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Les Paul Style Guitar Build

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D_W

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Next step with the neck is to rip is to cut away most of the excess wood, but not all of it, and plane the neck surface flat and planar so that I can hang the neck for a couple of weeks and see if it moves with temperature changes. I hope the fact that it's laminated will make that a no.

I vaguely recall hearing that some folks will hang a neck for a year before they do anything with it, but I've seen most neck blanks that move (at least the fender type) do it when left unfinished within just a few days.
 

D_W

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short lunch today and just enough time to trim the neck blank down, plane the top flat and look at the joints. Trimming is just done with a regular carpenter's rip saw leaving some extra height so that if there is twist in small amounts (hope not!), it can be removed.

It takes a little while to trim something like this with a hand saw - maybe ten minutes since it's hard maple. I had to sharpen a saw that I like to use for this (a 6 tooth rip saw instead of something more coarse), but when you work by hand, sharpening a rip saw is about a 5 minute process out. I don't use a specialty saw vise, that's a waste of time to fetch - just two boards and a machinist vise and then file in a rhythm like you're a saw filing machine so that each tooth stays consistent and you don't get yourself into a situation in the next half dozen filings where you have to joint the tooth line (that's a waste of time). Also, take off only what's needed to space out the interval where adding set is needed - it's only every five or so filings. Usually end up filing a rip saw once in each cabinet type project - keeping them sharp is like keeping planes sharp. Crosscut saws are a little less sensitive to fresh sharpness, so they get filed far less often (and they don't cut nearly as many feet).

Secretly, since I work mostly by hand, I always wonder when something really stupid will show up, like undulations and a big glue line or some such thing. Not much glue came out of this setup given the amount that it used, but the wood probably absorbed a lot of it, which isn't a bad thing as ...well, if the surface isn't wetted, the glue won't bond.

By "a while", I mean like ten minutes of sawing - on something like mahogany or walnut if the whole neck was made of it, half as much sawing or less would've been needed - maple 1 inches thick ...well, maple in general is a very smooth wood that doesn't rip saw that easily for its hardness. You start to notice a pattern of which woods work well by hand for their given density and durability. For example, rosewood is harder than hickory. Rosewood works more nicely than hickory despite that. Ebony is harder than persimmon, but persimmon is really resistant to tools sometimes for its hardness. So, you don't end up using woods that are cheap where you wouldn't notice this.

I got my hands on ceylon ebony for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Holy cow, it looks like ebony but works like rosewood - a little quick reading found that in the past, it was the preferred version. Well, it works like rosewood, except it will take scraped detail like ebony - it's heavenly. Too bad it's uncommon now.

Fortunately, nothing about this screams some piker did it with hand tools in his garage. at least not yet. Marking it out against the template. My peghead isn't quite as wide as the template and I think gibson's peghead is actually bigger. However, my peghead shape will be a little different to get the top two holes closer to the middle of the neck for a straighter string pull (gibson guitars can have an issue with tuning stability because of that - it's solved by lubricants, but why bother). at this point, just marking center in the blank and tracing the outline of the template (these templates are awesome - who says I don't like modern tools. There are dudes who have CNC lasers that cut these things out and you could do without them, but they're super handy. Each small set is only something like 40 bucks and spatially, having a pattern is far better than measuring. ).

20220106_102045.jpg


It has to be at least carefully planed now to visual flatness so that I can monitor twist. Nothing gets measured here, just by eye. If twist is less than a couple of thousandths (which is visible) then there's no issue. it's smooth planed at this point, though I realize now that no part of this surface should ever show - however if this becomes the final surface, no tearout is a good thing as it would be visible against the fingerboard.
20220106_121226.jpg


Now, aside from hand mortising the truss rod groove tonight or tomorrow, it's just a matter of sitting - so it's back to the basement (which is 60 degrees - the shop is less and below the glue's cure temp requirement of 50. It's probably near done, but who knows).

20220106_121331.jpg


The figure is a bit much, but it'll be a surprise from the back side and i'll probably stain it- we'll see. The fingerboard. I think almost for certain, I will use a peghead overlay to match the rosewood top ( plainer and straighter grain from front view is nice so as not to distract from the actual design lines. )

This is, of course, hypothetical - I'll ruin and need to redo at least one thing before this is over.
 

