It has been a while since I have worked on this project. I recently had to order something from Guitar Fetish so I got some of the parts that I needed for sizing some of the holes on this guitar. The main thing I needed was the football style jack for the front.
I wanted to slope the opening to minimize the amount of material I would have to remove. It occurred to me that one of the spindle gouges from my lathe might work for carving as well. The gouge was thicker and a little bulkier than you would like for carving, but it served my purpose.
After I carved the slope, I tried routing out the rest of the pocket, but bit off more than my router bit could chew. I snapped my new 1/4″ spiral up-cut bit in half. No injuries, but I sat that aside and just drilled the pocket out with a forstner bit instead.
When I finished drilling that I decided to drill out the center holes for the potentiometers.
When they were done, I used the holes to line up my pattern from the front. I flipped it over and taped it to my board after the holes were lined up. To transfer my marks, I heavily traced the pocket on my pattern with a ball point pen. This left a nice imprint on the wood.
I drew in the imprint with my pen to darken it up. Next I drew in some areas where I will leave some wood for the screws in my cover. I used my 35mm forstner bit to hog out all the material where the potentiometers will sit.
The 5-way switch will be set deeper in, so I drilled that area with the 1/2″ bit down to about 1/8″ from the front.
With the majority of the material removed, I switched back to my router (with a new bit). As I started to rout out the location of he cover, I realized that I hadn’t made the cover. I prefer to make the cover first so I can get a good fit. I grabbed a scrap piece that I had previously planed down to 1/8″ thick, and transferred the imprint from my plans again.
I cut this piece out on my scroll saw because it does tighter turns than my bandsaw.
Once it was roughly cut out, I sanded it down to the line on my spindle sander.
I traced the new cover to make sure the lines I had were accurate, then routed out the first 1/8″.
After a bit of additional trimming, I had a fairly nice fit.
Next, I proceeded to route out the rest of the cavity.
I wanted to see how well the grain matched, so I rubbed on some Naphtha. It evaporates quickly, but brightens up the wood to look like it will when finished, for a minute or two.
I had attempted to line the grain of my scrap piece as best as I could with the guitar body, when I made the cover. I was surprised to find that the piece of scrap came from the board that was next to this one, when the tree was sawn into boards. The grain was a perfect match. I couldn’t have done that if I tried.
With all the pockets now cut out on the lower part of the guitar, I decided to go ahead and cut out the body.
I cut it out on the bandsaw, leaving a little under 1/16″ of excess to be sanded away with the spindle sander.
The sapwood sure looks pretty, I hope a fair bit is left when I finish with the edges.
The next detail to take care of was drilling holes for the wires. I drew lines on the back from the control cavity towards the pickup pockets. I angled the drill toward the bottom of the pickup pockets and lined the bit up along the lines I drew as well.
I still don’t have all the hardware, but I am pretty sure my holes come out in the correct locations. If not, I will channel the wires in additional grooves cut by a chisel.
The last thing I did was line up the 5-way switch and locate the slot. I drilled a small hole at each end of the slot and cut along a straight edge with a utility knife to connect the sides of the holes. With patience, I had a nice thin slot. I had to square up the pocket a bit, but the extra switch that I have now fits the hole nicely.
That’s enough for one day, it is after midnight, again…