Sunrise – Introduction and Preparation

Following my second guitar build with Crimson Guitars, I’m keen to make my next project.  After that course, I was not sure if I would continue, and then whether I would build something at home or attend another course at some point (probably not this year, as it’s quite expensive).  The three main drawbacks of building at home are all things that are lacking: one is my own experience, the second is the necessary tools, and the third is a good workspace to build in.  Regarding my lack of experience, I think that after two courses I feel capable of having a go on my own.  For the other two lacks, see below!

The decision was made for me by a spark of inspiration.  I’d had an idea for a kind of fanned design for a body, but last week I thought that this needed a kind of “raison d’être”, and I thought that the fanned parts could be sunrays.  The sun would then have to appear, and there should be some kind of landscape, and thus the basic idea was born.

The plane, balloon and clouds etc. are just ideas now, and will be finalised later.

I’d like my next build to be a bass, so that’s what it will be.  My initial concept was that the ray pattern would go through the whole body, but I subsequently changed my mind.  I will have a solid body, and the ray pattern will be a cap, on both the front and back of the guitar.  On the back it will look like this:

Just the rays, without the sun, hills or anything else.

I think this will look good around the sides of the body, and it will also make the build process significantly easier, because I can rout out certain parts of the body and then hide all of that with the caps.  I’m mostly thinking of limiting cavity access to the side of the guitar, to avoid having any cavity covers, but I have a backup plan which would be invisible but a bit more complex to make.

The concept extends to the fretboard, which will be natural ebony and will show the night sky with a moon and stars as inlays.  Currently, I’m thinking of making this fretless but I’ll take a final decision on that later.

To round things off, the neck will be a laminate – I have ordered three neck blanks in cypress, padauk and purpleheart, and will work out how to make the laminate when they arrive.

The first step in making this concept come to life was obtaining the woods.  I searched around and found a couple of German websites where I could find nice woods.  They weren’t cheap, but I think they will look good.  All of the main woods for the body and neck came from Espen:

Body blanks in padauk, Honduran mahogany and Sycamore; neck blanks in cypress, padauk and purpleheart, and an ebony fretboard.

I also needed to find some special pieces for the sun and the hills, which I got from Edelholzverkauf:

I think they will look great!

Step two is remedying my lack of tools.  I don’t have a lot of woodworking experience, and so I don’t have many tools at home – just the basics for a bit of home DIY, really.  I had a good think about what I would need, and so far have ordered the following:

– Router + bits (Triton JOF001)
– A small bandsaw – a table-top kind of thing, should be sufficient for most needs
– More clamps (long ones)
– Base for my little Proxxon router
– Stanley 4 1/2″ plane
– Orbital sander + disks
– Titebond glue
– Drill bits (actually not for the guitar build but for related works in the garage)

I still have a list of other things to order, but most of them will be needed later in the build so I’ll wait a bit.  These include a drill stand (as a cheap alternative to a pillar drill) and a spindle sander.

I also have to do some work in my garage to convert it into a suitable working space, which involves making a work bench and probably fitting some cupboards, so that when I make lots of dust I don’t make all of my tools dirty.  I might return to this topic later; I still haven’t decided whether to do the work myself or get someone in.

Some interim photos of the build in progress are on the next page…