D_W

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Not a whole lot interesting done - need to mark the neck blank a little more closely and cut the truss rod groove today with a mortise chisel that I have sized exactly for the two-way truss rods that I like to use. I'd guess the original truss rods were just threaded one way rods, but had a 1976 les paul last year that had no relief and no tension on the truss rod to let off. I hate that.

I read from "experts" (self appointed tycoons) that a two way truss rod deadens the neck and makes a guitar sound no good, which is fine and dandy, except the loudest most resonant solid body guitar that I have has one of them in. I don't think it amounts to much compared to wood, but having a guitar that needs neck relief and can't get it is a problem I don't want to solve later.

At any rate, the whole power tool idea is , who knows what - I think complicated. To find an older square sided or nearly square sided mortise chisel and mortise the groove by hand and clean out the bottom with a router plane is *easy*. It takes a little longer, but it's a safer operation (I don't have such a thing as accurate power tool set ups here and want nothing to do with a bunch of router based jigs beyond basic guitar templates. I think the only place a router will be used on this guitar is binding channels. I get the idea that you can set up router templates and make a whole bunch of something exactly, but ...I don't know, doesn't feel like making to me and the result can always be a little sterile looking without being any more accurate.

A look at the limba after cutting and then spokeshave and scrape. On something like limba that chips, I cut pretty far away from the line and then use one of the dandy ridgid OSS machines to sand closer to the line and then use a shave and scrapers (opposing diagonals) until the curves feel good. Since the top of this will need to be sanded and I always and the neck, I'm not married to the idea of no sanding on this guitar, but at this point, other than to use an OSS as a safe remover of bulk, it's not time yet.

The last limba blank that I had was dead. This one emits a nice big "bong!". No guarantee that it and the rosewood top will communicate, though - but since it's an electric guitar, it doesn't matter that much (as in, you can take two pieces of very musical wood, glue them together and not have a particularly musical result.

20220108_180602.jpg


Inside bits of this so far just drilled out and then pared back with a large gouge. The world of tycoon luthiers is hyper about how clean their routers make internal cavities. I can't get into that - they don't show on the guitar and it's just a strange thing. If you ever see any videos like "trogly", etc, those folks take guitars apart and comment about how dull the CNC mill bit may have been if it leaves an internal burn mark and then comment on it as a sign of workmanship...

.........who cares. How resonant is the guitar. How good is the hardware and electronics? How does it intonate, how good is the tuning stability? How good is the fret work and is the nut cut well so that the guitar is smooth playing and good intonating.

Whole thing upside down on the rosewood top, brought in from the shop and getting above 50F so that the top can be glued on (brown spot on the neck is just a shadow from the lamp cord. My basement is not the typical american bright and whatever finished living room looking space - it's got copper colored carpet (which matches dirt nicely - seriously) and it's warm and dry, but the walls aren't finished and there's no sofa. Currently fighting the wife about getting most of the basement finished out because I don't want to lose it as actual useful space. There are enough rooms upstairs for everyone to be in separate spaces if they want to, so I can't get into the idea of the kids needing an escape area downstairs at the expense of me losing a space that can get dirty.

20220109_093627.jpg


Pretty big nibs still let on the front and back of the guitar - I still size everything with a hand plane and it's nicer to have something to grab than it is to ding a sized curve and have to move it back and then refair the curve. Once I decide on the final neck angle and map out how thick the top will be to get slightly under 1/4" top thickness around the edges (so that the binding channel goes slightly into the limba), then I can final thickness the top and start to work on stuff on it.

This is my plan, anyway - being careful.

Had a hell of a hard time finding the actual joint on the rosewood top at the butt end because of how cleanly it's joined, but marked it with white pencil. Still on the fence about coloring the limba and maple - I like wood without color and it's definitely true that it's easier to put on a clear topcoat (or something like super blonde shellac) over an oil when there's ivoroid binding involved.
 

D_W

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Separately, I don't know what the dark trash line is on limba, but when you sand or file or scrape it, it's stinky! For anyone who hasn't used it - it's not spalt. It's actually a little harder than the light wood.
 

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i'm not usually one for peer pressure, but since I have the dandy ridgid OSS, I put a smaller spindle on it and sanded the inside of the control cavity a little cleaner. I'll leave the unseen bits of the pickup cavities sloppy to make up for it, but the neck is going to fit a little firm without glue (this is the opposite of manufactured guitars, which have some slop in the neck joint for adjustment while gluing and often lots of glue, but the CNC leaves very clean pickup cavities).
 

