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Luthiery

Raffle Ready

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Double Dragon

Once the finish was sufficiently cured, I spent an afternoon sanding and buffing it out. This part I generally dread as I’m always anxious about sanding through the finish. No matter how slowly I go, when you’re wet sanding, the finish usually looks fine until after you remove the sandpaper and dry it off. Only … Continue reading »

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Custom Dragon Hardware

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Double Dragon

Back when I first acquired the CNC, I also purchased some sheets of thin plywood, vinyl, and aluminum of varying thickness. My plan was to experiment with cutting these materials immediately after assembly to learn just what it could — and couldn’t — do. I instead wound up diving headlong into cutting wood and building … Continue reading »

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Dragon’s breath

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Double Dragon

Once the guitar was out of the clamps with the neck permanently secured, it was time for finishing it up. The neck joint was flushed with scrapers and sandpaper, and the entire guitar was given a good sanding down to 220. I’d already applied some finish to the inside of the sound hole and so … Continue reading »

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Carving the Dragon’s Neck

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Double Dragon

The CNC cut a 3-degree angled neck pocket on its final pass. The bottom of the pocket came out great. Unfortunately I screwed up the top edge, which came out rough. Thankfully this wasn’t a huge issue – I pulled out my neck pocket routing jig and manually cleaned up the top. CNCs are great … Continue reading »

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Starting Work on the “Double Dragon”

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Double Dragon

Getting Started After a summer-long hiatus, it was time to get back into the shop for the next guitar project. I needed to build the next charity guitar for our 4th annual guitar raffle to benefit Make-a-Wish. The first of these was a copy of a Gibson SG Junior in 2014. Last year’s guitar was … Continue reading »

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Lap Steel in a Day

Summer fun list We have an annual tradition in our house of making a “summer fun list.” Towards the end of the school year, we all sit down and take turns coming up with activities we’d like to do during summer vacation. The list usually includes stuff like “Picnic” or “Christmas in July” or “Sundae … Continue reading »

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Introducing “Honeybee,” the Sapele-Tele

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Sapele Tele

After a few false starts, first with the headstock finish, next with the body, I finally managed to wrap this project up. I’ve been playing it for a few weeks now at rehearsal and plan to play it in my next gig. Here are the glamour shots fresh from the photographer. The specs: Body: Sapele … Continue reading »

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Digital Abalone

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Sapele Tele

For this guitar I wanted to do something a bit different for the fret markers. Though I considered a somewhat elaborate inlay like the previous two, for this one I was thinking of something a bit simpler and unique. As I’m in software engineering I’d been toying with the idea of essentially labeling the fret … Continue reading »

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Finishing Up the Body

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Sapele Tele

Ouch! When I was prepping to cut out the body on the CNC, I knew I didn’t have a long enough bit or enough Z height to cut the entire way through from the top. I considered cutting half-way through from the bottom first and then flipping it over, but I was anxious that I … Continue reading »

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My First CNC Guitar: a Sapele Telecaster

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Sapele Tele

With the CNC up and running it was time to try it out on my first guitar. I’d already decided the next would be a Telecaster thinline out of Sapele with a Maple cap. A “Sapele Tele.” I found a PDF online of a classic Telecaster body. This was opened in CorelDraw! where I was … Continue reading »

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