Page 2 of 2
Well, i got the bridge mounted. This weekends effort was mostly an exercise in frustration other than that though. Mounted the template back up and measured out my bridge placement and drilled out the holes (with the tolerance included for the template thickness). That part was pretty straightforward, just a bunch of double checking for straightness ect.

Then i thought to myself "gee, its just the pickup rout now, how hard can that be?" Wrong, apparently harder than i thought to cut out a square with three 1/2 diameter circles. Naturally i cut right on the original template on my first attempt and the tolerances were too loose. I dont want to use the standard MM pick guard so i want it to be spot on. So after i screwed up the template, i cut a pattern out of 1/2" laminated ply. This one was much better on the vertical tolerance, but now the holes were screwed up. This is a test rout on the off-cut.

Epic fail. So now i need to attempt to either cut a box for the shape and a separate template with the whole placement or try and cut the master again. In other news, i ordered an end tail flush mount input jack (which is technically an output jack on a guitar) so i can avoid having to mount an input jack to the face of the instrument below the knob cluster.
Quick update. I have been tweaking the headstock layout this week trying to make it work using templates. Now, because of the nature of the original build, i went with these squire elephant ear tuners cause they were the cheapest i could get. I much prefer the look of the Gotoh compact tuners, and all my other basses have this option. Just personal preference, but i dont like the look of the huge tuner ears, i feel like its distracting from the instrument. This is letting my anti-fender p-bass bias air i guess (whoops).

I digress, this is my issue:

What does everyone think about modifying the bracket for the tuners? I haven't had this issue before, but due to the scale of the headstock being slightly (like 1/4" all the way around) smaller than intended, the headstock is too crowded to fit all the tuners in line. To do the offset 3+1 layout i need to slightly trim the tuner and could easily re-drill the screw hole.

This shouldnt affect the tuner integrity too much right? I marked the trim line in the tuner close up photo. The overall surface area would probably only be reduced by MAYBE 5-10%
Update time. Had a couple projects come up in the meantime since the last update. Built a false hinged floor into my brothers Scion TC for his custom car computer and audio rig.

Still needs cosmetic finishing (carpet, wiring cleanup) and the vent system installed. Anyway, back to the guitars.

I got a new jack for the body so i could flush mount it as it would have been too complicated for this body style to use a standard 1/4 jack mount. Here we go!
This setup was probably overkill, but i wanted to drill the jack at as close to a 90 degree angle as possible, so i dropped the drill press way down to line everything up.

I realized my tactical error as soon as i had drilled out the 1/2 inch diameter hole for the jack. I should have drilled the 5/8" recess first (to allow the top of the jack to be in line with the body) and then drilled the 1/2" hole. After some debate i decided to go ahead slowly with the forsner bit and pray that nothing blew out. Luckily, it didnt explode as soon as the bit made contact.

Continuing my comedy or errors, i realized that while i had drilled the jack centerlined on the body, there wasnt enough interior clearance for the bolt to spin around. doh! not a huge deal as i just recessed the jack area another 1/4" but more of a cosmetic issue that no one will ever know about

I then decided to square off the interior pocket so the bolt could snug up against something flat with a chisel. Again, nothing major, moreso just a design flaw (i routed the back plate in the shape of the headstock for pure aesthetic purposes) that no one will know other than me. And of course, anyone who reads this.

As you can tell, the amount of time i put into getting the jack situation sorted was entirely too much. I also filled in the blow out spots from routing the body and they sanded up quite nicely

On to the pickup, my last hurdle before i can wire all the electronics. I finally managed to get a template made that seemed pretty satisfactory.

Since nothing comes easy, there was a bit of router tear out. i was able to patch it pretty well with a sliver of wood from the body and then backfilled it with wood filler. Its drying now in my room but seemed to work well.

I also drilled the cableway for the pickup wiring to run to the electronics cavity. Heres the money shot with the bridge in place as well.

I stupidly didnt bring the tuners with me, so that is now the last thing to be completed as far as machining the body is concerned. Its getting very close to prep and paint, which is exciting. Its taken a lot longer than expected, but better late than never.

To do
-drill and mount tuners
-test electronics and tuning
-body sand
Onwards we go!

As a note to myself, im never using press in tuner busings with rift cut maple ever again. Such a pain to get squared away.

This weekend i remebered the tuners (face palm) and set about mounting them on the neck. THis problem was 3 fold.

First issue was drilling the hole size, the bushings are a weird in between size (something like 11/16) which i dont have a bit size for. After doing some online research i found a guy over at TDPI who had a similar issue. Holes drilled first with a 5/8" bit

He suggested the use of a reamer, which luckily i was able to find one. Prior to that i was kicking myself for not buying an omni bit when i was machining a pedal case a couple months ago. Luckily i found a reamer hiding in the draw full of drill bits (Who put this coat in the closet! ) and a suitably large chisel handle to mount it in so i didnt shred my hands trying to turn it.

I used the good old guess and check method for depth and got it pretty close, than threw it up on the oscillating spindle sander set to a 10 degree angle to get it where it needed to be to accept the bushing.

