#1
OK, I'll be undertaking an electric guitar building project some time soon; my last one fell through because the wood was too thin, the wood was pretty crap as it was and I was kinda sick of the body shape. Anyway, I've got a large piece of red cedar that I'm gonna make an electric guitar with - I'll make a separate thread in a few weeks after I've started making the body and neck.

Anways, I've just got a few general questions that will help me in throughout the project.

  • What are the necessary tools? I know it seems kinda obvious, but I just wanted to make sure I haven't forgotten anything. The only thing I won't be making is the fretboard; I'm gonna buy that radiused and cut. That in mind, what tools will I need for everything else?

    I have access to a router, a jigsaw, a small drill press (basically just so I can make straight drill holes through the body for electronics to jut out of), a chisel, a hand planer, C-clamps, and I'll be getting some files and rasps some time next week. Also, what grades of sandpaper do you think I'll need?

  • One of the things I'm really having trouble figuring out is the fretting - how do I radius the frets (I can't seem to find anywhere that sells fretwire pre-radiused to 12"), how should I hammer them in (will a normal hammer work, or do I need a mallet or something which is softer) and how do I 'level' them (this is the thing I think I'll have trouble with; I don't have access to special luthier tools or machinery and I don't really want to buy them for what may be a one-off project).

    Also, should I go about gluing the fretboard on, them shaping the neck, and them hammering the frets in? Or should I do it in some other order?

  • It'll be a set-in neck. Can I just use ordinary wood glue to glue it?

  • This is the truss rod that I want to buy. For those who don't want to look, it's described as a "Traditional Truss Rod - 465mm - Gibson® style hex". The question I wanted to ask about it is this: in the description, it says that "traditional truss rods are installed in a curve shaped slot in the neck". Does this mean I have to route a curved cavity for the truss rod?

  • I'm gonna do a clear finish on the wood, and I was wondering what the best to way to do this would be. I hear that you should use a number of coats of Danish oil (?) and wax. Could someone clarify this for me?


Sorry for the wall of text, these were all the questions I could think of at the moment. Help is greatly appreciated

Kenan

edit: for the bindings and stuff, what can I use instead of a dremel? Just a small chisel or something?
Last edited by kenan6346 at Dec 12, 2008,
#2
Quote by kenan6346
I have access to a router, a jigsaw, a small drill press (basically just so I can make straight drill holes through the body for electronics to jut out of), a chisel, a hand planer, C-clamps, and I'll be getting some files and rasps some time next week. Also, what grades of sandpaper do you think I'll need?
A big decent drill press is always good, for getting tuner holes equally spaced etc a bandsaw is also benifitial for cutting out bodys, ruffing necks etc with half the pain of smaller saws. You need grits of sandpaper from 80 to 2000 depending on how thorough you wanner be.


Quote by kenan6346
One of the things I'm really having trouble figuring out is the fretting - how do I radius the frets

how do I 'level' them
Well you can get adjustable fret benders from Stew Mac and LMII for bending wire, or you can cut a 12" arc into a peice of wood, over bend the wire, and then straighten it out to 12" on the arc. Leveling is done by colourng the very tops of the wire in black pen, and getting a long FLAT (perfectly flat) file and running it longways down the fretboard, slowly moving from one side to the other until all the pen marks are gone (thats my simple understanding of it anyway, I havent done it yet).


Quote by kenan6346
Also, should I go about gluing the fretboard on, them shaping the neck, and them hammering the frets in? Or should I do it in some other order?
I had the neck unshaped glued the fretboard then fretted, and then shaped but people do it a million different ways.


Quote by kenan6346
It'll be a set-in neck. Can I just use ordinary wood glue to glue it?
Titebond original, some people say epoxy as titebond can creep over time, but I wouldnt worry too much about it.


Quote by kenan6346
This is the truss rod that I want to buy. For those who don't want to look, it's described as a "Traditional Truss Rod - 465mm - Gibson® style hex". The question I wanted to ask about it is this: in the description, it says that "traditional truss rods are installed in a curve shaped slot in the neck". Does this mean I have to route a curved cavity for the truss rod?
Thats a single action truss rod, harder to install. For a flat bottomed truss rod slot, you want a double action truss rod.


Quote by kenan6346
edit: for the bindings and stuff, what can I use instead of a dremel? Just a small chisel or something?
Well you really want to be using binding router bits with proper sized bearings, trying to chisel out a binding channel level all the way around, the right depth etc, sounds like a right pain.




