The guitar builders blog with Crimson Guitars | 140512
Welcome to the Guitar Builders blog, this is how I keep everyone aware of what’s going on in our workshop from week to week.. that is unless you follow the various live streams where these photo’s appear as I take them! This week there is no new video content, I am however working on a new one following the relicing of a PRS that I filmed late last year.. editing should be done for next week. Instead I leave you with the first video in a series of 15 that we filmed following the entire process of building the PAF25 guitar.
I’ve started taking more ‘mood’ photos.. at some point I’m planning on publishing a coffee table book of photo’s culled from this diary (call if you fancy investing in that little venture :) ) anyway, pretty photo’s can’t hurt.. As the detachable twin neck guitar/bass build draws to an end I start yearning for more and more dust in my life! The next build is a small bodied acoustic.. the front and back are roughed out on the band saw,..
I’ve finally run the extraction over-head and out of my way.. all it took was 5 minutes and some string and I’ve been meaning to do it for a few years now! The sad thing is there are at best a dozen other similar jobs in my head at any one moment!
Slowly the birds-eye maple is brought down to thickness using the wide drum sander.
Another, slightly less dusty, job on the list is the final sanding of the new solid-body design.. the aluminium binding is looking great, I’m so glad it finally worked out!
Padouk neck and flamed pearwood body.. a good combination if a little rare.
Finally completely sanded and with the fretboard and sides masked off I start the staining process.. a dark beginning to this story.
Using 400 grit paper I sand that back to a grey finish.
The final coat is a deep red over the grey.
The masking is removed
and oiling begins.. as the oil is applied some of the red is removed, in person it’s starting to look dark purple.. very cool.
This Robert Fripp model is nearing the final coats of oil, I love the simplicity of a mahogany body and oil finish. As an aside I now have the ability to build a complete synthesiser into a guitar instead of having to use an outboard unit like the Roland etc.. anyone interested?
Now, this guitar will have all sorts of electronics on board but before we get there she needs finishing..
the binding is carefully scraped clean of excess stain and black paint.
The final stage is rubbing down every square millimetre of binding with 0000 wire wool.
The fretboard is masked off and I now need to wait for a good spraying day, optimum humidity etc in the spray booth is really rather important!
More oil.. it’s one coat a day from now ’til the final semi-gloss is achieved, many many coats of oil will go on before that is achieved.
Now for the big tomale (what’s a tomale?? these things pop up in my mind and I don’t have the foggiest!? too many movies??)
The rough fixing of the detachable twin neck guitar has been succesful..ish and I want to work on the bass pickups. New padouk veneers are created at about 2mm thick.
Shaped and sanded.. I couldn’t resist putting a small curve on the top as well, this guitar is just not built for straight lines!
I still have to glue these in place but you can see how they now match up better with the custom covers and surrounds of the guitar above.
The fixings on the bass were becoming loose as I bolted the guitar on, instead of making reverse threaded inserts (my first instinct) a simple fix is to put a couple of locating pins on each on.
No more unauthorised turning here!
Finally it is time for some hardware on this custom bass.. 6 tuners.
I begin by reaming out the mahogany headstock.
.. what more can be said?
I’m biased.. do you like these hollow headstocks?
The pickup covers and the back plates for the purpleish guitar earlier are oiled
I bought these single string bridges, mainly for the saddles..
and it’s a good thing, I thought I’d try and modify one of them and in the process my baby milling machine decided to spark way and die on me!! This year I seem to be killing machines at an inordinate rate? Maybe it’s just that I’ve been doing this for ten years now and most of my workshop is getting old!
I finish the job using the disk sander..
but in the end I remember the reasoning for the original plan, this string spacing specified was narrower than standard and the bridges are useless to me..
I mock up a custom bridge, designed to match that I made for the guitar side of the instrument, and at the same time I lay out and glue on the pickup covers.
This is that mahogany Robert Fripp model.. coming together nicely.. and it’s stock if you want her!
more on the disk sander
followed by some hand engineering and the saddle fixing holes are threaded.
Here’s the final idea.. a bit big but you see the resemblance.
..yes, as bit bulky.
..tempted? Go on! ;)
Now, (the next day) I work out the final travel of each saddle and mark it into the bridge.
In the absence of a milling machine I load a milling bit into the lathe and improvise.. it actually works rather well!
In order to counter the carve of the basses’ top I rout a recess.
Finally the through body stringing ferrules are installed.
Instead of pissing about with wood screws, especially in this soft poplar, I use machine screws and threaded inserts.
This flexible drive comes in very handy drilling the earth wire, you can use it to get to a more extreme angle that that achievable with the hand drill.
The nut.. this will be made from this hippo ivory blank.
Nice day outside.. dirty window, but then that’s a workshop for you!
The nut is carved and sanded.. this little vice is my favourite, probably because it’s called the ‘imp’ more than anything else.. I do tend to anthropomorphise my tool!
The pickup covers are glued, the bridge is in place.. um, what next?
The perfect end to the week, I will be playing with guages and tensions a bit but for now I could not be happier!
All my best,
Crimson custom Guitars UK