Went to drill the holes for the tuner screws and realized...I lost the stupid screws! Sometime in the last couple months of moving my kit back and forth i lost the screws. Oh well, i looked around online and the consensus seems to be that #4 screws are a good replacement fit so im going to pick some up on my way home tonight. Heres a shot of it mocked up, but alas, not screwed in.

Speaking of tolerances, i figured i would go ahead and wire all the electronics last night so when i got the screws i would be good to go. *face palm*

(as a side note, the chip in the pickup from the router isn't even visible anymore after filling it and sanding the filler strip to form, so thats something that went right)
My pot depth isnt right so i need to dig that out a little deeper with a forsner bit. Gonna have tons of room in the electronics cavity now though, thats for sure. More misadventures to come soon!

To Do:
-deepen recess for pots so the threads have enough clearance (could have bought long shaft pots in hindsight)
-attach tuners
-wire electronics
-test it out!
Last edited by BirdRiverCustom at Dec 10, 2012,
Quick Update!
All the hardware is mounted and i strung it up. Things i discovered: I need a string tree for the D&G strings (should have thought of this earlier). Debating roller trees vs the tradition fender style washer. I also think the bridge may need to be repositioned closer to the tail, but i need to dig out my fretting spec sheet for this build to double check that.

Also routed the control pocket deeper to accommodate the pots and cut the control cavity cover out of a scrap piece from the body. Tuners drilled and mounted, with one accidental drill through, right in the middle naturally. Somewhat annoyed that the screws supplied with the pickup (GFS) dont fit in the predrilled recess' and just sit on top of the pickup ears. Heres a quick shot after i strung it up

To Do:
-attach string tree
-wire electronics
-Fill accidental headstock hole
-finish sand. stain, and swirl
Last edited by BirdRiverCustom at Dec 28, 2012,
looking great man!
Quote by kangaxxter
Tone is in the fingers.

What you really need is a new amp.

(Anything I missed?)

Quote by Robbgnarly
I have been hearing about MG amps lately. I have heard good about them, but only a few times have they been talked about here.

Thanks guys! Just waiting on a string tree to come in and then i can strip everything down to finish it. Ive been debating staining the neck a light green instead of just finishing it naturally. I've seen it done on a couple PRS basses and it looks pretty sharp, not totally sold on it though. I have a couple scraps left from the neck so im gonna test a piece of that out.
So. I have come to a point in my build where i think im going to make a change. I sanded the ish out of everything this weekend. The body and neck is sanded to 220, and the fretboard is now sanded to 600 again. I need to hit it with 600 one more time since some of the sandpaper broke free on the last pass and got somewhat infused to the fretboard. Annoying, but easily fixable. Heres some grain action for ya.

From a distance the slight alteration in grain pattern is barely noticeable on the control cavity cover, which im happy about. Here lies my quandary: I dont want to cover the grain with an opaque finish now. I have mixed feelings about deviating from the original plan, but i would hate to cover it up. It has a really unique 3d grain pattern on the back (for some reason i didnt photograph the front side while i was working).

I had originally wanted to do a green wash stain finish and after at this point i want to go back to that. I always feel like covering up a nice one piece with a opaque finish is a waste of nice wood. Use a two piece or something if you want to do that. IDK. Im gonna do some stain tests first to see how it will show.

Just for fun, heres an explanation for the headstock arrangement of 3+1.
Lots of pictures, sorry if thats a bad thing for you. Went ahead with staining this weekend, at least on the bady. The neck had three spots of imperfections touched up, as well as a final (hopefully) coat of paint for the side dot markers and will be ready for staining shortly. We are in a bit of a cold spell here on the east coast and its waaaaaaay to cold to spray lacquer. Gonna use Mirrorcoat to finish the fretboard once the stain is down. Here we go!

First things first: Sanded one more time at 600 grit and wiped down with mineral spirits (hence the damp spot)

Second things second: Base coat of black stain goes down.

Cant forget the control cavity! Also, i made waaaay to much black stain (using the StewMac black water based stain)

After it dried this is what it looked like:

I left it to dry overnight and then came back the next afternoon. Some people say 24 hours, but i had it in a pretty warm room overnight, akin to a drying room so it seemed pretty well dried after about 16 hours. So now is the fun part, block sanding. At 600 grit. For 4 hours.

Heres the back about 90% sanded down

Heres the front after its been sanded, and then wiped down with mineral spirits again to get the dust up. The burl to the right of the cavity is where a tree branch grew, giving it that little swirl

Now, time for a second coat of color!


So now the body is ready for about a million coats of lacquer. Stay tuned for thrilling sanding updates!
Looking good.

Also, I forgot how nice your fret markers are.
7-piece drum mic set for sale. See classifieds.
Thanks guys. I think I figured out a way to topcoat the side dots so that the color is vivid and even. I had a little inconsistency with the green, probably due to the larger surface area (3,5,7,9,12, ect markers). I got the orange taken care of, but the can of green i had at the time was trash, i found another new can though that should be fine so ill get those done next.
How are you painting the markers?

