Minotaur No 5 / Tupelo (where no fish can swim)

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epizootics
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Minotaur No 5 / Tupelo (where no fish can swim)

Post by epizootics » Thu Dec 13, 2018 1:32 am

I thought I'd start a thread for this one, as it has become my favorite way to procrastinate all of my other projects at the minute. Lemme warn y'all - NOT AN OFFSET. :)

As with every single one of my builds, it started out as a 'let's try to do this in 5 days' build - ply body, hardware from the bottom of the drawer (cousin Kevin's Squier bits, drunken buys from AliExpress, unidentifiable scraps of dangerous metals) but things took another turn...

The headstock design was going to be a clunky Wandre-inspired chunk at the end of the neck but it looked too weird with the rest of the guitar. Here's the current version:

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25" scale, glued neck with a slight angle, mini-humbuckers. For now...

I blame this piece of walnut for complicating this build:

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As I said before, it came from the bin at a friend's workplace. They make massive pieces and their leftovers are usually enough for one or two guitar bodies. They are nice enough to leave them in a shed at the back for people to help themselves...

Here is where the slab is at after thicknessing, cutting, routing, rabbeting and binding:

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Now, this will be my first attempt at making a neck. A few fretboard options:

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The three on the left are apricot. I hit my dad's stash last time I went down to my parents' and planed down a dozen of these. Apricot is really hard and has crazy patterns. One of the nicest French timbers IMHO. The one on the right is padauk.

I'm planning to make the headstock veneer out of this leftover piece from the body ('the evil eye of the fish'):

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Finally, while going through a stack of dusty planks in my dad's workshop, I stumbled upon this:

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It is what we call 'cormier' over here, aka 'sorb tree', 'service tree' or 'mountain ash'. I think it is the hardest indigenous European timber, and has been used to make tools in the old days. It is apparently on the verge of disappearing over here, and I think it was the first time I'd seen it in the form of raw-sawn planks.

Those darker streaks on the walnut remind me of stormy skies; stormy skies make me think of Nick Cave's early stuff; and what better song than 'Tupelo' is there about storms and floods and fish? ::)

Right now the main thing I need to do is to make a fretting jig. We started making one with my English mate the other day, using bearings stolen from a dead scooter we found in the bin as rollers to guide the blade.

More to come soon...

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Re: Minotaur No 5 / Tupelo (where no fish can swim)

Post by Shadoweclipse13 » Thu Dec 13, 2018 1:42 am

Dammit! I just signed out, and then see this gorgeous wood :D Seriously, that Apricot is amazing!! All the wood you've got is, actually. My mom texted me yesterday about a guy in the town where they live, selling nice looking Walnut boards for $6 per board foot. I think he actually cut up a fallen Walnut tree, as the boards still have the bark on the edges, and I'm thinking about grabbing some.

I LOVE the body shape!! It reminds me (subtly) of the neck end of the Ernie Ball Annie Clark/St. Vincent signature, with a LP butt. SUCH a great shape. Are my eyes deceiving me, or is the body kind of small (like a Gibson Nighthawk)?
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http://www.offsetguitars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=104282&p=1438384#p1438384

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Re: Minotaur No 5 / Tupelo (where no fish can swim)

Post by antisymmetric » Thu Dec 13, 2018 2:00 am

So much craziness. Subscribed. :wacko: :-*
Your idea of blaming bits of walnut for stuff is intriguing- I have some walnut under my bench that i feel has been getting off too lightly. I will rectify this.
Watching the corners turn corners

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Re: Minotaur No 5 / Tupelo (where no fish can swim)

Post by epizootics » Sun Jan 06, 2019 2:00 am

Shadoweclipse13 wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 1:42 am
I LOVE the body shape!! It reminds me (subtly) of the neck end of the Ernie Ball Annie Clark/St. Vincent signature, with a LP butt. SUCH a great shape. Are my eyes deceiving me, or is the body kind of small (like a Gibson Nighthawk)?
Nope, the body isn't very big - it's about 15 3/4" x 11 1/2". My first serious build was shaped after the Fano PX6 and it was so big and heavy my back has still to recover from it :)

Progress has been slow in December, but I got some work done on the neck. I ended up going for maple instead of that crazy curly sorb wood, deciding it would be a lesser offence to destroy plain old maple rather than rare and beautiful lumber if things went south. I gave the headstock a 5° angle with my hand plane and set out to make that evil eye veneer:

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A little ride on the bandsaw:

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...and voilà. I'm using the wrong type of blade - much too many teeth and way too thin - but it didn't come out too bad:

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A little thicknessing:

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...and a bookmatched eye. I can still make many more if needed.

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Apricot fretboard slotted:

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Making sure that veneer won't slip...

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All glued on, trussrod channel routed. But...

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Notice how the nut extends waaaaay into the headstock. I have no idea what crossed my mind. It doesn't even make any sense with where the tension will be applied by the rod, in this case, right under the nut...Ugh...I decided to lengthen the channel on the body side, using chisels this time (I'd already spent an hour cleaning the room).

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Now I'm not very pleased with that, because it'll weaken the headstock quite a bit. I'm tempted to add a little strip of something hard at the top end of the channel to limit the damage. And this one will definitely have a volute.

