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Thread: trv's Spalted Maple LP-1SS

  1. #1
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    trv's Spalted Maple LP-1SS

    Hello everyone

    This is my first attempt at building a guitar, a kit, or anything more exciting than a picture frame. My goal is to use this experience to move on to building my own guitars from scratch.

    SPOILER ALERT: the guitar is already finished. This diary is actually 11 months in the making, I purchased the kit last year and REALLY took my time building it. I took lots of notes and pictures throughout to document the process and all my errors!

    Here is the inspiration for my build
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    At first I was thinking of an SG/AG style kit, but that plan quickly changed once I saw the finish on that Les Paul. I guess I could have done a gold with black burst SG/AG kit, but at the time that thought never even crossed my mind...

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    MAY 2017

    I took a look at the LP style kits available at the time and decided on the Spalted Maple LP-1SS
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    Even though the gold with black burst was my main inspiration it would be a crime to cover up that grain. So the revised plan is to keep the features the same, but give it a transparent finish somewhere between the gold with black burst and a desert burst?

    After playing around in Photoshop for a bit I had a concept
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    I sent my mockup to Adam and explained what I was hoping to achieve. For the most part I just wanted a body that had the grain running parallel to the strings like one above. A short while later he responded with a picture
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    Beautiful. SOLD!

  4. #4
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    JUNE 2017

    A week later I had my kit... from Australia to the middle of Canada, one week!

    I ordered the kit without pickups and hardware because I knew I'd be replacing almost everything. I spent the next few weeks doing research, figuring out what I was going to need, trying to decide where to start and generally being afraid of screwing up. While I procrastinated I took a few pictures
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    Don't get too attached to the grain on the headstock though, the plan is still to go black.

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    I was really happy with how snug the neck and body fit together. It was tight enough that I could probably swing it around like a baseball... er cricket bat and they wouldn't come apart, but not too tight that I couldn't get them apart again.

    Together
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    Dampened to highlight the grain
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  6. #6
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    Now that I had the actual body I was able to update my concept
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  7. #7
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    I finally got to the point where I had to stop planning and actually do something, so I started by shaping the headstock. I opted to play it safe and made some templates using some old MDF to rout the shape
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    I found the centre line so I could square everything up and took one last shot before performing surgery
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    The operation was a success, but even more important, I had now started!
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    A little while later I came back at it and rounded over the base a bit better
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    Now it was time to get started on the body. I went over it with a wire brush to get rid of any glue spots and then gave it a light sanding with 320 grit. The top's up first, so I masked off the binding on the sides in the hope of keeping it clean and saving some scraping later. (although well intentioned, I had no idea this would lead to heartbreak later on; but we'll get there...)
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    Treated it with a pre-stain wood conditioner
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    For the first coat first coat I used Minwax Oriental Ginger water based stain at a 1:1 ratio of stain to water
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  10. #10
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    JULY 2017

    Being very careful not to sand through the veneer I went over the top again with 320 grit to mute the colour a bit. For the second coat I used a 1:7 stain to water ratio with the Minwax Oriental Ginger. I didn't want the colour to go too orange so I did a third coat this time using Saman Hop water based stain at a 1:1 ratio. I applied a few more coats of the Hop stain at different ratios over the next few days, but the colour more or less stayed the same. Overall I was satisfied
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    Next up I tested out a few different top coats and eventually settled on Emtech water based shellac sealer. You may be noticing a trend by now; I tried to choose water based products wherever possible so that everything would be compatible and to make cleaning easier.

    After a few coats of sealer I started grain filling using Aqua Coat wood grain filler and sanding with 320 grit in between coats. The nice thing about the Aqua Coat is that you can fill after you stain because it dries clear. The not so nice thing about the Aqua Coat is that in my experience it shrank a bit over time.

    It took seven applications, but the Aqua Coat filled the divots in the grain below pretty well
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