|Pictured: The Topography of Desire|
If you have been reading along - you probably have guessed that this was not, in fact, what I did next. As I write this post neither of the body blanks has a neck pocket or pickup cavities carved out. I blame this development on Scott Wilkinson.
Who is Scott Wilkinson you ask and why am I blaming thim?
When I start any new guitar build - I do a fair amount of research as to the process involved. I try to identify a few different ways that other people have accomplished things and pick the one that is most closely aligned with my skill set and current tool compliment. Quite often I borrow a little from several approaches. But really, I like to see how other people have tackled their projects and in what order (and why).
Scott (also known as ExNihilo on the MyLesPaul.com forum) outlined a very clear process for how to build a Les Paul based on the classic 1950's version of the guitar. I decided that since his approach was so well documented and lauded that there might be something to it. The reasoning is this: it will be difficult to gauge the proper depths and placements for the neck pocket and pickup cavities until the body blank is in a semi-final size/shape. To be clear - my build differs from Scott's in a few crucial ways but using his experience as a guide - the next logical step for me is to carve the tops of these body blanks.
Which of course means more frickin' templates...
|Courtesy of Scott Wilkinson (aka ExNihilo)|
|Not Pictured: Tons of Fun!|
I chose to print out one of these PDFs and cut out each individual strata. It seems like most people print out seven PDFs and cut away what they don't need. Both ways work. But my way was very 'fussy' when it came to tracing them as the paper strips were pretty flimsy.
|Post Jig Saw but Pre Belt Sander|
|You shoulda seen my shoes!|
|Lots and lots of sawdust|
|The first time you put one on you have to say, "Luke, I am your father!"|
It's the law.
|Guitars are like onions...|
...or is it parfait?
You may be wondering what the lines are on the above templates. They are to help me line up the templates with the body blanks. I'll draw a similar set of lines on the body blank and use these registration marks to lmatch everything up correctly.
As a final note: This is just one way to carve a top. In my research I also found a phenomenally talented (and tattooed) luthier who did this all free-hand with an angle grinder. Go your own way!