Shaftesbury Les Paul: Prep work continues

Yesterday I made a start on the preparation work and today it is largely complete and almost ready for primer.

I’ve used Isopon P38 filler, because I wasn’t able to find any of the two-pack wood filler. The only wood filler that they had in B&Q were for jobs of a more “coarse” nature.

I’ve done a fair bit of work with P38 (a summer job as a dogsbody in a vehicle body repair shop) and the key to a good finish is, like most things in life, to take your time. I put on thin layers of filler very sparingly and then, once it had hardened, used 240 grit wet and dry abrasive paper to take almost all of it back off again. This took me three passes to get a finish I was happy with. Here’s a picture after the first pass. I used a marker pen to give myself a reminder of all the places that needed the second pass of filler. The filler goes off fairly quickly so when you’re working at pace it is always worth making things as easy as possible.

For the second pass of filler I needed to build up the back edge of the pickup hole and so, using hardboard, made a simple form, but first I inserted a plug of tissue paper into the pickup lead hole, so I wouldn’t cover it up.

And here’s the super high tech form for tidying up the pickup hole.

Whilst sanding down the second layer of filler I caught the front edge of the binding and needed to reglue it.

And after the third layer of filler, and a shit load of sanding, this is what I’m left with, all ready for paint.

I’ve drilled pilot holes for all of the hardware and, when laying out the tuners found that the eBay seller had sent me a six-a-side Fender set. I’ve dropped them a quick email. Hopefully I can get that sorted this week.

[Update] Within 5 mins of sending the email, they’d responded with an offer to send out the right ones first class tomorrow morning, including an SAE for returning the wrong set. Now that’s what I call customer service! I would have happily recommended Partscaster before (in fact I have a couple of times) and now I’m even more likely to do my bit to spread the word.

Feels like I’ve made good progress this weekend. During the week I’m going to flat down the whole body and neck with 400 grit, and then it’ll be ready for primer next weekend. I’ve got in mind that I’m going to empty out my shed, give it a damn good dusting and make myself a mini spray booth. I also want to plan out all of the jigs etc that I’ll need to hold the neck and body whilst they’re being painted and drying.

While planning the next stage I’ve realised that painting the front of the headstock gold will be very difficult to mask and will result in an awkward transition from black to gold particularly at the sides of the nut. For this reason I’m going to go with the Gibson standard of a black headstock. I also noticed that the previous drafts of the design featured a heavily carved top whereas mine is a much more gentle arch. So here’s version 6 of the design.

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2 thoughts on “Shaftesbury Les Paul: Prep work continues

  1. Nice work. I wish I had the patience and the steady hand for a job like this. I’m more of a bodger than a craftsman.

    Partscaster look like good value. I’ll bear them in mind when I need parts.

  2. Thanks Steve. It hasn’t really needed a steady hand. The patience thing is something I’ve had to work on though!

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