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#1
So I've started a build at the beginning of September and I've finally dedicated the time to put together some photos of my progress thus far, and I'll likely update as I get work done on it.

So as an overview, this is my take on the gibson explorer shape. My first guitar was a jay turser explorer clone, and I've dug the shape of explorers and similarly shaped guitars since I started playing (and to this day). After buying my first guitar, I jumped into building guitars. My 2nd and 3rd builds were another of my own design but greatly inspired by a Jackson kelly and warrior morphed together, I call it the Infinity and you can find it in my pictures of my gear in my profile and there's a thread somewhere. Now I'm on my 5th build and the design started out as a smoother redesign of the infinity shape I made, until it eventually became more of a modernized take on the explorer shape.

Here's the low down of the specs;
25" scale Ziricote fretboard
Birdseye Maple/Zebrawood laminated neck
Black Limba body with Quilted Maple top
Schaller Hannes bridge, Gotoh Locking Tuners, Tusq XL nut, Reilander RH2 reverend humbuckers, freeway 6 way switch for hum/both/hum/coil/both/coil, 1 concentric pot for neck and bridge volume, 2 concentric pot for treble/bass cut 1 for neck, 1 for bridge.

And now, progress.

The plan

Black Limba body blank (normally I would build my own blank but I ordered one on the account of lack of access to a planer)
Reinhardt 18 Head
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#2
Template to be cut out
\

Gluing up the neck laminates


Cutting the scarf joint via handsaw, it will be cleaned up with a router jig


Gluing an ear onto the headstock blank, quilted maple will be put on the face.


Gluing the scarf joint
Reinhardt 18 Head
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#3
Scalloped headstock! because I love em, I need em, can't get enough of em.


Gluing the ziricote fretboard to the neck


Spoke nut truss rod, I personally like the look, and they are easy to adjust


Shaped the taper of the neck, also notice the binding channel on the one side! something exciting coming!
Reinhardt 18 Head
H&K Tubemiester 18 head
Blue 6505+ head

TC Electronics G Major
MXR phase 90, Pigtronix Echolution 2
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#4
First time using alternating wood instead of inlays, and I think I'm gonna do it this way from now on.


Trimmed up, dayum I like that!


Top view, look at the grain on the ziricote, so purdy.


This is what I started on today! compound radius 12 to 16 sanded to 1200 grit and polished with a cotton t-shirt.


Gluing some frets in, I hammer them in, always have, and probably always will, too cheap to buy a press lol.


Currently waiting for the glue to dry, then I will trim the frets and start on the body, either today or tomorrow.
Reinhardt 18 Head
H&K Tubemiester 18 head
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TC Electronics G Major
MXR phase 90, Pigtronix Echolution 2
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#5
Awesome.

How did you manage to achieve a compound radius and keep the fretboard perfectly level?
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Omae wa mou
Shindeiru



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#6
based on the parts and all you're using and all this is going to be excellent. I like the originality too that it won't be another gibson or fender as so many local guys i used to deal with that just rip off the big names.

i really like the ziricotes grain too

have you used the hannes bridge on previous builds. I may consider one on a guitar.
Last edited by Tallwood13 at Sep 12, 2015,
#8
@T00DEEPBLUE
I just use a 12" radius sanding block at frets 0 to 6ish, a 14" radius block at frets 6-12, and a 16" radius block at frets 13-onward. Honestly I kind of just eye ball it by sanding the first section until the edges are low and the top starts to get sanded, then same thing with the next section with the next block, so on so forth and blending between each section with the higher of two radius. I did that on my last two builds with great success.

More important though would be making sure the fret tops are level but in regards to the compound radius, in which I use a sanding block about as long as the whole fretboard and about 1 inch wide and run it along the frets at the angle each specific string would run from the nut to the bridge.

@Tallwood13
Thanks, I'm quite excited with this project, and I'm not really into gibsons and fenders lol so I tend to go out there with either my own or at least unconventional shapes. This is the first time using a Hannes, I've used hipshot baby grand (which I like) and various locking trems on other builds. But after reading a few posts on various forums in regards to the hannes having some good "voodoo" to it I decided I would try it out. I can't imagine it having a negative effect but only time will tell if it has the mojo schaller claims it to have.

