So I live in an apartment, and therefore can't really have many power tools due to space limitations, and noise limitations. I do have a nice porch, a good table, chair, and a lot of beer.... sounds like I have all the makings for a fully hand-built guitar!

I am planning on doing everything without power tools as of right now. The only thing that may change is when I need to drill straight mounting holes, but I'm going to try to come up with a way to do that. I have access to all of the power tools I would actually need to build a guitar at work, but I don't want to stay late all the time to work on it.

So the build will be a bit of stress relief as well. I've placed an order for a few special tools and most of the parts. I have to order the lumber tomorrow from a hardwood store about 4 hours away.

The plan

Body: 1" Sapele slab with 1" Flamed Maple Top.
Neck: Sapele/Flamed Maple/ Sapele laminated neck.
Fretboard: Cocobolo
Pickups: Self-wound
Caps: Self-Made PIO caps.

I should start getting parts and tools in the next few days. I'm particularly excited about my NO 71 Stanley Router Plane and my Gramercy Bow Saw.

Just as a warning, this is going to be a INCREDIBLY slow build. Normally it would take a few minutes to cut out a body and a few more to smooth it out with a router. I'm not going to have that luxury.
So while this thread will progress very slow, it has a definite requirement for an end date now. I will be moving to China for work around the end of September, and may be spending a large amount of time in China during August and September, so I expect to finish this by the end of July.

I should start getting packages tomorrow. Depending on how the wood comes in, I may have to make a concession and rip the 8 ft long boards with a table saw. But that would be more to ensure that future projects have good wood rather than some shitty cutting job by me. I will still have to cut the body shape and neck out with my bow saw.

Hopefully i'll be able to post some things up by the end of the day on Friday.

I'm working on figure out how exactly i want to construct the caps. I'd love to recreate the black beauty caps. If anyone here sees this and just so happens to have one I'd love to get measurements off of it as far as length of the cap and diameter. That would give me a way to figure out an approximate size for the cap and film style.

I'm also thinking about doing my pickup rings and cover out of flamed maple. I'll have to see how difficult that looks, but as I will be doing them with hand tools it seems possible.

A bit of back story about this build. For those of you that do not know, I actually work for a company that produces just about any type of power tool I would actually need to build guitars. I have easy access to all of them, but part of this build is to really learn how tools work. Sure you can use a band saw and router to build a guitar, but I feel that I will learn a lot more about how the wood that I am planning on using likes to be worked. In the future when I have a house and shop that I can work in it should help me understand how the various tools can be used to achieve specific goals.

More so, I used to own a Les Paul that I felt a particular attachment to... almost like the guitar had a soul of its own. Do instruments have souls? Who knows... but this is one way to really share an attachment with the guitar I am playing. To know that I had to saw, carve, sand, and plane it all by hand.

Just to give you an idea, this is the flamed maple top with some naptha to wet it. This was gotten for quite cheap due to the fact that it has mineral streaks. I think its a shame that most people wouldn't use this for a flamed maple top, given how highly figured the top actually is.
Last edited by XgamerGt04 at Apr 3, 2012,
Nice wood you got there. If you need any assistance on how to go about doing a certain portion of your building process, I suggest browsing through a thread on the mylespaul forums. There is a forum member named Barnaby who has build handmade les pauls, without using electric tools, even drills. He built all his les pauls in his apartment. I suggest you follow his work, that is unless you are Barnaby and just decided to post one of your guitar's progress on this forum as well.

Barnaby's LP Scratch LP build - Hand Tools Only
I actually found Barnaby's builds after I started ordering parts and tools. I was looking for something to use instead of a router and ended up finding the router plane. One of the images that popped up was Barnaby using a router plane to carve the channel for a Les Paul.

I don't know what the finish will be on it yet. I'm going to do some sort of stain or burst type thing on it. I've been thinking about doing an Iced-Tea burst as Gibson calls it, or one of the Cherry Burst. Something with a lighter color in the middle so the mineral streaks in the grain are still visible.
Part of the build is finding new tools to use for various parts of the build. A Bow Saw is a very good tool to have if you do any kind of cutting. I didn't want to spend $150 for a top of the line bow saw from Gramercy, but my dad bought a kit of theirs a while back and built the bow saw from some poplar and the hardware they had.

I went and picked up an 8' long board of poplar from home depot today as well as a coping saw so that I can cut the frame for the Bow Saw out. Stopped by Staples and had them print the blue prints out on 11"x17" paper. Got home... and lo and behold they scaled the instructions so I can't use them to draw the shape of the bow onto the lumber now.

Tomorrow I will head back out to Staples and get a second set of blueprints and then build the saw. I should also get a few more tools, and maybe the rest of the lumber tomorrow. I am going to make one concession with the lumber. I have it coming in 4ft long boards, so I will likely be ripping them to approximate size at work. The lumber will also be used in future builds so I don't want to be wasteful and make crooked cuts and lose out on another neck or two.

More pictures tomorrow. I glued the top up today and planed it to size.
Got the rest of the lumber in today:

Also got most of my hardware from StewMac yesterday as well. This doesn't include the truss rod, fret wire, and various other items. I have to order the wire for the pickups sometime soon and rebuild my winding jig.

I also got another awesome package in today. I ordered a Stanley No 712 Router Plane to use when I route a channel from the truss rod and the wire channel for the wires in the body. It will also be used to route the pickup channels.

where are teh toobz.
Jumping on dat gear sig train.
PRS Hollowbody II / BKP Warpigs
Strandberg OS6T / BKP Aftermath
Strandberg OS7 / Lace Poopsticks
Skervesen Raptor 7FF / BKP Warpigs
Skervesen Raptor 6 NTB / BKP Juggernauts
Hapas Sludge 7 FF / Hapas Leviathan
Anderson Baritom / Motorcity Nuke BKP Sinner Anderson H2+
Warmoth Baritone / BKP Piledriver
Ibanez Rg2120x / BKP Nailbomb

Blackstar ID:Core Beam
Quote by AcousticMirror
where are teh toobz.

They are hiding in the closet since the wood it outside. They get scared of each other and like to hide.