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Hey everyone, I was going to be doing this build this semester so I figured I would enter in the build challenge. The basic specs are:

2 Piece Mahogany Body/1 Piece Curly Redwood Top
24 fret, 25.5 in. scale length
Mahogany Neck/Bolivian Rosewood FB
Two humbuckers, 1 volume, 1 tone, 3 way switch
Vintage Strat Hardtail and Gotoh Tuners in chrome.

So basically it is a very straightforward guitar, nothing too crazy. The shape will be like an RG. I think I am going to try and carve it like an RGD. This will be my first neck, so we will see how that goes.

The entry sheet photo.

The "Project Two-Face" thing is just kind of a joke. Me and my friend have been on a batman kick, and as you can see the mahogany pieces are quite different.

So I learned today that the shop I'm working in doesn't have the best lighting, so there won't be any "in progress" shots, just shots of the days work. I will take plenty of pictures, but for now these two are the only two you get.
I see you got some wood there... Will be sure to follow this then hehe, since i love strats :P
One more kiss... One more touch...
I miss you, wont you hug me just one last time?

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So today I got the pieces down to final their final thickness and the to-be-glued sides nice and flat. After that I got the pieces glued together, and right now they are sitting in a big sandwich jig.

Here is a better look at the mahogany blank. Nothing super exciting. It is about an inch thick.

Here is the gluing-surface of the top wood. I was actually quite surprised with the amount of figuring. When I picked it up I figured it would be more of a "subtle" effect. This is sanded to about 100 grit, so it should look really good under a finish. The top is on the heavy side of 0.5", so it should be a nice 1.5" thick when it is finished.

Just a quick shot of the body template, an RG obviously.

Something I took advantage of was routing some wiring channels before I glued the top down. I hate drilling those channels, so I am happy that I only have to do the bridge grounding channel.

The workshop picture is a cell phone picture, so hopefully it isn't too crappy. It came out better than expected.

That's all for now.
Thanks everyone.

Some quick shots for today. All I was able to do was to get it out of the clamps and check everything over. No more work since today is my busy day with classes.

Clamp Sandwich

With the clamps off. I used the screws for lining things up. It is a lot easier than trying to line things up visually, and people always complain about things shifting as they clamp anyway. They will obviously be routed out with the pickups.

Sorry, this is a pretty bad photo, as the bane of any cell phone camera is a close up. This little gap is the only problem I had with the glue up. Hopefully it is just along the edge and once I take everything to shape the gap won't be there.

For my first top gluing I don't think it went too badly. Time will tell once I get to shaping the guitar.
Last edited by rapfohl09 at Feb 1, 2012,
Today I got the top planed down, the pickup routs done, and the control holes drilled. I wouldn't normally work in this order, but I when I originally copied the templates I made them exactly the way they were. This is fine, but this guitar isn't getting a pickguard, so I wanted a little bit of space between the neck humbucker and neck pocket (for those that don't know, the RG has a joint neck pickup and neck pocket rout on their AANJ guitars). I moved the template back a 1/4" to give me a little space, and all is perfect.

An overview of today's work.

Some good looking routs, if I do say so myself.

Very happy to see those wiring channels. It is also probably worth mentioning that I don't drill the control holes all the way through the guitar, they will be opened up when I rout the cavity in the back.

The next step will be to make this hunk of wood look more like a guitar, and I suppose I should start on the neck at some point.
Last edited by rapfohl09 at Feb 2, 2012,
At first, when I saw the body template, I thought you were going for a RG/Jem style but the controls look like an ESP style. I'm liking the wood choices. My first build has that "two face" wood tone that your body has. Looking forward to the progress.
Quote by bghk6581
At first, when I saw the body template, I thought you were going for a RG/Jem style but the controls look like an ESP style. I'm liking the wood choices. My first build has that "two face" wood tone that your body has. Looking forward to the progress.

Yeah it is the same RG controls, but with 3-way switch instead of a blade switch. I like the 3 ways a lot better for 2 pickup guitars, and I don't fuss around with coil-splitting and the like.

Just realized that my wiring channel, which I was so happy about, goes right through where either the mounting screw or the adjustment screw of the bridge pickup goes. Looks like I might be drilling another hole after all. I will continue to think of ways around it, but if anyone else has an idea I am open to them.
Quote by rapfohl09
Just realized that my wiring channel, which I was so happy about, goes right through where either the mounting screw or the adjustment screw of the bridge pickup goes. Looks like I might be drilling another hole after all. I will continue to think of ways around it, but if anyone else has an idea I am open to them.

I dunno. If you're using pickup mounting rings then it should just be the adjustment screw in the way and you might get lucky and be able to squeeze your wires past it. Or maybe you'll have to route that channel a tiny bit deeper.

Looking good though.
Sir, your wood has won me over

Please post more updates soon xD I can't wait until i see this built more advanced.
One more kiss... One more touch...
I miss you, wont you hug me just one last time?