Are you actually spraying them?
7-piece drum mic set for sale. See classifieds.
Quote by whoomit
How are you painting the markers?

Are you actually spraying them?

The original inlay is done with Humbrol enamel paint mixed with epoxy into the routed channels/side dots. I wasnt super exact with the ratio, but its basically just enough to tint the epoxy to the correct shade, probably like 8:2. Then, i was thinking to make them really pop i would just top coat them with the paint, which would bond to the epoxy mixture. So thats what i did. I found that adding a dab (exactly a dab, no more, no less) on top, allowing it to cure, and then flush trimming it with a super sharp (ie right out of the box) blade cuts a nice uniform top coat. Ill post some pictures this weekend of the process with the green touch-up.
Okay so you're just touching it up with a brush?
7-piece drum mic set for sale. See classifieds.
Sorry, forgot that part. A brush would work but i didnt have one small enough at the time so i just used the tip of a screw (1 1/4" coarse drywall screw) to get it on. It kinda sticks to itself so it was easy enough to just dab it on to the inlay area only without any spill over into the wood.
It lives!!!!!!

It finally warmed up to 64 Fahrenheit this weekend so i took full advantage to get 4 coats of lacquer on the body. For hanging purposes i ran a small hex screw into the reverse of the neck screw hole.

Heres the body scuff sanded after the third coat

And heres the body immediately after being sprayed with the fourth coat. I'm using the Behel stringed instrument lacquer. I did have some sand-through on the edges of the horn since i got a little carried away . Luckily there will be a smoke burst finish on this so the black will obscure my over-eagerness/lack of attention.

The lacquer really makes the grain pop with the black stain wash underneath it. The back really shows the radial grain pattern really well, but i stupidly didn't take a picture of that.

The plan going forward is to do one more coat this weekend, than the black burst and the final topcoat. Then its all down to putting it together. I'm thinking i might do the head stock to match as well.

to do
-1 more coat lacquer
-black burst
-top coat
-Tung oil neck
This is looking great man. I think you're a bit late to challenge for £100 2012 though

"Show me war; show me pestilence; show me the blood-red hands of retribution..."
Quote by eddiehimself
This is looking great man. I think you're a bit late to challenge for £100 2012 though

Yeah, i just barely missed the cutoff.

Heres some more updates on the painting.

I wound up having to do three coats, do to the fact that i didnt mix enough dye into the first coat so i went heavy on the paint trying to get it dark enough. This resulted in some bad running on the sides and much forehead slapping. So then i had to sand down the runs and put two additional coats of the smoke burst. I used the StewMac dye, not a solid black, mixed into the lacquer. Heres a shot of it immediately after being sprayed an under a heat lamp bulb. Its black, but looks purple in the light spectrum, which makes me want to recreate that shade of purple. I also sanded through some of the green on the edges. Also forehead slapping worthy, but it will be covered up anyway with the black, so not the end of the world.

Heres an overall shot after the first coat of the smoke burst.

Also, we figured out that it was smarter to spray the sides first, then let it sit for 30 minutes, than do the top and bottom to avoid any runs from the sides getting too saturated.

Now im gonna allow it to set up and then do one final layer of lacquer (bringing the total to 5 (4 on the body, 3 on the smoke burst) and then do the 50/50 lacquer/lacquer thinner top coat.

Heres a crappy shot (some photographer i am) that sort of allows you to see the grain pattern on the back, albeit a little bit fuzzy

To Do:
Top Coat of lacquer
tung oil neck
finish sand and buffing
reassemble electronics
Just a quick update. i purchased some System 3 mirror coat yesterday and plan on doing the application of the epoxy to the fretboard this weekend as well as the final topcoats on the body. I've been traveling a lot and the shop i have access to is a 45 minute drive away so i just haven't been able to get out to work. Hopefully this will be done before the next Build Challenge kicks off. No promises though
I'm just gonna go ahead and call this my entry into the 2014 challenge

Life happens, but now building happens. I spent saturday doing the top coat of the body and touch up/prep on the neck. I didnt take pictures of the body but needless to say spraying is done, and after the 72 hour cure period i will get to buffing. I need to either get a new buffing arbor or new foam pads for the compound before that can happen.

I sanded the hell out of the fretboard at 800 grit and am basically satisfied with the finish level as is.

The figure shows up really well and the birds eye really pops with a bit of mineral spirits applied. Im using the mirror coat system to finish the surface, just need a blow torch...

Also decided to do a color matched headstock. Heres a coat of green applied. Just need to tighten up the edges slightly.

New goal is to finish this by the end of October, here we go!
What sort of radius are you going to put on the board?

Looking good man.

is it still under 100 pounds?
Quote by SlackerBabbath
My ideal woman would be a grossly overweight woman who would happy go jogging, come home all sweaty and let me put my dick under her armpit while she shuffles a pack of cards.

Stay classy, pit.
The neck is all maple and quite light (without the tuners obviously). Ill have to do a total weight before and after hardware once its assembled, but its not too heavy as is. Its lighter than my old Peavey Millennium by a longshot. Fretboard has a 16 inch radius on it
Page 2 of 2