My friend Kyle recently asked if I would be interested in helping him build a custom guitar. He had some wood from his Grandfather’s farm that had been cut into boards many years ago. The boards have been air drying, in his Grandfather’s barn, for decades. He brought some of them over to see if they could be used on the guitar.
I planed down the three walnut boards. This revealed some beautiful grain. The boards were about 11″ wide and over 1″ thick. They were also very straight. Perfect for making a guitar.
The first step was for Kyle to come up with a concept. He came up with a design he liked, and created a logo to remind him of his Grandfather and his farm.
I printed out a full size silhouette so he could pick out the areas of the boards he wanted to use for the guitar body.
We needed a piece of wood wider than the board so I cut out the areas he liked best and tried to book match some grain to the sides, using the remaining boards.
We saved the section that looks a bit like mirrored wings for possibly making a “Flying-V” guitar later.
I had Kyle help me cut down the pieces we selected.
After the edges were cleaned up and made ready for joining, we placed the silhouettes over them again to see what they would look like.
Then it was time for glue and clamps.
We glued up both pieces and set them aside for later.
After the walnut was planed down, the two panels were not quite thick enough. We decided to add a 1/4″ thick layer of mahogany down the middle of the guitar body. It will make the body thicker, and the mahogany will match the neck Kyle has for this guitar.
I had one piece of mahogany that was just large enough to be cut in half, then re-sawn to give me four equal pieces.
After they were re-sawn, we ran them through my drum sander to smooth out the re-sawn surfaces, then cut them in half.
After about 30 minutes, the glue on the panels had set up. We could pull the clamps, and scrape away the excess glue while it was still soft. This saves a lot of sanding and scraping later.
After they dried, we ran them through the sander as well.
I laid out the mahogany and sandwiched it between the two sides panels to see if it was thick enough. Placing the mahogany perpendicular to the grain of the walnut will add strength to the body when it is all glued up.
Before we do much more, we have to refine the guitar design a bit, so enough for today.