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Hey folks, it's time for build number two. For those who missed my last, it was a Rimu Thinline Tele.

I figure it's time to step things up a notch, so this time round it'll be a Les Paul with all the works. The basic specs are:

Mahogany Body and Neck
Carved, Spalted Maple Cap
22F Rosewood Fretboard
Twin Seymour Duncan APH-1 Humbuckers (still to be confirmed)

I'm also building a Taylor T5, SG and Strat, I'll update the links as I go:
Taylor T5

Here's a quick forecast of the LP:

So today I took the first step and picked up the mahogany - 1.9 metres-worth. It's one nice looking piece of timber too.

But it is not light - 40kg not light to be more accurate. I can't claim all of this though, some will be going to another builder. I should still be able to get two full guitars out of it though, if I'm feeling that ambitious.

I've also ordered the spalted maple cap - here it is, in all of its figured glory:

And finally, the parts so far (from Stew Mac). I'll be working again in a matter of weeks, so should be able to buy the rest of the gear before too long. Roll on graduation!

That's all for now, but I'll be back with more updates in a couple of weeks.
Last edited by Boysie8 at Nov 7, 2011,
Cream binding around a natural finished maple cap? I see your mock-up has multi-ply binding with contrasting layers, but I don't see the material for that in your package...

The last one was very well made, so I shall be following this for sure.
Yeah I bought the binding with a stained flame-maple top in mind, then fell in love with the spalted top. The inner binding will be the same mahogany as I'm using for the base. Not sure yet how I'm going to follow the horn - I may have to use mahogany dust in epoxy resin to make a paste. Still got plenty of time before I cross that bridge though.
I can't believe I've never heard of spalted maple before. This is going to be beautiful.
*insert witty statement here*
So I got to play around with a couple of toys yesterday: a Gibson LP, and a laser scanner. After buggering around for half an hour with masking tape (because laser scanners don't like reflective surfaces, apparently), I got a rough enough map of the contours. Imported into SolidWorks:

You can see the different passes with the hand-held scanner by the overlapping sections. Unfortunately the scanner is inherently inaccurate, so each pass could be plus/minus 1mm. Sectioned every 2mm, you can see this difference between passes:

Next comes the fun part: trying to interpolate a contour map from the sections.
how did you make that preview? looks clearer than anything Kisekae ever produced...

looks great, anyway

281-330-8004, that's my cell phone number, hit me up on the low
For my order it was cheaper to get the express shipping than regular, so it was here within a week. Even with shipping cost though, it was cheaper than buying it in NZ. I'll look forward to seeing your build come along too then Gandalf, your strat build is looking good so far. Hopefully you can avoid my mistakes (which will be numerous, I'm sure) when you build your LP.

On a side note, I'm getting some walnut from a mate (I'm making him a body, and he's giving me enough for two bodies as payment). So it looks like I may be running two consecutive builds this summer - I'm thinking possibly a strat with Floyd Rose to get some variation in my rapidly-increasing guitar stockpile.
A week is pretty good. I put an order through at general guitar gadgets and another at small bear electronics for some pedal components earlier this week (both in US), so I'm curious to see how long it would take. Will order the LP hardware and some tools from stewmac next week sometime, but for now I'm enjoying my new Strat. GFS pickups sound unbelievably good considering I paid 50 for the set!

also- Mmmm walnut. . . man I love that stuff. I have an old headboard off a bed of walnut, really want to hack it up for a gat, but will have to do it when nobodys looking, as dad wasn't so enthusiastic when I put the idea to him
Are you using some fancy machine or using a hand held router for the various cavaties? I'm working on a guitar my self just now but I'm waiting on inspiration for the routering. Also fitting a floyd rose just for fun?
Yeah walnut is a beautiful wood, but pretty solid - especially when combined with mahogany. A compressed spine is a small price to pay for such a gorgeous timber though.

