#1
Hello all,
I'm back with a new project.
I am building an explorer with a kick-a$$ deer skull carved and inlayed into the body.
Back in college I bought a neck and built an explorer out of plywood, and put cheap humbuckers in it. With the release of the new James Hetfield EMG's, I've decided to rebuild the body.


The new body is a slightly modified Gibson explorer shape made from sapele (I had left overs from a flying-V I built for my cousin) and will reuse the hardware and electronics from the plywood explorer.

Plywood Explorer

The body is already cut out and the cavities cut. I didn't want to deal with a neck angle, so I am recessing the bridge and tailpiece. I took some 1/2" maple and carved a deer skull out of it, and I'm currently in the process of inlaying it into the guitar.

Mock Up

Skull is done


The plans:
I think I am going to get out my wood burner and add some accents to the skull. I am going to go with a natural finish, though I am considering burning the back and sides to make them darker.
I am going to reuse the old neck but do some type of inlay in it. I'm thinking a 12th fret accent, such as an arrow head.
For the time being, I am going to reuse the old pickups. When I get some extra money, I will buy the Hetfield EMG's (I've already routed a place for the preamp and battery).

What do y'all think?
#3
That's awesome man. How did you cut the skull? It would have been great if you could use the skull as the bridge itself or as a stop-tail behind a tune-o-matic. Just an idea... Great craftsmanship though.
#4
Quote by matt154
That's awesome man. How did you cut the skull? It would have been great if you could use the skull as the bridge itself or as a stop-tail behind a tune-o-matic. Just an idea... Great craftsmanship though.

Thanks.
I cut the shape out of the maple, then used a combination of chisels and Dremel carving tools to shape it.
A friend suggested that I use a actual deer bone (hip) to carve the skull out of. I wish he told me that before I got so much done on it, I would have done it.
#5
That would have been great. Maybe you can still make a nut from it...
#7
Looks pretty sick. But wouldn't the horns get in the way when playing?
#8
cool idea man...

I did a Rat skull headstock a couple of years ago on a carved hands guitar I built



#9
This weekend I mostly did stuff around the house so no work on the guitar, but I did have a few good ideas.

First: While cutting the grass and found an antler in the yard and I thought why not use the base of antlers as the knobs and the tip of an antler for the selector switch.

Second: Sticking with the deer theme, I am going to build a case for the guitar. After deer season this year I will get 2 or 3 deer hides from some of the guys I hunt with and use them to cover the case. I will probably use a piece of antler for the handle.

Third: Because the neck is already fretted, I am only going to do a 12th fret accent, and I want to do an arrow head. I need to determine the arrow head style and material. The style can be either a modern broad head or a native american arrow head. As for material, I think I will go with copper, or possibly coal (I grew up in coal country and its easy to find a coal arrow head at gift shops). Thoughts?
#10
Update!!

So I've made progress. I got the deer skull inlayed, I used a torch to burn the back, sides and top edges, I did a little wood burning accents to the deer skull, put a coat of danish oil on the guitar and made the knobs.

What do you guys think?

The skull looks a lot whiter then it actually is.




The knobs are made from actual antlers.
#11
This is looking great. The burnt parts give it some depth, i'd even go round the edges with some black to enhance it a bit more... that glue line is kinda noticeable though, are you going to do any more with the finish?
#12
perhaps one of the coolest builds i've seen in a long time. sticky'd
Quote by valterra
You traded him a sword for the guitar? You do realize that a smart person would just agree to the trade, take the sword, slay you with it, keep all of the loot and call it a day, right?

....What are they teaching you kids in school these days?!
#14
Quote by matt154
This is looking great. The burnt parts give it some depth, i'd even go round the edges with some black to enhance it a bit more... that glue line is kinda noticeable though, are you going to do any more with the finish?

Thanks. I still have some staining work to do to try and hide that glue line.

Quote by Levi79
Haha, this is awesome man. I personally think the antlers were too much, but other than that it's awesome. Stoked to see the final product.

Thanks. The antlers might be a little much, but you know what they say, "Anything worth doing is worth overdoing."
#15
If the skull isnt glued on yet, try to heat some sand up in a pot, then dip the wood into the sand a bit to add the accents. For a video, thewhoodwhisperer does it for his router based inlay.
Just call me Julius, J, etc.
Taking an Internet break for a while, will come on when I can.
#16
Quote by nowa90
If the skull isnt glued on yet, try to heat some sand up in a pot, then dip the wood into the sand a bit to add the accents. For a video, thewhoodwhisperer does it for his router based inlay.