@pressureproject
Thanks!
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#9
Quote by Ethanb08
@T00DEEPBLUE
More important though would be making sure the fret tops are level but in regards to the compound radius, in which I use a sanding block about as long as the whole fretboard and about 1 inch wide and run it along the frets at the angle each specific string would run from the nut to the bridge.

Interesting.

Is the sanding block used for levelling the frets completely flat? Because if it is, how do you level the frets without flattening the radius the fretwire as you're levelling in each particular area?

I'm asking these questions because I have another guitar that happens to have a compound radius fretboard and I'm not sure how much it would cost to re-level the frets given the added complication of the fretboard's varying curvature.
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Omae wa mou
Shindeiru



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#10
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Interesting.

Is the sanding block used for levelling the frets completely flat? Because if it is, how do you level the frets without flattening the radius the fretwire as you're levelling in each particular area?

I'm asking these questions because I have another guitar that happens to have a compound radius fretboard and I'm not sure how much it would cost to re-level the frets given the added complication of the fretboard's varying curvature.


Yeah it is flat, ideally you keep moving it along the radius of the frets so you sort of keep the radius rather than focusing on one area. Its hardly different from leveling a single radius fretboard. imagine the red arrows are the motion of how you are supposed to move your leveling block, simultaneously across and along the frets, angular/conical for compound radius and straight for a single radius guitar.

Reinhardt 18 Head
H&K Tubemiester 18 head
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#11
Thanks for the diagram.

Why do you choose to level the frets this way, and not the same way as you do with levelling the fingerboard?
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Omae wa mou
Shindeiru



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#12
Nice work so far
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
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I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

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#13
@T00DEEPBLUE
Well for compound radius boards its probably the easiest way to level the frets. On the last single radius board I made/levelled I used the same radius block for levelling frets as for radiusing the board.

@Dave_Mc
Thanks!
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#14
Love watching a build come together. Love the look of the ziricote!
Gibson LP traditional and DC standard, SG standard, MIA Standard Strat, Schecter Banshee 7
EVH 5153, Orange TV50H 2-2x12's
Line 6 M13
#15
Quote by Ethanb08
@T00DEEPBLUE
Well for compound radius boards its probably the easiest way to level the frets. On the last single radius board I made/levelled I used the same radius block for levelling frets as for radiusing the board.

Fair enough.

I hope this build goes well for you.
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Omae wa mou
Shindeiru



Quote by Axelfox
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#16
Thanks guys, I hope this build goes well too lol.

Anyways yesterday I made some templates for the control cavities and control cover recesses.

Today I started drilling out some bulk from the control cavities and routing the wire channels


And then routing the cavities and adding some shielding paint, takes 3 coats with 24 hours between coats (as the tin says) So perhaps later tonight I'll start levelling the frets and crowning.
Reinhardt 18 Head
H&K Tubemiester 18 head
Blue 6505+ head

TC Electronics G Major
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#17
So for fret leveling on a compound fretboard its pretty similar to a regular fretboard. Colour the top of the frets with a marker.


My leveling block is the metal rectangular bar at the bottom with adhesive sandpaper on the thin edge, simply run it along the frets and across following imaginary string lines, until the marker is completely gone from the tops of frets. Still some marker so I keep leveling.


Frets are leveled, crowning is next.


I forgot to take a picture during the crowning process, typically you use a crowning file of some sort, I have a diamond one from stewmac's. Anyways this is a picture after using #180 and #400 fret erasers, still have to go up to #1000, but the frets are starting to look cleaner.
Reinhardt 18 Head
H&K Tubemiester 18 head
Blue 6505+ head

TC Electronics G Major
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#18
Haven't done too much in the last few days, but here.

After going through up to #1000 fret eraser. The dots on the tape are so I know which frets are done. The line was me experimenting with some polishing compound and hand polishing.


It turned out alright, that grain looks great though.


Drilled the tuner holes.


Just another view.