D_W

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So, I've slotted the neck and fitted the truss rod (which will make the guitar look asian. I never looked close enough (Which is dippy as I have two les paul copies behind me right now), but gather that the slot is cut and the truss rod is through a hole and not through a slot that terminates in the peghead (as in, the relief for the nut is milled into the peghead, but the rod itself comes through a hole so that the nut sits on wood.

So, I'll have to work backwards a little bit as the style of TR that I'm using is double action with a barrel that takes a hex key rather than a nut on the end of a threaded rod. Work backwards as in bridge the are that I've cut/slotted. The nut for a les paul is stout, so it's maybe belt and suspenders.

Next thing to figure out while I wait for ivoroid binding is what pickups.

I have gold and nickel duncan antiquities. It's not that important right this second except hardware choices need to be made and I think limba and rosewood might look good with gold hardware.

Using nickel finish hardware makes for a whole lot more options, though. What did gibson use with rosewood? Google will tell me.


looks like gold (even though some of them have the plating worn off of the pickups).

There are so many options for bridges in nickel that this is a bit of a bummer, but I do think gold looks better. The carbon steel machined bridges in a sonic comparison just sound dandy, though. Far better than pot metal or vintage ABR-1 style with nylon saddles.

Probably only can tell the difference due to the comparison, though.

Milled steel bridges are also expensive ($150 or so plus posts plus tailpiece for western made bridges where you really actually know what you're getting.
 

D_W

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My three favorites for pickups, for anyone who is into the guitar thing more than the building - are 57 classics (if potted is desirable), duncan antiquities (just love them - i'm guessing by the sound that they're unpotted), and burstbucker pros. I may have all three on hand in gold because there was a depression in the guitar market before covid and you could get used pairs of pickups sometimes for the retail price of one - just from the nutballs who rotate pickups and hardware on their guitars constantly looking for something that may or may not be there).
 

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the neck is going to fit a little firm without glue (this is the opposite of manufactured guitars, which have some slop in the neck joint for adjustment while gluing and often lots of glue

I've CNC'd a few of my guitar builds, and there's very simple choice of how you want the neck to fit. 0.25mm difference and it's a snug interference fit without any finish. Then add the thickness of the finish you'll be using and you sill have that snug fit - enough that you pick the guitar up by the neck without glue or screws in.

Gibson have sloppy neck fit for quite different reasons - not because they couldn't have a snug fit.
 

D_W

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I don't know what their reasons are specifically, but I'm guessing because it allows them to move the joint a little before they clamp it.

I vaguely recall seeing a video at collings of a joint fitting and it was more or less airtight - anyone wanting to do that could do it.

The reason I don't know gibson's wants or needs is I don't know what the order of operations is in terms of locating bridge posts (I'm guessing that's done in CNC before the neck is attached - as in, necks and bodies are interchangeable). an amateur builder working by hand is well served to be careful about the centerline (and on something like a fender guitar, attach the bridge last so that it's dead center).

For years, gibson had problems with necks having strings on one side or another or pickups not properly lined up with strings - even some of the gibson custom guitars would have the high E string close to the end of the frets (it seems to be less the last couple of years, but I actually left comments under their youtube video as they'd show a $5200 limited run les paul at high resolution with the strings way off center.

I can't believe buyers wouldn't send guitars back over something like that.

(collings and gibson aren't very similar in the way they operate, so it's not really a fair comparison - as in, gibson is heavy on marketing and automated in production. Collings is CNC heavy but there is a lot of hand time and slow fitting done to supplement - they just make better guitars than gibson does in terms of workmanship).
 

D_W

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I seem to recall from the factory videos that Gibson don't use a lot of CNC - more duplicarvers and suchlike.

Anyways, sorry to distract.

Goodness, no problem at all - all of the forums are dying for topical discussion.

You may be more right than I am. At the outset, McCarty decided they'd put a carve top on the LP for perceived quality (i probably said that here already? I don't remember now, posted in more than one place). Gibson had duplicarvers for archtops (Which still got their quality wood - the LPs have iffy wood even in 1959 as the archtop guitars and mandolins were probably higher priced - and much longer running), so they employed them on the guitars. From seeing heritage factory pictures, the tops were done with duplicarver and then combination hand and machine finish (maybe I should say jigged or not jigged). the guitars were less identical because more of the work as done by hand (like the neck profile sanding and the transition at the heel and the peghead to neck - that was done freehand on a belt sander.

