Friday 27 April 2018

The Piglet guitar build project, part 6

At last it's beginning to look like a guitar boody. Here's the Piglet unclamped after the top has been glued on. I ended up giving it 48 hours in the end, so plenty of time to set and harden and form a tight bond. Because we had cut out the top separately from the rest there was some variance in the outline between the top and the rest of the guitar body, although of only around 1mm.

So, it was out with the wood filler and try to even up the little gaps and differences between the top and the timber of the guitar body.

I also made sure to get wood filler into those tricky angles which with the jigsaw coming from two different directions and where there was an obvious saw line right in the corner.

And of course, lots of sanding to be done. I also decided to round over the top edges so as to give a softer outline

There's still lots more sanding to be done before we can think about applying the finish. But it's coming along very nicely.

Looking good.

G L Wilson

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Tuesday 24 April 2018

Hamilton Custom Guitars: another example

There has been a lot of interest in this 2013 post about this Hamilton Custom Guitar. Mark Natola contacted us to say that he is a Hamilton owner too, having recently bought a beaten-up example via Craig's List.

Mark has very kindly emailed the several photos of his Hamilton Custom Guitar that you see here. He tells us that:
...the head stock was broken when I bought it. In addition, the fret board was splitting away from the neck and the pick guard was broken in several places. Other than that, it was in fine shape, đŸ˜Š.

I brought it to a luthier who removed the fret board, cleaned up the neck, glued the fret board back on and replaced the frets. He repaired the head stock based on the “Made for Raymond” photo posted on the blog. In the mean time, I had a new pick guard made based on the metal shielding found below the original pick guard. We decided to stick with the original pickup and pots as they could not be replaced. I took the bridge apart and soaked and scrubbed the chrome parts with naval jelly. They cleaned up very well. The tuning keys were also soaked and cleaned in the same manner. Finally, I made a conscious decision to keep the original laquer finish, which is checked from age. Consequently, when the head stock was repaired it was necessary to stain it using a stain similar to the body color. My guitar had a “Made for Corinne” signature, however part of the name was missing due to the damage to the headstock. We decided to remove that and leave the Hamilton Custom intact.

I have now seen several guitars and it looks like there are subtle variations in the plate below the bridge. I can send more images later if you are interested.

Mark goes on add: would seem as there are at least five of these floating around including mine.
  • There is "Made for Raymond".
  • Mine, formerly "Made for Corrine"
  • A white one I saw posted on Pintrest a while back, without an inscription as far as I can tell
  • One mentioned on this blog that was bought in Boston, with case and mid 60's sheet music
  • One mentioned in recent post by guy from Long Island whose father chromed the hardware.
Am I missing any?
I wonder if the white one on Pinterest is the same one as owned by the father of Thomas who commented on our original blog post?

If anyone else has any more information or photos of Hamilton Custom guitars, please contact us!

G L Wilson

© 2018, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.

The Piglet guitar build project, part 5
The above photo shows the piglet guitar body with the access panels cut into the rear side. The small round hole will be for the guitar's electrics, just a single volume pot in this instance, and which also allows access to the output jack on the side of the body. The larger rectangular hole will be for access to the LEDs and battery pack, as this little piggy is going to have illuminated eyes!

Gluing and clamping down small blocks of wood where screw holes for the rear covers would otherwise be penetrating only a single layer of plywood. I wanted something a little more substantial for the screw threads to get a grip upon.

A day later and the guitar's top is glued into position. To make sure it was aligned correctly, I mounted the neck into the neck pocket (a snug fit with no bolts needed at this stage), having first wrapped clingfilm around the base of the neck to protect it from glue. Then after clamping all around the body (why do there never seem to be enough clamps?), I removed the neck.

After a few hours I removed the clamps, so I could remove the piece of scrap backing and ensure it wasn't going to be permanently glued to the guitar body seeing as glue had been dripping down onto it. Having cleared away excess glue, I re-clamped the body and will leave it for another day.

G L Wilson

© 2018, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.

Friday 20 April 2018

The Piglet guitar build project, part 4
(Above): Because this guitar is going to be such an unusual shape, I drilled holes in key places outside of the perimeter to aid the jigsawing process, especially where the blade needs to change direction.

 And after much careful jigsawing, here (above) is the cut-out body shape.

