Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

New Build Day


Rabs
 Share

Recommended Posts

Yup.. Its finally here...   

Some of you on here know my story, some probably dont.. 

Basically after being on this forum for about a year and at the same time being unemployed during a recession for about a year, I decided to build my own guitar. Mostly as I was so bored and going out of my mind that I needed something to do. So I decided to do it publicly on this forum and posted as I learned how to make a guitar which my very first one the wood was taken from an old toilet door my parents had... All my mistakes were posted too.

Well that thread went on for a while.. Sadly I used to use Photobucket and when they decided to make everyone pay I lost all the pictures on that which is a shame as its quite a thread.. Goes on for like 40 pages and lasted about a year (first build failed)....

Then after a while it seemed I wasnt going to get any more work in my field (computer game producer)..  I was getting to old for them (only about 36 at the time) and had been out of the industry just two years after 18 years of experience  and was basically being told I was no longer relevant (not a single interview in two years)..  At that point I decided I could go and re-train as a plumber or electrician or something, or take a huge chance and do something I really actually enjoyed. Even though I knew even back then (about 2011) that making guitars was never going to make me rich.. But the thought of genuinely enjoying my work and helping to provide people with nice instruments was much better.. And cos I have no debt, am single and have no kids to look after I could do it (or none of this would ever have happened).

So after that I went for it and did guitar shows and got a web site and facebook page etc... And it was all going ok.. In 2016 I was actually doing quite well had done some custom builds and was getting servicing work.. Then, my dad got really sick... The next two years were all about him, my business just stopped.. Which as sad as that was, I dont regret for a second. That lasted two years and he passed in 2018.. Then three months later one of my oldest and closest friends passed away too.. 

After that, I didnt do anything for about six months.. But was running out of money so needed some kind of wok and got a job at a local wood shop, which I did for the last few years... Was pretty awesome. I certainly learnt a lot more about wood in general than I knew before and its all English local wood too... Well that job ended about six months ago (my choice), I was getting a bit sick of lugging 3m long bits of wood around all day and my back wasnt having it. Then there was covid and me really wanting to keep my mum safe more than anything.

Now...  Im back baby   🙂 That wood shop I worked in also had a shared workshop with amazing tools, so no more awkward cutting jobs... I can just book a day or afternoon any time I want (£29 a day)... AND I now have this amazing source of wood which I didnt the first time around. So here it is. My first build thread in many years and my first build since about 2018..

If you have not seen one before.. Warning, they can be quite picture heavy.. And long  🙂 

One other thing I have to again acknowledge If it wernt for this forum I would probably have never done this.. The support I got on here spurring me on actually changed my life. And the powers that be on the forum always let me post as much as I wanted. So thank you once again. its something I wont forget.

So lets start with the wood..   London Plane.. And quite controversial too.. This wood came from outside Euston Station in central London. There has been many a protest about this. and rightly so to be honest. They are building a new High Speed Railway from London to Manchester (HS2) and are chopping down anything in their path including wood from hundreds of forests, some of them antient. Its really really sad... BUT my old boss got in with the council and rather than chipping all those amazing old trees (5000 a year come down in London alone) he now gets them and turns the wood in to planks that can be used and enjoyed for many more years.. Its a really cool thing he is doing. We cant stop HS2 but at least we can save the wood (it also keeps the carbon in the wood, where as when they are burned it gets released).

Heres the top wood which will be bookmatched.

VbHMCQ3.jpg

This is the body wood

shgApVX.jpg

and the neck piece.. As I say, all London Plane, all home grown.

jiFFMhK.jpg

More to follow below....

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So yes.. My first day back in the workshop, this time doing my own thing and it was cool seeing everyone again..

So... Body wood. Chop it in half. Cut the live edge off. Joint the sides and thickness from 55 to 40mm..

Ry6cJl1.jpg

lnMj1wS.jpg

Dr8g5rP.jpg

OoFHO6i.jpg

JrpyDgo.jpg

And glue..

PhIMecy.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then the fun part.. Bookmatching the spalted top wood.

Cut to size

VQdyd2b.jpg

rIbVKbs.jpg

Getting the edge flat and square here is very important as it must sit flat on the bandsaw

Before

bGY5gVR.jpg

After

QIHskkf.jpg

Then to the bandsaw (the wood had already been flattened)..

First draw a line down the middle, then make the first cut pull it back and make sure its straight.. Then slowly slowly push it through the bandsaw making sure its flat by putting pressure on the top... If you go too fast it WILL 100% go wonky and kill the piece..  Then got it down to 5mm...