...so here's where things are at. Necks are something else! Been going really slow and still manage to mess things up.
Here's the design for the pickguard:

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I'm thinking I'll drop the fish idea, that eye veneer will suffice. And, yeah, I broke down and decided to put a JM trem in there. I've grown to used to having one around, to the point where hardtails feel incomplete. I'm sure I'm not the only one here :P

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Re: Minotaur No 5 / Tupelo (where no fish can swim)

Post by DeathJag » Sun Jan 06, 2019 3:53 am

Thanks for the play by play! I always wonder about these processes.

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Re: Minotaur No 5 / Tupelo (where no fish can swim)

Post by 07hubbardj » Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:42 pm

This is super cool, I'm a big fan of unusual body shapes and timbers. I'll have to look of some apricot wood as it looks really nice and I find body and neck blanks from more conventional woods quite pricey in the UK.
Do you think its hard enough for a one piece neck?
Either way, great build and I can't wait to see more of it!

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Re: Minotaur No 5 / Tupelo (where no fish can swim)

Post by blimpage » Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:44 pm

epizootics wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 2:00 am
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That eye veneer is really cool! Nice work making that knot a feature instead of an offcut! 😄

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Re: Minotaur No 5 / Tupelo (where no fish can swim)

Post by epizootics » Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:27 am

07hubbardj wrote:
Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:42 pm
This is super cool, I'm a big fan of unusual body shapes and timbers. I'll have to look of some apricot wood as it looks really nice and I find body and neck blanks from more conventional woods quite pricey in the UK.
Do you think its hard enough for a one piece neck?
Either way, great build and I can't wait to see more of it!
Cheers!
Apricot is pretty damn hard, it was used as the main body material for the Armenian duduk. Think cherry (both trees are from the prunus family), but denser and less prone to splitting. The main problem, though, is that it is pretty hard to come by, and the tree itself is not very big, which makes most of the lumber quite knotty and twisted. I was lucky my dad had leftovers from a small bookcase he built in the 1980s. We used thin offcuts to make those fretboards, but there were a few bigger piece left at the bottom. I'll give you a shout if I find anything big enough for a neck blank next time I'm down south! Provided that the piece has a grain that's straight enough, you could definitely make a one-piece neck out of this stuff.

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Re: Minotaur No 5 / Tupelo (where no fish can swim)

Post by epizootics » Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:01 am

Talking of the guitar...I have made some more progress in the last couple of days.

Routed the back of the headstock flat...a bit too much! It's only 0.53" thick now, too thin for the Kluson tuners I want to use. Not sure how to proceed from there, maybe adding some veneer on the back too?

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I glued the fretboard yesterday. Unclamped it today and...

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Very little squeeze out as you can see :whistle: And what's that above the truss rod nut? Wouldn't it be...Yeah, that's the masking tape I put over the truss rod channel. Completely forgot about it until today. Thankfully I'd trimmed it so it would just about cover the channel. Expect this guitar to have 'papery' in its tonal descriptions.

Bandsway time:

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Then bracing myself for more dust:

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You know things are about to get nasty when you find yourself wearing a boiler suit in your own flat.

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After an hour of cleaning the room...

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Cleaned up most of the router marks with my No. 4:

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And...Taaah-daah!

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This is starting to look like a guitar. I am NOT looking forward to the fretting process...

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Re: Minotaur No 5 / Tupelo (where no fish can swim)

Post by blimpage » Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:21 pm

epizootics wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:01 am
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That fretboard grain is AMAZING! 🤩I'm really enjoying this build, very nice work!
epizootics wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:01 am
Routed the back of the headstock flat...a bit too much! It's only 0.53" thick now, too thin for the Kluson tuners I want to use. Not sure how to proceed from there, maybe adding some veneer on the back too?
Could you add a shim under each of the tuning machines on the back of the headstock?

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Re: Minotaur No 5 / Tupelo (where no fish can swim)

Post by epizootics » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:44 pm

Very little progress in January, damn that cold weather and the million problems that always seem to appear after Christmas time...
I did find the time to do a bit this week though. This thing has frets!

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And dot markers, for which I used leftover maple from the neck (making doweling jigs is fun, cheap and messy). And a neck pocket, which hasn't been routed to its final depth yet.

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I was expecting a lot worse for my first fretting of anything ever. The ends are superglued in, though. My fret saw has too wide a kerf for Jescar frets (if anyone is using the ChickenBoneJohn saw out there...Beware).

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Re: Minotaur No 5 / Tupelo (where no fish can swim)

Post by epizootics » Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:18 am

Neck is carved!

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Re: Minotaur No 5 / Tupelo (where no fish can swim)

Post by antisymmetric » Sun Feb 17, 2019 11:23 am

Nice volute! 8)
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Re: Minotaur No 5 / Tupelo (where no fish can swim)

Post by maxbra » Sun Feb 17, 2019 12:38 pm

Nice build!

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Re: Minotaur No 5 / Tupelo (where no fish can swim)

Post by mbene085 » Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:34 am

Really coming along nicely. Your woodworking skills are great. I love the volute, it's a detail seldom seen on electrics. Together with that scarf joint, it very much looks like an acoustic neck, in a nice way. Too bad about the initial truss rod issue, I hope that doesn't end up being a problem in the end.

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