#1
Short and sweet, there are some dead and damaged trees my parents are having taken out of their yard. A project might be nice, so I was thinking of asking the crew that comes to get rid of them if I could have some pieces of the trees cut in certain sizes, and trying my hand at turning them into a handmade guitar a la Brian May for a fun project. Two questions though:

1. What measurements should I give them for the neck piece and the body piece(s)? Still working the body's design, but at most it'll be a weird mutation of a Les Paul or a strat or a tele or something of that sort. Neck I'd like to be around 25.5" in terms of scale and 9.5" in terms of radius.
2. What kinds of wood should I have them use for each? If I recall properly, the two they're taking down are ash and cherry. They might also be taking some limbs off a cherryblossom tree, so that would also be an option. I was thinking about trying all cherry, but I'm not sure there'd be enough wood in the right lengths for that. There might be another one or two coming down that I forget. Anyone have any ideas what each of these would look/sound like?
3. How hard is it to make a neck? Given the spacing needed to get the notes to actually sound right, I imagine this is probably the hardest part of actually making the guitar if you don't have the machines and I'd end up better off buying a neck and just making the body myself, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong with that.
4. Is there anything I should know?
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#2
1. Your neck measurements will depend on your join, headstock design, scale length, number of frets and string taper. You really need to draw everything out to scale and then measure it from that drawing.

2. Probably ash for the body and cherry for the neck. Make sure that you check the moisture and pay attention to the cut direction to avoid warping.

3. It's not harder as such, but requires a little more skill and more research. You should approach a neck and body with the same care and attention. If you're unsure, it could be worth buying a neck and removing a lot of variables that way. It should give you more change of having a playable result, so you don't give up building after.

4. See above ^ . Generally just plan, plan and plan. Measure twice, cut once. Etc
#3
the guys that take down trees typically only have chainsaws. I am not sure they would be able to really give you anything that allow them to really dimension anything unless the guy was a wizard with a chainsaw.

My cousin has a concrete business and he was always cutting down trees. He got sick of the waste and bought a mini-saw mill and he cuts lumber for woodworking projects from that.

I have gotten wood from him and even going through a $6000 machine, it still needs substantial time with the jointer and planer.

The other thing you need to consider is the moisture of the wood. Once it is cut, it will start to dry out which will result in the wood moving or changing shape. It could take several years for the wood to dry out if you just throw it in a corner of your garage. I think you also need to do certain things like seal the endgrain to prevent checking.

IF you are willing to wait, this could be a great project. I would do some more research on drying times for wood. You can also make a glass solar kiln if you want to speed it up.

I would also tell the tree people to cut REALLY rough dimensions and plan on doing a 3 piece laminate neck even if it is just cherry, 2 piece body. I have used cherry for a body and it is nice.
#4
Have them save you some 4 - 4.5' long sections of the thickest parts.
Most guitars don't exceed about 45" overall length, and that includes neck-through designs.

You should be able to find a small saw-mill somewhere near you (could take some online searching), even a hardwood store that would be able to cut it into slabs for you. Seal the ends, stack it so that air can circulate through it and then revisit it in a year or (preferably) two.
#5
Bad news: It would appear that because the crew taking out the trees were very touch-and-go with schedule, they showed up with about three hours notice, so I did not get a chance to get the wood.

Good news: It turns out they also have some flat planks of wood that they haven't used in almost a decade that they're willing to give me to make up for it. Not enough wood to make a neck and a body, but should be enough to get a body and slap a Warmoth neck onto it.

New questions with the new wood source:

1. They're fairly thin, so it'll probably be two layered slabs. What kind of adhesive do I need for this, how should I apply pressure while the adhesive dries, and how long does it take to dry?
2. Is there any way to tell what kind of wood it is? I'm pretty sure it's maple, but I'm not positive.
3. They've been sitting in a garage for the past seven or eight years. Never rained on, but in plenty of hot and humid weather year-round. Do they need to be dried?
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#6
1. I would use titebond 1 wood glue. That is the simplest glue to use. I've seen people use other glues for different reasons but titebond is definitely the most common. You should clamp it A LOT! You need clamps that apply a lot of pressure as well. Quick clamps with the squeeze handles don't work as well as others. The more clamps you use, the better. It's also important that your clamps apply even pressure, so you should put blocks of wood (the same size as the pieces you're gluing) between the clamps and the pieces you're gluing. It dries in 24 hours but read the directions on the bottle for more info.

2. Not sure. You can look up pictures of grain and try to find out what it is you have. That is tough to do sometimes but worth a look.

