My introduction and a request for your wisdom

Discussion in 'Guitar Building' started by Malachi, Jan 17, 2016.

  1. Malachi

    Malachi New Member

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    Hello all, I'm Malachi, new to the forum of course but think this one of my favorite places just to read and learn. So many great posts and conversations it is ideal for me who has just begun to dabble in the art of wood and music. I have played for years, doing my own setups, maintenance and repairs but only recently caught that bug to build. I have a pretty solid background in electronics thanks to the USN and Purdue Univ and caught the pedal building bug a few years ago, so I know how I became obsessed with building the greatest Arbiter style fuzz that the world has ever seen. I can still walk around in my downstairs bedroom turned EE lab in bare feet and get poked by a resister leg that got snagged in the carpet just waiting for me to step on it. Anyway, I would be surprised if the FBI did not have me on a watch list because of all the germanium transistors and other obsolete chips and components I have bought through eBay from old Soviet block countries. And for the sake of honesty I have built some pretty good effects, but the best in the world is always in the eye of the beholder. Everyone has a different idea of what it should sound like.

    Hey, I'm sorry for such a long post, I want to introduce myself but I also wanted to ask about mahogany and 2 piece body wood for my first LP build. Mahogany and soft maple. I have a great lumber yard here in Indiana that carries some great rough sawn hardwoods and I bought a 8' 8/4" mahogany, a little over 10 3/16" wide. I am planning to build something as near the '59 Les Paul I can do so from what I have read I am going for the 13 3/16" lower bout width. My question is whether I should glue a couple of pieces mahogany together or buy a one piece blank. Do you guys have an opinion and the thoughts behind it on 2 piece Paul bodies? I know I am going to recut the maple going for a book matched cap but the mahogany will need to be glued to make width.

    Thanks, I will try never to run on and on in my subsequent posts going forward.
     
  2. Michael_P

    Michael_P Member

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    Firstly, odds are very high that what you bought is Khaya (African Mahogany)...Genuine Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) is pretty hard to find these days...

    That being said, you should be able to get a piece wide enough to make a body out of without a glue up...just tell your connection at your supplier what you are looking for, and with patience you should be able to get it...

    One note on Khaya: there are at least 3 types floating around that are all lumped together...

    To be avoided is the type that tends to be stringy and is hard to work with because of that...if you're against weight then avoid the type that is harder/darker/denser...

    unfortunately the only way I know of to determine if it's stringy is to run it through a planer and observe the results...perhaps taking a shaving from the edge of the board while in the rough?

    the problem with glue ups is the usual lack of a properly set up jointer which enables a much truer gluing surface...blah, blah, blah...this is of course stated with the realization that big factories do it all the time...Gibson has a huge press that holds the pieces flat and at the same time clamps at extreme pressure
     
  3. Malachi

    Malachi New Member

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    Well, that wasn't what I had hoped to hear but it is what it is. And I do appreciate your reply.
     
  4. Michael_P

    Michael_P Member

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    ?

    Well, I'm not sure what you wanted to hear..lol

    Basic fact I've learned after 30 years of being a woodworker: flawless joinery is pretty hard to do. Please note I'm making reference to the fact I don't own a jointer. Being an in the field worker I don't have any real ability to put one to use (which entails transporting it, verifying setup, etc.)...rather I deal with table saws, track saws, pattern bits on a router...all of those tools are prone to be a tad out of square...then there's the issue of a perfectly straight line being cut!

    It's certainly possible, just many times a chore especially when dealing with wide thick boards that are NOT going to do any real movement under clamping pressure.

    Shrugs shoulders...put another way: trimming out a paint grade tract house with hollow core doors is easy (caulk, putty, lower expectations from the clientele)...trimming out a multi million dollar home with stain grade work is a completely different animal.

    Read that as a comparison to making a painted electric, and a stained one (which to boot might have a carved top)...lot's of joinery on stain grade that just can't be hidden other than by good work.

    The good news is that many times good work is accomplished by actually trying to do it, and taking the time to do so
     
  5. GreaseBox

    GreaseBox New Member

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    Welcome to the forum!

    IMO there is nothing wrong with a multi-piece body. If your wood is rough cut, then just true up the two gluing surfaces (edges), laminate it, then plane to thickness. Aforementioned problem solved.

    Curious, where in Indiana are you?
     
  6. Dave Locher

    Dave Locher Member

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    I agree with GreaseBox - I have owned great guitars with one-piece, two-piece, and three-piece bodies and you absolutely can't tell the which is which when playing. I could only tell because the all had transparent finishes. I have no idea how many pieces my solid-colored guitars were. Most Les Pauls and Paul Reed Smith guitars have two-piece carved maple tops. Godin actually cuts large slabs into smaller planks and then glues planks from the same slab back together after kiln-drying them!
    The point is, two- and three-piece bodies are totally fine as long as you are careful to get good glued seams.
     
  7. TKOjams

    TKOjams Well-Known Member

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    nothing wrong with multi piece bodies, no one will ever hear the difference, and welcome aboard!!
     
  8. Michael_P

    Michael_P Member

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    nope, nothing inherently wrong with multi piece bodies...

    but for a beginner at woodworking the joinery issue has to be dealt with...if a jointer is available then this is pretty much dealt with...

    my point was that if the material is Khaya then getting a single piece blank should be fairly easy...there are still plenty of old growth trees being harvested and they are oftimes HUGE...

    additional point I was making is that woodworking is NOT easy...and if a single piece body blank is available that at least deals with that joinery
     

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