Saturday, January 17, 2015

Inferno Construction Pt.1 (body)

Hi everyone and happy new year!

We had an order come through for a design based on a Gibson reverse Firebird with a fair few changes to the standard design. Instead of just showing you the end result this will be a "from the ground up" post showing it's construction just to show you what kind of things are involved in making a guitar from scratch! This isn't intended as a how to guide and many finer points and processes aren't touched on here. It's more just a "behind the scenes" look at what goes on in our workshop.

This first part will be documenting the building of the body and then in the 2nd part we'll deal with the neck and, finally, the finished result!

So This is how all our guitars start their lives, the woods we mainly use are Sapele and Maple so that is what you see here, if we need to use exotic woods for anything then we usually get them in to order rather than storing them here.

The order requested that the body be a 3ply of Maple, Sapele and Maple. After selecting some nice boards we clamp and glue them together. This is the result after 24hrs of clamping and a quick plane and sand of both faces so they are flat, smooth and ready for routing.

Here you can see we've drawn the basic design onto the wood and routed the pickup and neck cavities. We do this before cutting the shape of the body so the router has a more stable base to work on.

We don't drill any bridge holes yet as in order to get the scale length correct you need to know exactly where the 12th or 24th fret is going to be. We can make a decent guess at this point but we prefer to wait until the neck is complete before doing this.

Here is the body straight from the band saw. All of the edges will need a lot of sanding and shaping until they are smooth. We have left a small section of the neck pocket uncut so if any small adjustments need to be made to the neck pocket for any reason it can be done with a limited amount of difficulty.

This is the result after sanding and shaping the edges. Next comes drilling the holes for the controls, output jack and then routing the cavities for these respectively.

The reason we don't do this while routing the pickup and neck cavities is that we find it easier to gauge a decent position for the controls once the final shape of the body is complete. We find also that cutting the hole for a side mounted output jack into and already routed cavity can increase the chance of the drill bit biting and breaking of the wood at the edge.

The order for this guitar required that there be no scratch plate, a 3 way toggle near the other controls, 1 tone, 1 volume and a side mounted output jack.

Here you can see the two smaller holes are going to be the volume & tone and then larger is the toggle switch.

Here are the routed cavities for the controls and output jack. The rough marks you see on the body are small cuts from the earlier planing. These will be taken out with the final sanding process.

All that is left to do now is drill the holes for the bridge and string ferrules, round the body's edges, cut and shape the end section of the neck cavity and give the whole thing a final progressive sand to take out any imperfections and get the wood ready for oiling later.

That is all for this post, in part 2 we'll deal with making the neck and then the final assembly! Thanks for reading! Any questions or comments please feel free to leave here or email us!

Best regards,
Mike & Martin


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