Shaftesbury Les Paul: Work gets underway

Yesterday, on the way home from work, I picked up the paint from Steve Robinson (the excellent I’ve gone for ReRanch nitrocellulose lacquers, one white primer, one black (for the back of the body, neck and back of the headstock), Gibson Goldtop gold (for the front of the body and headstock) and a light tint clear lacquer to finish it off. Not cheap but from what I’ve read these are about the best you can get, and Steve sells them cheaper than anyone else I could find. He’s a jolly decent fellow to boot, and happily answered my inane questions long beyond the tolerance of most human beings.

Pretty well all of the parts have arrived now and so it was time to get on with some actual work.

I broke out my old router and quickly cleaned out the area round the old bridge and centre pickups.

…and then trimmed a piece of timber to fit the gap. This was an off-cut from my Benford Lestercaster, that Steve had kindly given me back when we visited last month.

You can’t see it in the picture, but I routed a slot diagonally across the back of the filler piece, so that the neck pickup leads can run through to the control cavity.

I’m at a bit of an impasse now. I need to trim down the top of the piece of timber and am not sure whether to fit it into the guitar and then carve to shape, or carve to shape and then fit to the guitar. Will ponder that one this evening and leave that job for tomorrow, which, unless I’m interrupted, will be mainly filling in the small dings and holes, and getting the body and neck ready for the first coats of primer.

I’m aiming to start painting next weekend, giving the glue and filler plenty of time to go off and to spend plenty of time making sure the body and neck are well sanded and ready to accept the paint. Everybody keeps telling me that the stage before the primer goes on is probably the most important in deciding the quality of the end result of the finish – and who am I to disagree with such good advice. So, despite my natural impatience (my wife would call me “Hashie Bashie”) I’m really going to take my time over this part. Hey, it’s not like it’s a race, eh?

Update (18:45): I had a think about it and trimmed down the filler block before gluing it in. Here it is glued in place. Have also filled in the stop tailpiece stud holes, the selector switch cavity, the three control cavity holes I won’t be using and all of the other misc screw holes that won’t be required (strap pins, tuners, and scratchplate).

I also updated the picture of the end result, adding a headstock logo.

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