Twitter!!~ Follow Re-follow :P
Thanks guy! I am glad you are enjoying it!

As for the templates, I spent a lot of time working on them to make sure they are perfect. I spent my entire winter break getting the set for this guitar to where I want it, and am very happy with them. I am also pretty much OCD about preparation too. I draw the entire guitar out using my templates, which provides me a "dry run" so to speak of how I am going to attach them, where they are going, etc. etc. When I get to the guitar I just have to check against the drawing to make sure I am doing it the way I want to. The wiring channel thing was kind of a last minute addition, and you saw how that worked out. D'oh I will definitely be happy if that is the biggest problem I have.

Just while I am on the topic, when I made these templates, which are obviously RG based, I modified the lower horn quite a bit. I rounded over the tip because I was worried about tear out issues.

As per updates, I will be working more on Sunday, so tune in Sunday night!
Last edited by rapfohl09 at Feb 3, 2012,
I'm a wood purist at heart (read: I am too lazy and impatient to paint), and the few color finishes I have done are enough for a while. This one will probably be straight oiled, maybe I'll stain the top if I feel really inclined. I have some powder mixes laying around somewhere.
So like I said, I did some work tonight. Sorry if the pictures are a little shoddy, I'll take better ones soon. I got both the neck and the body cut out and routed to shape. I needed to get started on the neck so I can make a template for the neck pocket.

Looking pretty good!

It is starting to shape up quite nicely, I knew there was a guitar in there somewhere.

Picture of the back, the color difference isn't quite so bad on this side.

Not a bad color match between the neck and body, but the neck has all sorts of color streaks in it. Oh well, it was just wood I had around. Don't want to go making your first neck with top dollar wood.

However, the night wasn't without problems....

It looks ugly (both the picture and the tear out) but after I took a quick walk to calm down I realized it really won't be that difficult to deal with. I just plan on shortening up the tail end a few millimeters, and the rest will be taken care of by the carve.

The big man upstairs has to keep like interesting right? I really should have been able to avoid it, but hey, we are all human.

Next job, the ferrule holes, and making a neck pocket template.
Last edited by rapfohl09 at Feb 5, 2012,
Quote by michaelbot9000
excellent job! looks really sick. I love one piece flamed tops

Thanks man!

So here is the past couple days work. I got the truss rod slot routed, which was a pain. I made the jig for it a long time ago and I should have made a new one. It was just kind of challenging to get things set up. I ended up making the slot about 1/32" too deep because there was a random weld bulge on the rod that was making it stick up, so I just kept going deeper (I finally realized that was what it was and filed it down). Anyways, hopefully it won't be too big of a deal. I got the fretboard sized up, and took care of the tear out on the body.

No more tear out, took about 3 minutes with the belt sander.

The profile really doesn't look that different.

Truss rod slot, nice and tight. Just a little too deep.

Fits nicely, you can see where I had to file a bump down.

The fretboard just placed where it will go. I did some sanding the other day to make the joining surfaces nice and flat, and of course did the opposite. Some more sanding in my future.

Two pieces of the puzzle.
Quote by JazzMunkeyy
that looks real nice


Well, I am here to tell you I totally botched the neck. I couldn't get the gluing surface nice and flat, and then when I was working on I just kind of looked at it and said, "It is time to start over."

I am taking a small break and re-gathering my thoughts. This is the second time I have gotten stuck at this stage of a neck build, so I am doing something wrong. I am also thinking I might completely remake a new neck template and go set neck with it. Thankfully I never did a pocket or anything for this neck.

The body is still A-OK! and looking awesome so that is a plus.

Third time is the charm right?
Have you tried a power planer for getting the surfaces smooth?
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yea, necks are a bitch, it wasn't untill my 4th that I got pretty good results, but is a little .5mm gap on one end because stewmac's boards shrunk a bit in shipping.
Just call me Julius, J, etc.
Taking an Internet break for a while, will come on when I can.
yeah man, looks pretty nice so far mate.

"Show me war; show me pestilence; show me the blood-red hands of retribution..."
And were back! So since I last updated I have:

-Made a new template for the set-neck path I am heading down.
-Gotten a nice new hunk of wood for said neck.
-Am just about back to where I was with the neck.
-Routed the control cavity.
-Drilled the ferrule holes in the back.

The ferrule holes didn't come out perfectly. I found out (after the fact of course) that the drill press that I have always used now has a slight wobble to it . So even though I used the same exact method that I have used on 2 previous bodies with perfect results, these ones are a little off. They certainly aren't bad, just not perfect. I can live with it, but messed up string-through holes is one of my biggest pet-peeves. If they were really bad I would have scrapped it.

So anyways, pictures!

The bodywork that I got done. Not much, but it passed the time while I was figuring neck stuff out.

Not terrible, but not perfect. What do you guys think?

So the really exciting stuff!

