Making Woodstock Rock: a half dozen kits!

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by MoonJelly, May 14, 2018.

  1. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

    Messages:
    1,111
    Likes Received:
    484
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2016
    Location:
    North Atlanta, GA
    Sorry in advance for the word dump, if you scroll down there is a TL;DR and pics. Soon my bro's V will be done. I was hoping to finish it this last weekend, but I couldn't get access to it in storage (a friend is storing it for me but he was attending a funeral). Moving to Woodstock put a major kink in my workflow, but now that I finally have a dedicated space, I did manage to get a project started for the summer.

    This upcoming project will involve be mentoring 1-2 Boy Scouts who are working on their Eagle project, and anywhere from 2-6 guitars. It all depends on how many kids get signed up, but the scouts and I will be building guitar kits for assembly and finishing. Once they are complete we will donate them to local music schools/departments.

    I am donating the wood and the experience, but local kids are paying for the hardware (about $60 per instrument, which they can split up to 3 ways). The hardware is all imported from overseas but it is stuff I've tested in the past, and know it will be far above the average quality for a 'starter' guitar. Also the sizes are standard enough someone could easily upgrade to nicer tuners or pickups if they so desire. Specs for those who give a rip:

    Pickups: Alnico humbuckers (the ceramic ones I've tried all suck)
    Tuners: Locking type, 3x3 (would've gone 6 lefty but they were 50% more $$)
    Bridge: Hardtail string through, similar to a PRS SE with the heavy zinc baseplate.
    Electronics: full-size Alpha pots and 3-way blade switch
    Frets: Stainless steel jumbo size (2.9 mm)
    Inlay: Copper tubing for side and face dots
    Body: 2 piece basswood, 1 3/4" thick
    Neck: 3 piece laminated cherry
    Scale length: still debating, at least 25"
    Finish: Sealed/primed and waiting for a personal touch

    The kids participating besides the scouts are from a youth group at my local church. The hope is that they learn some practical skills, and it's an exercise in team-building. Also they may gain a sense of community from working for a charitable cause, and some may even be a recipient of one of the guitars, depending what school they attend (and if they are learning to play). If nothing else, it gives them an outlet for creative expression and they don't get in as much trouble!

    So, on the luthiery side, I managed to get a decent deal on 20 board ft. of basswood for up to 6 bodies, and another 12 board ft. of cherry for up to 6 necks. The deal on the cherry was awesome, or I would have gone with maple. The basswood was a makeshift bench this week, but sometime in the next 1-2 weeks I can get my table saw ripping these suckers into 2-3 piece body blanks, and all 3 piece neck blanks. The fretboards will be from my personal stash of either katalox or pau ferro (monterillo is what they sold it to me as, but that's just a regional distinction).

    [​IMG]

    The templates are where I made the most progress, and I'm psyched about where it's going. The body is meant to use less material than my typical builds. I like bigger bodies BC I'm 6'5" and 250 lbs. Usually a superstrat looks a little small in my hands, but these are designed for students who are smaller than me.

    I based the body loosely off a blackmachine, but made it offset and curled the horns inward just slightly. Keeping the body on the narrow side will allow me to get the most out of the wood I have on hand. The headstock is just a really straightforward 3x3 but I'm a fan of the shape it came down to after a few drafts. IMO it's not too aggressive looking, and it ought to appeal to a wide range of players.

    [​IMG]

    I also got started on a flyer to post for the world to see, and by the world I mean my little suburb of Atlanta. I like the idea of it going out to more areas, but for the sake of simplicity I've decided it should be local. If I get a repeat interest next year I may expand it.

    TL;DR I'm likely going to be building up to 6 new guitars this summer (with some help from the Boy Scouts and some kids) and I'm donating them all to charity.
     
    J_Mac, Randy, ElRay and 5 others like this.
  2. Wolfos

    Wolfos Guitarded

    Messages:
    884
    Likes Received:
    362
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2016
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Great idea, it would be awesome to reach out to those with a passion for music but not the funds to buy a guitar.
     
