Gibson '57 Futura Build

Talk about modding or building your own guitar from scratch.
Post Reply
User avatar
Perry
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 310
Joined: Sat May 01, 2010 5:24 am

Re: Gibson '57 Futura Build

Post by Perry » Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:21 pm

Did some odds and ends today on the guitar before I glued the ebony end cap on the fretboard/neck. First, I routed a wiring channel between the two pickup routes. Ideally, the channel should not lead right into the pickup routs themselves, and I had tried to do this, but my attempt didn't work out very well. I just decided to rout the way it is below and make a tight fitting pickguard.

Image

Here's the piece of ebony glued in place. On Wednesday, I'll bring it down to the fretboard curve.

Image

And another photo.

Image

User avatar
jazzercountry
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 58
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:06 am

Re: Gibson '57 Futura Build

Post by jazzercountry » Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:58 am

Wow, that gumby thing is frighteningly accurate

User avatar
ForcedFire
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 276
Joined: Fri May 06, 2011 6:59 am

Re: Gibson '57 Futura Build

Post by ForcedFire » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:02 am

I just came across this '58 Futura headstock shot:
Image

User avatar
Perry
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 310
Joined: Sat May 01, 2010 5:24 am

Re: Gibson '57 Futura Build

Post by Perry » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:40 pm

ForcedFire wrote:I just came across this '58 Futura headstock shot:
Image
Thanks for the photo, ForcedFire. Looking at how some of the strings foul one another gives me hope that I will be able to avoid something similar with my headstock. I am starting to think again to having the strings wind from the outside of the tuner pegs rather than from then inside and using a string tree. We'll have to see if this is possible once I get the tuners.

More tiddying up today. I shaped the ebony cap at the end of the fretboard. This is how the cap looks with it just about completed. There's still a little more to do to blend the corners with the rosewood.

Image

I decided to check that the pickup mounting ring would cover the left wall of pickup cavity. It does, but I realized that the wiring channel needed to be deeper. Here's how it looks now.

Image

It kind of bugged me that I took the easy way out yesterday and routed a straight line into each of the pickup cavities. I got the idea last night to glue a "plug" at each end and drill a hole into them. After I deepened the channel, I realized that drilling holes at that steep an angle even with an aircraft bit would be difficult. I decided to glue in the wood but leave a gap at the bottom.

Image

I've started to design the electronics cavity and plan the layout of the controls. I would prefer not to have the three-way switch at the near end of the treble horn. Although it looks cool, I think it's a clumsy place to have it. I'm thinking of placing it near the volume and tone controls.

More next week.

User avatar
Perry
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 310
Joined: Sat May 01, 2010 5:24 am

Re: Gibson '57 Futura Build

Post by Perry » Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:56 pm

On Tuesday, I drilled the holes for the tuners. I will need to use a string tree for the fifth through second strings. Here's a couple photos. First, the top.

Image

And the back.

Image

Interestingly, it seems the original patent drawing showed the use of string trees. I plan to use one long string tree.

Image

Today, I routed the control cavity. I still need to work out the wiring channels from the bridge pickup rout to the control cavity. I put water on the back of the body to try to raise a few dents. Before finishing the guitar, I'll need to go through it and steam more dents out. The wood is very easy to work with but dents easily.


Image

User avatar
Perry
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 310
Joined: Sat May 01, 2010 5:24 am

Re: Gibson '57 Futura Build

Post by Perry » Sun Oct 16, 2011 8:43 pm

The channels for the wiring have been drilled or routed. I chose to have the three-way switch in the treble horn because it would be easier to rout to the electronics cavity that way.

Image

Here's another photo.

Image

On Tuesday and Wednesday I plan to drill the holes for the TOM bridge and stopbar tailpiece. I won't install the bushings because I intend to paint the body with an "ebony" lacquer. This is what I will use.

Image

This will be followed with a clear gloss lacquer. It's been a long time since I painted a guitar body. There's still a lot of steaming out dents and sanding to do before I start painting.

User avatar
Perry
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 310
Joined: Sat May 01, 2010 5:24 am

Re: Gibson '57 Futura Build

Post by Perry » Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:09 pm

The holes for the tailpiece and bridge have been drilled. I installed the bushings for the tailpiece because they sit flush with the surface of the guitar body. (In fact, they sit a little below the surface so I can still sand the body.)

It probably took me longer than necessary to drill the holes, but I was concerned about having the holes too large for the wood used for the body. The wood is very soft, probably similar to basswood. Although the diameter of the bushings measure about 11.25mm, I ended up using a 10mm forstner bit.

By the way, one tip if you're buying your hardware from Stewmac is to double check their measurements. They have the bushings for the tailpiece at 3 1/4 inches on center. I tried that on scrap wood, and the tailpiece didn't fit. The final mesaurement I used was 82mm. That worked well. (82mm is about 3.225 inches instead of 3.25.)

Here's a photo. I will install the bushings for the bridge after the body is painted.

