Monday, May 21, 2012

Back To The Necks

I use decals for the Highline Envirocaster headstocks.
Each neck will receive six coats of tung oil. After the oil has dried a few days, I'll rub the neck with some extra fine synthetic steel wool.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Filling The Grain On An Ash Guitar Body

I use a mixture of wallboard joint compound and black acrylic paint to fill the grain on this Ash body.

After the filler had dried, I sanded off the excess with some 150 grit paper. The next step will be to apply some translucent dye. I'll probably go with red on this one. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fretting Over The Details

Today I installed, leveled and dressed the frets on three of my Highline Envirocaster necks. I would've finished the fourth neck, but it had a twist that will require a redux. Anyway, here are some photos of the work I did:

Installing the frets, one at a time.

I add a little CA glue to hold them in place more securely. Plus, according to Eric at Stewmac, super glueing improves tone and sustain.

Snipping off the excess.

Checking for high spots.

Filing down a high spot.

Beveling the edges of the frets.

Smoothing the beveled edges with sandpaper.I start with 150 grit and progress through 400 before polishing with 0000 steel wool.

These frets are done!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Now For The Fun Part: Carving The Neck Contours

After roughing out the contour with my Scheltema Neck Jig, I use a couple of Iwasaki files to finalize the contour of each neck. It's physically demanding work, but I get better results this way.

It takes 30-45 minutes to get to this point with each neck. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

If It's Friday, It Must Be Neck Day

Today I made a lot of progress on the four necks for my latest batch of Envirocaster guitars. The next step will be to carve the contours.

The photo below shows one of the templates I use for making the bodies. I use these templates to mark not only the shape of the body, but also the pickup cavities, bridge location and the holes for the neck bolts. I use separate templates for the neck pocket and the rear control cavity.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Routing The Latest Batch Of Envirocasters

Today, I finished routing all four of my current batch of Envirocaster bodies. At this stage, each Northern Ash body weighs 5.8 pounds. That's about 2.5 pounds heavier than if the were made from Swamp Ash. I know some people are picky about weight, but IMO, tone and sustain are far more important. In my experience, the best tone and the most sustain comes with a slight weight penalty.That being said, my goal is to hit about 9 pounds for each of the finished guitars. That's about what a Les Paul weighs.

My control cavities are made by drilling out the area with a 1.5" diameter forester bit. Then I rout the cover shelf with a template.

The double cutaways will get three single coil pickups.

The single cutaway will get a pair of P90s.