Infection – making of a custom guitar, part 1.

14.01.20161

While slightly drunk at a Cannibal Corpse gig on a saturday night in Jyväskylä, I asked Mynni if he wanted a custom guitar.

He did.

This is how I built it from scratch.

Part 1: The concept and making a neck blank.

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It all started with a somewhat crude computer generated sketch…

 

And this is how it turned out.

And this is how it turned out.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; there’s a few steps in between. First thing to do is to make a neck blank and do a rough shaping of neck profile. After this blank I let the blank rest for several weeks before doing anything else, this is to letwood “settle down” and release its natural tensions. If neck is made from freshly sawn and shaped wood, it’s likely to bend uncontrollably probably ruining the whole guitar. So here we go:

 

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It all starts with raw lumber, on the left is wenge (dark brown) and bubinga. They are both used as laminate woods to bring visual contrast and rigidness to maple, which is the primary wood for making these necks.

All sawn to thin strips, lumber tends to bend slighty as forementioned natural tensions are released...

All sawn to thin strips, lumber tends to bend slighty as forementioned natural tensions are released…

... after which boards are straightened and planed to desired thicknesses; in this case 10 - 20mm.

… after which boards are straightened and planed to desired thicknesses; in this case 10 – 20mm.

Glue is applied generously...

Glue is applied generously…

... and everything is compressed together. Glue is let to cure overnight; modern woodworking glues make a stronger joint than the wood it self if made properly.

… and everything is compressed together. Glue is let to cure overnight; modern woodworking glues make a stronger joint than the wood it self if made properly.

Blanks are glued together but are quite rough...

Blanks are glued together but are quite rough…

... so they are planed and thickenessed (is that even a word...? Now it is!)

… so they are planed and thickenessed (is that even a word…? Now it is!)

Guitar shapes are drawn on the blanks...

Guitar shapes are drawn on the blanks…

... so excess can be sawn off. A good bandsaw is a necessity for this!

… so excess can be sawn off. A good bandsaw is a necessity for this!

Here's all the pieces separated from blanks.

Here’s all the pieces separated from blanks.

Finally a rough neck shape is carved onto the necks. After this, blanks are let to rest for atleast four weeks, preferably even more.

Finally a rough neck shape is carved onto the necks.
After this, blanks are let to rest for atleast four weeks, preferably even more.

Placement is checked for the truss rod, which straightens the neck counteracting string tension when strung.

Placement is checked for the truss rod, which straightens the neck counteracting string tension when strung.

 

A slot is routed for the truss rod and fit is checked.

A slot is routed for the truss rod and fit is checked.

Time to make body wings; two pieces of sapele mahogany is selected and sawn to roughly the right dimensions.

Time to make body wings; two pieces of sapele mahogany is selected and sawn to roughly the right dimensions.

After which body pieces are planed to make good glue joints.

After which body pieces are planed to make good glue joints.

Even more sketching on the neck blank, this time body dimensions. Excess length and thickness are marked to saw off to make space for the curly birchwood top.

Even more sketching on the neck blank, this time body dimensions. Excess length and thickness are marked to saw off to make space for the curly birchwood top.

All sawn off...

All sawn off…

And here's the remaining piece.

And here’s the remaining piece.

Joints are checked for good measure...

Joints are checked for good measure…

Body outline is... well, outlined on the pieces...

Body outline is… well, outlined on the pieces…

and spaces for clamps are sawn...

and spaces for clamps are sawn…

... for thight compression.

… for tight compression.

Next it’s time for the top wood and… we’ll see what else. =)