On Saturday afternoon, my friend Allan and I got together and started to plan out a guitar. Allen is a master woodworker himself. He has some serious woodworking equipment, not your ordinary home owners tools. He probably got my vibes when I mentioned in my last ‘Black Walnut guitar‘ post the need to employ a jointer and planer. Friends read minds! LOL.
I loaded up my ruff cut planks and drove the 1/2 mile to Allan’s house and we started to game plan. Allan is way more imaginative than I am concerning wood patterns and design, he also has more experience by a long-shot.
This is the basic design Allan came up with, which I approve of wholeheartedly. The problem we found with the Black Walnut boards I had chainsawed were twofold. The guy who cut the log really butchered the piece of wood. Bad cuts, terrible internal gouging and inconsistent width. I’m really annoyed about that. If my shoulder was not rehabbing from surgery, I could have done a much better job.
The other issue we ran into is that there are some serious cracks in the planks I had cut. There is no way of determining cracks inside the log before it was cut. Since it’s about 50 years old and the ends were not sealed at all, it was not unexpected. That is where the light colored wood, or Maple wood comes in.
By striping the guitar with Maple, we can get enough good Black Maple for not only a Strat, but a matching Telecaster too. How cool is that?
With that in mind, we trimmed (when I say we, I mean I assisted Allan) the ‘sap’ wood off the edges with a large band-saw. Then took it over to his industrial sized jointer and ran it over the super high speed cutting knifes enough times to get a completely flat surface on one side. That is what a jointer is for, to flatten and true one side of an unfinished board so you can go to the next step.
Which is the planer. The planer then planes or cuts with super high speed knives the untrue side, so you will have a flat piece of wood at the desired thickness. Very cool operations. We ended up with about a 1 5/8 thickness for our guitars. Teles and Strats are actually 1 3/4 ” thick. Since these will be a little thinner, I will make them hard-tail guitars without tremolos.
That will work for me because I expect a guitar built with Walnut and Maple to be heavy. It probably will be quite bright sounding too.
I’m about 99.9% sure I’ll use P-90 pickups, which sound great and won’t require a pick guard, which would cover a lot of the beautiful wood. I was in some turmoil over whether to go traditional with a pick-guard or not. The beauty of the woods and P-90 pups made my mind up.
I’m not going to color the guitar, it will be clear-coated more than likely, so the beauty will show. anyway, We both had a great time on Saturday and can’t wait to get back at it one night this week. We still have more planning and lots of work ahead of us, but the project is now officially underway.
It won’t happen overnight, but you know I’ll keep you well informed. I enjoy working with Allan because he is passionate about woodworking and is having as much fun as I am. He also is not a stranger to major orthopedic surgery either and is nice enough to make sure I don’t over work my rebuilt shoulder. Stay in touch. Enjoy and share if this post interested you. GuitarPlayersCenter.com
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