Les Paul Build – Part 4 – Body and Neck Progress

A Little Rain Can’t Stop Us

Despite the rare Southern California thunderstorm we enjoyed this weekend, we did make some progress on the LP build.  This week’s focus was on the mahogany, and this board that we picked up from Cherokee really is a beautiful piece of wood.  It started as a roughly 10 foot by 12 inch, 8/4 board, which we brought home in two 5 foot lengths (easier to carry, and easier on the car).  From that we selected a length that we could cut and join where the grain matches up really nicely.  It’s not a book match, but visually pretty close, so we are really happy with that.

The edges we are joining were already very straight and clean from Cherokee, so we didn’t have to do a lot of prep to get them perfect and ready to join.  The glue up was pretty straightforward, and we left them overnight to cure.  On Sunday we pulled the clamps off and found a very nice, almost invisible joint (other than the glue cleanup we still need to do).  So the base is now inside the house with the maple top blank, enjoying a nice rest and settling-in period before we start cutting and routing.

    

On a side note, the new band saw arrives in a couple days, which will make cutting the shapes out of these blanks a much more enjoyable experience!

Zen and the Art of Neck Drawing

With the base set aside, we started thinking about the neck.  With the new saw on its way, we’ll be all set to cut out the neck next weekend, so we need to select the portion of the mahogany board we want to use and start getting it laid out.  The first thing we noticed is that none of our reference plans included all the measurements we needed to get a good layout template made, and none of our scale drawings are accurately 1-to-1 scale.  So starting with the drawings we have, and extrapolating the measurements for things like the tenon, I drew up some neck drawings of my own – a process I really enjoyed.  It was a little zen-ish to sit in the cold, dark workshop with the scent of rain still in the air, bundled up in a couple layers of sweatshirt and jacket, and measure, draw, erase, measure, draw erase…

Not to worry, by the end of the week it will be warm, sunny, SoCal again, and all will be back to normal in the world.  Till then, cheers!

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