Hayden’s Radiomaster BYO

Hayden started his BYO project yesterday, June 25th. He’s going to work with me each Thursday at this stage and he’s decided that he’d like to build a Radiomaster Standard complete with Bigsby and of course, Brierley B90 pickups.

I have most of the hardware he’ll need and the Bigsby will be ordered today. I have the appropriate mahogany to make the body and neck on hand and that’s where we started yesterday.

Week 1, June 25th…

The body timber is machined, cut to size and glued up.

The two-piece laminated neck is also machined and glued up.

With the body and neck blanks glued up, we can make a start on the fret board and Hayden has chosen a Macassar ebony fret board for his Radiomaster.

The board is machined to 6mm…

…and the appropriate scale attached…

and the fret slots cut for a 25″ scale length fret board with 22 frets..

Week 2, July 2nd…

We started this morning by machining the timber glued up for the neck and body, reducing the body blank to about 45 or 46mm.

But we’re going to concentrate on the neck today.

The truss rod channel is routed out…

…and the truss rod made.

But before it’s installed, the headstock bevel is band sawn and then sanded…

… and the truss rod is fitted and the fillet strip glued in on top.

While the glue is drying, Hayden has used a Forstner bit to “hog out” some of the timber that will be routed out next week for the control cavity.

Week 3, July 9th…

With the glue well dried, the first step is to level the fillet strip and sand the top surface flat and then finish cutting the neck to shape on the band saw.

The headstock is sanded to a 16mm thickness and then the neck shape is carefully sanded to the correct width and thickness using the bobbin sander.

Next, the body is roughly cut to shape on the band saw…

…the body template is reattached to the body and the control cavity and neck pocket are then routed out. The body shape is sanded on the bobbin sander…

The machine head holes are drilled in the headstock.

…and then the neck is fitted to the body and the positions of the stainless steel neck mounting bolts are marked and drilled.

The t-nuts are installed and the counter sinks for the mounting bolts are also drilled.

Now we can locate the fret board and mark out the finished shape.

Week 4, July 23.

We started this morning by Hayden cutting the fret board blank roughly to shape on the band saw…

…and then gluing the fret board onto the neck.

While the glue is drying, our attention is again turned to the body and the 22mm hole for the output jack is drilled…

…and the belly carve/rib cage contour is drawn out and then carved using the power file.

The rounding over of the back edges is done using an appropriate rounding over bit in the router table.

After changing to another routing bit, the binding channel is cut into the front edge.

After lunch, the glue has dried and the profiling of the fret board is undertaken using the belt sander, checking as we go…

And with the fret board radiusing done, we’ll go onto the body binding…

Certainly not quite as simple as it looks but while the glue dries, Hayden is installing the frets.

Nice result- even, consistent frets…

Week 5, July 30

This morning, Hayden peeled off the tape and levelled the binding installed last week, first using a cabinet scraper and then sand paper and the binding is looking really good.

The front and back of the body are sanded…

…and the edges are rounded.

After lunch, the front and side position markers are installed.

Now for the neck shaping…

…and the fret ends are rounded off.

All of the construction work is now done and Hayden has taken his guitar away to do the fine sanding at home to ready his guitar for me to do the painting.

(A crash course in sealing, sun bursting and top coating isn’t part of the BYO process…)

Week 5, August 20…

So with the sealing and painting done- Hayden’s opted for just a natural finish- the next day’s work is to rub back…

…and then polish his Radiomaster.

So with both the neck and body now highly polished, the guitar  assembly can begin.

The nut is marked out and cut…

…the machine heads installed…

…and the electronics wired up.

And now the scratchplate can be screwed into position.

`The Bigsby is located and installed and Hayden’s guitar can be be strung up for the first time.

All that’s missing is the headstock logo reading not “Richards” but “Howlett”…