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Last edited by Absent Mind at Dec 12, 2008,
#3
Thanks for taking the time to reply, Absent Mind, I really appreciate it

Anyway, come to think of it I also have access to a decent sized drill press; I forgot about it when I was writing my first post . However, I don't think I'll be able to get access to a bandsaw, which'll make things harder, but if I give myself a decent margin for error and just go slowly with a jigsaw, I'm sure I'll be able to get by. I'll also make a point of getting a bunch of sandpaper. I want to make the project look as professional as possible; I'm doing this for the experience, but I want this guitar to be usable and for it to look nice too.

Thanks for those tips on fretwire bending and leveling, they'll be really handy when the time comes for me to start fretting. Also, would this truss rod be better for me? It's a "Gotoh 2 Way Guitar Truss Rod 430mm - for electric", and the description says that it's "easy to install, requiring a straight slot". Also, with the truss rod, how do I anchor it down at the end of the neck? Do I just stick some superglue or something at the end of the rod?.

Also, I think I may have just gotten an idea on the binding channel: do you reckon it'll be possible to route the channel before I've cut the body out? That'd mean that I'd be able to get the exactly the right width for the channel depending on the width of the binding that I buy. I understand that there wouldn't be much room for error, but I could get the basic channel cut out, then sand or file the rest. Good idea :P ?
#4
The Gotoh truss rod looks like it will work, no experience with them personally, I use Stew Mac 18" hot rods piss easy to install.

You dont have to anchor it, you just sit it in there, glue the fretboard on, and when you tension it, that will keep it in place. DONT glue it in.

I'm not really sure how you would go about routing the binding channel first, it would be easier to just do it after with binding router bits.




Quote by dogismycopilot
Absent Mind, words cant express how much i love you. Id bone you, oh yea.

Quote by lumberjack
Absent Mind is, as usual, completely correct.

Quote by littlemurph7976
Id like to make my love for Neil public knowledge as he is a beautiful man
#6
I was going to post in this thread, but I saw Absent Mind beat me too it, and Lord knows he R in mai threds, correctin mai mistakes...

But seriously, it sounds like you've got all the tools you need. I have less tools than that I think, and I'm still goin' strong! Listen to all the stuff AM said, and you'll be golden.
#7
Cheers . I reckon I'll be able to get by with what I've got. The only problem I think I'll have is with the bindings, inlays and the 'ledges' that the covers for the control cavities will sit on. I don't really want to buy a dremel, will an ordinary router with the correct sized bit and a sharp chisel to clean up the routing work for all of them?
#8
Sorry, bump for help Can someone help with the above questions?

Also, I've got plans for a carved top LP, but I only really want to do a flat-top. With the plans I've got, the thickest/thinnest point on the body is too thick/thin to make a flat-top with. What thickness do you think I should make the guitar?

edit: I figure I'm gonna have to make the fretboard too, because I can't find anywhere that slots fretboards to 24.75" and radiuses them to 12". I think I'll be able to slot the frets myself, but I don't know what to do about radiusing the fretboard: I don't really want to buy a radius block for what is probably a one-off project, so how do I make one?. Thanks.
Last edited by kenan6346 at Dec 15, 2008,
#9
Get a belt sander, not a handheld one. A large one mounted to the floor, it makes it very easy to smooth out the corners.
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#10
Quote by kenan6346
What thickness do you think I should make the guitar?
LPs are about 2" thick arent they? Thats a good start, or just go with what you find comfortable.


Quote by kenan6346
I don't really want to buy a radius block for what is probably a one-off project, so how do I make one?. Thanks.
I can put you in touch with some one who will make any fretboard combo you want (ask admbwr about the quality of his work) but its quite expensive. Alternatively I'm sure some one on GB&C will make it for you cheaply, or you can get it off Perry Ormsby, still slightly expensive, but I imagine the quality of the wood and work done is very good.

http://www.ormsbyguitars.com/parts.html#fretboards


an btw you say 'one off' project, but if you build your first guitar and it turns out ok, chances are you will want to build more, trust me




Quote by dogismycopilot
Absent Mind, words cant express how much i love you. Id bone you, oh yea.

Quote by lumberjack
Absent Mind is, as usual, completely correct.

Quote by littlemurph7976
Id like to make my love for Neil public knowledge as he is a beautiful man
#11
Quote by Absent Mind
LPs are about 2" thick arent they? Thats a good start, or just go with what you find comfortable.


I can put you in touch with some one who will make any fretboard combo you want (ask admbwr about the quality of his work) but its quite expensive. Alternatively I'm sure some one on GB&C will make it for you cheaply, or you can get it off Perry Ormsby, still slightly expensive, but I imagine the quality of the wood and work done is very good.

http://www.ormsbyguitars.com/parts.html#fretboards


an btw you say 'one off' project, but if you build your first guitar and it turns out ok, chances are you will want to build more, trust me


Thanks and I think you're right about the fact that I'll probably build more guitars, in which case I should just go and get a radius block which I'll probably use again