I just watched that one, that is an awesome idea. Unfortunately, it is already glued in. I will have to remember that trick for next time. For know I will have to live with the wood burner.
#17
Alright, the guitar is done...mostly. I am going to put EMGs in it when I can afford to. Until then it has cheap humbuckers in it.

So with out further ado, here she is.


I will get more pictures up when I get home tonight.
For the finish I used high gloss on the knobs and skull, and a satin on the rest of the body.
She plays very nice and sounds pretty good for such crappy pickups. The biggest problem is its HEAVY. I mean its about 15 lbs, but with a good strap its not uncomfortable.

What do you guys think?
#19
what reason could you possibly have to recess a tune-o-matic?
1978 Peavey T-40 -> Ampeg Micro-VR - > Ampeg SVT210AV + Ampeg SVT-15E
#21
Quote by CJ Noble
what reason could you possibly have to recess a tune-o-matic?

I didn't want to deal with a neck angle. So, the solution to that is to recess the bridge and tail piece.

Quote by cSuttle
Interesting. I like it. Looks like something Ted Nugent would play.

Hell Yea!! God Bless Uncle Ted!
#22
are you a hunter too?
Call me Chris
Quote by jimihendrix6699
had a blast until the person in front of me whipped out his dick and started pissing all over the floor..

Ducks and guitars or fish and guitars. I lead a simple existence
#23
Quote by kingnothing7718
I didn't want to deal with a neck angle. So, the solution to that is to recess the bridge and tail piece.

man I absolutely hate routing, I do what I have to and that's it. I'd much rather figure out the neck angle.

How is restringing it? just how deep is the rout on that stop tail?
1978 Peavey T-40 -> Ampeg Micro-VR - > Ampeg SVT210AV + Ampeg SVT-15E
#24
Quote by CJ Noble
How is restringing it? just how deep is the rout on that stop tail?

The tail piece route is only about a 1/4", so restringing really isn't a problem at all.

Quote by IronMaiden76
are you a hunter too?

Yes I am.
#25
good to know i'm not the only one here!
Call me Chris
Quote by jimihendrix6699
had a blast until the person in front of me whipped out his dick and started pissing all over the floor..

Ducks and guitars or fish and guitars. I lead a simple existence
#27
Epic work. +1
Quote by PsiGuy60
I'll probably end up as a pipe-smoking, headbanging 55-year-old.


^^ me too bro, me too

Quote by slash_GNR666
Talk..........to.......girls?????

I thought they were only good at sucking dick and making sammiches

^^^ truth
#28
good schtuff.

15lb.... kicks any les pauls ass
Quote by kangaxxter
The only real answer to the SG vs Les Paul debate is to get a Flying V and laugh at all the suckers who don't have one.


Quote by Blompcube

if you embrace inaccurate intonation it can be quite arousing.


I <3 TWEED
#30
I'm mad about this guitar, it's the best looking thing I've ever seen!! I'm building a cigar box guitar and was wondering how did you burn the wood on the body?
#31
Thanks guys. I'm glad you all like the guitar, I love it. Can't wait to get the Hetfield EMG's in it.

Quote by JakePlaysGuitar
I'm mad about this guitar, it's the best looking thing I've ever seen!! I'm building a cigar box guitar and was wondering how did you burn the wood on the body?

Burning the wood was easy, I just took a torch to it. But be careful, moisten the wood (especially the sides/endgrain) before and after each pass with the torch. If you don't you'll run into the problem I did; the wood will crack and/or split. I ended up with some fill work to do, so learn from my mistake.

On a side note: I recently got a new tattoo that has a deer skull in it. The tattoo artist happened to use the same deer skull picture I used for this guitar. Talk about coincidence.
#32
that tat is bad ass
Call me Chris
Quote by jimihendrix6699
had a blast until the person in front of me whipped out his dick and started pissing all over the floor..

Ducks and guitars or fish and guitars. I lead a simple existence
#33
This makes me want to make more time to go hunting. I didn't get one last year, but now I wanna try really hard to get a nice buck this year.
“It’s been very important throughout my career that I’ve met all the guys I’ve copied, because at each stage they’ve said, "Don’t play like me, play like you.”
Eric Clapton


Most Epic Build!