Sunday, 12 July 2015

Jeremy's Mahogany LP: Headstock and Tuner Holes

This week, I finally got some more time to get back to Jeremy's Mahogany Les Paul build. Before I can start sanding this bad boy, there are a couple of modifications needed to support Jeremy's hardware choices. First and foremost, the existing tuner holes need to be reduced in diameter to support the 8.5mm tuner bushings to be found on his awesome Kluson tuners.

The first step in the process was to fill the existing tuner holes with dowel. Using some 12mm hardwood dowel from Bunnings, I reduced it down to around 11mm using 80 grit sand paper, then cemented it into the existing holes with Titebond. 

Dowel plugs sanded down from 12mm to fit
Once the glue was dry, It was a matter of using the dremel to roughly sand each plug down flat wth the headstock, and then filling around each with a little Timbermate. The result was one completely smooth - although kinda shitty looking - headstock.

Plugs glued in. Some sanding will be required!
Plugs sanded flat and the edges filled.
It was then time to locate the centres of the new 8.5mm tuner holes. This turned out to be harder than I initially thought due to the ridiculous locations of the original holes. With a little measuring, these were revealed to be unevenly spaced in the vertical, and badly placed with respect to both the centre line and the edges in the horizontal. The whole headstock is misshapen such that I can't have the new holes both equidistant from the edges and the centre-line. A choice was required - either situate the holes the same distance from the edge, or use the centre-line for reference. After an hour of indecision, I decided to drill horizontally equidistant from either edge, with the holes the same distance apart in the vertical.

Fuck, the original holes positions were ridiculous.
The resulting centres were not quite the same as the originals (ie each piece of dowel) but I reasoned that any offset should be hidden by the black headstock face and the rather large square backs of the Kluson tuners.  Finally, a little fiddling with the drill press got the new 8.5mm holes in and done.

The new holes fit the Kluson bushings just like a bought one!
With the new tuner holes completed (phew!), it was time to get on and cut the headstock shape. Using my usual Les Paul template (http://www.australianlespaulforums.com/download/Headstock.pdf) I traced, I cut with a scroll saw, and I sanded back with my flap wheels to finally arrive at a pretty good "open book" headstock shape.

Tracing the template
The completed headstock shape.
Awesome! Now the headstock can be finally sanded up through the grades ready for dye and finish. Now that I look at it, the curves on each side do look a little wonky, but I'm not sure what to do about it. With the tuners in place the irregularities may not be very noticeable me thinks. But then again, maybe a little time on the flap wheels could even out the curves a little. I'll ponder it once I start sanding and see how I feel. What I don't want to do is risk stuffing the whole thing up! Stay tuned.