Lowe Guitars shop notes

Discussion in 'Builder's & Retailer's Forum' started by BeeTL, Aug 13, 2011.


  1. BeeTL

    BeeTL Member

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    Going forward, here is where I'll blog about projects, power tools, bacon, bunnies, and other occurrences in the Lowe Custom Guitars shop.

    First, may I introduce Roxy, the shop bunny:

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    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013
  2. MicFarlow

    MicFarlow Member

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    Love it! So, the phrase 'hop to it' may have a little different meaning in your shop! :)
     
  3. loki1982

    loki1982 Member

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    Hey Brad! Tell Roxy to tone it down a bit! Looking forward to Wednesday, will get a review up as soon as I can. Hopefully a clip or two as well if I can track down a decent recorder.
     
  4. BeeTL

    BeeTL Member

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    :beer
    Jeff, you really outdid yourself!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WykbnEsqnZk
     
  5. loki1982

    loki1982 Member

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    Thanks Brad, just hope I can get around to some better equipment... a Sony handicam doesn't do that guitar any justice. So what's roxys next trick going to be?
     
  6. BeeTL

    BeeTL Member

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    Roxy decided to build some shelves...:)

    So, it seem like I’ve spent the last three summers “getting ready to get ready”, but it seems to be time well spent.

    This summer I’ve focused on building up tools and inventory and getting organized.

    Since I haven’t seen too much on the topic and I think I have a little different approach, I thought I’d share how I’ve built my workbenches and storage shelves.

    I’m a one-man show and I HATE moving heavy stuff around, so I decided everything heavy or awkward in the shop will be on wheels.

    I’m not 100% there yet, but I’m getting close.

    For my benches and shelves I start with ½” or thicker ply cut into 2’ x 4’ pieces.

    Next, I notch the corners of the lower shelves out like this:

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    I then frame the shelves out with 1” x 3” pine for rigidity:

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    …and add a center stringer for shelves that will carry very heavy loads:

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    Then I lay the shelves out on 2” x 4” support rails:

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    …make sure they’re square and tack them up with 2” finishing brads:

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    After that I glue and nail 2” x 4” shim blocks to the support legs and screw the 1” x 3” frames to the blocks.

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    Next I add locking casters to the base:

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    …stand ‘em up and paint ‘em black:

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    The finished product, in a variety of forms:

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  7. BeeTL

    BeeTL Member

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    Today I got back to guitar work. I have quite a few guitars I’d like to finish in 2011, and this will be the beginning of the push to get that done.

    I had a few necks to reshape…I don’t want to infringe on anyone’s Trademarks.

    My templates are already made, so I trace the outline in pencil on the back of the stock necks and head to the scroll saw:

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    Cut as close to the line as possible to minimize the potential for tear-out at the router:

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    The less mess you make, the less you need to clean up, so I use a shop-vac and auto switch to suck the dust away from all cutting and sanding tools:

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    A Skil Xbench insert adapted to my sanding station:

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  8. BeeTL

    BeeTL Member

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    Finished with the rough cut, so on to the router with a ½” template bit. By the way, I’ve never seen anyone use a dowel instead of double sided tape for templates, so I’m pretty pleased with that little trick:

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    Finished with that, and over to the spindle sander to smooth things out and fix up the back contours:

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    After final hand work at the sanding station:

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    Setting up to mount the bridge:

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    The first two ChromaSonic basses mocked up:

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    frankencat likes this.
  9. loki1982

    loki1982 Member

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    Looking forward to seeing what the next batch looks like Brad! I have already had some thoughts of a blue surfcaster like the green one you built... better wait awhile though, otherwise I really will end up sleeping on the couch.
     
  10. BeeTL

    BeeTL Member

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    But...but...but...I'll make you a REALLY good deal on the green SG surfcaster.

    You know...repeat customer discount...:Devil

    Sorry, I know I'm a bad influence.

