I am behind 4 weeks now on blogging the build, so this post covers the December 29, 2016 session.

We had two tasks to accomplish this first week. First was to skim the front of our tops at a 4 degree angle to allow the neck to join the body at just the right angle. Apparently this magic angle comes from Les Pauls made between 1954 and the late 1960s, when they were made in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Afterward, the neck-to-body angle was increased to 5 degrees and more (all according to “How to Make Your Electric Guitar Play Great!” by Dan Erlewine).

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My son Charles setting the neck to body angle at precisely 4 degrees.

We mounted the bodies on a large metalworking router that features a table that can be moved very precisely. So, instead of moving the router bit through the workpiece, we move the workpiece under the bit for more control. As with so many operations in woodworking, the setup is the key. Once the angle is set and the workpiece secured, the rest is pretty easy.

The second task was to cut a wide groove in the top to receive the neck. This is one of several operations that must be done precisely, because lack of fit where the neck joins the body affects the sound. So of course, I goofed this up! Somehow I moved the piece too far into the bit and I carved out too much of the maple top (see photo). Alas, I lucked out again because this part of the top will be cut out for the pickups anyway. As they say, “I’d rather be lucky than good.” Actually, I’d like to be good too.

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