07. November 2011 · Comments Off on Control Cavities, Wire channel, and back roundover. · Categories: Guitar Builds

We will start by mounting the control cavity template to the back of the guitar using double side tape. Make sure and using the center lines drawn earlier to help with alignment of the template. We will use a forstner bit to remove most of the material before using the router to finish the job. To make a vintage looking bottom do not go all the way through. Leave about 5/16″ of material at the bottom of the cavity. You will use the router to get the final depth of the bottom. If go to deep with the forstner bit, the bottom will be littered with the center marks from the bit.

Hogging out material After removing majority of the material with the forstner bit you will use the router with a top bearing pattern bit. Do not try to remove all the material in one pass. Go down about 1/4″-1/2″ at a time and go slow. Leave about 1/16″ at the bottom of the control cavity and 1/8″ at the bottom of the switch cavity for the vintage look.

Attach the control cavity cover template using double side tape. Using a top bearing pattern bit, route the control cavity recesses. Check your control cavity thickness and go to a depth of the cover plus about 1/32″ to account for the paint thickness. You don’t want your control cavity to sit above the finish. Test fit the covers.

Backplate test fitMount the wire channel template to the front of the guitar using a screw in the pickup cavity area. Route the wire channel to a depth of 1/2″.

Wire channel routedHere are two pictures of the back, you can see the wire channel entering the control cavity.

Finished control cavityCloseup of control cavityPut a 3/16″ radius bit, with the bottom bearing, on the router. Route the roundover on the back edge all the way around the guitar.

Back with roundover doneAt this point I would want to weight the guitar body. A good weight for a blank at this stage of the build is less than 5 lbs. This one came in at 4 lbs 13 oz. Perfect. If it weighted more that 5 lbs I would consider either drilling large holes (swiss cheese) or chambering the body. There is many pictures online on how Gibson did this to the Les Paul to keep the weight down on the guitars.

Next we will start on the maple top.

23. October 2011 · Comments Off on Tracing body, cutting body shape, etc · Categories: Guitar Builds

This is a continuation of our last post. We are only working on the mahogany body and getting close to the final shape.

Thickness plane the body to 1 3/4″ and trace the body outline on the body blank.

Mahogany body blankAfter tracing the outline, I used a band saw to cut out the shape and making sure to leave about 1/16″ – 1/8″ at the edge. This will make routing the final shape a lot easier. Mount the template to the body blank using 2 screws placed where the pickup cavities will be.

Template attached to bodyUsing a router, route the shape with a flush trim bit. Before removing the template you need to transfer the center line to the body blank. Use a square to continue the center line onto the back side. After removing the template also label the top and bottom.  This will help to prevent mistakes later.

Mahogany body cutMahogany Body cutSand the outer edge with a sanding block.  Use sandpaper, wrapped around a 2″ pvc pipe, for the inside curves.

Next we will be routing out the control cavities and the cavity plate recesses.

16. October 2011 · Comments Off on LP style guitar build · Categories: Guitar Builds

This is my first attempt at a guitar build blog. I will be building a Les Paul style guitar and be using the parts that we sell at Philadelphia Luthier Tools & Supplies.   There will be lots of pictures and detailed explanation of the process.  I’m hoping that this will be a great resource that my customers can use.

First, we will be gathering all the wood and parts needed for this project. All the wood was sourced locally at Exotic Woods in S. Jersey.

Wood for Les Paul build3 piece Honduras Mahogany body, Quartersawn Honduras Mahogany Neck blank (enough for 2 necks), Flitch match maple top, rosewood fingerboard, and holly headstock veneer.

Close up of maple topClose up of the flitch matched maple top. Looks like a very good match.

TemplatesLes Paul guitar plans, neck templates, headstock, body templates, and angled control cavity template.

Guitar partsThese are a sample of the part we will be using. Most items are available at Philadelphia Luthier Tools & Supplies.

We will be updating our progress a couple of times a week.