    :rotflmao
     
  11. loki1982

    loki1982 Member

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    Green sg surfcaster... hmmmm. Don't think that I've seen that one. You should send or post a pic or two. Oh I finally got that mullard 12ax7 and the Jan 12at7 in the mail too. So those should be showing up soon.
     
  12. BeeTL

    BeeTL Member

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    I should have some photos to post tomorrow. :D

    Up until now I have considered myself to be a “finisher” exclusively.

    I have only done a little bit of woodworking, soldering and setup, and I consider my skills in each of these areas to be “workmanlike”…not bad, respectable in fact, but not great.

    My goal over the next 12 months is to gain proficiency in these areas.

    It’s not rocket science by any means, but it requires a great deal of attention and SKILL to be able to get things done QUICKLY.

    Since I don’t have a great attention span, I need to be both good AND quick to enjoy this kind of work.

    Today I’m building templates to build my first body from scratch.

    The donor bass is a short scale Yammy with a whammy…a fun little project.

    Step one is to get my new (to me) bandsaw set up.

    I got the new poly-u tires and 1/8” blade installed, and I’m ready to go:

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    Next, I trace the outline of the donor body on to some ¾” MDF:


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    Cut it out on the bandsaw:

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    …and sand it smooth on the spindle sander:

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    Next I need to measure out the pickup, neck and whammy cavity:

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  13. BeeTL

    BeeTL Member

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    [​IMG]

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    ...transfer the measurements onto an MDF blank and use a straightedge to project the outside edges of the neck out through the body:

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    …and locate the bits and pieces appropriately relative to the centerline and neck lines:

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    Then I cut it all out on the jigsaw:

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    Everything fits perfectly:

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    Did I ever mention that I have a 15” x 8/4” x 6’ hunk of sapele sitting in the shop?

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  14. BeeTL

    BeeTL Member

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    OK, time to make a body from the templates. First, I’ll cut off a hunk of sapele:

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    Then trace the outline of the template on to the blank:

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    Cut it out on the bandsaw, close to the line, nice and clean:

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    Next, I attach the template to the blank and head over to the router table. I use ¾” flush trim bit with a 2” cutting edge. This is the scary part…that bit can do some damage very quickly:

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  15. BeeTL

    BeeTL Member

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    Over to the sander to smooth out the edges and back to the router table to round off the back edge:

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    Next, I get ready to rout out the neck, pickup and tremolo cavities. I mark out the location and then hog out the bulk of the wood with a forstner bit:

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    Set the depth, and go to it:

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    I forgot to snap pics cleaning up the pockets with the router, so here it is mocked up…everything fits:

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  16. BeeTL

    BeeTL Member

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    Just getting back to some guitar work. I've done some clear-coating recently, but that doesn't make for interesting photos. I did get a chance to work up a new design to go on the "whammy" bass.

    Design laid out on paper:

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    Cutting the design in stencil paper:

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    Just the dragonflies:

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    All finished:

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  17. BeeTL

    BeeTL Member

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    On the design front, another little thing to make my stuff look a bit different.

    I've been thinking about having my own pickup surrounds fabbed:

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  18. BeeTL

    BeeTL Member

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    I started wetsanding and polishing nine guitar bodies.

    Although it was a bummer of a weekend on the woodworking side, the finishing process is going well.

    Six down...three to go.

    I'm going to put these up as a silent auction...$500 reserve / $895 Buy It Now shipped in the US lower 48.

    I'll post photos and specs of each in the classifieds in the next week or so, but the basics are US made bodies, nitro finish, AllParts necks, Lollar TV Jones or Fralin pickups, CRL, CTS, Deluxe Gator case, etc.

    Yes, I'm giving them away!!!

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  19. BeeTL

    BeeTL Member

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    So, another interesting development.

    I really thought a 4+1 5-string would look awkward with the bottle-opener shape.

    Turns out I was wrong...it's no more awkward than anyone elses:

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  20. dougk

    dougk Silver Supporting Member

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    Brad, I like that 4+1 layout!
     

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