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#1
Here is my entry for the Unlimited Challenge 2012. I call it the "Down and Dirty" because it has a common guitar shape, but its a lefty and the woods used is a bit exotic and not normally seen on a guitar like this. Today I'm going to plane the fretboard and body to size. The mahogany body is currently at 2" and I gotta get it to 1.75".

Lefty LP Standard based on the 59 LP standard design
24.75 scale length
1 piece african mahogany body
1 piece african mahogany neck(scarf)
2 piece ambrosia maple top and headstock cap
3x3 locking tuners(don't know what brand yet
black hardware(tom/tail)
chechen fretboard with 22 frets
black binding fretboard and body
graphite nut
active pickups
Tru-Oil finish(natural)



Last edited by bghk6581 at Feb 2, 2012,
#3
Quote by JCGGUITARS
what color are you doing or are you doing just natural?


All natural. I might stain the body a little darker brown if the mahogany is too light after oiling. I will test it with some scrap mahogany before I begin the finishing. Btw, I'm going to use Tru-oil for the finish.
#4
This should be really cool. I like that you are using ambrosia maple, a beautiful wood that I don't get to see very often. I am on a big LP craving streak right now so I look forward to seeing your work.
#5
Quote by rapfohl09
This should be really cool. I like that you are using ambrosia maple, a beautiful wood that I don't get to see very often. I am on a big LP craving streak right now so I look forward to seeing your work.


I have another big slab of amb. maple for future builds. I love the look of this wood. Thanks for the reply.
#6
Yesterday, I was able to work on the fretboard. I planed it to about 1/4" and radiused it using my fretboard radiusing jig. it has a 12" radius to it. I then cut the fret slots and finalized the radius. I sanded it to 1000 grit and added the black binding. I'm debating on whether I should add trap inlays or keep it blank. I sanded the binding to 1000 grit so it would get that same dull shine that the fretboard has. Later today, I will work on the body.









#7
Today I was able to get alot done with the body. I planed it down to about 1.75"(just a 1/16" shy of it), cut the body profile, and did some sanding to the sides. I'm not fully finished with the sides but its close enough to route the control cavities and wire channel. I still need to route about 1/8" deeper into the cavities. Sorry about the lack of pictures of the planing process and the cutting of the profile. My camera's battery was dead and I needed to recharge it. Hopefully tomorrow I'll finish up the body and begin with the top and neck.







#8
Looks good bgh.

I'm currently building a Lefty LP, and am at about the same stage as you. I'm just about getting ready to carve the top, but have too many other builds on at once so its taking awhile!

Why for did you not drill the switch & control cavity all the way through (then covered by the maple top) this is the way I've seen it done, curious of you're method.

Also can you explain you're radius jig, can't make sense of it!

Cheers.
#9
Quote by GandalfWh1te
Looks good bgh.

I'm currently building a Lefty LP, and am at about the same stage as you. I'm just about getting ready to carve the top, but have too many other builds on at once so its taking awhile!

Why for did you not drill the switch & control cavity all the way through (then covered by the maple top) this is the way I've seen it done, curious of you're method.

Also can you explain you're radius jig, can't make sense of it!

Cheers.


I've seen the control cavity routed both ways; either all the way through, or with a little mahogany left over. I chose the latter so I don't route too much when it comes to routing the angle for the pots. The radius jig is two parts; a base that the fretboard is taped to, which is pictured and a router base with the proper 12" angle. I don't have a picture of the router base but here is a picture of another jig from where I got my inspiration from:



The router base sits on the PVC pipe and the router cuts the profile based on the two arches. This produces a rough profile from which I can sand smooth. The main difference between my jig and his is, the two aluminum square rails can move the base where the fretboard sits on up and down and mine does have that. I just move the router bit up or down until I get to a desired depth.
#10
^^^WOOHOO! A picture of Scatter Lees build. He's one of my favorite builders haha.

Your build looks nice. I will be following it.

Are you trying to make it as close to 59' specs as you can, apart from the wood? Or are you just going for the general body shape of a 59? Also if you're using the John Catto plans, the headstock is apparently not very accurate. Just a heads up if you didn't know and were trying to accurately replicate 59 specs.
#11
Quote by da_
^^^WOOHOO! A picture of Scatter Lees build. He's one of my favorite builders haha.

