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.