I intend to make a lot of saw dust today, so I moved my small work bench outside and clamped my guitar body to it.
I put a 40 grit flap sanding wheel on my angle grinder, and went to town, carving out the new shape to the guitar.
After roughing out the front, I hand sanded a bit and flipped the body over.
I repeated the process on the back, creating a thin, blade across the back edge.
I also sculpted a taper along the back of the neck pocket.
With the heavy sculpting out of the way, I packed everything up and brought it back inside. I put the 3/8″ round-over bit back into the router and rounded over the remaining edges.
I used my modelers’ rasp to do a bit more blending, in those hard to reach areas.
I used a card scraper for a straight edge and marked the center of the nub where the input jack will go.
I used a 3/4″ pilot point bit to drill out the hole.
I cleaned up any residual epoxy squeeze-out on the spindle sander, then sanded everything thoroughly with my orbital sander, from 80 grit down to 220 grit.
It is really looking good now. I had to add the round-over to the small horn, by hand, because I couldn’t safely use the router with the 1/2″ step down to the horn.
It turned out pretty good, so I will do a bit of hand sanding to finish shaping it.
After a lot more sanding, it was starting to shine.
I used the mop sander to polish it up a bit.
The neck support was just roughed in, so I marked exactly where it met the neck and trimmed it up a bit.
After a lot more sanding, it fit well.
The neck was given to me, so it was used. that means that it already had screw holes. I needed to transfer their location to the neck pocket, so I found some nails that fit the holes snugly and marked them about 1/16″ above the surface.
I cut the nails down, then flipped them, and seated them in the holes with a couple of gentle taps with a hammer.
A little clamping pressure was all that it took to transfer the locations to the pocket.
I drilled some small pilot holes through, then flipped the body over.
I can’t use a neck plate, since I sculpted the neck area. I decided to use screw cups instead. Unfortunately they are 9/16″ in diameter. I only have 1/2″ and 5/8″ bits, I needed the size right between them.
I found an old speed bore bit and modified it with a file. I made the pilot point narrower, as well as the width of the blade.
My test drills were perfect the first try. I was amazed.
I drilled out some pockets on the back of the neck and seated the cups.
before I attach the neck, I always check the screw length. I have been burned, by assuming they would fit, before. Of course the screws are too long. It didn’t help that I made the back so thin.
I cut at least 1/8″ off of all four screws. Some may have fit, but I didn’t want to have different size screws. Put the wrong one in the shallow side, and you would have a screw poking through the fret board.
After cleaning up the threads with a needle file, I hand tightened the screws. Since the neck was used, the holes had been threaded before. This made it easy to install the blunted screws.
With the neck installed, I laid a straight edge along each side and marked a line along those edges. I put a piece of tape on the lines to make them stand out. I located the tail piece and used the straight edge to find the string locations by connecting the grove in the nut with the groove in the tail piece. this, in turn, showed me where to locate the pick-ups.
After tracing out the covers, I routed the pockets out by eye.
This was not the best plan. Purpleheart is hard and that makes the router unpredictable. I accidentally slipped and cut too far on the upper pick-up. I square off the area and inserted a plug. It matches pretty good, but I am still unhappy about the mistake. Once the pockets were routed, I squared up the corners with a chisel.
Basically the body is done, at this point. Time to start thinking about the finish.
I mixed up some more vintage amber dye and wiped it on some test pieces. I went ahead and dyed the purpleheart as well because it would have been impossible to avoid.
I like the un-dyed, natural maple color better, but I wanted to match the neck.
I will let this dry tonight and see if I can get a coat or two of the Tung oil applied tomorrow.