RMwEtsr.jpg

cmCALdo.jpg

AND success..  Boomatched spalted symmetrical goodness  😄 

OSwn26K.jpg

SbZWRZd.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Now for the neck (which I have an ebony board for).

Draw my lines and over to the bandsaw it is..  This used to take me so long to do with a jigsaw and it was never accurate.. Doing it this way it took minutes.

cPTo8uu.jpg

TcZWC6y.jpg

tGXmjDy.jpg

KN7N1YK.jpg

Then time was running short (was only there three and a half hours) so I very roughly cut out the body shape.

YARuZkI.jpg

V8euM3A.jpg

 

Edited by Rabs
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

And there we are.. First day back at it even if it was a short day (and I was talking to loads of people I hadnt seen in a while)..  

But this work would have probably taken me more like two days had I done it with hand tools.. Theres also a neck there for another build I started a while ago which is going to be for me and be an all Black Walnut DC..

I am booked in again this Friday. So more soon [thumbup]

aJRgffY.jpg

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, jdgm said:

Wow....congrats on getting all that done.  The bookmatch looks like a computer game demon!

Cheers and yeah thats what I thought about the top too... Its almost a shame to use it as a guitar top.. Could oil it, frame it and sell it as natural art  🙂  

And yes..  Getting things flat and straight without all those big tools is really hard work in a garage with a router and jigsaw...  This makes so much more sense.. I can enjoy it much more and theres always nice people around to talk too.. AND cos there are makers of all sorts there all of the off cuts get use by people there to make tables, plates, keyrings whatever.. Its cool, we waste the minimum possible when it comes to wood like this 🙂 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Congratulations man!  That is so great to hear.  Yes I remember all your trials and troubles you had last time getting your business running.  
Looking forward to seeing your new build.  This time it sounds much more positive. 
Best of luck my friend!😁

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 minutes ago, brad1 said:

Congratulations man!  That is so great to hear.  Yes I remember all your trials and troubles you had last time getting your business running.  
Looking forward to seeing your new build.  This time it sounds much more positive. 
Best of luck my friend!😁

Cheers man. We will see.. I am doing this and a couple of other builds more for personal than professional reasons...  I am hoping that doing these may spark my interest again but we will see. The market has totally changed since I started.. All about social media and stuff I cant really be arsed with  🙂 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, merciful-evans said:

It great to see the rekindled interest & enthusiasm again Rabs.

Have you been able to store the woods at the workshop? If not, have you been able to cure it at home?

No.. All of the wood at the workshop has been air and then kiln dried to about 8-10%...  You cant be selling non dry wood to furniture makers  🙂 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, Rabs said:

And there we are.. First day back at it even if it was a short day (and I was talking to loads of people I hadnt seen in a while)..  

But this work would have probably taken me more like two days had I done it with hand tools.. Theres also a neck there for another build I started a while ago which is going to be for me and be an all Black Walnut DC..

I am booked in again this Friday. So more soon [thumbup]

 

Rabs, I think this is the one for me to return to London and purchase from you! I can't wait to see the finished product!

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Big Bill said:

Rabs, I think this is the one for me to return to London and purchase from you! I can't wait to see the finished product!

Well lets see how it goes. Its my first build in a while  🙂 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, merciful-evans said:

I read that London Plane is similar to maple & is used in veneers. So it looks good. Is it heavy as well?

Well London Plane was invented by Kew Gardens. Its a cross between Asian and American maple.. In the US they call London Plane. Maple...  The idea of the tree is that they were good as soaking up smog which is why they are planted all over London..  Very beautiful wood.

Yeah its fairly heavy but not crazy.. I will be chambering the body to account for that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very quick update.. Just did the truss rod channel today so that tomorrow I can concentrate on getting the fretboard done.

I surprised myself just how quickly I can do this now. A very simple method.. Clamp it in the workbench. Get a straight bit of wood I have and line it up. The router has a flat edge at the back of the base so will run along it. Then I just make sure its in line, clamp the wood, set the depth stop at 9mm and go for it.

MUaAKCK.jpg

soWxHPe.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have also discovered another slight issue with all of this.. And while it wont stop me doing this and a couple more builds, it may stop me from doing it in the future..

And thats RSI pain.. One of the reasons I stopped working in the wood shop was because of the physical toll it was taking on me.. I mean really. Some days were such hard work and  95% of the time I worked, at the end of the day something was always hurting.. Hands, legs, arms, feet and mostly the back... When I left I was getting sharp pains just below my thumbs when gripping anything. And it had all pretty much gone away. But the last day or so its been back..  My thumbs and my back are not happy at all  😞  

I know, I know.. Go see a doctor blah blah..  Never been good at that... I will see how it goes the next few days.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Rabs, do you take any kind of pain reliever? That could help a great deal.

