Prologue: Good day, LuthierTalk patrons! I'm pleased to announce that I'm starting my first build thread. After 6 months of lurking, drooling, and reading everything you guys have offered up on the forum, I finally feel comfortable enough to start my own build thread. I hope I'm not cursing myself. I got a LOT of traction this weekend, and I thought I'd get started on the thread. There isn't a whole lot going on that's interesting per-se, but I thought I could gather info, ask opinions, and get some direction earlier in the game instead of waiting for it later. My success in the shop has been limited due to rookie mistakes. I've started 2 necks and botched them both, but one is fixable, and the other can become a cigar box guitar or something. I did have a moment of success this summer when I built a nice cigar box guitar that was a gift for a friend on Father's Day. Due to these mistakes, I've decided to change gears and actually work off a known good set of plans instead of spinning my wheels trying to get my original designs to manifest themselves. Once I have success with this LP, then I will turn my attention to original builds. Without further ado, HERE WE GO!!! The LP I'm building is going to be based off the Tom Bartlett plans, but I have no interest in it being vintage accurate. All that nonsense with the angle of the control cavity and all that....going right out the window. Don't need it. I'll be using a 5 piece mahogany body(I can only assume it's the African variety) because that's what I had on hand. I'll be using a maple top with subtle curl, so it's closer to a plain top than anything else. I'm planning on making a 3 piece laminated neck that will be quartersawn mahogany/maple/mahogany, and I want to use a curly maple fretboard. I've always thought LPs look BOSS with a maple fretboard, and I've always wanted one. For pickups, I'll either be enlisting a friend of mine who builds Scarlett Amps, or I will be using my tried and true Duncan JB/Jazz combo. I'm leaning towards the Scarlett ones though because Paul(Scarlett Amps...check em out!) is insisting that I use his pickups for a build. Not gonna argue...the guy is an electronics and tone mastermind. Bartlett Plans: This is what I'm basing my first LP build on...the Tom Bartlett '59 plans. Close to 6' wide. Crazy. Order 2 from Tom. Copies at Kinko's cost almost as much as the plans themselves, and they have to use a roller scan on images that large, which can translate into distortion over the length of the plan. Give Tom your money, not Kinko's. Made a template for a template for other templates: First template of 1/4" hardboard. I glue-sticked a copy of the Bartlett plan to make a quick template to transfer to MDF. Master Template: After transferring from the first template to the MDF, I sanded to the outer edge of the pencil line with a disk sander for the outer curves and used rasps on the inner curves like the cutaway and her waist. I then took the template down to the inner part of the original pencil line with a card scraper. I slowly sneaked up on the inside of the line, making sure to maintain a perfectly perpendicular edge, and fluid curves throughout every transition. This will be my master template for all flush-trim routing. Hunk o' Maple! This was an off-cut of curly maple I got a decent deal on. Perfect thickness for bookmatching. A little plain, and light on the figure, but I think it'll be pretty enough. I can get 2 tops out of this piece. X-Cut I like using hand saws whenever possible. I especially like cross cutting with a handsaw because my table saw is sketchy at the best of times. I also have challenged myself to cut perfectly by hand like the good old boys. I'm still working on it, but getting better every time. Top #1 This is the piece I'll be using for my first LP top, but first it has to be bookmatched. It's a 7" tall cut and my bandsaw only cuts 6" high. What to do?!? I guess I'll have to use that sketchy table saw.... Sketchy Table Saw So here's the target of my ire. This table saw has given me nothing but problems. I found out there's over 1mm of deflection from the front and back of the fence towards the middle, and I can never get a cut that's a perfect 90 degrees to the table top. This won't do. Wood fence? That's right. Screw that chintzy metal fence...we're gonna fix it with a good old piece of maple. I planed it perfectly flat and made sure I had a perpendicular edge. I used my Stanley #5 for this job. Bolt holes I used the existing holes in the fence and marked the spacing off on the maple. I drilled the holes and countersunk them with a spade bit to fit these bolts I took off a bed frame long ago. Bolting on the maple fence I bolted on the maple using lock-nuts, making sure to leave it just barely snug in the middle to secure, but not flex it up against the fence. Checking for 90 degrees Once bolted on, I checked for 90 degrees, and I think I nailed it. Bookmatching the top With the fence fixed, I did a practice cut on a construction grade pine 2x6, and felt confident I worked out the table saw's kinks. Here I go ahead and do the cut in the maple. I think I used 4 passes per side. Almost there... A 10" table saw only has a 3" cut height, so that left me with an inch to deal with. You can see here that I finally got 90 degrees on the table saw. The 2 cuts lined up perfectly. More elbow grease I got out the hand saw to finish off the bookmatch cut. ...more elbow grease Still cutting...this job is TOUGH. I was sweating like a dancing mule at this point. Paydirt Here's the bookmatched top. Drum thickness sander My pop and I built this over a weekend. I wanted something that I could run body blanks, tops, and neck stringers through to get a consistent thickness. The drum sander was the answer. Thicknessing the mahogany Here's my 5 piece body blank. I had bought a bunch of 2.5-3" pieces of mahogany. Most were rift sawn, so I chopped them up and made a body blank. I jointed each piece with my #5 plane and glued 1 piece at a time to minimize any slipping or mistakes. Thicknessing the mahogany...cont Here you can see the glue seams fade away. The #5 did a stellar job at getting clean glue joints. I took the thickness down to just a hair over 1.75". Cleaning up the maple I took the top down to a 3/4" thickness. Using Bruce Bennett's wisdom, everything I removed from one side, I turned the piece over and duplicated on the other side. I worked this at about a 32nd of an inch at a time down to the 3/4" nominal thickness. The target will be a 5/8" top. Settle down, boys... Here I've kinda sticker-stacked the top pieces. They're resting here to adjust from the thickness sanding. One piece developed a tiny bit of a cup, so I was careful to remove very little at a time on the drum sander. I didn't want the pressure of the sander deflecting the cupped maple and making matters worse. Over the course of the weekend, the cup corrected itself and I'll proceed with final thicknessing next weekend before moving on to join the top. Not yet... Here I tried to prepare the join for the top, but the maple was still settling, and I opted to wait it out. I just wanted another hand plane shot in there, to be honest. You can also see the rough cut mahogany body there on the bench. ...and that's it for now. Nothing too terribly exciting yet. After uploading all these pics and putting this together, I'm glad I opted to get started early on this thread. This is a LOT of work. Mad props to everyone who has contributed a build thread.