The 21st day of June 2011
It’s been a long time coming and we’re still working on the finer points of videography, sound quality and the editing processes but here we have the first new demo video.. not perfect but it does give a good idea of the flexibility, tone and sheer prettyness of the Vanquish Vine we finished last week..
click here to go to the video page in the gallery.. there will be more to come soon.
Now on to this weeks main custom guitar project, the twin neck 7 and 14 string guitar.. I’ve stained some superglue black and that is used to fill any small gaps around the custom chess piece inlays.
I carefully mark around each inlay with a new scalpel and fill the lines with chalk.
Each cavity is recessed using a small router and various chisels, each piece of the reconstituted stone inlays is carefully fitted.
Once the inlays have cured the excess material is filed away.
This time round it does rather seem to take twice as long as it should!
On to the body design, the seven string side will be loaded with twin humbuckers while the 14 string side is acoustic and picked up using the ghost piezo system.
I want to save the drawing and so prick out the outline and important measurements with my bradle
and then join the dots.. my toddler and I have a skill in common it seems!
Along the way I’m having to make all new templates, the 7 string Dimarzios are first up.
Then the body is roughed out on the bandsaw.
and finalised on the bobbin sander.
The outline is drawn on to the one piece Alder body blank,
And we meet this guitar properly for the first time!
before the frets are installed each slot is champhered slightly..
We are using gold coloured hypo-allergenic fretwire for this project, it makes a nice change from the usual nickle/silver fare..
We’re having some interesting weather this week.. very pretty though..
The ends of the frets are filed flush with the board.. it is here I feel that these are harder than normal frets and will last longer, no bad thing, I really really hate built in obsolescance!
The fret ends final shape is achieved by filing them at an angle to the fretboard.. comfort is king!
The body template is screwed to the Alder blank.
and the final shape of the guitar is reached using the large router and a bearing cutter.
The blank is way too big to go through my thicknesser so I use my pin router for the job… scary but effective..
We’re using this seven string MusicMan as a model for the dimensions and some of the carving..
not to mention the headstock designs..
The body blank is planed flat next,
and another new template is made from the master..
One massive tone chamber and a control cavity are routed in freehand
and finalised with the bobbin sander.
The cavities are predrilled.. and I’m really enjoying using this lightweight wood, it is much much easier to work with!
With a hand router I rout around the edge of the cavity
The rest is then removed using the pin router..
The top is to be cut from this maple blank..
A very long tie putting it through the bandsaw
and some more thicknessing.. the dust flies and I’m a very happy luthier.
On a shooting board I joint the bookmatched top
and then it is glued together.. the top clamp stops the pressure from the bottom two from flipping the two halves together..
The headstock wings are glued in place.. I use this method to save wood, unnecesary waste is criminal!
Under the 14 string bridge we need a good solid tone bar joining the body to the top.. a padouk offcut will do nicely.
.. very nicely.
The twin necks top, body and necks are all under clamps waiting for glue to cure so it is on to this stock guitar
The pickup and control cavities are predrilled..
and then routed..
My original idea was to do my usual ergonomic carving on the back of this bespoke guitar..
but in the end a nice traditional flat back seems to fit the bill a bit better, the pin router is downgraded to thicknesser again..
and is very effective at that.
The sides are perfected on the bobbin sander
and we’re ready for carving..
A final touch is a rosewood headstock cap
more glue, more clamps.. I love my job!
The tone bar has cured and the excess is planed down to the level of the top
The maple top is roughly brought to size on the bandsaw..
and the forearm carve is carved into the body
and then the real fun begins.. with an old (but recently sharpened) tenon saw I cut almost all the way through the top.
then an angle ins chiseled down the length of the cut
and, with a little water to help the wood fibres stretch, we have a bemd at at un-natural angle to the wood grain.
The glue, when applied, brings out the sheer beauty of this piece of Alder.. I’m in love and it is a pity I’m going to be painting this guitar a solid colour.. still, it will be light and very toneful!
More clamps than I’ve ever used in one place before come out and the top and body become one.
All my best,