    Dark Aegis likes this.
  3. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

    Messages:
    1,111
    Likes Received:
    484
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2016
    Location:
    North Atlanta, GA
    Thank you, that's my thinking as well. IMO a lot of parents don't support their kids' creative side enough, and sometimes it's up to the community to lend a hand. :hbang:
     
    Bobro likes this.
  4. Omzig

    Omzig SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    240
    Likes Received:
    341
    Joined:
    May 3, 2012
    Location:
    Dudley,West Midlands
    A Noble act hope it goes well for you :)
     
  5. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

    Messages:
    1,111
    Likes Received:
    484
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2016
    Location:
    North Atlanta, GA
    Thanks! There are a lot of things that could make it fall through, but my plan is if I don't have enough participation, I'll just scale down the number of builds. Hoping for at least 2 with the help I'll get from my Scouts.
     
  6. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

    Messages:
    1,111
    Likes Received:
    484
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2016
    Location:
    North Atlanta, GA
    My mini shop is starting to look more complete. I wish I had a 'before' picture as this was just studs when I got started :)

    I cut the Cherry slabs to neck length, and found the off cuts were just long enough to make an extra body blank so it got glued up right before the rain started. Tomorrow the table saw rolls in

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  7. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

    Messages:
    1,111
    Likes Received:
    484
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2016
    Location:
    North Atlanta, GA
    Got my table saw in place finally. The cherry pieces have all been ripped and there's enough for eight (8!) necks here.

    Cutting the laminates was a bit of a challenge for two reasons. There was an unexpected amount of tension in the wood, so as the rip cut was progressing, the end would try to pinch together.
    Second reason was a dull and worn out blade on the saw. I bought it new and I've used it pretty regularly for about 3 years, so yeah, time to replace that...
    [​IMG]

    I still managed to get pretty straight cuts but there is some scorching I'll need to send back before glue. By cutting all but 2-3mm from the laminate strips I kept them from binding up the blade. Then I lowered the blade and trimmed the last of the cuts away.

    [​IMG]


    Also cut my pau ferro to thickness for 6 ferretboards. Lots of variety in this batch, I hope to use some as a top on another build. My spare body blank is lighter than average, depending how this goes I may have to keep that one!

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
    jwade, neun Arme and KnightBrolaire like this.
  8. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

    Messages:
    1,111
    Likes Received:
    484
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2016
    Location:
    North Atlanta, GA
    Lots of planing happened today. I met with my youth group and they glued up four neck blanks tonight :hbang: I didn't take pics at the activity, but I did have one that was ready to plane and so I showed them that process. There were a few kids that were riveted through the whole thing. Was a lot of fun and hope I get more chances to do activities like that this summer. Below you can just make out the first neck about to get clamped. I'll post a few pics of the finished lamination tomorrow. Also I may keep that last streaky piece of pau ferro.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    KR250, jwade and IGC like this.
  9. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

    Messages:
    1,111
    Likes Received:
    484
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2016
    Location:
    North Atlanta, GA
    The fruits of our labor last night. Planed one to show they did a pretty good job!

    [​IMG]
     
    jwade and IGC like this.
  10. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

    Messages:
    1,111
    Likes Received:
    484
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2016
    Location:
    North Atlanta, GA
    Planed everything already glued and glued two more. Next up is truss rod routes, and gluing fingerboards in place.[​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    IGC likes this.
  11. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

    Messages:
    1,111
    Likes Received:
    484
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2016
    Location:
    North Atlanta, GA
    Well progress is slow because I discovered I'm missing a box of tools, including my truss rod routing bits :(

    Anyways I've got 5 neck blanks ready, plus a bonus neck with Chechen stripes in it. I'm hoping in July to have a couple weeks of work where I can get some real work done in the shop.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    BlackMastodon and NateFalcon like this.
  12. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

    Messages:
    1,111
    Likes Received:
    484
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2016
    Location:
    North Atlanta, GA
    Cleaning up/organizing the new shed today mostly. Oh and I finally got around to planing one of the basswood boards. It was a nice surprise to get 4 bodies from one plank!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After routing the profiles, I'm going to have to do truss rods. Still cant find my good bits! :noway:

    What do you guys think; set necks or bolt on for this itty bitty run?
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2018
    KR250, Rattlehead83 and jwade like this.
  13. jwade

    jwade Doooooooooom

    Messages:
    2,409
    Likes Received:
    418
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    Bolt on seems like it would be the better option for beginner/student guitars solely for easy replacement down the road (IMO).

