With the idea that this guitar build is a "learning project," my primary "build a guitar" goal (other than to learn so that the next project is better) is to keep the expense as low as possible. A lot can be learned without spending a mint. The secondary goal is having a playable instrument. I know I have the ability to make a great sounding, great playing electric guitar using parts someone else made (I've made two so far), but I really don't know what goes in to the whole process of making/routing the body or winding the pickups. The more you can do/make yourself, the more the final product is your own and the more you learn about how it's really made.
I got my first glimpse at reality when I took the rough hunk of Poplar into the cellar and started working with it. I haven't done a lot of wood working, but I've done enough to know that working with power tools is a lot like approaching a strange dog. As much as you might be a little bit afraid, you need to be bold, confident and decisive, yet fluid in your actions. Being jumpy and tentative typically doesn't end well in either case.
The workup on the hunk of Poplar went down like this:
- cut the 36" length into two 18" lengths.
- With the crown up, trim about 1/4" off one side to get a flat edge.
- Flip the board around and cut the other length to get a total board width of 7" (finished width needs to be 6 3/8")
- Now that I have [what should be] two parallel surfaces, I stood the board on its edge, cranked the table saw up to its 3" max height and ripped the length of the board, flipped it, and ran it again leaving about a 1" piece in the middle to saw by hand. This was the potential dog-bite moment. The table saw I have really isn't powerful enough for what I was asking of it (I tripped its internal breaker twice and had to shut the saw down mid-cut on each pass as the blade started binding), so there was an element of unpredictability as the wood was being fed into the blade. It definitely didn't go perfectly, but it did what it needed to do!
|Planing the rough boards.|
|Applying the glue.|