3. Not sure again. Most people use professionally dried wood and I don't know anything about it beyond that.

Keep updating! I love watching this stuff.
Bari Build

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Last edited by salsawords at Aug 24, 2014,
#7
Quote by necrosis1193
Bad news: It would appear that because the crew taking out the trees were very touch-and-go with schedule, they showed up with about three hours notice, so I did not get a chance to get the wood.

Good news: It turns out they also have some flat planks of wood that they haven't used in almost a decade that they're willing to give me to make up for it. Not enough wood to make a neck and a body, but should be enough to get a body and slap a Warmoth neck onto it.

New questions with the new wood source:

1. They're fairly thin, so it'll probably be two layered slabs. What kind of adhesive do I need for this, how should I apply pressure while the adhesive dries, and how long does it take to dry?
2. Is there any way to tell what kind of wood it is? I'm pretty sure it's maple, but I'm not positive.
3. They've been sitting in a garage for the past seven or eight years. Never rained on, but in plenty of hot and humid weather year-round. Do they need to be dried?


1. Titebond Original or epoxy. What you're doing is no different to a Les Paul or something with a figured cap. You can use anything from a vacuum press to a bag of cement. Most people will use MDF or something to spread the pressure and protect the wood from being damaged by clamps. Having plenty of clamps and pressure is important, but don't forget that you shouldn't use clamps to compensate for bad surface prep/joinery. Also scuff your surfaces with 120 grit or close enough and give the glue a few moments to soak in before joining. Consult the bottle for drying times (most people wouldn't touch it for at least 24hrs).

2. Pictures and Google.

3. If you're really worried about moisture content get a metre and check it. You'll plane any warping out before you join, so the history is irrelevant as long as it's dry enough.
#8
The stores where I get the wood generally have it lying around for several years in the open air under a simple roof, and it's never given my any trouble. After seven or eight years I'm guessing the wood has dried enough, but remember to never place the wood in a radically different atmospheric environment. I did that with wood for a recent project, and it started warping and cracking.

As for what kind of wood it is, posting some detailed pictures of the wood grain might be worth a try. I'm by no means an expert, but there are some very experienced people around here who might be able to help you out.
#10
^I already have a tele. Too tired right now, but might whip up some mock-ups in photoshop sometime this week of some shape ideas.

Cheers for the input guys. Next time I visit I'm going to take the board I'll be using for the body down to measure it, and if I'm lucky, find out that it'll actually be thick enough. Assuming they're mounted on a pickguard, how thick does it need to be?

Also, what dimensions would I need to carve out for a bolt-on Warmoth neck joint?
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#11
Thickness can vary a lot between builds, but for a bolted neck you'll need at least a solid 4 centimeters to get a strong joint, preferably around 5. And if you want to equip it with a Floyd then you'll definitely need the thickness for the trem block and to rout the swimming pool in the back.

If you can find the dimensions of the Warmoth neck in an online diagram or somewhere else, then those are most likely the dimensions you'll need to carve in the body. The tighter the neck pocket, the less movement in the joint.
#12
No floyd. It's going to be stop-tail, I never use trems. Hoping to try and find a top-loading bridge other than a tune-o-matic to avoid some drilling.
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#13
Quote by necrosis1193
No floyd. It's going to be stop-tail, I never use trems. Hoping to try and find a top-loading bridge other than a tune-o-matic to avoid some drilling.


If you're in the UK or don't mind postage, Axetec make a suitable top-loading hardtail.

Bear in mind that using a Tune-O-Matic would also mean working in a neck angle or recessing the bridge, which might be best avoided.
#14
Quote by -MintSauce-
If you're in the UK or don't mind postage, Axetec make a suitable top-loading hardtail.

Bear in mind that using a Tune-O-Matic would also mean working in a neck angle or recessing the bridge, which might be best avoided.


US, how much is shipping from the UK for something that small?

All the more reason I would like to avoid a tune-o-matic if I can
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#15
Alright, priced everything out. With everything but the knobs - which would be coming from Radioshack - and the pickups - which would be a DiMarzio Cruiser and Transition - coming from Warmoth, the price for the neck, pickups, electronics, hardware, et al., comes out to about $600-$700, or thereabouts, assuming I'm able to do all the carving and routing and all that myself.

Anyone have advice on where to get the paint for the body once everything else is done with? I'd like a dark red, but I want to go with something that's transparent so you can see the wood grain underneath once it's done.
THE FORUM UPDATE KILLED THE GRADIENT STAR

Baltimore Orioles: 2014 AL Eastern Division Champions, 2017: 73-78
Baltimore Ravens: 2012 World Champions, 2017: 2-0
2017 NFL Pick 'Em: 24-7