    Also, you’re a rad person for doing this.
     
    J_Mac likes this.
  14. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

    Messages:
    1,111
    Likes Received:
    484
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2016
    Location:
    North Atlanta, GA
    Thanks! Considering the shape and size of the heel, they'll need to be true bolt on if I go that route. I guess I'm off to buy some t-nuts/furniture screws!
     
  15. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

    Messages:
    1,111
    Likes Received:
    484
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2016
    Location:
    North Atlanta, GA
    Plane. Sand. Repeat. Good thing basswood cuts so easy.
    Also did a doodle of a bass I'm gonna build for a coworker.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    jwade likes this.
  16. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

    Messages:
    1,111
    Likes Received:
    484
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2016
    Location:
    North Atlanta, GA
    A couple bodies coming along...

    [​IMG]

    Basswood is massively underrated.
    [​IMG]

    Hmmm, what's under here?
    [​IMG]

    Veneer!
    [​IMG]

    Crap photo of nice sapele body...
    [​IMG]


    And the bass starting to take shape.
    [​IMG]


    That sapele getting wenge with a veneer sandwich... A little worried about this one as I took the clamps off a bit to early and it started to separate. It's all clamped up again; fingers crossed it does the trick.
    [​IMG]


    Aaaand a maple top for that bass body, also sitting in the clamps right now.
    [​IMG]
     
    jwade and KR250 like this.
  17. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

    Messages:
    1,111
    Likes Received:
    484
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2016
    Location:
    North Atlanta, GA
    Always been a fan of sandwiches...
    [​IMG]

    Especially maple sandwiches.
    [​IMG]

    Bass for work friend now haz maple too.

    [​IMG]
    Lookin' good :yesway:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Finally that wenge top cured proper and it's looking amazing. Favorite so far.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Do you see that bookmatch?! Couldn't have been any better.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Good day's work. The V is getting a re-stain... thought some of the figuring was getting lost in too-dark red.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
  18. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

    Messages:
    1,111
    Likes Received:
    484
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2016
    Location:
    North Atlanta, GA
    I got a neck template for the bass prototype completed (maple is the template, pau ferro for the build).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Pau ferro has a really interesting smell when you cut it--quite like smoldering potpourri.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The fretboard will be katalox, which makes the majority of woods on this build Latin American woods, I think it's cool having a theme :) This will be just a 4-string, but a looong scale; I'm thinking somewhere between 38-39". In the background of this pic you can see the clamping monstrosity that led to a more successful veneer application

    The veneers are coming along. The original attempt I had to sand away due to massive creep/wrinkling :noway:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    With a crap ton of braces/clamps the second attempt is much more satisfying.
    [​IMG]

    Also not pictured, I started a bubinga/wenge neck for the sapele/wenge body. Thinking I'll make a baritone 6 (30") with it, but am still trying to decide on a fretboard material....I have Macassar ebony, but might like to get some Gabon type to keep things in the African region.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
    KnightBrolaire likes this.
  19. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

    Messages:
    1,111
    Likes Received:
    484
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2016
    Location:
    North Atlanta, GA
    Finished laminating this wenge/bubinga neck blank. I still need to plane the headstock cap down but it already looks pretty nice.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Got some new stain on the Valkyrie.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    After a layer of red and black, I lightly sanded with 320 grit to get a more defined edge on the bevels and to create a sort of color burst with the red.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Finally, I decided the oak fretboard would look better black.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2018
    KnightBrolaire likes this.
  20. MoonJelly

    MoonJelly a subtle stinging sensation..

    Messages:
    1,111
    Likes Received:
    484
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2016
    Location:
    North Atlanta, GA
    Got some finish/wet sanding done on the V; unfortunately did not get a pic due to being rained out. I only snapped a shot of the 3 Birdseye veneer/basswood bodies for the guitar camp. I was hoping to get some routing done as well, but the rain decided otherwise. The fourth body will be cherry with a 1/4" maple cap, I still have some nice angel step stuff in the stash I'd like to use. I'm going to do a 25.25" scale on three regular necks, 26.224" on the one with Chechen stripes. That still leaves me two neck blanks, I think at least one will end up a 30" bass VI style.
    [​IMG]
     
    jwade and KnightBrolaire like this.

Share This Page