KR - Build #3

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by KR250, Feb 25, 2016.

  1. KR250

    KR250 Build addict

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    Wow, this has become addicting. :lol:

    I'm looking for some advice on a few points before I start on the next project, mainly with the neck construction. I'm about 80% complete on the planning so far with the goal to surpass the 2nd build and not make any of the same mistakes.

    Here are the specs of what I'm looking to build so far:

    Style: 7 string bolt-on neck
    Scale: 27"
    Bridge: Hipshot Hard Tail
    Tuners: Hipshot open tuners - 4 bass/3 treble- SK1 black buttons (ignore the drawing)
    Pickups: EMG 57-7x/66-7x (haven't tried this before, may also go with 81/85 or try some SD's)
    Electronics: 1 toggle, 1 volume
    Body: Black Limba 1 piece
    Top: Burl Poplar 3/8" thickness - slight carve top
    Neck: Figured Macassar Ebony - Carbon reinforcement
    Fret board: Pale Moon Ebony or Macassar Ebony
    Head Stock: Custom 4x3 with Burl Poplar laminate
    Nut: Black Tusq XL
    Frets: 24 Medium Jumbo (StewMac)
    Truss Rod: Spoke wheel at neck pocket
    Finish: Tru-Oil on neck / Poly on body

    I spent a lot more time on Sketchup to get the design better, and have been comparing against my existing guitars/templates to get it right. Once it's finalized I'll probably try a clear template from eMachineshop to use as a master.

    Shape is similar to the previous build but a little more developed. Basically a super strat with a slight carved top. Probably go with 1 5/8" total thickness. The top curve is meant for the tummy cut on the backside.
    [​IMG]

    Here's the top wood, I haven't decided whether to keep it natural or do some type of dye/stain burst with black.
    [​IMG]

    Body wood, not as nice as the previous piece I had but still good and 1 piece.
    [​IMG]

    I ordered this piece of quarter sawn figured Macassar ebony. It's plenty long but about 2.75" wide, but not wide enough for the headstock without either adding laminates or tacking on pieces to widen it at the top.
    [​IMG]

    Seeing all the other PME fret boards turned into impulse purchase. I got "B" on the right.
    [​IMG]

    The original fretboard I bought is Macassar Ebony, I'll likely save this for future use.
    [​IMG]

    Ok, questions:

    If I laminate the neck as a 5 piece, any recommendations for the accent wood? I haven't done a laminate neck before, so that would be something new. I've read I want to keep the grains opposite for strength.

    Thinking of doing either a pearloid or ebony binding. Any suggestions? I've never done binding before.
     
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  2. Pikka Bird

    Pikka Bird Vaya Con Cornholio

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    So the scoops in the cutaways are for the backside too, with the tunny cut blending into the upper one? That's a very good shape. :yesway:

    If you rip the neck blank in three lengthwise (taking care to keep the grain as close to vertical as possible) then you just flip the middle piece like that truck in The Dark Knight and that'll be spiffy.

    If you wanna do hardwood binding you're gonna need:

    1) A bending iron (you can make one yourself with a metal pipe and some kind of proper heating element).

    2) Patience!

    For pearloid a simple heat gun should do nicely. Use CA glue or acetone according to your own preference. Plenty of Youtube tutorials will show you how.



    ...also, the picture of your ebony neck piece is missing. [​IMG]
     
  3. KR250

    KR250 Build addict

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    Oops, picture fixed! Great advice, I'll likely try the pearloid binding, probably test on a mock up piece first.


    The scoops are meant for the top, and then again on the backside (at least the bottom horn). I find I need just a bit of relief back there, especially when the body transitions away from the neck more gradually. I will probably cut these deeper than last time, so the body wood is showing through, or close.
     
  4. KR250

    KR250 Build addict

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    Finally made some progress on this, it's been tough with a 2 month old baby. When Grandma comes over to help, I run into the shop :p

    I bought a few new tools since the last build that have been super helpful, mainly the spindle sander. I bought a table for my router which has sped things up considerably, and lastly bought the StewMac Safe'T Planer to thin down the wood. Worked out really well, especially for $50.

    Rough cut of the body, I made the same wiring routes as before, but this time I punched all the way through for the electronic cavity, then routed to a template. The body on this build is a little thinner than last time (1 5/8" total).
    [​IMG]

    Gluing this time didn't go quite as well, but all turned out ok. I left out a clamp on the neck pocket area which lifted overnight. I was able to cut out some of the glue and re-clamp it. No visible seams luckily. Next time I'm going to sandwich it with two sheets of plywood and drive the car onto it.
    [​IMG]

    Palm sanded it with 150, still needs a bit more.
    [​IMG]

    Slight round over added on the back side.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. electriceye

    electriceye SS.org Regular

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    I think a nice strip of flamed maple would look great in that neck.
     
  6. KR250

    KR250 Build addict

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    Hmm, thinking about that now. Either way I have to widen the head stock area by a small amount to fit my template. The blank is long enough I can use the ebony to do it, but probably would look better with a laminated neck. I haven't done this before...but, always a first time!

    Maybe two 1/4" strips of flame maple on either side of about 1/2" of ebony in the center, then ebony out to the edges?

    The body is nearly done, so I'm just about to start on the neck.
     
  7. KR250

    KR250 Build addict

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    A little progress, carved out the tummy cut. Forgot to take a picture. Scarf joint on the neck glued up and drying now. I tried to do a laminate for the neck but without a table saw I can't get additional strips anywhere close to flat so I'll save that for a future build.