Fast forward to now, I believe most of that is gone. I don't know exactly what year, but early 2000s, things started going to CNC - especially for necks, and some of the designs on the lower priced guitars (figure up to like LP studio types and then some of the guitars like the LP sig T (which wasn't inexpensive) give the sense that order of operations have been changed - as in, on some of them, the neck is made and the fingerboard is glued on afterwards - no profiling to match the fingerboard and neck together. I haven't had a standard newer than about 2000 - I'm afraid of what i might get, and gibson went back and forth doing things like putting two piece bodies on standards despite price tags around $3k, and changing woods and then geometry (i think just before they went bankrupt, a new standard was somewhere around $3400 here, before sales tax. It may have gotten to $3699). So, I've had mostly Sig T Les paul or lower guitars, but all have been a bit off in feel since around 2006.


( should say above, too, I'm talking about kalamazoo with the heritage comment, and not after gibson abandoned the factory and it became "heritage". The early bits of quality decline started with flattening the carve on the les paul tops so that they could be linearly sanded quickly, and then for whatever reason, the pickup bobbins and pickups changed so that as far as I know, the early 70s pickups literally couldn't hold enough wind to sound like the PAFs, but before then, the les pauls didn't sell that well, anyway, so it's not like they were abandoning the 59 paul that had sold so well, or the 68 custom when the 69 went to a laminated mahogany neck (that could very well have just been to address stability issues).



(there's follow up later with CNCs more or less drilling and routing the bodies). Surprisingly, there is still a lady rounding the necks of the guitar, but I wonder which guitars those are as some of the necks I've had were sharp on the corner (whereas in the old says, the neck came out of a pin router setup and the profile was pretty much cut and finished at once after that on a belt sander).



I don't know if it's in either of these videos, but in one of the earlier ones, they showed a lady binding les pauls with ABS binding and then scraping. Fantastic, skilled and super fast. I've only used celluloid binding ,and it doesn't go on like that!

There still is a lot of hand handling - (I didn't watch the whole long first video, I"ll admit - just skimmed it to see what gibson is doing now - the issues that my more recent gibsons have had (aside from the lower models feeling devoid of hand shaping and checking, which is probably the case as they're dirt cheap for somnething made in the US) is stability - neck/body differential and fingerboard movement. On the lower end guitars, some were manufactured with a step (the fingerboards narrower than the neck) where you can see glue or bare wood, and as long as it's not too drastic, gibson calls it in spec. They could make these guitars well overseas with lower cost labor, but won't do it I guess for brand reasons.

The plek process improves the mid range guitars, but the one I have now was plekd and the improvement was eliminated pretty quickly by uneven fingerboard drying and body hump.

(I think the CNC roughing, though, has made them all more dimensionally similar, but it also means if there's a problem on a run of lower cost guitars, then the whole run has it. E.g., the SG faded guitars are a shade too thin and the jack touches the back cover on them (since the SG plugs in on the front). I bought one on sale and quickly resold it - when you turn, the jack touches the back plate and jimmies the cord around in the jack and you get loud popping through an amp. The guitar that I got was drop shipped from gibson - 8 months after the reviews were filled with complaints about the problem. Same with the open seam on necks - the faded LPs are a good basic setup to work from (good pickups, OK hardware, good weight, they're actually mahogany) if you're willing to finish profiling the neck yourself - they're so cheap that I've gotten more for one scraping the neck and fixing the problem than reselling them unchanged.
 

D_W

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So, neck slot open under the nut or not. I hadn't thought about it, but the bell shaped truss rod cover screws into the wood where the slot would be. On the higher quality LP copies that try hard to do everything the same as gibson, the truss rod is the same, and the slot is the same (it doesn't go under the nut and a hole is bored through the end of the neck where the rod comes through with the nut on the outside . Probably also where the nut gets tension on the neck?

At any rate, on the asian copies that aren't made to copy everything about a les paul (like epiphones, etc) the slot is just milled straight through, the nut sits over open space and the truss rod cover butts up against the nut to cover the slot. Screws are to the sides. The peghead overlay can also cover the top of the slot, even if it's there (I think most of the lower cost guitars are just painted, and haven't looked more closely at the gibsons - they may be slotted for the nut to make it look like the painted top is a peghead overlay. My tokai copy (not a cheap one, but relatively accurate copy) has a maple overlay or some type of thicker veneer on teh peghead, and isn't just lacquered). I could've looked at this a little more closely before mortising the slot and still used the two way truss rod, but drilled a hole through the end of the peghead so that the neck would be wood across the nut slot and no open space.
 

