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Gibson SG tribute, my first X-Carve project

Hi all! I’m excited to share my first ever project made with the X-Carve (first guitar and fourth woodworking project overall): a Gibson SG tribute guitar made in large part with Easel. The body was carved from a beautiful piece of pacific redwood (Easel team please include a double sided carving helper!) with a rosewood neck and ebony fingerboard. Lots of research went in along the way to get all the details as right as possible. I’ll share some after the pics.

X-Carve helped with the body cutout, cavities, bevels, neck cutout and headstock, fret slotting, inlay cutouts, neck pocket, tenon joint, and truss rod channel. I used primarily Adobe Illustrator -> Easel -> cncJS for all operations. Obviously there was a ton of additional hand work with various saws, files, metric tons of sandpaper, and glue.

My favorite bits to use throughout the project were the spetool 1/4” downcut, the whiteside 1” planing, and tackpro 1/4” 22° vbit.

Some of the more difficult parts included:

  • Carving the fret slots. I had to use the 22° vbit to make an initial mark for each fret then cut them by hand with a fret saw. I tried a 0.023” detail bit and it broke the second it touched the ebony (Dewalt 611)
  • The neck pocket. The neck pocket had to be on a 3° slope. I solved this by making the initial pocket when the body was flat, then going back for another pass later with the entire guitar body angled to give a 3° slope to the channel as I cut. Thank you, forgotten trigonometry and the power of sin()
  • Going back to adjust after removing the piece. I got fairly decent at meticulously setting home position over and over again. Measure 20x, cut once in panic.
  • Two sided carving. My guitar body was off about 1/16” on the back vs the front with was really worrisome early on. Thankfully a lot of sanding took care of most of the concerns.
  • The fingerboard overall. From planing to 12° to slotting the frets to filling inlay gaps to gluing the binding to hand filing the binding down to fretboard level and shaping beveled crowns at each fret… it was the most difficult part of the whole guitar.
  • Realizing too late I’d missed things. For example, having to remove one of the tailpiece bushings to drill a tiny long tunnel from the control cavity for a grounding wire.
  • Cutting the scarf joint for the neck angle (13°). I tried first with two pieces of maple and just couldn’t get the edges planed. I had to cut it from a solid plank of Indian rosewood with a custom jig on the table saw.

I’m finishing the whole thing in nitrocellulose lacquer, and it’s just about to begin curing. Sadly I have to wait for that before installing the hardware but I couldn’t resist showing it off now. Here’s a sneak peak with a mocked up pickguard (laser cut plywood), and also my initial easel image!

Huge thanks to Electric Herald, Woodcraft, this community, and EverythingSG for my lurking research to make this happen! I can’t wait till it’s done! Please feel free to ask any questions if you like.

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Nice job. You should start to play with 3D software, as it’ll open up a whole new world of options. I use a dremel bit to locate the fret slots and then saw with the stewmac fretting system.

I wanted to… I’m pretty good with Blender 3D but Fusion360 made my ears bleed. I’m not quite sure why I couldn’t get the hang of it.

I use Rhino. It seems more user friendly. The problem is that it is pricy. I’m self taught, so I just know enough to do what I want it to do.

Here is a thread on using the x carve.

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Thanks I’ll check it out! All self taught here too.

I struggled with F360 and F360/CAM myself initially, but after a while some key elements clicked in place and it became quite logical :slight_smile:

Awesome Project for sure

Wow, that is fantastic! Love seeing guitars being built with the X-Carve. Yours is much more complicated than the one I made, so kudos for all the extra complicated details you had to consider. My fret slot bit broke immediately the first time too, then I cut the depth/speed settings in half and it worked on the second try. I want to make a bass next and try the two-sided method on the body and neck. Well done!

Fantastic job. Thanks for sharing.