The piece on top is some new mahogany, all thicknessed and ready to go. This piece is just amazing, beautiful and machines well. What else can you ask for. I also have enough for a whole other neck...that's what I am talking about.

Rough cut.

Routed to shape, tuner holes drilled. If it looks thick, it is because it is. 1 1/8" thick for a nice set neck.

Beautiful coloring and grain.

Setting my fretboard and pinning it so it is easier at the gluing stage. This is a lot easier to do before the truss rod slot, I recently learned

And one at the 24th fret.

So that is all for now. I have a good feeling about this new neck.
This is great

I like the set neck idea. Have you considered using a tenon that goes under the neck pickup?

and how does one go about angling the headstock? Are you simply going to sand the front face and back faces down to the right profile?

I'll keep an eye on this build.
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Omae wa mou

Quote by Axelfox
the furrules are fine, barely noticable. And it's probably only on the back, which no one really sees. I've had worse turn outs.
Just call me Julius, J, etc.
Taking an Internet break for a while, will come on when I can.
Thank you everyone!

Some answers, maybe not in order, hopefully I remember them all

-The headstock isn't getting angled. I took the easy way out and am just doing this fender style. Call me lazy, but I am taking it one step at a time haha.

-The neck tenon does extend under the neck pickup about an inch. That was basically all I changed from the original neck template. Well that and the neck is a little bit over-sized to account for some sanding that I am sure I will have to do.

-The ferrules do come out, and are really quite loose. It is strange really, I got them from Stewmac, and they said use a 5/16" bit. I did, and they just slip right in and out. I will either set them with a little CA glue, or maybe just let the strings hold them in. Or I guess I could find a set that is a tiny bit bigger, I have a bunch of them at home.

Today I did the truss rod slot, and will post pictures a little bit later. Thanks again, I am glad you guys are liking this.
As promised. This slot came out really nicely. I switched to the Martin-Style rod that stewmac sells. It is a really nice rod, and the slot is nice because it is just one bit, unlike the other rod I had. The only complaint about this slot is that I made it just smidgeon longer than I wanted it, but that is not really anything to complain about.

Time for a cross roads, this neck is coming out perfectly, so I have finally made it past my brick wall! (I probably shouldn't say anything, keeping my fingers crossed)

if that top line is where you're nut will end, the truss is in a pretty good position. Pro-tip for thinning you headstock, use a router and start from the tip towards the nut to take off thickness (unless you have a bandsaw/patience to do it by hand)
Just call me Julius, J, etc.
Taking an Internet break for a while, will come on when I can.
That's exactly what I am gonna do. I pretty much use my router as much as I can, I love that machine

Yeah I am not concerned about the slot. I originally had the adjustment nut stick about 1/8" of an inch out past where the nut will be, so it isn't a big deal. I am just glad I remembered that I had to be able to fit a allen wrench in there to adjust it, otherwise I would have stopped it right at the end of the rod
yea, my first few builds were so router-based it was halarious, now its more jigsaw and drill press oriented.

the things we almost do.
Just call me Julius, J, etc.
Taking an Internet break for a while, will come on when I can.
The fretboard is on! In a nerve-wracking moment I glued that sucker on. No turning back now.

What was accomplished today,

First I routed the step down. I had to go 1/16" of an inch thinner than I wanted, because I tried taking way too much off at once and had a piece rip off...Oh well, live and learn. I'll just have to make the headstock thicker on the other side.

Then took it over to the spindle sander and roughed the transition in.

And finished her off by hand. This may sound ridiculous, but this was the first time I had ever shaped wood with my hands. Other than finish sanding and such, I just let the saw/router/etc. do the work in my previous two builds (just bodies). It was really nice. I am looking forward to the carving of the neck and body.

And here is where I left it in the shop. I hope those pins worked!
Last edited by rapfohl09 at Feb 23, 2012,
Looks awesome, got hard competition in this catagory
All the more reason for me to try harder when i get round to it during the summer.
Big update time!

This is the results of today's and yesterdays work. I got too into work, so even though I did a lot, there aren't any in progress shots. And the one or two I took aren't even really worth showing.

So I took the neck out of the clamps and bandsawed all the excess stuff. Here she is trimmed up.

And the heel. I also rounded the corners over so it would fit in the route. I would rather round the edges than chisel the pocket corners.

Sorry there isn't a picture of the whole neck, it is kind of a pain to take a picture of it and have it be in focus.

Bridge mounting holes on the body. Finally everything that needs the center line is finished, so I can get sand that top some. It is getting to be kind of a mess with all the work I have done on it.

Neck pocket routed out.

And there she is! This is quite the moment for me. Definitely more exciting when you build the neck too.

However, the pocket isn't perfect. It certainly won't be passing an Ormsby test. Even though the neck fit super snug in the template, something didn't translate when I routed it. It certainly isn't bad, and the glue will fill most of that little gap, but again, this isn't up to the level of my previous work...don't know what that is all about.

Thanks for checking it out.
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