Building a Custom Guitar Body with Bowties


okay body time if you missed part one in
this series where I covered how to make the guitar neck and I have left you a
link to that video down in the description so that you can get caught
up and this video I’m going to be covering the process on making the
guitar buddy and then joining the two components together so let’s get started
body time crimson guitar makes a ton of custom guitars and one of their body
styles is called the descendant that’s the shape that I went with for mine I
intentionally picked out a piece of wood with a crack running through it so that
I can incorporate bowties into the design this is a functional woodworking
method that spans over a crack to stabilize it and prevent it from
separating further after tracing on my body shape i roughly figured out where i
could place the bowties and how large they could be without interfering with
any of the guitar components but it’s still in positions to do their job
holding together the crack okay let’s do it gentlemen
once the direction and general size was sorted i drew it out on a piece of
roasted sycamore which is the same wood as the neck of my guitar then cut it out
over at the bandsaw next I spent a good bit of time using a file and getting
this one bowtie as perfect as possible because the plan was used it as a
template for my other two bowties that would be needed I struck the bowtie in
the bench vise then used a file to flatten each side straight and square
using a small machinist square to check my progress when held up on the edge I
could easily see high spots that I could mark and then will move after getting it
perfect I temporarily attached it to a scrap piece of wood which will act as a
handle to keep my hands safely out of the way when I take these small parts to
the router then I stuck on another bowtie that I cut out to be just
slightly oversize on all sides this will be my second bow tied that I’ll make
identical to the first what using a flush trim bit in the
router table and you can see in this shot just how difficult handling these
parts would be at the table without some sort of handle after
making one copy I peeled it off then used some more masking tape and CA glue
to stick on the other one to make a third oh it’s a little bit worried about
the roasted Sycamore bowties blending in too much to the light alder body so
Chris suggested outlining it in stained black Holly yes please this was a
time-consuming step but definitely worth it in my opinion
I would use a scalpel to cut a length of Holly just slightly oversized then
attach it using some CA glue black stained Holly that’s what’s up yeah it’s
gonna be a black-tie affair and this is something I love about working with
other people these little nuggets of information or different ways of
thinking they are gold to me I mean I never would have thought about outlining
them or putting on a temporary handle or even just realizing how versatile CA
glue is oh yes and the tea that is something I really enjoyed picking up
while over in the UK I used some snips to cut down the bulk of overhanging
Holly then a machinist box which is perfectly flat to sand flush now to cut
in the recesses into the body for these bowties to be inserted into Chris
suggested I spend the time making one template from MDF that would allow me to
use a router to cut all three and pretty quickly so I stuck one of my bowties on
a scrap scribed around it with a scalpel used a Forstner bed in the Tyrell press
to remove the bulk of the material from the center and then cleaned up the
perimeter with a chisel okay and with that done now I can cut them into the
body i first placed my completed bowties on my body in the position I wanted them
I try to make them all at the same angle and of course also made double sure they
weren’t going to be placed where they would interfere with any of the
electronics that would be added later on I traced around them with a pencil one
by one then speck my template in place with masking tape and CA glue oh my gosh
don’t let me mess up okay I’ll be fine from here it was the same process as it
was with making the template removing the bulk of wood from the center of the
bow ties with a Forstner bit refuge or oppress a blush trim bed in
the router is next which removes all of the woods who make the cavity identical
to my template other than the sharp corners which the round bed can’t do so
next chisel is used you square these corners off and complete one bowtie even
though this made up an entire day’s worth of work I love it
I love having a guitar that almost pays homage to the board working side of it
before inserting the bow ties in the body I quickly used a chisel to cut the
edges of the bottom side off all of the edges and this small little chamfer will
make inserting them and just a little bit easier
alright so pop them in I applied a good amount of wood glue to the bottom of the
cavities as well as all of the sidewalls then line the bow tie up and hammered it
down until it seated all of the way you can see that I used a scrap piece of
wood that spans the entire bow tie and try to knock it in evenly you can also
see Triton’s as well as Crimson’s videographers here don’t forget that
both have put out videos over on their channels of this experience you miss you
missed it the grand event to watch the video I guess subscribe see more once
all the bow ties were seated I clamped three boards spanning the distance of
the body over each bow tied to sit for a bit until cured with the detail of the
bow ties done I moved on to the actual bodywork so if you don’t have bow ties
this would be your starting point I already have my body outline trace so I
took it over to the bandsaw and cut it out just cutting right outside of the
line at this point oh and everybody say hello to Matt next I ran the bottom of the body over a
jointer to get it nice and flat and then ran it through the thickness planer to
get the top to match it now I could go to the dis sander and carefully work
right up to my lines and get the shape of the body perfect oh my gosh I love
how that Sycamore bowtie with black seen Holly Potts but it also blends in so
well with the coloring of the alder and it’s crap the dist ander can take care
of all of the convex curve then the spindle sander was used to clean up all
of the concave curves I’ll come back later to do more shaping
on the body but for now he moved on to a pretty important step which was cutting
in a cavity where a pocket for the neck to later be attached to the body it’s
pretty important that the neck be attached straight to ensure we were
doing this I first found center of the body and of the neck then made some
pencil mark as references to line up the two the next step was to make a template
for lack of a better word for cutting the pocket to hold the neck to the body
we did this by projecting out the two lines of the neck by budding a straight
edge up to either side and tracing the inside face this line indicates where a