Control cavity cover plate recesses routed and painted with conductive/sheilding paint on in the recesses
Reinhardt 18 Head
H&K Tubemiester 18 head
Blue 6505+ head

TC Electronics G Major
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Frust
#19
So a bit more progress coming along.
Gluing the top on, I typically do one side at a time, Mainly due to a lack of clamps, I have a 4 way equal pressure clamping thing somewhere that I'll maybe experiment with some day.


Neck routing jig... I should really clean my little shop/room


Neck joint looks alright, it's tight but not quite "lift it by the neck tight" I should have put some tap on the insides of the jig pieces so it was a little tighter... Live and learn I guess.


Full shot, bridge isn't mounted yet, just sitting on top.
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#20
Got a bit of work done today. My bench top drill press is too small to reach into the middle of the body to drill the holes for the hannes bridge, so I ended up making a small 3/4" thick jig on my drill press with all the hole placements and used it (clamped in place) along with a bubble level on the back of my hand drill to drill the holes. Turned out great, the hannes fits and all the holes line up through to the back. One of the string holes is about 1mm out of line on the back side but it will be hidden under the string plate so it's not an issue.



Also routed the pickup cavities and applied a layer of conductive paint.



Tomorrow I will likely rough cut the shape out and trim with the template and my trusty Milwaukee 5616-20 (She's a real beast).
Reinhardt 18 Head
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TC Electronics G Major
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Frust
#21
It's finally starting to look like a guitar now!
Shaped with a template bit, and some of the parts set on top.


Shaping the neck contour with a rasp.


Cleaned up with some sanding.


Here's the back chamfered, I might chamfer it a bit more, we'll see.


and the front chamfered.
Reinhardt 18 Head
H&K Tubemiester 18 head
Blue 6505+ head

TC Electronics G Major
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Frust
#22
Got a little bit of work done, in the last few days.
My 11mm router bit arrived so I could route the string plate for the hannes and drill the grounding wire channel to the control cavity.


Made some matching black Limba cover plates, I might have to spend some more time sanding them to give them a little more wiggle room for different temperatures/times of the year.


And here it is sanded up to 360 grit, I think the body is done until staining and finishing. My favourite colour is blue, so this will be stained blue... Just like the rest of my personal builds lol. In the coming days though I will start shaping the neck.
Reinhardt 18 Head
H&K Tubemiester 18 head
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TC Electronics G Major
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Frust
#23
Got the neck mostly finished from profiling. Just need to spend a little more time with some sanding, to get it comfortable where I want it.

Rasp and spoke shave, birds eye is starting to pop a little.


Giving the other side some love


All sanded up and clean, a bit of mineral streaks on the lower portion of the headstock scarf. Some people like it, some people don't, I'm mostly neutral, but "defects" as such do add character. A little more sanding to go and a clean up around the heel and mini volute till its done done.
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Blue 6505+ head

TC Electronics G Major
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Frust
#24
That is a work of art, the fret board is really really nice as well.

Looks like it will be awesome when its done, cant wait to see the end product.
#25
Great choice in woods. I love the look of the birdseye maple. What color/tint blue are you going with? Blue is my favorite as well, but oddly enough I don't have single guitar with that color. Black, red and a honey burst are the only colors I have.
Gibson LP traditional and DC standard, SG standard, MIA Standard Strat, Schecter Banshee 7
EVH 5153, Orange TV50H 2-2x12's
Line 6 M13
#26
@The Locust
Thank you!

@bobafettacheese
Thanks, I will probably try to get something close to the mechanical pencil I have there, perhaps lighter though, I'll have to test on some scraps first.
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#27
So I'm currently posting this on another forum I frequent and one of the members suggested I should back strap the headstock to clean up the look I had some limba and zebrawood and settled on the limba to aesthetically match the back of the body and tie in the full look. It went pretty well. I used a boiling pot of water and dipped my limba in it for 5 minutes and rolled it with a small soup can. After it was bent I let it dry and I used a 3/4 round over bit to make a clamping block for the curve which worked quite well. Eventually I started the gluing process, starting at the curve with my block. I brushed the limba before I clamped the rest of it and cracked it a little but it didn't cause any major problems other than a little disappointment at the moment. So here it is now cleaned/sanded, definitely helped sleek the look of the back of the headstock a bunch, that and it was a learning experience, which is always good.