Your build looks nice. I will be following it.

Are you trying to make it as close to 59' specs as you can, apart from the wood? Or are you just going for the general body shape of a 59? Also if you're using the John Catto plans, the headstock is apparently not very accurate. Just a heads up if you didn't know and were trying to accurately replicate 59 specs.



Yes, thats one of Scatter Lee's homemade jigs. I swear, he is like the Maguyver of lutherie. I got many jig ideas from him. The basic body shape and routes are from the Catto plans. Yes, I did notice that the headstock was a little off. I do have another LP template but it doesn't have the tuner markings.
#12
This is looking awesome. Of course I had a heart attack because I forgot that it was left handed

I would love to start doing binding work. It looks so awesome.

There are always other builds.
#13
I was very lazy this weekend so I didn't work on the neck nor top. I did however work on the control cavity covers. I cut some of the maple from the top and cut and shape the two covers. In one of the pictures, you can see the planing jig I use to plane most of the wood. This works very well but there may still be router marks so I just finish it with an orbital sander. I left the covers on the templates from where I sanded using my spindle sander. The key to smaller pieces is you have to use lots of double sided tape so the piece won't go flying off the table when the router hits it.





#14
I wanted to make sure I used all the ambrosia maple I needed for this guitar before I plane/cut the top, so I cut some maple for the headstock overlay and inlays. I am still pondering on whether I should actually inlay this guitar or just keep the fretboard bare. I used the same planing jig to plane the maple down to 1/8". After each pass, I would mark the wood that was planed with lines so I would know to go over that part again with the router. I thought that I had to be a little cautious with this type of maple, but unlike spalted maple, ambrosia maple is rock solid, even at the holes. Since I put the maple inlays I cut/shaped, on the fretboard to see how it looks. Looking back at the pictures, the blues and greens in the maple reminds me of abalone.













#17
Quote by Boysie8
It's looking awesome dude, and your build speed is putting me to shame

Great idea with the inlays as well - how does the hardness (and therefore the wear rate) compare with the rosewood?


Both woods are hard and dense and I think they compliment each other. I'm actually taking my time(dragging my ass) with this build and should have done more by now.
#18
Today, I worked on the neck. Since I'm doing a scarf neck, I cut the 17 degree scarf using a bandsaw, and planed it using a jointer. The overall thickness of the neck material is about 1 1/8" so I cut the headstock to a little over 1/2" and used my planning jig to finish it off. I also used the jig to plane the back of the headstock to 3/4". I left some of the neck for the neck heel. The part of the headstock I cut off I will plane and glue to that part to complete the heel. I then glued the scarf together.









#19
Here is the finished scarf joint. I also laid the fretboard and headstock overlay on the board to see how everything looks. Looks good so far.







#20
I worked a little on the control cavities. I routed them down to 1/8th(control) and 1/16th(switch) and fitted them for the amb covers. I also added pilot holes for the headstock overlay. Later today, I will add the binding to the overlay.









Last edited by bghk6581 at Feb 10, 2012,
#23
Today I wasn't able to get alot of work done of the guitar so I only worked on the neck and headstock. I routed the truss rod slot and added the binding to the headstock. Adding the binding was surprisingly easy. To get the bends on the top of the headstock, I used a soldering iron to heat up the binding so its easier to bend into shape. I then held the binding to the headstock overlay until it cooled. I used CA glue to glue the binding to the overlay. Surprisingly, I used the soldering iron against the other side and that sped up the curing time. I then cut and sanded the binding flush.



First pass




Fitted the truss rod


Binding glued to the headstock


Sanded flush




I added a little naptha to clean the dust off of the headstock and to see how it would look finished. Looks pretty good.


#25
This looks so good! Great job so far!

Man, truss rods on angled headstocks look so easy
#26
And now, the moment you all have been waiting for!!! I began working on the top. The maple I used is 4/4(1") thick, so I planed each half down to about 5/8" thick and glued them together. After gluing them, I realize that one is slightly (1/16") thicker than the other. Next time, I'll just glue them together first, then plane it down. For now, I'll just plane/sand it down to its final thickness.