Hole drilled for the output jack.

The reverse of the body, sanding having commenced. Note I wanted to smooth certain pointy areas that may otherwise cause discomfort.

To give a better idea of the final product, here (above and below) we see the body with top in place (not yet glued) plus the neck, pickup and bridge in position.

Next job: Much more sanding! And then we can think about painting.

G L Wilson

© 2018, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.

Thursday 19 April 2018

The Piglet guitar build project, part 3

Just a very quick update this time. Here's the Piglet body all glued and clamped up on the bench and with a couple of heavy weights on top for good measure. Going to leave it for 24 hours before unclamping.

G L Wilson

© 2018, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.

Monday 16 April 2018

The Piglet guitar build project, part 2

Work has resumed on the piglet guitar. Today there was a lot of measuring, re-measuring, checking and double checking as we had to ascertain the precise positions for the bridge and the pickup so they would align properly with the strings on the neck.

Initially we cut a precise humbucker-shaped hole into the plywood top of the guitar thinking that it could be top loaded. Then it occurred to us that we wouldn't physically be able to get the pickup into the guitar unless the hole was made a good deal larger  and included cutouts to allow for the lugs for the height adjustment screws and springs. We decided to use a pickup surround but unfortunately the nice chrome flat surrounds I'd bought on eBay were too narrow for the humbucker (maybe they were meant for mini-humbuckers?) so we had to make do with making a surround cur out from the Strat-style pickguard from which our donor pickup had originally come, and set to work on it with the jigsaw.

We also drilled a hole through to the pickup cavity from the area upon which the bridge will be sited so that we can earth the bridge with a grounding wire.

We had much discussion about whether we should cut out the various pieces of timber making up the body before or after it was all glued together. We ended up by cutting out the plywood top of the guitar on its own, then sanding all the edges to the desired shape, from which to use as a template to mark out the rest of the body timber. The reason for cutting out the top separately was to avoid tearing the edges of the ply. Cutting it on its own meant we could use a finer blade and get a more accurate cut without ripping. To get around some of those corners in the body shape (e.g the areas around the ears and the feet) we drilled holes where the jigsaw would need to change direction.

We didn't get as far as gluing the body as we needed to get hold of some more clamps first, so that'll have to wait until another day. After gluing and clamping we will cut out the rest of the body, then will get to work sanding the edges.

The above photo shows my original paper template for the body, which should give some idea of the design.

G L Wilson

© 2018, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.

Tuesday 3 April 2018

The Piglet guitar build project, part 1

This is a guitar I'm building for the singer in the band I currently play bass in, Red & The Hogweeds. When Red had said he would like a hog-shaped guitar, I knocked up a design in PhotoShop. My first inclination was to ask a factory in China if they could build a one-off using my design, so I approached a factory that I'd seen recommended on the net. But on receiving their reply of, "No, we can't do that, but we have lots of other designs..." (but I want THIS design! I mean what kind of consolation is that?), I decided, sod it, I'll build it myself.

I'm not a luthier by any means, although I have put together several Frankenstein guitars and I have built a six-string cigar box style guitar that does actually play quite well (I've even recorded with it). I've designed this piglet guitar so that it should be easy to put together with just the bare minimum of power tools. All we're using is a jigsaw and a router, other than that it's hand tools. I say "we", by the way, because I've drafted in Hogweeds guitarist Gunner to help out.

The body is formed by 4 pieces of poplar (a.k.a. tulipwood) - two wings, and a centre section made up of a front and a rear piece of wood. This allows us to make an easy neck pocket simply by jigsawing the front piece of wood, then when it is glued to the rear piece the pocket is formed. Finally the timber will be sandwiched between two pieces of plywood for the front and back. It's all going to be painted piggy pink anyway, so I didn't see the need for anything posher.

Yes, I'm cheating with the neck and am using one I've bought in specially. I make no apologies for this.

Because it is such a big body, I've included several cavities - or "tone chambers" if you prefer - and these should keep the weight down. The cavities are rather crudely cut out; I will tidy them up a bit but won't worry about this too much as they are going to be hidden away inside the guitar and not seen. We're also hoping to put LEDs into the pig's eyes, so these and the battery will be housed in the large chamber you can see to the left of the design.

I'll post more photos as the build progresses.

G L Wilson

© 2018, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.


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