And make sure you are aware of your back thoughout the day while working. I know you do. But it is so easy, when you are feeling well, to forget about this. Keeping your back staight, trying not to bend over for too long, gripping things not too tightly are all things I often forget about when I am feeling fine. And then I pay for it later. 

Perhaps find some excercises for your back as well; something you can do before and after you work in the shop.

Best of luck. [smile]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, brad1 said:

Hey Rabs, do you take any kind of pain reliever? That could help a great deal.

And make sure you are aware of your back thoughout the day while working. I know you do. But it is so easy, when you are feeling well, to forget about this. Keeping your back staight, trying not to bend over for too long, gripping things not too tightly are all things I often forget about when I am feeling fine. And then I pay for it later. 

Perhaps find some excercises for your back as well; something you can do before and after you work in the shop.

Best of luck. [smile]

Well the issue may be that its too late.

As said one of the reasons I stopped at the wood shop was because of some of these physical issues.. One of the big ones is grabbing huge bits of wood at the edge when looking for a certain piece of wood. When I was working there you spend half your day doing that, theres no real other way to do it either. My mum used to be a hairdresser and had the same sort of pain in her thumb from using scissors all day. She ended up having to have an operation it to fix the pain.

I have had like nine months off of this and the pain came back after the session on Tuesday almost straight away and I was only there for like 3 and a half hours which sadly leads me to believe there may be some kind of tendonitis RSI...

We will see how it feels tomorrow, but also tomorrow I have another afternoon at the workshop.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Today was one of those bits and bob type days.. Only got a few bits done. Its one of the things about working in a shared workshop, you have to make sure you dont get distracted talking to people all day, kind of happened today but again I was only there for 3.5 hours...So yeah, not such an interesting update today, kind of building myself back up a bit... But its also nice when I am making these that these are just builds I want to make and theres no rush.

I also realised last night I dont have a bridge yet for this build and decided to go all out and am getting a schaller 3D 6 bridge that looks like this if you dont know
Schaller 3D-6 Guitar Bridge Roller Saddles
I was just a bit bored of TOMs, wraparounds and the standard hardtail (like a non trem strat or tele)... They arent cheap but I wanted this build to be special.... Got some Gotoh tuners on the way too. Used to use Schaller tuners but the last few years the quality of them has seemed to have slipped and they have got more expensive too (probably due to brexit)... Gotoh are kind of what Schaller were a few years ago.

Started with the two ebony boards. Got them to the right size (43-56mm).. 

7BfeecY.jpg



Marked them all up, so they are ready for their inlays.

purbKvY.jpg



Also prepared and glued some wings on the headstock to make it wide enough.

4EMDnS5.jpg



You can also see here next to the clamped neck a mahogany neck which I cut to shape. I do actually have three builds going on.. The others I will report on some other time

eP6FGha.jpg


 

gl9X0Qj.jpg



Then I also had the mahogany body with me which I needed to get down to 40mm (from 45) as it is going to have a flamed maple cap. Man the tear out on this one.. 

njMIKip.jpg



Cleaned that up

DUiCXm4.jpg



And then lastly I started working on how to do these odd oval shaped inlays I have (not sure which build will get them yet).. I didnt have all my bits on me and the ones at the workshop are a bit rubbish so I will do those maybe Monday at home.. Tried to do it freehand with my dremel tool but it didnt really work that well.

F1ph1ni.jpg


 

wazV01V.jpg



And that was it really for today. As said, just one of those nothingy days where you only get bits done. But it happens.. Also I kind of need the bridge for the next stages anyway which should arrive Tuesday. So hopefully one day on the weekend I will glue a fretboard and then get back to it next week when the hardware arrives.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, Rabs said:

I also realised last night I dont have a bridge yet for this build and decided to go all out and am getting a schaller 3D 6 bridge that looks like this if you dont know
Schaller 3D-6 Guitar Bridge Roller Saddles
I was just a bit bored of TOMs, wraparounds and the standard hardtail (like a non trem strat or tele)... They arent cheap but I wanted this build to be special..
 

 

Rabs, this is most definitely my favourite bridge. I have them on two guitars and a 3rd waiting for me to make up my mind where to use it. Its beautifully engineered/built, chunky & stable and with 3 axis of adjustment. 

They used to have a single screw to lock the saddles together (see mine). I'm not seeing that on your pic, probably the design tweak has made it redundant.  

h5gCCgO.jpg

Edited by merciful-evans
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...