D_W

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20220110_140119_copy_492x1498.jpg


A whole lot of wood to remove yet - no twist with the changing temps yet, and with the slot roughed, fair game to start taking a lot of material off anticipating only

When you mortise the slot in curly maple (or anything, but esp. curly wood), the top part of the mortise does get a bit ragged and the inside of the slot is straight off of the chisel - none of it shows, though, so it doesn't matter as much.

I couldn't do this 10 out of 10 times with a router and jig and not have something wander.
 

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Interesting stuff on Gibson - ta. I suspect the one I'd seen was probably pretty old.

I also meant to say that it's nice to see an LP-style build that avoids including authentic design flaws such as the one-piece neck.
 

D_W

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Interesting stuff on Gibson - ta. I suspect the one I'd seen was probably pretty old.

I also meant to say that it's nice to see an LP-style build that avoids including authentic design flaws such as the one-piece neck.

I love the look of the one piece neck, and was going to do it with rosewood, which isn't exactly authentic. I just have had about 100 guitars through here (and 80 back out) in the last 5 years or so and presuming gibson ditches poorly behaved wood between rough milling and then the finishing area later, I've had to do way more correction of things due to wood movement than one would expect on guitars 5-15 years old. It's not like they're the only ones with problems.

However, the 76 les paul that I had was still straight with no body hump (three piece maple neck) and even in yamaha copies (which are 40 years old more more, so you get a good idea of what the necks do), the ones with very nicely sawn one piece honduran mahogany necks (like the SL700S) have that same body hump. If it's minor, it's really easy to file away - I could ignore it and file some fall away on the frets later if it happens. But I'm more curious to see if I can prevent it..
...on 8 collings guitars, I've never seen a single one that had unwanted wood movement.

I have an idea to limit body hump further, too, which is to make the neck joint relatively tight and glue only the top half of the tenon so that if the top and neck shrink differentially, I won't end up with a tenon that is confined at the lower side - as in, if either part shrinks more than the other, maybe a small gap opens up on the underside of the tenon, but there's so much tenon in a longer tenon that it won't matter for transmitting vibrations.

Collings is so open that you can ask them questions and they'll just answer them. They voice their solid body guitar blanks, which I couldn't figure out what they were doing - someone else asked them in an email, and they said they start with mahogany from a specific area (the density is always about the same), but the blanks still don't sound identical, so they drill narrow slots in the bodies until they more or less return the same note. That way none are tight, but they don't have kind of the hollow sound that chambering yields- they all still sound like unchambered bodies. Instead of making warranty threats, too, when I asked if I could change pickups, they sent me measured drawings to open up the slots on a guitar with filtertrons so that it would take soapbar p90s. I was shocked. I think you can't operate a large company like that, though. They know nobody is going to copy their efforts on the bodies - but I will and would if this limba body was "high and tight" sounding (fortunately, it's not).
 

D_W

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A little more over lunch and a pause for now (top thicknessed to the point that it's ready for being routed and then the arch carved, end nubs sanded off).

Neck roughed out and lapped (I would've preferred planing this, but I already have the lap and its quick and easy). Surprisingly, stuff for toolmaking (a decent strong 4x36 sander with good belt tension and the plane lap are very useful here, but the power sander is more of a rouging tool. Nicholson super shear run over the curves after using it to fair everything so that I can't feel any undulations and the condition of the surface will require less follow up than heavy hand sanding with a block.

obligations over lunch will cease guitar work for a week or so. Very cold and dry here, even though the top is glued to the back, there's a small check that started in the rosewood, thus the glue spot. Most of the bug holes are gone with planing the cap down to a little over 5/8". Thickness on older ones seems to be all over the board, but the tokai copy that I have is closer to 5/8-11/16 in thickness (guessing, accounting for side binding going down into the body a little bit).
20220111_150034.jpg


at this point, I'm realizing that I wish the center lamination had been a little narrower as once I trim the neck to final width, it's going to look a bit like one fat man in the middle two skinny girlfriends to the side. Or boyfriends for the progressives.

