#16 Cutting the Blackguard body

My take on the 51 blackguard

The specification

I intend to get the vibe of the blackguard look, feel and tone while using modern methods, materials and hardware. The finished guiitar will look new and will age gracefully as the years go by.

Where possible I will use the of fittings of the type that were used on the originals such as slotted screws, bone nut, pressed steel bridge etc etc. If I can use a component that will improve shortcomings of the original design I will. This guitar will be a player first and foremost and I see no point in using a flawed component in the quest to be historically correct.

Body - 1 piece southern swamp ash - typical T style - lacking the crudely chopped out control rout, various plugged and unplugged holes in the body and cavities. The projecting neck pocket underside edge and the router hump.

The stunning 1 piece blank ex USACG with the template marked for cutting

A very nice 1 piece blank ex USACG - Decent swamp ash is becoming a rarity especially 1 piece superlight and resonant examples such as this.
Few Blackguards came in 1 piece bodies as most stock purchased for production were standard 8x4's. Its nice to use this one though:)

Body rough cut on the bandsaw - you can see how i nibble out the tricky bits - the other side of the pocket is done in a similar fashion.

theres a look at the grain - roughed out by bandsaw - below: template in place ready for trimming up.

Body edges trued up

Close up of the spiral upcutter used for this job. Damn expensive they are.

The neck is a 1 piece maple by Allparts built to 1951 spec - 9.5" radius, med C profile as it later became known - A little more meat than the 60's classics/ Sitting on the cavity template
The cavity template - won't be using the f-hole bit on this one

The body - ready for cutting the cavities

Chopped out some of the waste with a 3/4" forstner leaving less work for the router

Cavities cut - sorry for the crappy pic

here the wiring holes are cut as they were in 50-51 - notice no slot from the rhythm pickup rout direct to the control rout - a hole is cut for the wire to run to the control rout via the lead pickup rout. The routs on the originals were quite roughly made especially the control rout which was enlarged by hand with a chisel, usually in a hurry with little regard for a clean straight cut.

here is the jig used to get the ferrule holes in a straight line. Another feature if the 50 / 51's was a wiggly line of ferrule holes. These will be in a straight line. First mark your holes from above using the bridge as a template. Flip over the body and slide each hole over the 1/8" steel pin an cut with the ferrule sized bit. It can only come out straight.
The pin is located into the string through hole on the face of the guitar so the ferrule hole has to be right on top of it. If your string through holes are in a straight line the ferrules holes have to be as well.

Cut the socket hole which is pretty much it for this part of the job. It's time for sandpaper and finishing.

Before I drag out the sandpaper and sanders I better check it all lines up good. You can see the red laser light that I use. it looks a bit out in the pic but actually it lines up pretty nice. I've skipped the sanding, finishing, asssembly and setup and following are a couple of pics of the finished guitar.
I used some pretty high end hardware on this one. See more pics and the full spec in the Guitar Gallery Listing