Twidler, I'll be making a template out of MDF for the pickups cavities, then following it with a router. It's an incredibly common technique, and all you need is a bearing follower-bit for the router to get a perfect shape. And yeah the Floyd will just be for experimentation, I've neer really played around with one before.
Cool, I did one ages ago but shaped the body first lol, now that was fun trying to router. The one I'm on just now is mahogany back with a spalted beech front, no idea how that'll effect the sound but not to bothered. I've got the neck and floyd from an eddie van halen thing I had and I'll be using them. The template is the thing right enough, I've got most of the router bits and I've got a friend with a really good router and extra long bits that can go right through for doing the bridge and yeh they have the bearing roller. The part I'm a little stuck on is getting the correct measurements from the old body to make everything a nice fit, be in tune and to line up from the nut to the bridge. I like the les paul idea though and I'll be watching this thread.

The pics I have so far are in my profile, I'll get a collection together first then do the thread.
Last edited by Twidler at Oct 29, 2011,
That spalted beech looks amazing man. The template routing guides are free to download from the Floyd Rose Website, and there's a step-by-step tutorial in the ultimate Floyd Rose thread.

I'm afraid I can't offer much help in terms of bridge-nut measurements, as it'll all depend on your scale length. The saddle adjustments are great though, they let your measurements be off by 1-2mm without any real issues.
Ok, so this project is officially getting out of hand. I haven't even started building my LP yet, and somehow have managed to quadruple the number of guitars to build this summer. Here's the plan so far:

Using the leftover mahogany from the Les Paul, a bound strat with Floyd Rose:

A mate has asked me to build him an SG, and has given me the walnut and ash to do so:

Payment for this build is the remaining walnut (and it's a pretty decent piece), so the plan is, should time allow, to build a Taylor T5 electric (I couldn't get a mockup of this, but it should be more-or-less the same anyway):

So my summer break is looking like it's just going to be my summer... but it's not a real holiday unless you're up to your waist in sawdust and smell like rich mahogany.
That SG looks awesome, what a gorgeous grain pattern. I'm taking forever to build one and you're doing all them? Lol I expect it gets easier as you learn.

What sort of money would we be talking for the likes of the Sg without electrics and tuners etc, just built up ready for fitments? PM me if you want.

Lol not that it matters seeing as you're in NZ
Last edited by Twidler at Nov 2, 2011,
Haha yeah, the shipping would cost more than the guitar. Personally I would ask maybe $200-300 NZ, plus material and essential parts (bridge, stop bar, truss rod etc. which have to be built into the guitar).

Also I don't think my grain will look quite that good, that was just the closest match I could find on the program. I think that render is actually using ziricote, which is a beautiful timber.
Woohoo, that's only £150 of our crap money, mmm I wonder how much shipping wood cost? (Pun intended)

I love nice wood, nice grain patterns etc
So a little more progress on the Taylor T5 planning. I've got it roughly modelled up in SolidWorks, and adapted it to suit my own tastes. The plans I'll be using are shown below, with the clearer pdf attached.

On a side note, I think four years of uni are starting to get to me: I had to stop myself from saying 'see Figure 1 for the rough plan, and Appendix A for the attached pdf'. I think I need a break.

Less than a week now, and I'll be into the build itself. It's just so close...

EDIT: So the pdf is too big to attach. If anyone wants a copy (or the solid model, for that matter), just PM me and I'll send it to you.
Last edited by Boysie8 at Nov 5, 2011,
I would suggest NOT using spalt under anything that holds tension - I might stick a block of hard maple under it because everything I've heard says spalt is soft wood.
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Quote by Anonden
You CAN play anything with anything....but some guitars sound right for some things, and not for others. Single coils sound retarded for metal, though those who are apeshit about harpsichord probably beg to differ.
^That's good advice. If you're good with the router then you can make a plateau on an area of the mahogany that sits under the bridge and then dig out a matching recess on the back of the spalt maple so the actual thickness of the maple under the bridge is very minimal.

edit: Like this-

Last edited by Pikka Bird at Nov 6, 2011,
That's good advice oneblackened and Pikka, I hadn't thought about that but it definitely makes sense. I'm going to have a shitload of templates to get this carve right anyway, so one more to make a mahogany plateau couldn't hurt. I'm looking at ways to stabilise it as well, as I've heard it's a real prick to work with. Soaking in diluted epoxy sounds like the easiest option - any other suggestions?