#27
just a tip for next time, use more clamps to hold it together, rather then down. Use one at each end with something under it at the joints to keep them flat, and every other clamp to kep them together. A glue joint line in a top is something you do not want, and kinda hard to hide/repair. I'm sure if those bar clamps are for the top it should be fine though.
Just call me Julius, J, etc.
Taking an Internet break for a while, will come on when I can.
#28
Quote by nowa90
just a tip for next time, use more clamps to hold it together, rather then down. Use one at each end with something under it at the joints to keep them flat, and every other clamp to kep them together. A glue joint line in a top is something you do not want, and kinda hard to hide/repair. I'm sure if those bar clamps are for the top it should be fine though.


Thanks for the tip. The glue line was my first worry. Before I glued it together, I checked for any gaps above and under the top. I also used a light to check for gaps. Yeah, the bar clamps are for the top and the other clamps hold the top to the bars so the top doesn't shift.
#29
After I let the top dry overnight, I cut out the body profile and sanded the edges close to the lines as possible. I also was able to finish sand the sides of the mahogany body and round over the edge.



#30
Today, I was able to glue the top on the body. I drilled two holes where the pickups go and mounted the top to the body using two screws. I did this so the top won't move in the gluing process.





#31
Congrats on the progress! Are you a lefty? Just noticed.
Just call me Julius, J, etc.
Taking an Internet break for a while, will come on when I can.
#32
Quote by nowa90
Congrats on the progress! Are you a lefty? Just noticed.


Yes, and that was one of the reasons why I started building guitars.
#34
This morning I took the clamps off and checked for any gaps between the woods. I didn't see any. I used my spindle sander to sand the maple flush with the mahogany. I also added pilot holes for the pots and switch.






#35
This build is going beautiful so far loving it

Do you plan on putting some binding around the body or we going to leave it like that? Or perhaps you're going to carve the top a little bit or is it staying as a flat top?

Just curious about that :P
"RAWR WIRES >:O"
One more kiss... One more touch...
I miss you, wont you hug me just one last time?

Twitter!!~ Follow Re-follow :P
#36
Quote by Heilz
This build is going beautiful so far loving it

Do you plan on putting some binding around the body or we going to leave it like that? Or perhaps you're going to carve the top a little bit or is it staying as a flat top?

Just curious about that :P


Thanks for the reply and compliment. Yes, the body will have the same black binding the headstock and fretboard has. Once I route the levels of the carvetop, I will route the binding channel.
#37
Sounds like a pretty nice plan to get a beautiful guitar

Can't wait to see it finished already hehehe.
"RAWR WIRES >:O"
One more kiss... One more touch...
I miss you, wont you hug me just one last time?

Twitter!!~ Follow Re-follow :P
#38
is this your first build/attempt at woodworking? It seems to be coming out very smoothly and quickly if it is. I like the top, its like spalted maple meets myrtlewood. The thin black binding is also classier (to me) then the thick white creme stuff gibson uses.
Just call me Julius, J, etc.
Taking an Internet break for a while, will come on when I can.
#39
Quote by nowa90
is this your first build/attempt at woodworking? It seems to be coming out very smoothly and quickly if it is. I like the top, its like spalted maple meets myrtlewood. The thin black binding is also classier (to me) then the thick white creme stuff gibson uses.


This is actually my second build but my first les paul. I am not finished my first build though. I'm still working on the fretboard. There have been snags in this process, but I have fixed those snags and didn't document them in this thread. I had two instances where I was routing the body and I experienced tearout. Luckily it wasn't too bad and I just sanded it out. I also experienced tearout on the maple top but its nothing noticeable, especially when I route the binding channel.

I really like ambrosia maple. Unlike spalted maple, where the wood is decayed and you risk part of the wood being soft and unusable, ambrosia maple is a result from the ambrosia beetle burrowing tiny holes and causing the discolorations. This wood is rock hard all the way through. I'm going to use a bottom bearing bit with an offset bearing for my binding. From what I read, if you use an 1/8" thinner offset bearing, the channel will be 1/16". Mathematically, it doesn't make sense, so I'll will test this on a scrap piece of wood before I cut the channel next week.
#40
ah ok, but atleast you have some knowledge of how the process goes and the tools needed. I guess it just seems like it goes smoothly when you don't post the bad things :P Tearout happens to all of us, unfortunatly.
I don't think I could get any locally, I do want to use spalted maple again though.
Just call me Julius, J, etc.
Taking an Internet break for a while, will come on when I can.
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