    Jig I made for the miter saw. I did the initial cuts on the band saw with another jig that I used in the previous build, but adding this step gets the pieces really close to gluing up with just a touch of sanding needed.
    [​IMG]

    Not perfect, but fresh off the miter saw. Never worked with Ebony before, really oily for sure. Used a respirator the whole time.
    [​IMG]

    Starting the carve on the body. I suppose I should wait until the neck pocket is complete but oh well. I'm tracing out from my template, so far feels really good.
    [​IMG]

    I'm thinking about trying something new with the truss rod. I want a thinner neck profile with this build (modeled after my ESP) but want to retain the spoke wheel at the neck pickup location. I ordered the Stew Mac low-profile truss rod with a 4mm hex, and also the separate spoke wheel which uses 10/32 threads. Trying to figure out how to adapt the two to fit together?

    Basically this:
    [​IMG]

    To this:
    [​IMG]

    Otherwise the hot rod spoke wheel will work but is 1/16" taller.
     
  8. KnightroExpress

    KnightroExpress Guitar Nerd Vendor

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    Man that is a tasty neck blank. Nice score!
     
  9. KR250

    KR250 Build addict

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    Work from home day ended up in the garage working on the neck.

    Scarf joint came out well. I like the new jig and process for this better, but will have to figure it out for a multi-scale.

    [​IMG]

    You can see the alignment during gluing wasn't perfect, requiring some sanding after the fact. I drilled two small holes and used finish nails to keep the joint in place. Could have shifted it up slightly before drilling.
    [​IMG]

    Rather than route the edges, this time I got close in shape with the band saw, then used the spindle sander to get closer, then finished up with sand paper attached to a long level. Needs a bit more work but the shape is really close to leave just a bit of head room.
    [​IMG]

    I've made a lot of use out of the recently acquired spindle sander. Head stock is shaped and used the Safe T planer to cut down the back side to roughly .625". I'm planning to cut it down some more and use a thin veneer of the Burl Poplar on the top, but also debating leaving the ebony. I glued two small wings to either side trying to keep similar grain.
    [​IMG]

    Scarf under the fret board, my last build placed this over the head stock. Almost finished sanding, it's really close.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. TamanShud

    TamanShud Finished

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    That neck blank is amazing :yum: Can't wait to see this carved.
     
  11. KR250

    KR250 Build addict

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    Thanks, making little bits of progress every few days. I have a piece of pine I'm doing a mock up on as well. I went ahead and got another hot rod truss rod, so my goal is to have 3/16" of thickness below it. Going to do carbon this time as well. A few more steps but hope to have it carved in the next week or so.

    Cheap jig for routing. Needs just a bit of cleanup in a few spots but came out much nicer than the previous attempt.
    [​IMG]
     
  12. pettymusic

    pettymusic SS.org Regular

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  13. KR250

    KR250 Build addict

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    The link didn't pull it up, is it this one? Two Way Dual Action Truss Rod 460mm 18in for Guitar Spoke Wheel Soldered 2pcs
    They don't list the actual depth though, do you have dimensions on it perhaps? The SM is 7/16", while their non spoke wheel low profile is 3/8".

    I asked SM if they could make the low profile version with a spoke wheel and they said they'd look into it. In the meantime it's a bit frustrating not finding the right piece. Would also be nice to have another inch for a 27" scale length as well.
     
  14. pettymusic

    pettymusic SS.org Regular

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    Yep, that's the one (or 2)

    Just under 11/32 on the headstock end and 7/16 the last couple inches on the spokewheel end.
     
  15. Hate

    Hate SS.org Regular

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    Thats an interesting setup for your miter saw, do you recall what angle you set your blade at with the jig in place? I'd like to "borrow" the idea:yesway:
     
  16. Pikka Bird

    Pikka Bird Vaya Con Cornholio

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    Definitely liking where this is going! :yesway:

    I do think I'd make the tip of the headstock jut out a bit less though. It's not a bad design, but it'd be a little more balanced to my eye if that point wasn't so radical.
     
  17. KR250

    KR250 Build addict

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    It's at about 12 degrees. In order to make the miter cuts I have to make a first pass on the band saw using another jig with the same angle. Then I basically just line up the angle on the miter saw and take a little bit off until I get a good clean cut. I made a few short passes then realized I had gone just a hair over into my head stock length. :wallbash: The good thing is that I only had to do a tiny bit of sanding to clean up the cut, hardly at all on this wood.


    You mean the horn tip on the left? I may play with it bit since I still need to glue on the laminate then sand it. Easy enough to do at this point. It's also slightly skewed from my original CAD drawing from said error above. Appreciate the comments, all the feedback is great while still in the midst of building.
     
  18. KR250

    KR250 Build addict

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    Managed to route the neck pocket today. Made one tiny mistake with the router, but fixable. The joint came out super tight, just need to clean it up a bit and adjust the depth and allow space for the spoke wheel.

    Carbon rods are glued in here as well.

    [​IMG]

    I have the head stock laminate gluing up overnight. Will trim up the shape a bit tomorrow or Monday. The body carve isn't quite done yet either, spent some time on it tonight but need another evening to complete.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Still debating on fret board choice, I have a really dark piece of ebony, a nice macassar ebony piece, and some pale moon ebony.
     
  19. KR250

    KR250 Build addict

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    Looking for advice on fret board choice. Leaning towards using the bottom piece of macassar or the PME (I think it might be better suited for another build). The top piece needs quite a bit of work and is a bit warped (really cheap on eBay).

    The body is going to stay natural with a gloss lacquer over it for reference.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Hywel

    Hywel SS.org Regular

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    They both look good but if I prefer the macassar. Never been a fan of PME (although your piece is one of the nicer ones I've seen).

    It's looking great so far and that neck is drool worthy. :yum:
     

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