Friday, July 29, 2011

The Highline Whisky Special Update: It's Getting Close!

After applying numerous coats of gloss tung oil, I rubbed out the finish with 0000 steel wool and followed up with some carnauba paste wax. The result really shows off the body wood's grain and texture while preserving the neck's silky feel. Check it out so far:

The hardware was temporarily installed to make sure everything lined
up as it should.

The next step will be to wind some pickups that will compliment the guitars tonal capability as well as its visual style.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Revamping the Nosferatu Guitar

A while back, I stated my lack of love for nitrocellulose lacquer as a finish for electric guitars. Not only are the fumes toxic and explosive, but the resulting finish can take forever to cure. After well over a month, the nitro I sprayed on the Nosferatu guitar just didn't want to harden up. Every time I picked up the body, I'd leave fingerprints imbedded in the clear coat! For that reason, I decided to strip the finish all the way back to bare wood so I could start over with water-based lacquer, a finish I'm far more enthusiastic about. Here's how the process has gone so far:

After sanding the body to 220 grit, I brushed on some black acrylic.

Next, I applied red acrylic with drips and splatters.

Finally, I sprayed on about 6 heavy coats of Hydrocoat Resisthane Plus
water-based lacquer. I'll wait a week or so to let the lacquer cure
before I proceed with wet sanding and the final polish.
 The nice thing about the water-based lacquer I'm using is it dries rock hard in only a couple of hours. In my experience, this stuff will cure out many times harder than nitro. Hurray for modern chemistry!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Highline Single Cut Update: A Little Necking Today

The headstock has been rough sanded to shape. The cap is Maple
with a nice flame pattern, which will match the body.

I started blending the back of the headstock with a rasp file.

The heel was blended the same way as the headstock. At this point,
I'm thinking of adding a long tenon, but we'll see.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Update: Getting Oiled Up!

I like to add several heavy coats of tung oil in order to achieve a glossy sheen that highlights the grain without filling in the wood's beautiful texture. I HATE the thick, glossy look so many guitars have these days. Instead, I prefer to showcase the beautiful (expensive) hardwoods I use.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Update: Wiring Up The Whisky Special Guitar

The first coat of tung oil.

I used a blank Tele control plate and drilled holes
for the pots and switch.

I use black wire for ground and red for the signal.
The cap is an Orange Drop .047.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Update: The Whisky Special Guitar Gets Stained

After sanding the body and neck down to 220 grit, I wiped on my home brewed stain mix. The concoction features several ingredients including some Jack Daniel's whisky.I'll let it dry and start wiping on the tung oil tomorrow. Check out the latest photos of the progress so far:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Update: Adding A Little Flair To The Highline Whisky Special

I carved the top into two levels, drilled some sound holes and added
some Mahogany accents. Next up, I've got to do some serious sanding.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Update: The Whisky Special Guitar Gets Routed

I used some scrap plywood to make a template for routing the
neck pocket. The bit I used in my router is a 1/2" diameter,
1" tall pattern bit with a 1/2" diameter bearing collared on the shaft.

The Whisky Special will be equipped with humbuckers, so I made a
template out of scrap MDF board to serve as a template. I used the
same bit for this task as I used for the neck pocket.

Since the body is semi-hollow, I plan to add some sound holes and
some cool looking Mahogany accents. Stay tuned!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Update: The Whisky Special Guitar Build

I love Canarywood. Not only is it wonderful to work with, but the tone and resonance it possess is nothing short of outstanding. In fact, I find it more consistent than the Honduran Mahogany that is available these days. The only disadvantage with this species as far as electric guitar building is concerned is its weight. Because of its heft, most luthiers who use it make necks with it rather than solid electric guitar bodies. However, that didn't stop me from making the Whisky Special's body out of a thick slab of the stuff.

After I'd glued together a two piece, 1-5/8" thick blank, I realized the body was going to weigh in at close to 8lbs! Therefore, I made the decision to hollow out the body. The following photographs show my progress so far.

From the back of the body, I drilled out a cavity, which
surrounds a central core where the neck, pickups and
bridge will be mounted.

Next, I sliced off two 1/4" thick sheets from some scrap
and glued them together to form a bookmatched back.

Then, I glued the bookmatched sheet to the body.

After the glue had dried a few hours, I trimmed away the
excess with my bandsaw. The next step, will be to
sand the sides nice and smooth.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Why I Like Canarywood Guitars

This Canarywood body blank shows the beauty of the wood's colorful grain.
Add to that the incredible resonance it possesses, and you can see
why I like this wood so much. It's only disadvantage is weight as
it is about the same as Honduran Mahogany.