straight piece of scrap needs to temporarily be attached to the body this
will make up the left and right guide for the router in the next step then
before I’m clamping another scrap this place begins the back of the neck which
will be the routers guide to dictate the depth of pocket if that doesn’t make
sense it should help here with the vidual see I use that router and the
flush trim bit to carve out this pocket that bearing on the flush trim bit is
hitting those guides I set up and cutting everything out inside of them
now whenever I remove the guides you can see that I have a very nicely fitting
spot for the neck of my guitar to later be glued into we still needed to do a
few things to the body though so we hold off gluing the neck in place just for
the meantime attaching the bridge was the first thing
on the list to do this is where the strings will later pop through before
heading up to the headstock of the guitar after making a few guidelines
with the protractor and setting it in place I used an awl to mark the location
of each hole this is to keep the drill bit from wandering around when drilling
it to size and the next step after each one was marked I used a drill press to
punch these holes nice and straight next was to cut in the cavities for the two
pickups these have a specific placement but
since their location was indicated on the template I used in the first step I
was able to place them so that they straddled that one boat I also if you’re
interested in guitar making crimson has tons of templates and tools like these
to make your job easier I hugged away the majority of the wood
with a Forstner but then finish it off with a router I repeated the process
with the body template of mine as well to cut out those two large cavities in
the back of the body that will later hold electronics for these two back
cavities two lids needed to be made in order to cap them off I stuck with my
roasted Sycamore for these parts and after doing a rough cut over at the
bandsaw I used the disk sander to refine the
shape these need to be a pretty good fit because if there are any gaps you will
always be able to see them so while I did a lot of the tuning with the disk
sander after getting it close I moved back to the workbench and Chris stuck a
piece of sandpaper to a straight edge so that I could whittle away at the high
spots and just kind of sneak up slowly on them until both of these teardrop
caps fit perfectly I think that’s a pretty good tip – alrighty quick tea
break and then it was time to drill a hole for the output jack which I thought
was a pretty serious moment but apparently I was the only one Cremona
you want to go pretty perfectly to the surface
I’m serious operation company you’re trying to eat my arm well that’s clear Oh Sanford Oh oh yeah and I some people for
this I put a shame for around the entire body I don’t seem to have any footage of
it so sorry about that all right time to drill more holes a few holes are needed
to connect the different cavities to each other so that when we run the wire
they can feed from one section to the other even though punching holes in my
beautiful new body wasn’t my favorite I don’t think any of them were
particularly scary at least nothing like punching into the truss rod cavity in
the last video and I believe that’s it for the body we really wanted to get our
necks glued up before we called it a night so we spent a good amount of time
doing all of the finish sanding starting off with the palm RS and running through
the grits on the large flat surfaces then switching over to sandpaper to get
the inside edges as well as the chamfer Facebook chin clamp it’s not quite a
face clamp hmm okay let’s go to the neck into place
shall we I’m gonna go on the net man for real let’s get some glue in that fish I
want to cover the surface when I still want to be able to see the grain through
how’s that yep put in the neck yes yeah mm okay I feel like this was a huge
moment I mean both components the neck and the body had taken so much time to
get to this point but there was really nothing to be nervous about as this
operation to join the two was really simple before calling it a night I got
mine and clamps Matt got his and Ben even got his and clamps we let that sit
up overnight and then unclamp them in the morning to admire them as full
guitars for the first time oh is this beautiful or what
so happy with a and at this point the guitars are ready for finish crimson
actually has an in-house spray finisher so Matt and I picked out the type of
finish we wanted well Josh likes the guitars to apply the
finish we went off with Triton tools to explore the local sawmill lumberyard
called Randall’s which I highly recommend if you’re ever in the Somerset
area by the time I got back the guitars weren’t only coated but they were also
dry oh and my my my I know I’m biased but I am absolutely in love with this
guitar the bow ties the flame in the neck the mother-of-pearl inlay against
that evany oh I love it okay okay enough talking let’s finish
her off up to this point I have been pretty strict about people keeping their
hands off and letting me do my own work on my own guitar but Matt and I were
determined to finish the guitars before calling it a night by the way it was
already midnight at this point so I welcome the help of James and Chris to
quickly throw in the electronics route the wires attached the tuning and volume
knobs string and tune the guitar attach the two pickups then flip it over and
mount the two back plates doing great Matt if I had been drifting before I was
wide awake at this point after four days of extreme fun but detailed work I
finally got to plug in my guitar and make some noise with her oh my goodness what do i do guru enough I’m up another
amp like a real rock and rollers yeah know what hold on I got to do the thing
right here in here I like a much better than E minor I didn’t know how to play the guitar so
after doing a few strums I’d pass it around for the others to have a go I cannot express how amazing this
experience was and it has a full recommendation from me if you’re
thinking about taking a class if you’re a maker but not a guitarist just like
Matt and I I still recommend it as there is just so much to learn then if you’re
a guitarist but not a maker I still recommend it because the luthiers at
crimson can be as hands-on or off as your skill level needs them to be I
learned so much I laughed more in that one week than I
have all year I think and I have this amazing handcrafted guitar that I’ll
keep for the rest of my life be sure to follow Crimson guitar on YouTube Matt
Cremona and Triton tools because all of us have different versions of the story
of the awesomeness that happened this week so let me your comments down below
and rock on see you next time see if I can way up – hold on
gotta move the pic out of my hand wait a hole know y’all do that I would do my
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