Midnight Woodworking

Woodworking

AJ’s custom Stratocaster – day 3

I am juggling a few projects these days. While I am waiting on hardware for the cabinet, I will jump back on to AJ’s Strat. I had planned to run five rays of maple across the body, but AJ wanted to personalize the guitar a bit more, so I am adding his initials. I felt pretty confident inlaying straight lines, but letters are something new for me. I cut them out on the scroll saw a week or two back. I laid them on the body where I intend for them to be, then I traced them with a fine pointed pencil to get as close as possible.

Traced the letters

Traced the letters

I intended to cut the letters out with my 1/16″ straight bit, but it decided to quit on me and broke off on the very first cut.

The 1/16" bit I intended to use...

The 1/16″ bit I intended to use…

I bumped up to my next smallest bit, 1/8″. I took my time and followed along inside the lines of the letter. The letters were cut thinner than 1/8″ in some places, but I don’t think the gaps will be too noticeable.

Routing out the letters with a 1/8" bit instead

Routing out the letters with a 1/8″ bit instead

With the first letter cut, I did a dry-fit.

First letter dry-fit

First letter dry-fit

Normally, when you inlay wood, you don’t go too deep. I have to sculpt curves into the body so I sunk the letters in 3/8″ so that if I needed to cut down an edge near a letter or a ray, there would still be maple showing.

Letter next to the routed "A"

Letter next to the routed “A”

I don’t know why, but after the first letter, I decided to cut in the rays next. This was accomplished by clamping a straight edge parallel to my ray location. Then I just needed to run the router along the straight edge. I decided to shoot the ray 1/2″ past the edge of the guitar body so I wouldn’t damage the groove while removing the router.

Routing the rays

Routing the rays

Everything routed out

Everything routed out

With the rays done, I finished cutting out the letters. The “B” had some thinner parts so it will definitely have some small gaps.

Test fit letters

Test fit letters

 

Test fit rays

Test fit rays

I decided to use my 2-part epoxy on the letters. Since I am finishing this with a clear coat, when finished, the clear epoxy should fill the gaps without affecting the look of the finish.

2-part epoxy

2-part epoxy

My applicator needed to be thin but stiff so I snagged an old piece of wire clothes line and shaved off the plastic. It worked well, I was able to spread the epoxy evenly.

My fancy epoxy applicator

My fancy epoxy applicator

I pressed the letters into the epoxy and set them firmly in place with a hammer.

Letters laid in

Letters laid in

The rays were easy to make tight, so I switched over to wood glue to hold them in. The epoxy sets in five minutes. The glue is easier to work with. I cut off the epoxy coated end of my applicator and used the new, plastic coated, end to apply the glue.

My fancy glue applicator

My fancy glue applicator

The rays were set in place with a hammer as well. The squeeze-out was only at the ends so it won’t affect the finish. I made sure the rays would end under the cover plate for the pick-ups so it wouldn’t look weird.

Everything glued in place

Everything glued in place

With everything drying, I will give it a day or two then figure out how to plane or sand down the excess maple, now sticking up out of the guitar body…

Waiting to dry

Waiting to dry

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This entry was posted on March 31, 2013 by in Guitar and tagged , , , , .

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