight (8!) necks here.

    Cutting the laminates was a bit of a challenge for two reasons. There was an unexpected amount of tension in the wood, so as the rip cut was progressing, the end would try to pinch together.
    Second reason was a dull and worn out blade on the saw. I bought it new and I've used it pretty regularly for about 3 years, so yeah, time to replace that...
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    I still managed to get pretty straight cuts but there is some scorching I'll need to send back before glue. By cutting all but 2-3mm from the laminate strips I kept them from binding up the blade. Then I lowered the blade and trimmed the last of the cuts away.

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    Also cut my pau ferro to thickness for 6 ferretboards. Lots of variety in this batch, I hope to use some as a top on another build. My spare body blank is lighter than average, depending how this goes I may have to keep that one!

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  8. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

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    Lots of planing happened today. I met with my youth group and they glued up four neck blanks tonight :hbang: I didn't take pics at the activity, but I did have one that was ready to plane and so I showed them that process. There were a few kids that were riveted through the whole thing. Was a lot of fun and hope I get more chances to do activities like that this summer. Below you can just make out the first neck about to get clamped. I'll post a few pics of the finished lamination tomorrow. Also I may keep that last streaky piece of pau ferro.

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  9. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

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    The fruits of our labor last night. Planed one to show they did a pretty good job!

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  10. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

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    Planed everything already glued and glued two more. Next up is truss rod routes, and gluing fingerboards in place.[​IMG]
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  11. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

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    Well progress is slow because I discovered I'm missing a box of tools, including my truss rod routing bits :(

    Anyways I've got 5 neck blanks ready, plus a bonus neck with Chechen stripes in it. I'm hoping in July to have a couple weeks of work where I can get some real work done in the shop.

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  12. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

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    Cleaning up/organizing the new shed today mostly. Oh and I finally got around to planing one of the basswood boards. It was a nice surprise to get 4 bodies from one plank!

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    After routing the profiles, I'm going to have to do truss rods. Still cant find my good bits! :noway:

    What do you guys think; set necks or bolt on for this itty bitty run?
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2018
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  13. jwade

    jwade Doooooooooom

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    Bolt on seems like it would be the better option for beginner/student guitars solely for easy replacement down the road (IMO).

    Also, you’re a rad person for doing this.
     
  14. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

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    Thanks! Considering the shape and size of the heel, they'll need to be true bolt on if I go that route. I guess I'm off to buy some t-nuts/furniture screws!
     
  15. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

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    Plane. Sand. Repeat. Good thing basswood cuts so easy.
    Also did a doodle of a bass I'm gonna build for a coworker.

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