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#30
Thanks guys, building a neck isn't that bad, just do a little research and jump into it... That's what I did!

Any ways I got to some staining today. I applied 2 coats of Target Coatings EM6000 water based acrylic lacquer by brush to where the maple top and the black limba meet. I let that dry overnight and masked the limba off with some frog tape and the whole back with some plastic and regular masking tape just to avoid any accidental stains. I did three coats, sanding back after the first two, and wiped the top with some distilled water after the third to just to lighten some of the lighter spots. I took the frog tape off and it worked pretty decent, nice sharp line for all the straight(ish) runs. There were a few spots on the curves where the stain leaked through the frog tape but sanding took care of them. On to the pictures!







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Frust
#31
Yes please!! Great color choice.
Gibson LP traditional and DC standard, SG standard, MIA Standard Strat, Schecter Banshee 7
EVH 5153, Orange TV50H 2-2x12's
Line 6 M13
#33
Thanks guys!

So I started spraying earlier, the target EM6000 is water based, so I was expecting it to go on clear, and it did, very clear. However it didn't give the stain as much of a soaked or wet look as my brushed test pieces did. I assume this is because it was sprayed rather than brushed. So I was anticipating a little more contrast in the maple, a little more similar to the wet (2nd) picture in the last post. That having been said, it sprays nice, I got a little thick on my first coat which makes it look milky, but it was a wash coat so it soaked a decent amount and the milky-ness disappeared as it dried. Any ways in future builds I will likely use this target EM6000, but I will perhaps do a darkend/black coat first or second during the staining process to get more depth/contrast. The only reason I didn't this time is because my test had convinced me otherwise, along with being use to having solvent based/nitro coats darken the stain. Live and learn. Any ways I snapped some pics, you can see some milky-ness on the back where it got a little thick in some spots. Also notable this is outdoor lighting so the blue is a bit brighter than it typically would be.





Any ways that's two coats for now, then on to grain filling.
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#35
Thanks dude.
Well 160 hours later and I could start wet sanding and buffing. So here we are!!!

The back


Some reflection


5 coats of tru-oil sanded to 2000 grit and then gone over with some 0000 steel wool. Feel's like butter, but like not like a gross handful of butter, like a metaphorical smooth butter that isn't messy.


Some interesting ripply looking zebrawood. I'm not sure if this is some sort of micro figure as a result of interlocked grain (which this piece indeed was interlocked) or some other phenomena, certainly not machine marks, it was sanded plenty and mostly hand tooled.


And finally a little put together. I'm still waiting on pickups and some cavity cover screws which should arrive some time this week.
Reinhardt 18 Head
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Blue 6505+ head

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Frust
#37
Love the colour and quilt. Neck wood is superb, love it. Not keen on the top cut-away shape but it's a million times better than I could design. Need to see it strapped to a person. In fact, your floor looks better than most of my guitars. Been following this thread for weeks and can't wait for finished guitar. Hat's off to you sir!!!!
My gastronomic rapacity knows no satiety.
Last edited by crackerjack123 at Oct 22, 2015,
#38
Do you always work on your guitars barefoot?
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Omae wa mou
Shindeiru



Quote by Axelfox
Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
#39
for the target finish, did you use the cross linker to get additional durability or the extender? I have used the white pigment version to spray ******* cabinets and wonder how the clear works.
#40
Thanks guys.

@T00DEEPBLUE
Well, if its small finishing stuff and assembly I'm doing most of it in my house on a table, so, yessum, I'm a barefoot dweller. lol Crocs for shop work on this build, but normally I use steel toe shoes, but they wore out.

@Rusty_Chisel
No I got the target stuff before I learned of the cross linker, but for future builds I'm going to get some to try/test.
Reinhardt 18 Head
H&K Tubemiester 18 head
Blue 6505+ head

TC Electronics G Major
MXR phase 90, Pigtronix Echolution 2
Digitech Whammy (5th gen)

ETB Infinity x2
ETB Yoda

Frust
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