Image

I've also been working on shaping the neck. This is where it is now. Still a little more to do.

Image

User avatar
Perry
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 310
Joined: Sat May 01, 2010 5:24 am

Re: Gibson '57 Futura Build

Post by Perry » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:40 pm

I spent parts of Sunday and Monday applying sanding sealer to the body. What I did on Sunday amounted to more frustration than anything productive. After rethinking the procedure I was using, I decided to use an artist paint brush about 3/4 inch wide to apply the sealer. That worked much better. This is a photo of the result after sanding.

Image

I mentioned that I had once painted a guitar body. That, however, was about ten years ago, and the body had been painted at one time. Starting from bare wood is a new experience for me.

This is were I finished today with the painting. I'm generally pleased with the result, although there are some scratches that I hope will go away once I level the surface and apply more paint. The body is black, but my camera makes it look a dark blue.

Image

Next week I plan to level the finish and then apply more color.
Last edited by Perry on Tue Nov 29, 2011 1:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
ForcedFire
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 276
Joined: Fri May 06, 2011 6:59 am

Re: Gibson '57 Futura Build

Post by ForcedFire » Wed Oct 26, 2011 6:08 am

Very cool. Are you going to do clear coats?

User avatar
Perry
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 310
Joined: Sat May 01, 2010 5:24 am

Re: Gibson '57 Futura Build

Post by Perry » Wed Oct 26, 2011 3:29 pm

Thank you for your comment, ForcedFire. Yes, there will be clear coats. According to the information I have about the paint I'm using, it doesn't need clear coats, but the paint has a satin look to it now and I prefer a gloss. I could use wax on it instead of lacquer, though. However, lacquer woould give more protection, and this wood dents like crazy. I plan to use an oil varnish on the neck.

By the way, I'm looking forward to hearing your RD.

User avatar
ForcedFire
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 276
Joined: Fri May 06, 2011 6:59 am

Re: Gibson '57 Futura Build

Post by ForcedFire » Wed Oct 26, 2011 5:55 pm

Perry wrote:Thank you for your comment, ForcedFire. Yes, there will be clear coats. According to the information I have about the paint I'm using, it doesn't need clear coats, but the paint has a satin look to it now and I prefer a gloss. I could use wax on it instead of lacquer, though. However, lacquer woould give more protection, and this wood dents like crazy. I plan to use an oil varnish on the neck.

By the way, I'm looking forward to hearing your RD.
That'll look cool with the oiled neck.

The RD is still hanging. It won't finish gassing out!

User avatar
Perry
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 310
Joined: Sat May 01, 2010 5:24 am

Re: Gibson '57 Futura Build

Post by Perry » Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:33 pm

It's been about a month since I posted any progress about this build, but I have been busy. Although there is some touch-up needed, the color and clear coats are about finished. I learned again today just how "dentable" this wood is even with multiple coats of lacquer. I decided recently to stop working on the body temporarily and concentrate on the neck. Once that is finished, I'll return to the body to add more clear coats.

This is about how the front looks. The clear coat has been sanded to 1200 grit. I'll go up to 2000 before applying wax.

Image

The neck has about three coats of an oil/varnish product. I'll probably add three or four more coats.

Image

I can now understand why when there is a combination of painted body and oiled neck the construction tends to be bolt-on. It's just much simpler.

User avatar
thepastrecedes
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 1832
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 2:25 am

Re: Gibson '57 Futura Build

Post by thepastrecedes » Wed Nov 23, 2011 1:18 pm

Looking good man!

I do like how you combine fancy wood laminations with a painted body.
Game Of T0NZ

User avatar
DrQuasar
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 592
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2009 7:58 am
Location: Las Vegas

Re: Gibson '57 Futura Build

Post by DrQuasar » Thu Nov 24, 2011 9:11 am

I like how detailed and precise you are.

As someone who has a hard time being patient, it's very inspiring and you're work product is amazing. Lovin' it.

User avatar
Perry
PAT. # 2.972.923
PAT. # 2.972.923
Posts: 310
Joined: Sat May 01, 2010 5:24 am

Re: Gibson '57 Futura Build

Post by Perry » Tue Nov 29, 2011 1:46 am

thepastrecedes wrote:Looking good man!

I do like how you combine fancy wood laminations with a painted body.
DrQuasar wrote:I like how detailed and precise you are.

As someone who has a hard time being patient, it's very inspiring and you're work product is amazing. Lovin' it.
Thank you for your comments. Today I got the chance to find out just how precise I am. One concern I've had is whether the bridge would fit and if the string spacing would be good on the fretboard. After working on drilling the small screw holes for the tuners, I got a chance to partially install the bushings for the bridge.

Here are a couple photos of the headstock showing the tuners. First, the front.

Image

And the back.

Image

This photo shows the string spacing at the end of the fretboard.

Image

I added more clear coats to the front of the body and started to wet sand.

Post Reply