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Alas, the long-overdue post for the Sapele J-11 part III. Unfortunately, although I love my new place, my shop is not insulated yet. It’s also Canada, so the shop thermometer was reading -20 to -30 Celsius for a couple of weeks and that makes it hard to get things done. Regardless, I’ve got some progress to share. In actuality I did this work before it got so damn cold, and this is the state that the project’s been sitting in since then. Once I get the shop insulated things will move along a lot faster.

To start off with, I built a new workbench. It’s a roubo style bench made completely of SPF lumber. Overall cost was less than $300 and I’m quite satisfied with how it turned out (in the photo below you can see it’s aboit 90% finished, but the ends are not squared off yet and I hadn’t trimmed the leg through-tenons yet). I know that’s not a guitar, but it’s all part of getting the new shop functional. I’ll post a build thread for the bench itself soon.


I still use these original templates that I had cut almost 6 years ago for the J-11 🙂 They are screwed down to the body, and the electronics cavity and wire channel are routed. I have a similar acrylic templates for the fretboard and neck mortise.


After routing: voila.


The same technique is used for the headstock. Since the headstock will be covered by a plate, I screw it down rather than using double-stick tape (since the screw holes will not be visible after the headplate is on).


After doing the headstock, the template was removed and I cut the 1/4″ channel for the truss rod on my sketchy home-made router table.


I also tried out a new technique for cutting the neck tenon, and I was quite satisfied: no gaps on the first try! First time ever…feels like success. I should have always been doing this, but I simply copied the angle onto both sides of the neck so they were identical (using a square) and scored the lines deep with a sharp knife. Then I cut the mortise lines out using my Pax fret saw.


Aaaaand here she is with the fretboard on. I cut the neck plane (angled front end of the body) using one of my handplanes (p.s. Sorry Jon! It’s the plane I planned to give you, but I didn’t have my shop set up yet to finish it off completely and I couldn’t stomach the thought of sending out an imperfect plane; it’ll be in the mail one of these days soon).

Note: I’m aware the neck plane angle looks way too high here. I was only about half way finished working when I took this photo, but I don’t have a better  shot of the neck & body after finishing the neck plane.