Work conflicts over lunch will be good in terms of seeing whether or not the neck moves at all over the next week. If not, then it's green light for the other stuff as I found hardware and the binding arrives friday according to the magic of the internet. I will cut the heel and neck tenon more precisely after sorting out the top carve and bridge location. Chicken or egg thing here, but as long as two finished parts aren't brought together, I don't think it will matter which one is final sized first. Lots of extra fat left on the neck yet in case of twist, but that will hopefully not be needed.
 

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Interesting stuff on Gibson - ta. I suspect the one I'd seen was probably pretty old.

I also meant to say that it's nice to see an LP-style build that avoids including authentic design flaws such as the one-piece neck.

Not that it's important, but gibson puzzles me. I had three gibsons from 2013 at one point - all at once. Two had gross necks, and the third had a nice rounded neck (the third was a nighthawk). the other two were LP signature T and a faded LP. To fix and cover a huge glue seam and deal with a horrid neck carve, I just scraped the neck back myself and then gave it a light french polish.

And then later on, I got a beat up brown "faded" les paul (or whatever they called it when the finish was straight off of the spray gun). It was from 2007 or so, was heavy (the later ones all had weight relief) had a nice fingerboard and a nice natural neck profile.

I can never tell what they're doing, but either the people are changing constantly or the process or both.

On something like an ES 335 that they're working on in the video, I'd expect that to be one of the last guitars to lose some hands-on attention as every one I've ever picked up had a "70s japanese" neck (nicely rounded and you don't have to have huge hands to play them). And they're expensive and hopefully aimed at a more exposed buyer)
 

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for the binding I think they use acetone so it part melts into the wood to stick it on, you probably know that already though but worth mentioning just in case.
 

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I use an acetone-based glue and then pure acetone if a spot needs a little help. But, yes, for celluloid acetate, that's - to me - the easy way. I have to heat it to get it to work around tight areas, though.

The lady binding les pauls (which look like ABS to me) is moving at speed gluing and binding something that was soft and foreign looking to me (when I first got celluloid, I didn't even know there was such a thing as soft pliable ABS binding).

I'm still on the fence a little, but think top and bottom of this guitar will be bound due to the fact that the limba in this case isn't that light, but limba is soft for its density and if the back is rounded over, it'll soon be full of dents. It'll look strange top and bottom bound with single ply ivoroid when the peghead isn't, though, but it's not a gibson guitar. I guess the peghead could be single bound, but haven't bound a pehgead before.
 

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So, i did get some unexpected time mid day today waiting on someone else:

The excellent glue joint has come back to bite me. Can you find it? I didn't find it that easy, and after this had to get a steel straight edge and locate it in two points and make a mark. It's important at this point now for template alignment so that not too much screwing around is needed when fitting the neck. I don't want to measure alignment as it's a visual standard, but don't want to have strings going down the neck of the guitar with uneven relief from the edge on both sides.

20220111_172503.jpg

It's not actually visble on the guitar in any part that will remain, and the light line on the right is just a track from thicknessing the top.

Certainly, it will be visible on the end? Not immediately apparent. But I found it later changing angles/light (on lighter woods, this always works more easily, but I guess not on rosewood.
20220111_172828.jpg



For giggles I planed the front of the guitar down to a 4 degree neck angle (3.8 is the target - I have no way of measuring 3.8 vs. 4 other than kentucky windage.)

The templates that I have are for a router (I think). I really don't feel like using a router, so I gouged and then spokeshaved off to the first line and tried to visualize the profile of the curves that will follow. I need to do other things to the guitar before getting heavy into that but realized that I don't make these and while I put a few topographical marks on the guitar with a pencil, it would be very dumb to start going any further as I couldn't visualize what's actually on my other guitars (and they don't necessarily have the profile I want - newer guitars are flatter than the older guitars. I'm on the fence, but google will help out. Back to the holding tank for this stuff, though. Using the router templates would be wise and safe, but it would also be totally unstimulating. I want to cut this by hand, carving, scraping and planing. I'm not going build half a dozen of these things over the next year or two and cut them all with a router template - it's like going to the dentist and doesn't feel like woodworking. If the results turn out to be lumpy uneven doo, well, I made this choice. Imagine how nice this would be to carve in a wood 1/3rd as hard. At least rosewood works nicely for its hardness.

20220112_083948.jpg


(much work will be done to take care near the edges to make them relatively even so that the binding doesn't end up going on wavy)

(from the picture above, I this is where the joint ended up being - I know it's in between two of the dark rings)

Screenshot 2022-01-12 162459.jpg
 

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