Also Leon, I'm still making the Les Paul, I'm just making a few others alongside it.
Ok so I can see that this thread is going to get pretty cluttered with four lots of progress pictures, so I'm splitting the builds up into separate threads. I'll put links to these pages in the first post once I've got them, and keep this thread just for the LP build.
Stunning lumber! Can't wait to see these builds get started. That's a gorgeous mock up of the SG too; if that walnut looks as good as it does in that image that will easily be one of the more distinguished SG's out there...good luck!
Quote by ormsby guitars
Thanks lumberjack, even more of a compliment coming from you! I'm sorry to say that the SG probably won't look too similar to that mockup, at least in grain pattern. The only similarity will be the colour - should still look pretty good though (here's hoping).
Finally, some progress. I got some time in the garage today, so made a start. I should note that since I'm making a few guitars, I'm taking the time now to get the right setup in the workshop. The first thing that was missing was a router table, so 2 hours and $10 later:

It actually works surprisingly well: I think I'll let it near my mahogany. The next stage: start making up some MDF templates. I take back everything I have ever said about people who buy these premade - it was a prick of a thing to try to shape without the right tools. Knowing my luck, the spindle sander I ordered from Stew Mac will turn up tomorrow...

And finally, the mahogany blank cut to size (somewhat less exciting, I know):

I should get time to thickness the blank this week, then on to shaping the body!

Btw, I'm skipping over a few of the more basic stages here, but if anyone would like me to go into more detail then just let me know.
looks great, magohany will sound a treat can't wait to see how this build turns out
Cheers guys. I got some more mundane stuff done this arvo, like making some rails for thicknessing and whipping up another template for the rear cover plates. Also 3OddOnes, unfortunately I couldn't get any magohany for this build, I had to settle for plain old mahogany

Hopefully more progress tomorrow!
I've been out of action for a few days (getting teeth pulled makes it really difficult to wear a dust mask) but I finally got back into the garage today. I found some discolouration in the mahogany where I assume it had been sitting in water for quite a while. It seemed way softer, and certainly didn't look very good, so I cut and thicknesses a new blank from the billet (I've still got a use for the original though). The new blank has the same streak on the right, but it's got enough width to let me cut it off. Here it is with relief holes drilled for the jigsaw:

All's well so far. On to the cutting (and minus one jigsaw blade):

And then the first pass with the router. This is where things got tricky. The bit caught as I was passing around the base, and before I could stop it:

I can't easily patch it up, so I think the only solution will be to sand down the template by ~5mm at the base, then give it another pass. It won't be a true LP, but it'll be close enough (and that's pretty much my motto).
Last edited by Boysie8 at Nov 22, 2011,
I don't see why you cant patch it up, considering its getting a maple cap that will cover it, just mix up some epoxy and sawdust and fill it in? (once routing is complete)
edit: or just shave it 5mm flatter in the arse, LP's do have big asses
also, when does the spalt maple cap arrive I'm keen to see it ! (again)
Last edited by GandalfWh1te at Nov 23, 2011,
A lot more progress on the body today. I shaved down the base of the template, as Gandalf suggested, then gave it another couple of passes with the router:

I had another disaster yesterday which I didn't mention: this one was beyond salvage. I had to route across the corner, then put in a fresh block of mahogany. I think the issue may be with my using the router table... I had no issues later when I held it by hand. I'd say it'll hide pretty well with a bit of grain filler.

Next up were the control cavities, also done in several passes (this photo was after the first pass, but the finished route went right through the body):

Then routing the control plate hollows - I had to shim the template up a bit to get the right depth of 3mm:

Back to the top, routing the cable channel. This was spec'd as 25mm deep on the plans I'm using, but that seemed pretty excessive so I took it down to 15mm:

So, after a cleanup and 5mm roundover on the rear surface:

And lastly, just for you Gandalf, the spalted maple arrived a few weeks ago, I just hadn't found time to glue it up: