I thought I would share this new commission here. It is going to be Les Paul style with classic woods: Mahogany core and neck with a flamed Maple top. A brief spec list is below.

Les Paul style
Mahogany body
Black finish
AAA grade flamed Maple flat top
Mahogany set neck
Birdseye Maple fingerboard
Gotoh hardware
Kent Armstrong pickups
Headstock and 12th fret inlay

While it is in the style of a Les Paul, I'm in no way trying to be historically accurate to any particular Les Paul or stick with the methods Gibson use. This will differ from a Gibson Les Paul in that it will have a flat top, double action truss rod and the headstock will have a shallower angle. The headstock itself will have a very minor alteration too.

Work began earlier this month, so here's the progress shots so far.

Here is a picture of all the wood, hardware and pickups. Lets take a look at the woods in some more detail with some pictures...

Here is the Mahogany body core. Its at a full 45 mm thick in this picture, but it has since been planed down to 30 mm, which will give a total body thickness of around 45 mm when the Maple is added.

The neck blank and fingerboard, the Birdseye is from the same board as the 7 string guitar (see facebook), so check out that build for an example of how it will look when finished.

This is the beautiful AAA grade flamed Maple top, it is going to be dyed a translucent black when finished.

That's the woods and hardware, here's the body template. With this done it was time to start constructing the body blank.

More coming!
Here is the Mahogany core, it has been planed down to the correct thickness and then the edges planed to get a tight joint where the boards meet. In this picture it has yet to be glued up, but is held together with two small nails at those little tabs that you can see at the top of the picture (there is one at the bottom also). These will hold the boards in the same place when we are gluing up, so they don't slip. After this I draw round the template and rout for the wiring channel to the switch.

Unfortunately I lost some pictures a long the way, the previous step to this picture was gluing the Maple top down to each board of Mahogany. Once this is done we can join the two halves, like you can see here

Here is the blank fully glued up, all three joints came out perfectly. There would have been more pictures with this update, but unfortunately some were corrupted. One of these lost pictures was of the weight relief I gave the body core, its basically a series of chambers drilled to reduce the weight slightly.

First up I'm planing a very slight angle (1.7 degree) to where the fingerboard will sit. This is the same degree the neck will be angled back to give the proper action height at the bridge.

So, I mark up the angle and break out the handplane! Your plane iron needs to be very sharp to work on flamed Maple!

Here is a picture which helps explain the angle planed previously...its very small, but necessary.

Next the body was cut out on the bandsaw, the template attached, then routed to final shape. Here in this picture the body is enjoying the (increasingly rare here!) sun.

Now its time to rout the mortise for the neck. I will be using the long tenon on the neck as used on earlier Gibsons, so the mortise extends into the middle of the neck pickup rout. This mortise is angled, to obtain this angle is fairly easy, because the routing template rests on the angle I have just planed on the body. You can see the template here and I have started drilling out the bulk of the material with a Forstner bit.

Here's the finished mortise...Next up is neck stuff

That's as far as we have got so far, check back soon for neck progress.

Thanks for looking!
Keen to see this develop
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Sorry for the lack of update, the good news is I haven't neglected the build!

First up on the neck was to cut and plane the angle, I do this with the bandsaw followed up by my trusty hand plane.

Next I glue up a Maple facing onto the headstock front....cant have too many clamps on it!

I then cut out the neck by using the bandsaw followed by the router on a template. This takes care of one dimensions of the tenon, the next step is the time consuming bit!

Following that I make three cuts to the tenon, one on either side and one at the back. These need to be at an angle as the neck mortise is angled. After these are cut, they need tidying up with chisels, this take quite a bit of time to get right, but here you can see the end result...It came out very well!

Next I rout the truss rod, here is a picture of the extremely simple jig I use. The jig is centred on the neck then a bushing is fitted to the router which rides the rails.

Finally a picture of the headstock with its new head plate and truss rod rout. I have also drilled pilot holes for the tuners.

The guitar is actually advanced further than this, so there will be another update soon when I have had chance to sort some pictures out.

That's it for now, thanks for watching!
The update I promised...told you it'd be soon

Here I'm routing the bridge pickup, as you can see the neck pickup has already been done. The bridge one is fairly straight forward, starting with Forstner bits on the drill press then moving onto routing with the template. The neck is a bit different as it has to be done with the neck in the mortise so the part of the tenon in the pickup cavity gets trimmed down.

A picture of the pickup routs complete, I have also drilled for the pots here. Notice the channel we routed at the start to connect the two pickups and switch to the control cavity.

With the holes now drilled, I can rout for the control cavity. I cut the lip for the lid to sit in later after most of the sanding has been completed. That is now the body all done except for the switch rout, roundover and drilling for the jack...all small jobs!

Thanks for checking out this build, stay tuned!
Sorry for the lack of updates! Works has carried on this though. Again, we are actually a fair bit more advanced than this update, but we're saving the best pics for the next update!

Here you can see I have slotted the Birdseye Maple board and rough tapered it.

Before the fingerboard is glued down I make sure the nut will be a tight fit and that everything is square. A small detail, but an important one (in my opinion) as so many guitars I see have gaps around the nut as time was not put aside to ensure its a proper fit.

With that done the fingerboard is glued up. I use a 3 X 4" to distribute the clamping pressure across the board with as many clamps as I can fit! The board has a couple of nails through the fret slots to ensure doesn't slip.

Now I taper the necks thickness using the Safety Planer on the drill press. You can see I'm cheating a bit and not taking photos at the right time because the volute has already been cut here! Which was actually done after tapering.

Here I have roughed out the volute. This is an important addition which isn't included on many of Gibsons offerings. It just adds a little strength at the weakest part of the neck, this is a weak part of the Gibson design due to the truss rod route. So including this volute should prevent any chance of this guitar losing its head like so many Gibsons have done!

A side view of the volute.

With the volute carved I move onto the neck shaft, here it is roughed out. I use a Surform, Micro Plane and drawknife to get here. There is still a lot of sanding left though!

Next update will include heel carving, the inlays (both already done), fingerboard radius and fretting. Then we are pretty much there for the neck!

That's it for now, thank you for looking!
This is going and is looking really great.

Love seeing this kind of handywork.

Great stuff!
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Inlay time! Here is the 12th fret inlay of the initials of the new owner. The letters are made of Ebony and were cut out by hand, then filed to shape with needle files, it was quite time consuming! Especially as I managed to break two A's and two P's along the way! Grrr! They came out nicely eventually though.

Here is the headstock inlay of the number 16 as requested by the future owner. This is of Maple from an off cut of the fingerboard. The headstock is going to be dyed black, but the 16 will remain natural so it will stand out nicely once dyed.

Here is the 16 in place, it came out well! The black outline will disappear once the headstock is dyed. Basically the procedure was to glue the inlays in place, draw round them with a very fine pencil or scribe. Then using a Dremel (and very fine dental bits) to rout the recess, followed by a scalpel to clean up the edges. After that they are glued in with CA.

As you aren't going to get your numbers/letters into a hole the exact same size as them there is always a tiny gap, this is then filled with a mixture of Ebony dust (in this case) and glue. This filler will be invisible once complete as it will match the surrounding colour.

All of that makes the procedure sound quite quick and easy, but there is a hell of a lot of test fitting a long the way!

And here is the Ebony 12th fret inlay of the initials, this came out equally well! The Ebony dots have also been installed prior to this. You will also notice the lovely birdseye board has now been radiused.

After the board has been given its radius the fret slots need to be taken down to final depth. This is done with the a saw and depth stop. To make sure I get the right depth of cut I first test on scrap wood until I have it set so that there is the smallest of gaps underneath. Then repeat on the actual board...22 times!

Here's a shot of the neck after all of this.

And here is a shot with its frets installed! I use a soft hammer to tap the frets in after the fret wire has been bent to the radius of the board using a fret bender.


That's all for now, we are getting close! Thanks for looking.
Onto fretwork, here I'm giving the frets their bevel, I do this with the tool you can see behind the neck. Its basically a block which holds a file at an angle. This is passed up and down the neck until the angle has been filed into the frets. The fingerboard has been masked off to prevent any damage occurring to it and stop fret dust staining the Maple.

Then I round off the sharp edges left from the previous procedure. Following this the frets are leveled and crowned (lost the picture of that!) using an oil stone to level and a crowning file to give the frets back their shape.

Next I install the side position markers, we have gone for nice big ones so they will be easily visible.

Here you can see the neck at its finished shape. This was after all the sanding has taken place and I'm in the process of raising the grain, which needs to be done as it is having a water based dye which would raise the grain and make it feel awful! So after the neck had been sanded to 400 I wet the neck and sand off again with 400. This is repeated 4 or 5 times until the grain no longer raises.

Here is the neck nearly complete, all that's left is to dye it (done once attached to body) mount the tuners and a final fret polish.

Work is again further advanced than what you see here, the remaining jobs on the body have been completed (switch, jack and sanding). All of which will be covered in the next update along with mounting the neck!

Thanks for looking
Overdue update with lots of pictures!

This is the body after it has been rough sanded and given its roundover with the router. The roundover is very small in this case, but it still makes it look so much nicer!

Back shot of sanding and roundover.

Next I attended to the switch, this was done with Forstner bits and router.Here is a shot of it all finished with its Maple lid, this will be repeated on the control cavity also and will contrast nicely with the black. So the guitar will have a colour scheme of Maple and black which runs right through it from back and front to the headstock.

The switch installed!

Next I cut the lip for the cavity lid, this was done with a rabbeting bit in the router. Later this recess is then traced and transferred to the lid material.

I then drilled for the jack, I went for a flush mount style rather than Gibson's square plate style. This type of jack needs to be countersunk/bored for it to sit flush with the side.

Missed a picture here! As you can see the guitar now has the neck attached! This was done with hot hide glue. I use this glue for this application for a number of reasons, though mainly as it is completely reversible should the neck ever become damaged and need to be replaced. It is also what Gibson would have used back in the old days and some believe it to offer a tonal difference.

Apologies for the messy picture! Bit of an "action shot" while it is being sanded. Here the top is wet back to raise the grain (just like we did on the neck)...it also shows off the grain of the Maple top nicely .

With that done, we jump head first into dyeing! We achieved a nice translucence and colour and I'm very pleased with it. The grain has been popped with an initial dye coat, then sanded back and re applied.

A before the dye shot.

And an after shot. The guitar is now in finishing, all that remains after this is to fit the bridge, install hardware, setup and play!

Thank you for taking the time to stop by
A couple of shots showing the finish building up. I'm using our own home made Poly based finish here, which we will soon be offering for sale. Its very tough, easy to apply and a nice gloss can be achieved.

Here's the top. It hasn't had half as many coats as the back picture, so its not quite as glossy yet, but it soon will be!

Stay tuned!
Still slowly progressing with this build. Finishing is always time consuming getting everything just right, but its looking good, so thought I'd put up a picture to show hows its getting along. Its going to get glossier still, but the grain on the top has really started to show itself now. We're getting there!

Thanks for looking
Very nice build! I look forward to seeing it's completion. I really like how you've added strength to the neck with the volute.

And is it just me, or is the 19th fret inlay off center? That would bug me forever, lol.
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Quote by gorgthemeatpile
Very nice build! I look forward to seeing it's completion. I really like how you've added strength to the neck with the volute.

And is it just me, or is the 19th fret inlay off center? That would bug me forever, lol.

Thanks, seemed like a good idea to me too...plus it looks cool!

No all ok, though it certainly looks thay way in some of the pictures. Just a bit of camera trickery I guess caused by taking them at angles. If you look at some of the pictures it appears as it should.

Glad you like it, completion will hopefully be soon!
Here are the final progress pictures before I post pictures of the finished guitar ( the pictures are currently being sorted!), which is now complete and with its new owner.

In this picture you can see the Maple covers for the control cavity, switch and truss rod. The switch and cavity lid are flamed Maple to tie in with the front, while the truss rod cover is Birdseye to match the fingerboard. This picture was taken before they got their final coat of finish, so they will be glossier than this on the finished guitar.

Here I'm rough slotting and shaping the bone nut.

And the finished top, notice the bridge and tailpiece have been drilled for and the cavities shielded with copper foil.

Next up was assembly and set up, as mentioned earlier the guitar is already finished and has even played its first gig! Completed pictures coming soon.

Thank you for following this build.
very nice job! what did you use for that beautiful black stain?

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Thank you very much.

I used a fairly standard off the shelf wood dye made by Liberon (I'm always impressed by their stuff) though I'm sure you could get similar results with most water based dyes. The secrets not really the product but how you use it, if you just rub it on it doesn't come out looking like this, there is quite a bit of prep work raising the grain and sanding back (this was repeated many times until it no longer raises). Then when you come to applying the dye, wet the surface first a little and rub on. After drying for a few hours you then sand back to just leave it in the grain. After all that the final coat is applied and it should look pretty good! The sanding back of the dye is the part which gives it real depth.

Hope this helps
Here we are! The finished pictures!

Back shot of the Maple cavity lids

Headstock with 16 inlay and birdseye Maple truss rod cover to match fingerboard.

Birdseye Maple fingerboard with 12th fret initials

There we have it! I may add some gig shots at a later date. Thank you for watching this build and for all the nice comments.
That is some really nice, clean work! It looks great. Did you use a spray gun for the finish or did you brush it on?
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Quote by salsawords
That is some really nice, clean work! It looks great. Did you use a spray gun for the finish or did you brush it on?

Thank you very much . Nope no spray gun here, I used our own poly based finish applied with a cloth, much like one would wiping varnish (Truoil etc).