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Archtop tele

Discussion in 'DIY Strat Forum' started by Raimonds, Jun 9, 2017.

  1. Raimonds

    Raimonds Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    47
    Mar 28, 2015
    Latvia
    A while ago I decided I need one more guitar: archtop. But the problem is those nice archtops are quite big, uncomfortable and expensive, so I decided to build my own arch top. I already built tele from scratch (board, actually) couple of years back, so I thought, why not make my own archtop.
    Since I like tele forms I decided to make tele-archtop. Searched the internets for inspiration, but found only couple of guitars, one by Fender CS and some others, so there are no ready plans, pdfs, dwgs or any other thing too get inspiration how to build/create/carve/route/sand one.
    Great thing today is available for free 3D software where you can create any crazy idea. I went with Fusion and created 3D model of what I thought is great arctop tele and run into some geometry problems, like neck in this case should be angled, more arching meant bigger angle, I didn’t want to route pickups into the top, planned to use only neck attached pickup, for that the top needed to have specific form near neck. So after number of nice models I settled with something which I liked and thought will work. Then usual routine started: wood and all the parts sourcing. I know great guys who run sawmill and has a nice ash, maple and other woods. IMG_2906.jpg

    Got maple for top and back, ash for middle frame, but, since I wanted to build 2 guitars, I needed 2 tops and 2 backs, but at somehow got maple only for guitar. When I realised that, I went to some small shop, asked for maple boards, they didn’t have any, but they had 20 year old siberian spruce boards, light and resonant. I was sold, got the spruce and building started. 3D model was loaded into CNC, some 1:2 scale models were created
    IMG_2932.jpg


    then we went for the full scale guitar. Top, back and middle was routed.

    IMG_2977.jpg

    IMG_3053.jpg

    IMG_3068.jpg

    a lot of sanding (burned fingers) and today the top was glued to to the middle frame; as soon as I could, I attached the neck to check the geometry, it was correct, and stringed the half-body to check if the spruce will not crack under the pressure.

    IMG_3080.jpg

    My calculations were spot on, nothing cracked and the guitar came alive. Now the back has to be glued, guitar needs some finish and I will have my own archtop guitar :) Plan is to stain then seal with shellac and then finish with tru oil, the thread will continue…
     

  2. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 10, 2014
    Michigan
    .

    I really like the approach you are taking! Back up and get a little more detailed on how you set up the wood blank, how you are controlling the flip over alignment, and general CNC work.

    .
     
    abnormaltoy, Raimonds and Nate D like this.

  3. Nate D

    Nate D Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    37
    Apr 2, 2016
    Ohio
    This is so rad. I have zero wood working skills, but love seeing the craft in action.

    Awesome concept and awesome execution!!!
     
    Torren61, Etacarinae and abnormaltoy like this.

  4. Raimonds

    Raimonds Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    47
    Mar 28, 2015
    Latvia
    to be absolutely honest, I was not operating CNC :) I have friend who has CNC forwarded 3D models, DWG files to him, and he set the machine. I added centre points to all models and they were drilled first by CNC, then wood blanks were screwed to the plywood table. When one side was finished, you unscrew the blank, flip it over and use the same holes to screw the blank. It might move for some fraction, but I added safety zone to the model and I am not so anal about precision. Anyway, the end result looks as I expected.
     
    abnormaltoy and Robins like this.

  5. nadzab

    nadzab Not a Cat Person Strat-Talk Supporter

    That's ridiculously cool. Can't wait to see the finished product.
     
    Raimonds likes this.

  6. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh needs you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jan 10, 2014
    Initech, Inc.
    Sweet. What a great build.
     
    Raimonds likes this.

  7. Mr C

    Mr C Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    44
    Feb 17, 2016
    New Zealand
    That's cool, looking forward to seeing it complete...
     
    Raimonds likes this.

  8. Raimonds

    Raimonds Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    47
    Mar 28, 2015
    Latvia
    Yep, I am too waiting to see and hear the finished guitar :)
     

  9. henderman

    henderman Most Honored Senior Member

    Dec 4, 2013
    largo,fl
    Hubba Hubba !

    The fresh design and skilled craftsmanship are whoppers, Brother.

    You guys are gonna upset the big guitar makers like Paul Reed Smith did when he showed up with his fresh design and skilled craftsmanship.

    Don't forget us little peeps when you are famous !
     

  10. Raimonds

    Raimonds Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    47
    Mar 28, 2015
    Latvia
    I would be more than happy to run guitar building business, but there are some obstacles :) first you need marketing legend and tell everyone that you are 6th generation luthier, born with chisel and sandpaper in hands, studied building process starting from 11th century violins, then went to cave for 24 years to develop the skills and ideas and then after all that you give birth to this beauty :) I dont think I can produce such bull**** stories, I just build the guitars :D
    Anyways, this is the first one and it will stay with me, in about month or two time there will be one more built and that will go for sale, then I will see if something like this will interest someone on this planet.
     

  11. railroadman

    railroadman Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 24, 2012
    N.J.
    Well... I:

    1. AM on this planet (for the most part), and

    2. Would DEFINITELY be interested in a work of art like that.

    Guess I fit the qualifications!:p

    All kidding aside- that's an amazing looking build you've got going, there. Fresh, meaningful idea with an elegant design and thoughtful execution. Look forward to watching this come together.

    My hat is off to you, Sir!:D
     
    Raimonds likes this.

  12. stevierayfan91

    stevierayfan91 Dog Whisperer. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Feb 20, 2011
    Private.
    Very talented design & work :)
     
    Raimonds likes this.

  13. WaymoreBlue

    WaymoreBlue Strat-Talker

    Age:
    35
    351
    Sep 5, 2016
    Belgrade, Serbia
    Great work and great idea!
     
    Raimonds likes this.

  14. lammie200

    lammie200 Strat-O-Master

    558
    Apr 25, 2016
    San Francisco
    Really nice. I like the carving details and I especially like the f-hole design. Very appropriate for a Tele shaped body IMHO.
     
    Raimonds likes this.

  15. Robins

    Robins Dr. von Loudster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 22, 2010
    Germany
    Unbelievable great job!
    That is just stunning. Can´t wait for further pics.

    All the best,
    Robin
     

  16. Raimonds

    Raimonds Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    47
    Mar 28, 2015
    Latvia
    and saturday's hangover in Europe :D

    edit: sorry, I didnt catch your "I" at the start of the list, I thought about AM in US and afternoon in Europe :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2017

  17. Lone Woof

    Lone Woof Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 30, 2014
    WI
    This is the coolest thing I've seen on Strat Talk in a long time. I want one!

    Update this thread with progress reports, please.
     
    s5tuart likes this.

  18. Lone Woof

    Lone Woof Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 30, 2014
    WI
    I can handle the bull#### stuff. I do it for a living.
     

  19. 8T_BoCO

    8T_BoCO Aspiring Stratospheric Stratitician Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    47
    785
    Mar 2, 2016
    Colorado

  20. Raimonds

    Raimonds Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    47
    Mar 28, 2015
    Latvia
    Short update: back is glued, now its waiting time:
    IMG_3082.jpg
     
    circles, liltimmy and 1980 like this.